RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s capital city became the sixth statewide to protect transgender workers from employment discrimination. City Council members passed the revised policy unanimously at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

The proposed policy was passed by the Council’s Human Relations Committee last month. It includes the addition of gender identity or expression along with several other enumerated categories to the city’s non-discrimination policy.

The policy already protects workers on the basis of sexual orientation. The policy applies only to the city’s own workers.

“Today, the Raleigh City Council votes to extend workplace protections to the city’s transgender employees.Like last week’s marriage win, a vote in favor of protections for transgender workers comes after months of conversations, testimonials, meetings, and genuine hard work by organizations and individuals dedicated to building a state of equality in 2014 and beyond,” Chris Sgro, executive director of statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality North Carolina, said in a release.

Sgro said the vote was a “victory today in our capital city for Transgender workers to towns, cities and counties throughout the state that want to make a similar pledge: to protect their valuable gay and transgender workers from harassment, discrimination, and dismissal for reasons that have nothing to do with job performance.”

Sgro added: “When we protect gay and transgender people within the workplace, they can live better lives outside of it.”

Raleigh follows several other cities protecting workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: Asheville, Boone, Carrboro, Charlotte, Chapel Hill and Buncombe. Durham, Mecklenburg and Orange Counties have also extended similar protections.

According to Equality NC, the motion on the vote “came from Republican Councilmember John Odom, thought by many to be the city’s most conservative councilmember.”

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.