BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — January 22, 2019 marked a day many in Beckley will never forget. It was the day city council passed the controversial anti-discrimination ordinance, which added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes when it comes to housing and business. Christina Baisden supported the ordinance.

“Basically if someone is discriminated against for who they are married to or what their gender is they have some sort of recourse,” Baisden said.

Councilman at Large for the City of Beckley, Tim Berry, said it is important for all types of people to know they are welcome in Beckley.

“We are welcoming of all of our citizens because… when it comes right down to it, we are all American citizens,” Berry said. “We have to learn how to live together and respect one another as who we are as individuals and groups.”

For Baisden, she said the ordinance opened up many opportunities and events for people to be who they really are, including the first Beckley Pride Event over the summer.

“What I want people to understand is that we have been here,” Baisden said. “We were just hiding and not comfortable telling people who we really are.”

Both Berry and Baisden said they are hoping to keep bigger and better things coming for the city of Beckley for years to come.