South Euclid Community Workshop To Focus On LGBTQ Issues

pride flag and hands making a heart shape
The second of four South Euclid community diversity forums will focus on LGBTQ issues. [lazyllama / Shutterstock]

Local residents interested in understanding issues faced by LGBTQ members of their communities can learn more on Wednesday, when the City of South Euclid holds its "AllyShip 101" workshop.

It's the second in a series of four diversity forums conducted by the city.

The session was scheduled last fall, says Keith Benjamin, the city's director of community services. But it comes less than a month after an independent local Catholic school dropped its challenge to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The Lyceum, a small classical school, claimed the law violated its First Amendment rights as a religious institution. The school teaches an individual’s gender is assigned at birth and that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

South Euclid passed a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance in April, 2018, after a year of public comment and modification. The law forbids employers, landlords or realtors and business owners from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Religious organizations are exempt, however, if they can show the ordinance violates their beliefs

Work on preventing discrimination in the city goes back to 2015, Benjamin said, when the fair housing ordinance was expanded to include groups that are not protected under federal and state laws.

"For example, source of income is one of those protections; military status, association with someone with a disability," he said. "All of those additional protections were added to our comprehensive ordinance, which was passed in 2018."  

Benjamin said Wednesday's event is a "safe space" for all members to come together in a peaceful setting. He does not know, however, whether opponents to ordinance — including those connected with the Lyceum — have signed up for the event. 

One reason may be because the city relies on social media, including Facebook ads, to promote its forums. But Facebook banned the ad because its content was deemed political, Benjamin said.

The workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on June 5 at the South Euclid Branch Library on S. Green Road.

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