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Racine City Hall

Racine City Hall, 730 Washington Ave.

RACINE — Proposed changes to the City of Racine’s municipal code would add the LGBTQ community to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinances.

The list of amendments put forward by Alderman Melissa Lemke of the 15th District are scheduled to go before the City Council at Tuesday’s meeting, where its expected to be referred to the Finance and Personnel Committee.

In 2017, Racine received one of the lowest scores out of the seven Wisconsin cities rated in a report on LGBTQ inclusivity by the Human Rights Campaign, a national civil rights organization.

While local leaders said that Racine is an inclusive and welcoming place for the LGBTQ community, Lemke and Mayor Cory Mason announced in June that they planned to modify the city’s ordinances to better prevent discrimination.

The city already has protections in place in the ordinance against discrimination based on sexual orientation but it does not include gender identity, which was partly why the city’s score was so low.

The proposal adds definitions for terms such as bisexual, gay, gender identity, lesbian, LGBTQ, queer, questioning, sexual orientation and transgender to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

Another proposed alteration would require the Affirmative Action and Human Right Commission include one member of the LGBTQ community and one person who has a disability, as defined by the city.

Several of the other changes include adding the term “gender identity” to the list of vulnerable populations under the nondiscrimination ordinances.

Other areas of improvement laid out in the Human Rights Campaign include LGBTQ-friendly municipal health benefits and municipal services as well as the LGBTQ community’s relationship with legislators and law enforcement.

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Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.