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Months After City's NDO Passes, Complaint Process Still Unclear

Ryan Loyd
TPR News

Eight months have passed since San Antonio city leaders approved a revision to the city's non-discrimination ordinance. The update included the addition of gender identity, sexual orientation and veteran status to the list of protected classes in the city.

But nearly a year later, residents still have no clear way of filing a complaint.

According to Deputy City Attorney Veronica Zertuche, currently there is no single place where people can go to make their complaint.

One reason, she said, is because so much attention was placed on getting the revisions to the ordinance just right. With the debate becoming heated between supporters and opponents, city attorneys and other staff members worked to revise the specifics of the ordinance before it went for a vote in early September.

The debate shifted priorities from sooner to later on creating the place where people can go to file a complaint.

"We were focusing our attention on adoption of the ordinance and some revisions that were being made to the day before," said Zertuche. "And that's where our focus was."

A comprehensive website is in the works, Zertuche said.

But for folks like Lindsey Andrews, who is beginning the process of filing a complaint, the city's slow response to the filing mechanism is disappointing.

Andrews said she was denied entrance to a local trade school because of her appearance. The issue was later resolved, but it left her with a bitter taste of reality.

She plans on filing a formal complaint against the school.

"Your identity is who you are," said Andrews, a transgender woman. "As a person, it doesn't matter how you were born, it's how you perceive yourself to be."

Andrews said she will likely turn to the city clerk's office.

"I think it is the city clerk's office, I'm not too sure," she said.

But until the website is up, any number of city offices are prepared to receive the complaint, said Zertuche, including the city clerk and city attorney's office. The site is expected to go live in July.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.