BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
About 50 LGBT activists and allies gathered Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, at the Torch of Friendship in downtown Miami in support of amending Miami-Dade County's human rights ordinance to include gender identity and expression.
The TransEquality rally, organized by SAVE Dade, included interfaith speakers Rabbi Tom Heyn of Temple Israel of Greater Miami; Rev. Chris Jackson of Unity on the Bay; straight ally Allison Grisham of All Souls' Episcopal Church in Miami Beach; Bishop S.F. Makalani-MaHee; ex-Baptist minister Jennifer Taylor; SAVE Dade board member Juan del Hierro; and SAVE Dade Executive Director Tony Lima.
"Transgender rights and this rally here are important today because people matter," said Taylor, who is trans. "There are things such as housing, education and other rights which people take for granted that transgender people are denied."
A gender identity ordinance was introduced in May by Miami-Dade Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Audrey Edmonson and co-sponsored by Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Sally Heyman.
The plan, which would have amended the county’s existing gay-rights law to ban discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on gender identity or expression, passed 11-1 on first reading. Commission Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell voted against.
The proposal then went to the commission’s Health and Social Services Committee, comprised of chairwoman Edmonson, Bell, Commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Jean Monestime and Javier D. Souto.
Co-sponsors pulled the amendment on Aug. 13, when they realized there weren't enough votes to pass in committee.
Click here to view a gallery from the rally. Photos by STEVE ROTHAUS / Miami Herald Staff.