News Release - Mayor Thomas S. Richards, City Councilmember Haag Announce City Hall Policy Change Regarding Non-Discrimination of LGBT Community Members

City of Rochester

News Release

(Friday, July 19, 2013) – Joined by City Councilmember-at-Large Matt Haag, Mayor Thomas S. Richards today announced a series of updates to the City’s Non-Discrimination policy to include transgender individuals, and announced the naming of a City Hall liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

These were two of the items mentioned on a recent survey of the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) taken by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The MEI surveys hundreds of municipalities on their policies and practices concerning the LGBT community. While Rochester scored very high on the index, the MEI survey sparked a review of the City’s policies for possible improvement.

Upon completion of the review, the Mayor ordered the addition of “gender identity and expression” to the City’s Non-Discrimination policy. The Non-Discrimination policy is the City’s legal obligation and organizational commitment to foster a workplace free from discrimination regardless of age, race, color, creed, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, genetic information, physical or mental disability, marital status, military status/service or domestic violence victim status. This list now includes “gender identity or expression,” which puts in place specific protections for transgender individuals employed by the City.

“The City of Rochester is committed to a policy of non-discrimination and openness for all employees and citizens,” said Mayor Richards. “Such policies need to be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect our changing society. I want to thank Councilmember Haag for his help and hard work on refining our policies.”

Councilmember Haag has been a strong advocate regarding equality and fairness issues for the LGBT community. He began working with the HRC on the MEI report and worked with the administration to suggest changes.

“I want to thank Mayor Richards and his administration for working on these issues with me and for doing so with enthusiasm and the desire to do the right thing,” said Councilmember Haag. “We have addressed several key issues of importance for the LGBT community and we will continue to dialogue with the City on such issues moving forward.”

The Mayor today also named Director of Fire Administration, Molly Clifford, as the City’s liaison to the LGBT community. Director Clifford will act as a conduit to bring the concerns of various organizations within the LGBT community to City Hall. Investigator Kimberly Rasbeck of the Rochester Police Department will continue to serve as the RPD’s liaison to the LGBT community.

The Mayor will continue to work with Councilmember Haag and the LGBT community to open discussions on issues such as extending transgender-inclusive language in City vendor and contractor agreements and on LGBT health care concerns.


News Media: For more information, contact City Communications Director Gary Walker at 428-7405.