The City of Providence values all of its residents and visitors, and our laws and policies ensure equal protections for LGBTQ people. The State of Rhode Island has outlawed discrimination in employment, credit, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation since 1995. In 2001, Rhode Island became the second state in the nation to include gender identity or expression in its non-discrimination policy.
City of Providence Non-Discrimination Policy regarding Programs and Services: The City of Providence shall not discriminate in the administration of its programs, service and activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or genetic information. Retaliation against individuals who participate in an Equal Employment Opportunity investigation is strictly prohibited.
Non-Discrimination Policy Regarding Employment: The City of Providence shall not unlawfully discriminate in hiring, training, transfer, promotion, provision of compensation or employment benefits on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or genetic information.
The City of Providence is pleased to announce that there are gender neutral restrooms in our municipal buildings. All-gender restrooms are designated for any person to use, regardless of their gender identity and/or expression. Please refer to the following locations for public use:
- 5th floor of City Hall (25 Dorrance Street)
- Lower level of the Doorley Building (444 Westminster Street)
- 1st floor in the Providence Police Department next to Municipal Court (325 Washington Street)
- Lower level of Providence School Department (797 Westminster Street)
LGBTQ Liaison: Mayor Elorza appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Marisa O’Gara as LGBTQ Liaison for the City of Providence. Contact Marisa by calling (401) 421-2489, or email her at
LGBTQ organizations wishing to invite the Mayor to an event should submit an event request.
IN THE NEWS:
YPI Applauds PVD School Board Policy on Transgender and Gender Expansive Students
By Youth Pride Inc., RI Future, July 1, 2016
Youth Pride Inc. (YPI) applauds the new policies of the Providence School Board in its efforts to ensure best practices to providing services and support to transgender students that not only create a more safe and affirming learning environment, but also protects the rights of transgender students in the city’s schools. YPI is the only youth service organization in the state that is exclusively focused on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth. They serve not only as advocates for our LGBTQ youth, but also as a resource to any school in our state who wishes to engage YPI as partners in the process to supporting LGBTQ youth.
“This policy is a welcome change and one that YPI has been advocating for many years,” said Chris Lauth, Executive Director at Youth Pride. “This policy is a key step in recognizing transgender students’ needs to feel supported from our school leaders and paves the way for our schools to extend this right to them.
Joining the national and regional call to action to support transgender students, both Providence School Board Member Robert Gondola, who sponsored the board initiative and School Board President Nicholas Hemond demonstrated good leadership in the creation and approval of this important policy. The Policy for Transgender and Gender Expansive Students compliments Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza‘s priorities for a school district that is welcoming, accessible and free of discrimination.
Loud, Proud and Safe in Providence
By Mayor Jorge Elorza, Letter to the Providence Journal, June 16, 2016
Pride week celebrates our LGBTQ community and highlights Providence’s commitment to vibrant expression. Unfortunately, the days leading up to this year’s festival have been marred by the senseless massacre in Orlando.
As the LGBTQ community, Latinx community, and the entire nation cope with this unfathomable act of terror and hate, Providence is sending a strong message of strength and unity.
To those who try to use violence and fear to oppress us: There is no place for hate in our community. Your actions may leave us heartbroken, angry, confused and even scared, but you will not make us weak and we will not be deterred.
To the members of Congress who refuse to enact commonsense gun control legislation: Let cities and states protect their residents and neighborhoods by taking weapons built for war off the consumer market and allowing better background checks.
To the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community: Providence is immensely proud that you are a part of our city and we will celebrate that pride together this weekend.
We will be loud, we will be proud, we will be safe, and I will be standing by your side.
Elorza Bans City Travel To North Carolina, Mississippi
By Scott Mackay, Rhode Island Public Radio, April 15, 2016
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is banning city-financed travel to North Carolina and Mississippi after those states approved laws limiting access to public services and protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
“The City of Providence is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for everyone who lives, travels, and works here,’’ said Elorza, in a statement. “We stand in solidarity with residents in North Carolina and Mississippi who are being denied the same rights and protections that anyone should expect.’’
Elorza said that Providence has made it a priority to prevent discrimination and to speak out against the inequitable treatment of individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The travel ban bars an officer or city employee from using city funds for non-essential travel to North Carolina or Mississippi until those two states repeal the anti-LGBT laws, or courts dismiss the statutes.
Mayor Elorza Announces Inclusive Healthcare Plan for City Employees
By John Hill, Providence Journal, June 1, 2015
Mayor Jorge Elorza today announced that the City of Providence has extended transition-related healthcare coverage for employees and retirees who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.
“Removing these barriers will make a tangible difference in lives of transgender Providence residents,” said Mayor Elorza. “My administration is committed to creating a City Hall that is inclusive and welcoming for all employees and residents, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. It is simply the right thing to do.”
The new plan will cover transition-related medical services, including gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, reconstructive surgeries and behavior health services. The City of Providence will also designate gender-neutral bathrooms at City Hall, the Providence School Department, and the Public Safety Complex.
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