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Baltimore County Council Approves Transgender Rights Bill

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)—The Baltimore County Council approves a controversial measure protecting transgender people from discrimination. The bill was brought on by a high-profile attack on a transgender woman at McDonald's.

Kai Jackson explains it sparked a heated debate in the community.

The high-profile attack at McDonald's was on Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman. Supporters are happy Baltimore County's transgender bill passed, but there are people who opposed it.

The Baltimore County Council passed a bill stopping transgender discrimination.

"Whether you're a woman, whether you're male, whether you're female, African-American, gay, lesbian, transgender, this bill is simple. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly," said Tom Quirk, Baltimore County Council.

Those who are transgender were elated the bill passed.

Many believe the message here is that it's no longer OK to discriminate against those who are transgender or gay in Baltimore County.

"Trans people will now have an opportunity to keep their jobs or find jobs. They'll have the opportunity to keep their homes or find housing. They'll be treated fairly in public accommodations," said Sharon Brackett, Gender Rights Maryland.

Opponents have been concerned that male predators would use the bill to access women's bathrooms. As the law is written those who are transgender can use the restroom of their choice.  That concerns opponents.

"Well, I think it's a very dangerous bill because it opens the doors for those who would want to perpetrate crimes against females," said Rev. Grace Harley.

Tuesday's vote by the Baltimore County Council is considered a victory for the transgender and gay communities.

"I'm honored that they treated us as well as they did. And I'm very pleased that there was a willingness to be reasonable," said Dana Byer, supporter.

Supporters plan to take this momentum to Annapolis to get a similar law passed statewide.

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