Less than a week before the Republican party descends on its Quicken Loans Arena, the city of Cleveland is set to approve new legislation allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.
The ordinance is similar to one passed by the city of Charlotte, NC earlier this year. In response, the state's Republican-led legislature drafted and passed the now-infamous House Bill 2, which significantly limited bathroom access for trans people. That bill has since become the focal point of an ongoing national conversation regarding trans rights, particularly as they pertain to public restrooms.
According to Cleveland.com, this new bill was first introduced as part of a broader effort to update the city's anti-discrimination laws in 2013, and essentially removes an existing exception that allowed private businesses to discriminate based on gender identity or expression. That bill was tabled in 2014, only to be reintroduced this summer with an amended penalty structure. It was approved by a city council committee on Monday, and is expected to be passed when it comes to a full council vote Wednesday evening.
While it's unclear if the ordinance's resurrection is related to the impending arrival of the country's conservative class for the RNC, the timing does mean that, should it pass, Republican conventiongoers—many of whom presumably oppose efforts to expand rights for trans people as they relate to bathroom access—will find themselves in a decidedly more open and inclusive city than they would have just weeks before.
Ohio, meanwhile, is one of the states currently suing the Federal Government over a recent directive to allow transgender student access to the restroom of their choice in public schools.
Update: As expected, the Cleveland City Council passed the new measure on Wednesday evening.