Map: Comparing Nondiscrimination Ordinances in Texas Cities

This month, San Antonio became the fourth Texas city with a population of more than 100,000 to create an ordinance that offers protection for all residents against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. There are now eight Texas cities of that size that have passed some nondiscrimination rules or legislation. This map shows what types of policies major Texas cities have on the books.

  • Has ordinance protecting against discrimination
  • Uses other means to protect against discrimination
  • Provides no explicit protection

For at least a decade, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth have had ordinances offering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents some degree of protection against discrimination in employment, housing and other public areas like buses and restaurants.

In 2000, Fort Worth became the first Texas city to pass an ordinance to protect all individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The city expanded the ordinance in 2009 to also protect individuals on the basis of gender identity.

In 2002, Dallas expanded its nondiscrimination ordinance to include citywide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Austin amended its nondiscrimination ordinance in 2004 to address sexual orientation and gender identity.

Houston, the state’s most populous city, and El Paso only offer protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for city employees, but they are not sanctioned by city ordinance. In Houston, they were sanctioned by mayoral executive orders, and in El Paso, protections are listed in the city charter.

A nondiscrimination order for city employees issued by Houston Mayor Annise Parker in 2010 expanded protections to include gender identity. El Paso’s nondiscrimination policy for city employees has included provisions for gender identity and sexual orientation since 2003.

In 2012, Brownsville's city council adopted a resolution protecting city employees against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Arlington explicitly prohibits city employees from discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation but not gender identity. The rule is part of the city's employee handbook, and it applies to employees both on and off the job.

Editor's Note: This map has been updated to include policies adopted in Brownsville and Arlington.

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