WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI – Leaders in Washtenaw County have taken steps – both symbolic and tangible – to ensure that members of the transgender community are recognized and welcomed.
On March 31, the blue, pink and white Transgender Pride Flag will be raised in the downtown Ann Arbor Administration Building in recognition of Transgender Awareness Day, an annual event founded by a Michigan activist in 2009 .
Thanks to A resolution the Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed on Wednesday, March 16 that the observance will become an annual tradition.
The measure, introduced by Commissioner Katie Scott, representing Ann Arbor’s District 9, means the county will do more than voice its support for the community this year.
It also creates a gender affirmation policy committee made up of county staff members primarily tasked with reviewing how the government collects sex and gender identity information on county forms and documents. .
This group is tasked with drafting a policy that outlines best practices through a gender-affirming lens, while reviewing county policies to ensure they use gender-neutral or gender-affirming language, according to the resolution.
” It’s not nothing. It’s not a pro forma thing,” Scott said Wednesday.
The county commissioner noted that the council was taking action as families in Texas faced threats after an order from the state governor directing authorities to initiate child abuse investigations of parents providing gender-affirming care to their transgender children.
Scott, speaking to the community, said she was committed to doing “what we can to ensure that we affirm in Washtenaw County, that it will continue to be a welcoming place for you.”
Transgender people are more likely to be harassed, denied employment or denied access to essential medical care, the resolution states. Last year, Washtenaw County prosecutors brought hate crime charges against a man accused of assaulting a transgender woman, although the case was eventually dismissed.
In a statement, another Washtenaw County commissioner, Jason Morgan, District 8, who served as the organization’s first openly LGBTQ chair, said the transgender pride flag was a symbol of the government’s “commitment to to fostering a diverse and welcoming community, and a reminder that we still have work to do to improve the lives of transgender people in every corner of the county.
Although the county has already recognized March 31 Transgender Awareness Day, founded by a Michigan-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall-Crockerthis year’s measure makes the observance permanent.
Policy changes from the committee created by the measure will come back to the board for approval.
It’s a key part of county leadership’s commitment to the transgender community, County Council Chairwoman Sue Shink, District 2, said Wednesday.
“This resolution goes further in a very constructive way and shows our support by what we do, not just by what we say,” she said.
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