Policies, Ordinances and Initiatives the City of Orlando has established to support our local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) Community
Orlando is a City for everyone. Our community is known worldwide for being a welcoming and inclusive city for everybody, regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity. Since Mayor Buddy Dyer took office, he has preserved an inclusive government that fosters diversity by establishing local programs, ordinances and laws that benefit the LGBTQ+ community, including:
- Non-Discrimination Ordinance: The City of Orlando has had a non-discrimination ordinance and related City board since 1973 charged with fostering equality in Orlando and it continues to be active in promoting the City’s recent equality initiatives.
- Domestic Partnership Registry: Approved by the Orlando City Council in December 2011, the ordinance created the City’s first-ever Domestic Partnership Registry, becoming the first government agency in Central Florida to take the important step of giving all couples the same basic rights other couples in committed relationships have. Since then, 13 other Florida jurisdictions have used the City of Orlando’s registry as a model. Currently, more than 1,700 couples have registered on the registry.
- Support of marriage equality in court briefs: On June 23, 2014, the Mayor and City Council authorized the filing of amicus curiae(friend of the court) briefs in support of marriage equality in several Florida cases trying to overturn the Florida same-sex marriage ban.
- Gender Identity added to Anti-discrimination Chapter 57: On July 28, 2014, Chapter 57 Review Board, unanimously recommended to our City Council that gender identity be added as a protected class to the City’s Recruitment & Employment and Harassment policies and procedures. City Council unanimously approved an ordinance adding gender identity on August 11, 2014.
- City’s Human Relations Division enforces City and Federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations: The Human Relations Division promotes equality of opportunity for citizens of Orlando by advocating policies of nondiscrimination and enforcing City and Federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. Human Relations is a certified agent of both the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The anti-discrimination laws enforced by the FEPA/FHAP prohibit discrimination based on sex (includes pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, race, color, religion, sexual harassment, disability, national origin and retaliation. The HUD and Chapter 57 Housing anti-discrimination laws include familial status (presence of a child under the age of 18 and pregnant woman) as a covered basis as well. For more information, please contact 407.246.2122 or email email@example.com.
- City gives funds to organizations that serve our LGBTQ+ community
- 2016-17 Fiscal Year
- Aspire Health/Zebra Coalition received $56,000 for Zebra Coalition’s Bridge Housing Program for homeless LGBTQ+ youth
- Hope and Help Center of Central Florida received $15,000 for the Comprehensive Food Pantry for People Living with HIV/AIDS
- The LGBT+ Center Orlando received $18,942 for an OWL (Older, Wiser, Learning) Senior Case Manager
- 2017-18 Fiscal Year
- Zebra Coalition received $50,000 for the Bridge Housing Program for homeless LGBTQ+ youth
- Two Spirit Health Services received $25,000 for expansion of primary care services for seniors
- 2016-17 Fiscal Year
- LGBTQ Liaisons:
- Office of Multicultural Affairs
Felipe Sousa Matos Rodriguez, Mayor Dyer’s LGBTQ Liaison
- Orlando Police Department (OPD)
Sergeant Grace Peek, LGBTQ Liaison
- Office of Multicultural Affairs
- Orlando Police Department (OPD) Anti-Bullying Program: The Orlando Police Department (OPD) was the first police agency in the Greater Orlando area to introduce an Anti- Bullying Program to public elementary schools. The program was established in 2011 as part of the Super Kids Program, a 9-week lesson plan that is included in the 5th grade curriculum at the City’s 27 public elementary schools. The program creates awareness to 5th grade students about how to recognize bullying and provides information on the Speak Out Help Hotline and other resources available to improve the safety and security of schools and communities.
- OPD LGBTQ Liaison and Law Enforcement Training: Members of the Orlando Police Department have participated and instructed in a public safety and law enforcement training programs available for the public and other law enforcement agencies to understand the dynamics of the LGBTQ+ community and common issues LGBTQ+ individuals face, including being able to create policies that address LGBTQ+ issues, build community trust and build relationships of law enforcement and public safety within the community. Orlando maintains an LGBTQ Liaison, has model policies to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, conducts regular training, and was the first agency in the southeast US to establish the Safe Place program, designed to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- OPD Safe Place Initiative: On December 12, 2016, exactly six months after the Pulse tragedy, Mayor Dyer, Commissioner Sheehan and Chief Mina launched the Orlando Police Department’s Safe Place initiative, which helps provide the LGBTQ+ community with safe places throughout the city that they can turn to if they are the victim of a hate crime or feel threatened or harassed. OPD provides decals to City facilities, local businesses and other organizations for those entities to post as a symbol of safety for the victims of LGBTQ+ crime. Anyone who seeks solace in a Safe Place location can be assured that if they are the victim of a crime, police will promptly be called. Public agencies, businesses and organizations are encouraged to request a free decal HERE.
- The Orlando Police Department (OPD) adopted a Transgender Persons Policy: In November 2015, the Orlando Police Department (OPD) adopted a Transgender Persons policy to codify through policy one of the tenets of this agency: To treat all people with dignity and respect. The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the appropriate treatment of transgender individuals who come into contact with and/or require the services of OPD. OPD treats every person with courtesy and respect. It’s important for OPD officers and personnel to know, understand and utilize the appropriate nomenclature and preferable manners of address, and to be aware of laws including public accommodations and other issues attendant to this population.
- The City of Orlando’s healthcare provider offers to employees’ coverage to certain transgender procedures: The City of Orlando’s healthcare plan provided through United Healthcare is including coverage in 2018 for certain transgender procedures for those who meet United Healthcare’s coverage guidelines.
- Mayor Dyer’s Stand Up Orlando campaign: In October 2014, Mayor Dyer launched StandUp Orlando, another anti-bullying initiative to publicly demonstrate his commitment to bullying prevention and to ensure our community continues to be a place of belonging, acceptance and respect for all people. More than ten sponsorsjoined Mayor Dyer to launch Stand Up Orlando, which encourages safety and positive relationships among our students, parents, administration and teachers.
- Vowed & Proud Wedding Ceremony: On January 6, 2015, Mayor Dyer officiated a same–sex wedding ceremonyat Orlando City Hall that celebrated the historic first day that marriage was recognized for same sex couples in Florida. Forty-four loving gay and lesbian couples participated in the Vowed and Proud Wedding Ceremony, gaining access to the institution of marriage, and to a safety net of over 1,200 legal and economic protections for their families.
- Gender Identity added to Supplier Diversity section on Chapter 7 Procurement Code: On May 23, 2016, gender identity was added to Chapter 7 Procurement Code to support equal opportunity in diversity on procurement process.
- Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES): Since its inception in 2014, the City has hosted OYES to empower the Central Florida lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer (LGBTQ+) youth and allies with resources and education to support understanding, acceptance and inclusion in our community. The summit provides dynamic and interactive workshop sessions to address the issues and necessities of our LGBTQ+ community and find potential solutions in a respectful atmosphere. OYES has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the Mayor’s Multicultural Affairs Office, Commissioner Patty Sheehan, the Office of Community Affairs & Human Relations, and local community partners.
- City of Orlando obtained the highest score of 100 at the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipality Equality Index (MEI): For the fourth year in a row, the City has obtained the highest score of 100 on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which reflects our going commitment of preserving a democratic and inclusive government that serves and represents our diverse community. The MEI is a nationwide evaluation of more than 400 cities on how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.
- Support and assistance to Pulse survivors, victims’ families and members of our community affected by Pulse tragedy
- Orlando United Assistance Center: The City of Orlando in partnership with federal, state, local and community agencies, established the Family Assistance Center (FAC) at World Camping Stadium to offer individuals who have been affected by the Pulse tragedy critical connections between victims and services from 35 different on-site agencies, like travel, lodging, funeral services, child care and counseling they needed as part of their recovery. More than 750 individuals and 243 families visited the FAC for assistance. In addition, 179 individuals and 83 families have returned to the FAC at least a second time. After one week, the City of Orlando and Orange County governments partnered with Heart of Florida United Way to relocate FAC to a new location named the Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC) to continue providing long-term assistance to those directly affected by the Pulse tragedy. Heart of Florida United Way has a vast network of partners in the nonprofit sector to address the variety of needs of those impacted by the tragedy quickly and efficiently connect those in need to the resources available. On its first year alone, the OUAC has helped 347 clients, it had 2,494 case manager appointments, and it has supported 4,154 people through its (407) 500-4673 (HOPE) number. Its culturally-experienced staff is composed of member of the Latinix, LGBTQ+ communities, and other communities of color. They will continue supporting not only those directly impacted by the Pulse tragedy, but also other members of the community who feel deeply impacted by this tragedy.
- OneOrlando Fund: The OneOrlando Fund was established through the generosity of businesses, foundations and individual donors. Following the horrific tragedy at Pulse, there was a tremendous outpouring from the community seeking to provide financial support. In response, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the formation of the OneOrlando Fund. Equality Florida, The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. (The Center) and the National Compassion Fund announced a partnership with the OneOrlando Fund to ensure all funds collected for victims are disbursed in a unified process that will expedite funds, ensure transparency and safeguard against fraud. The OneOrlando Fund has distributed $31,665,931.82 on 308 claims.
- Other Pulse tragedy key community partners: The City is proud to partner with the One Orlando Alliance, a coalition of LGBTQ+ organizations in Central Florida, to continue addressing the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. This work would not have been possible without the support of the Contigo Fund and the Central Florida Foundation- Better Together Fund. Their philanthropic leadership has been critical to fill gaps and empower communities.
- Offering bilingual information to our Hispanic community: Because the majority of Pulse’s victims and survivors are Hispanic, the City provided important information in Spanish at all times to our Hispanic community about City’s services, the Orlando United Assistance Center, the OneOrlando Fund and any other critical information.