Philadelphia council member, Jim Kenney, seeks equality for transgender individuals and the LGBT community at large.
His extensive bill highlights several key points. Kenney proposed a measure which would require that all new buildings owned by the city provide a single-use gender-neutral bathroom. In addition, his bill suggests that city run websites must provide a gender-neutral option for identification forms.
Kenney’s bill is comprised of three main components: “Pushing Towards True Equality for LGBT Philadelphians,” “21st Century Life Partnerships,” and “Ending Transgender Discrimination.” The bill endorses “Life Partner Health Tax Credit.” Gaining tax credit gives companies incentive to be generous and inclusive when choosing health plans.
The bill is asking willing companies to provide their employee’s life partners and children with health coverage. The bill also encourages willing companies to provide transgender employee’s with medical coverage. If companies sign on board with inclusive health coverage they will benefit from a tax credit. It will “decrease employer tax bills by the lesser of $4K or 25% of any cost increases” as stated in councilmen Kenney’s bill.
The bill guarantees life partners be treated as legal spouses for hospital visitation rights and other medical decisions. Following a similar philosophy, this bill also proposes that “non-traditional” families be considered as joint parents, (such as parent 1 and parent 2) on all city forms.
The bill also allows for private employees to follow a dress code appropriate to their gender expression, and grants transgender individuals access to change their name on all city records.
“This bill is important for the LGBT community at large” spokesperson for Kenney, Chris Goy, said in an interview with 429Magazine.
Goy also shared results of a survey of the 50 largest companies in Philadelphia. 42% percent of Philadelphia employers provide health coverage for their employees life partners and children while 89 percent of Fortune 500 Companies provide health coverage for families. Only 10 percent of employers in Philadelphia provide health care for their transgender employees. However, 42 percent of Fortune 500 Companies provide health care for transgender individuals.
If this bill passes, it will create equality and access for all individuals.
The vote for this bill is scheduled for Thursday April 25 at 10:00 a.m. at Philadelphia City Hall.