Los Angeles County Supervisors passed two motions Tuesday intended to improve the lives and health of their LGBTQ+ constituents, citing “horrific” attacks by policymakers on gay and transgender youth across the nation.
The first, authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath, aims to improve the county’s gender-affirming healthcare services. The second, authored by Solis and Supervisor Janice Hahn, creates an advisory commission focused exclusively on advancing LGBTQ+ policies.
In the last year, conservative lawmakers have flooded statehouses with bills targeting gay, lesbian, nonbinary and transgender youth. These have included proposals to ban books, outlaw classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity, and bar trans athletes from competing. Solis said she wanted the two motions to set the county apart from these legislatures targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
“Those bills are absolutely, in my opinion, unconscionable,” Solis said. “Let’s stand firm and make sure that we don’t go in the opposite direction and allow for hateful policies to be expanded.”
County leaders have six months to form the 15-person commission responsible for advising the board and county’s over 30 departments on policies, budgets and programs that will support the LGBTQ+ community. Each supervisor will nominate two people and the county’s other three elected officials — the sheriff, the district attorney, and the county assessor — will pick one person. Two members will be picked through an application process.
Supervisor Holly Mitchell called for the commission to include transgender, gender-nonconforming, intersex, and nonbinary appointees.
The county already has more than 30 commissions, some of which deal with LGBTQ+ issues. The county’s Commission on Human Relations, for example, develops programs to address homophobia, among other initiatives. The commission’s most recent report on hate crimes found there were 41 anti-transgender crimes in 2021 — the vast majority of them violent. The majority of hate crimes toward gay men were also violent.
Unlike other county commissions, this one will be composed exclusively of people who identify as LGBTQ+, according to the motion.
“Having an entity made up of individuals who know and have experienced the unique struggles that are common to the LGBTQ+ community is vital,” the motion said. “This commission will allow the county to see this community through its own lens and understand the many overlapping challenges they often experience.”
County supervisors also noted Tuesday the number of bills introduced across the nation criminalizing doctors and families seeking gender-affirming healthcare. Supervisors said they wanted to bolster these very services curtailed in other states through a motion strengthening coordination between county departments that can play a role in offering gender-affirming healthcare.
Horvath said these services would include providing HIV prevention drugs PrEP and PEP as well as puberty blockers for transgender youth.
“We must re-dedicate ourselves as an entire county and know this is a responsibility we all have,” she said. “This is not a responsibility that is placed on the shoulders of the LGBTQ+ community to fight by themselves.”
Source: LA Times