Oakland CA Moves to Decriminalize Cross Dressing

According to Pam’s House Blend, the City Council of Oakland, CA voted 7-0 to remove a 130-year old ban on cross dressing from the municipal code. There will be a final vote on 5/18/10 to remove the law against dressing “in the attire of a person of the opposite sex.” Councilmember and mayoral candidate Rebecca Kaplan proposed the repeal of the law from 1879. The San Jose Mercury News reports:

“These laws have a history of being used as a tool of oppression,” said Kaplan, Oakland’s first openly lesbian elected official.

She said laws similar to Oakland’s have been “an excuse for persecution” against the LGBT community and people who don’t conform to traditional gender rolls. She noted that police in New York City used a similar statute when they raided the Stonewall Inn in 1969, setting off demonstrations in an event that became a seminal point in the gay rights movement.

While the law hasn’t been enforced in living memory, Kaplan discovered it on the books last year. She was researching the city’s cabaret laws, which had been out of date, when she noticed this leftover regulation.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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