Openly gay elected officials seek to place issues affecting the Trans community squarely in the council spotlight
CITY HALL - Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Mike Bonin on Friday introduced a motion that requests a report back from the City’s Transgender Advisory Council on how best to serve the needs of the community following recent anti-LGBT orders from the White House.
Recently, President Trump rolled back protections for Transgender students, and canceled plans to ask Americans for their sexual orientation in the 2020 Census, a move which could jeopardize critical funding for health and human services through various federal departments.
“We have a new President who has surrounded himself with radical idealogues and we must combat their ignorant, phobia-driven, hostile approach to our community at every step,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “His policy is mean-spirited, and if we don’t come out swinging, then we are all complicit in diminishing the rights of others.”
The Councilmembers made the announcement on Transgender Day of Visibility, standing with members of the Transgender Advisory Council, commissioners with the City’s Human Relations Commission, and LGBT Senior Lead Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department.
“This is a day of visibility, recognition, empowerment, determination, and resistance,” said Councilmember Bonin. “We here in Los Angeles are saying very clearly that this is a City government that is going to stand up and insist on fair and equal treatment of our Transgender sisters and brothers.“
Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the country to establish a permanent council of transgender community leaders to advise the City on policies that address critical issues facing trans people, such as economic development, public safety, accessibility, and public awareness.
“I am hoping to wake up from this nightmare that is President Trump,” said Karina Samala, Chair of the City’s Transgender Advisory Council. “Each day brings more disturbing news to our community, as President Trump unravels all our rights, protections, funding, and assistance that we achieved through hard work and sacrifice all these years. He is a threat to Transgender rights, housing, and food programs that we so desperately need.”
According to Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBT civil rights organization, President Trump’s potential "religious exemption" would allow federal contractors, as well as others that are subject to Obama-era executive orders and regulations, discriminate based on sexual orientation.
"Transgender Day of Visibility is a celebration of the courage, strength and beauty of the transgender community, but it takes on a special urgency this year," said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. "The Trump Administration just revoked federal guidelines protecting vulnerable transgender students, and Equality California is fighting further attempts to whittle away protections for LGBT federal workers and LGBT people across the country. Today we celebrate the achievements of transgender people as we keep in mind the very present threats to their civil rights, dignity and personal safety."
The press event on Friday also included a moment of prayer and remembrance for eight Transgender women who were murdered in the U.S. since January 1, 2017.