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Gainesville commissioners react to new gender-neutral ordinance proposal

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 5:34 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A proposal to make the language of Gainesville city ordinances gender-neutral is receiving backlash due to a provision to create new public nudity standards.

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos introduced the proposal at the general policy meeting yesterday, submitting a report that advocated for the “Free the Nipple” campaign. This would permit women to go topless in public -- but has nothing to do with breastfeeding infants.

While some commissioners expressed shock, others say the new policy would help those in marginalized communities.

“This is something that can help our trans and non-binary neighbors feel more comfortable and at peace with who they are and present themselves publicly without fear of public indecency charges or interactions with the police that prove fatal,” said Commissioner Reina Saco.

Other commissioners expressed their displeasure with the proposal saying they view it as two separate issues.

“I am absolutely in favor of making our ordinances gender-neutral, because language evolves and we should be more inclusive. What I’m not in favor of was the content of the report which was completely separate from the title, and I felt, very misleading and also a slap in the face to both women and our transgender brothers and sisters,” said Commissioner Gail Johnson.

Commissioners decided to table the proposal for now and resume talks after a full presentation at the next meeting in February.

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