Connecting state and local government leaders
“We all have a fundamental right to be exactly who we are, regardless of gender identity or expression,” says Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Los Angeles has become the largest U.S. city to convene a formal body advising officials on transgender community issues.
The nine-member Transgender Advisory Council will work under the city's Human Relations Commission on trans economic development, public safety, accessibility, public awareness projects and policies.
Last week's announcement came a day after President Obama appointed the White House's first trans LGBT liaison, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, and aims to combat lingering stigma around the city.
“We all have a fundamental right to be exactly who we are, regardless of gender identity or expression,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in his announcement. “So today we proudly stand together in the fight to make that right real in everyone’s lives.”
Trans unemployment is double the general population’s and nearly four times as high for those of color, according to a 2012 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce. Unemployed individuals who identify as transgender are twice as likely to become homeless or take up sex work, twice as likely to contract HIV and 85 percent more likely to end up incarcerated. About 90 percent of employed individuals who identify as transgender reported harassment or discrimination.
Transgender Advisory Council members in L.A. were selected through a blind application process.
“I am proud of the work we are doing to improve race and gender relations, and this new advisory council will help direct discussion at every level of city government,” Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said in the city's announcement. “Those in the transgender community are among the most misunderstood and marginalized in all of society, and as their brother in the effort to elevate issues of fairness and equality for everyone, it is important that no community is left behind in the City of Angels.”
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty.