Los Angeles recently formed a new council to advise city officials on issues pertaining to the transgender community. While some are hailing the creation of the council as a victory for human rights, others, like Christian ministry Focus on the Family, are warning that the council may restrict religious freedom rights.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti explained that the council was formed to give the transgender community a voice in the city: "Today, the City of Los Angeles sends a clear message to transgender Angelenos: your voices matter and your experiences count.”
"The nine members of our Transgender Advisory Council will bring a new and important perspective to City Hall that will help empower trans Angelenos to lead stigma-free, productive, and meaningful lives,” Garcetti continued.
Focus on the Family, however, is less sure that the creation of the council is a positive thing for the city.
"In creating this Transgender Advisory Council, the Mayor of Los Angeles and the city's Human Relation Commission are setting the city on a course where fundamental human rights will be cast aside for the sake of furthering transgender ideology," stated Jeff Johnston, Issues Analyst at Focus on the Family.
"In recent years, there has been a strong push at all levels of government to give special privileges based on 'gender identity and expression,'” continued Johnston, “and these special privileges often conflict with basic individual rights to privacy, safety and religious freedom."
The city of Los Angeles hopes that the council will help to bring equality to the transgender community, especially in issues of law enforcement.
One of the gaps we have with our transgender community is their lack of trust overall," said Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur in 2014, referring to the transgender community’s interaction with the police.
Publication date: March 17, 2016