Jackson hosts forum discussing LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 10:50 PM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - The City of Jackson and the Jackson Pride Center came together Monday night to talk about the LGBTQ Non-Discrimation Ordinance (NDO).

Monday marks five years since the law has been in place.

The forum met to discuss the impact of the ordinance after fighting for it for nearly 20 years. The NDO makes it a civil infraction to discriminate against someone for things like housing, employment or public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

While most of the people said Jackson has come a long way, others said there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“I think I have seen more Rainbow Flags in neighborhood buildings,” said Vic Britton, with the Jackson Pride Center. “Not just during Pride, but all year.”

“I think we’ve got a ways to go, but I think overall, it’s been going a little bit better,” said Chris Joly.

While people like Joly appreciate the protection, she said not enough people are utilizing it out of fear.

“A lot of people don’t say anything because, alright, ‘It happened but if I just pretend it didn’t happen, then I can go about the rest of my life, but if I start saying something, something bad is going to happen,’” Joly said.

She said it’s now time for people to start coming forward.

“If you’re being discriminator against -- doesn’t matter, race, sex, etc. -- you need to talk to somebody,” Joly said. “You need to speak out.”

Jackson spokesperson Aaron Dimick said the meeting was meant to be a conversation starter for the city to know what else needs to be done. With only a handful of complaints over the last five years, he said it likely could have been more if people had more than 30 days to file the complaint.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done any conversation like this with the community,” Dimick said. “We wanted to gage what they thought about the NDO and what we could be doing better. I think a lot of people mentioned that when you put a 30-day time limit on it, that it’s too short. We had what would’ve been a legitimate complaint of discrimination, but we weren’t able to do anything about it because of the time limit. It’s really good to examine these things with the people it impacts.”

Dimick and others who participated in the conversation said they’re proud with how far Jackson has come in accepting those who are LGTBQ. They hope the trend continues as the years go on.

You can file a complaint through the City of Jackson’s official website here.

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