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On Wednesday, the Minneapolis City Council took steps toward making transgender equity a permanent part of the city’s business. In a unanimous vote, the council passed a resolution in support of the city’s Transgender Issues Work Group and voiced support in making it a permanent entity. The resolution also called on the city to ensure policies and services are inclusive to transgender citizens, visitors, and staff.

The resolution stated, in part:

That the Mayor and City Council of the City of Minneapolis hereby support efforts to further transgender equity in Minneapolis including but not limited to:
1. Supporting efforts to continue hosting community events aimed at increasing awareness and supporting issues critical to the safety and vitality of the transgender community.
2. Supporting efforts to ensure the City’s laws, policies and services are inclusive of our transgender community and staff.
3. Supporting efforts to create a permanent advisory body in accordance with the City’s Open Appointment process in furtherance of Minneapolis Code of Ordinance section 14.180 enabling the city to “create and support organizations that enhance community engagement in the city’s decision-making process.”
Be It Further Resolved that the Mayor and City Council support other city, state and national efforts to address, support and protect the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals throughout the nation.
And Be It Further Resolved that the Mayor and City Council hereby express their gratitude and appreciation to the Minneapolis Transgender Issues Work Group in leading efforts supporting transgender equity in Minneapolis.

Addressing the city council ahead of the vote, Andrea Jenkins, who is currently working on the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota and led the charge on the creation of the Work Group, praised “the City of Minneapolis’ commitment to continuing to support the transgender and gender nonconforming residents…. at a time when transgender people are under attack legislatively in places like Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and several other states around this country including our own State of Minnesota.”

Jenkins added, “And when 11 trans people of color have been murdered thus far this year, this is the right time to make this statement. I want to thank council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden for her vision and commitment to the transgender community and to this Transgender Issues Work Group and for proposing this transgender equality resolution that I believe will help to move important proposals forward in the future.”

Roxanne Anderson, who wears many hats in the community including at OutFront Minnesota, the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, RARE Productions, Cafe Southside, among many more, also addressed the council. “Transgender people in Minnesota are rich. We’re rich with culture. We’re strong and we’re resilient and with the leadership and work of the Mayor’s office, the city coordinator, human resources, and all the different groups that connect to make the City of Minneapolis Transgender Work Group the special and exciting place that it is, I feel privileged.

Anderson added, “I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for all this opportunity to move forward the rich assets of transgender people that live in Minneapolis.”

Phillipe Cunningham, Senior Policy Advisor on Youth Development and Racial Equity for Mayor Betsy Hodges, was last to testify.

“I stand before you as an out and proud gay transgender man,” Cunningham told the committee. “Thank you to all of you for your leadership in these very trying times for the transgender community. In a country that seems to be turning to hate and violence towards the transgender community, I am beyond grateful to live in a city that sees us, hears us, and protects us much the same as Attorney General Lynch said of the Obama administration. By passing this resolution you too are on the right side of history.”

Just before the council voted, Council Member Glidden said, “This is work that I think is some of the most important work we are entering into on behalf of the city.”

Council Member John Quincy agreed. “I’m just so proud of the city… We’re a city that leads on this topic and when it happens in Minneapolis it will happen in other cities. It will happen throughout the state. It will happen throughout the country because of the work we lead.

The full discussion and vote can be seen here:

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