Fayetteville passes non-discrimination ordinance

James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at http://thelibrarynevercloses.tumblr.com/

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The city of Fayetteville, Arkansas has become the first city in that state to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance passed with a 6-2 vote on 20 August in a meeting that lasted over 10 hours and had almost 120 speakers.

The ordinance made national news after Michelle Duggar, star of the reality program 19 Kids and Counting, recorded a message in opposition to the proposed ordinance. The message included transphobic language.

In her message, she described the ordinance as ‘an ordinance… that would allow men – yes, I said men – to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only’.

She also went on to imply that allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identity would lead to increased sexual assaults against women and girls.

Nathan Southerland-Kordsmier, a townsperson who testified during the hearing for the ordinance, pleaded in favor of the proposal.

‘The idea that I could lose my home because someone finds out that I’m gay is why… we need to push this through as quickly as possible.’ He later added, ‘People like me don’t feel safe here. I’m living with a shadow over my head.’

The ordinance will go into effect on 20 September, 2014.

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