At their Tuesday, September 15th business meeting, the Olympia City Council passed unanimously a Resolution to Address Injustice and Harm of BIPOC Transgender and Non-Binary People. Each council member read a section of the resolution, which includes several actions for the city to take. Read the full resolution here.
The first item was simply that Black Transgender and Non-Binary Lives Matter. It seems simple, but the truth is, as mentioned in the top section of the resolution, that 10 Black Transgender Women were murdered in the United States between June and August 2020 alone. They are more likely to experience physical and emotional violence, as well as discrimination. This is particularly true right here in Thurston County. A study conducted last year showed that 89% of BIPOC Transgender Women and Non-Binary People experienced housing insecurity, and 78% experienced violence and unemployment. The statistics show how important it is to remind us all that their lives matter.
Number two was a promise for the city to make the community a safer, stronger, and thriving space for BIPOC Transgender and Non-Binary People. It will be interesting to see what steps, in the future, the city takes to make this happen. Number 3 will do some of that by providing city, state, and entities they contract with access to workplace diversity training. Please note it says provide access to training, but does not explicitly mandate training.
The city also agreed to work with local Transgender rights leaders and organizations on data collection and best practices. The process began on the right foot as the resolution itself was brought to the city by several Transgender and Non-Binary people, including Amy Heart of Heartspark Press and Tobi Meyer of Gender Justice League. Amy noted that the Black Transgender people who spoke to the City Council last year suffered from harassment months after by TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) and Nazis. Amy noted only the two Black Trans Women targeted, not herself or the lighter-skinned person that addressed the council.
It was noted that the city would also address best practices in its hiring and promotion policies.
The last three sections dealt with making sure that social services are made available to BIPOC Transgender and Non-Binary People and that they are also prohibited from discrimination if contracting with the city.
They also agreed that BIPOC Transgender Women and Non-Binary People would be included in the process moving forward.
All in all, it is an impressive resolution. Several people in public comments complimented the city on the resolution. They reminded them that it includes a lot of work that will need to be done to live up to it.
Several Council-Members expressed how important it was to get this work done.