Minneapolis, MN – City leaders in Minneapolis created an advisory group Friday to aid the City Council and park board on matters relevant to the city’s transgender community.
The Star Tribune reports that the Transgender Equity Council is likely to have monthly meetings. These meetings will focus on employment issues, bathroom access, and the police-transgender community relationship.
This new council is part of an ongoing effort by Minneapolis to reach out to the city’s transgender population. In 2014, the city began an annual Trans Equity Summit, and formed a transgender issues work group.
Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden sponsored the measure. According to Glidden, the new council will continue the work of the summit. Unlike the summit, the new body will be subject to the city’s open appointment process and open meeting laws. According to Glidden transgender specific advisory groups are not very common.
“We’re continuing to get more mature and sophisticated with our commitment [to the transgender community],” Glidden told the Star Tribune, “This is not just a flash in the pan or an interest of a particular year. [It’s] sustainable, ongoing work.”
CBS News reports that 0.53 percent of American adults identify as transgender. Minneapolis has a population of roughly 410,000 people in total. This includes adults and children, but even using that number this new council would serve about 2,200 in total.
Phil Duran, legal director for LGBT advocacy group OutFront Minnesota, told the Star Tribune that this new advisory council could make the city feel more opening and welcoming of marginalized groups.
“The formation of this group sends a message to trans folks … that their lives are valued and they’re important to the community,” he said.
Minneapolis’ Transgender Equity Council will be made up of 15 members selected through the city’s open appointment process. The City Council only has 13 members. Applications for the board are due March 9, and can be found on the city’s website.