Last fall, top city officials, including Mayor Castro, lobbied loud and hard for an expansion of the city's Non Discrimination Ordinance to protect gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. But, now that the cameras have stopped rolling and the supporters of the gay and lesbian community have all written campaign checks, the lawyer for the first person to file a complaint under the new expanded NDO says the city was a lot more concerned about talking the talk than about walking the walk.
"We don't even know the rules and the process," attorney Justin Nichols told 1200 WOAI news. "In spite of three requests for a meeting just to discuss the rules, not to discuss the substance of the complaint, we have still not received a response."
Nichols represents a transgendered man who says he lost his job as a consultant with AT&T due to discriminatory actions, including bullying and threats after people discovered his transgendered status.
"We would much prefer to have the NDO to serve its purpose, and deal with complaints locally and amicably," he said.
The NDO was held out as a way to protect gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals from discrimination, similar to the way similar NDO's protect people based on race, gender, age, disability, or veteran status.
But Nichols says he may have to simply take the case to court, just like he would have done had the NDO not existed, because the city doesn't seem to be interested in enforcing it.
"If we don't see some movement fast, we are going to have no other choice," he said.
He points out that while the NDO stresses that gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals are to be protected from discrimination, it includes no sanctions and no way to benefit individuals who have been victims of discrimination.
It seems Hileman is not alone in getting no response from the city about enforcement of the NDO. City officials declined to respond to our request for comment on the issue, too.