During the first year of the Trump administration, transgender and non-binary individuals saw a host of personal freedoms threatened through new proposals and bills. First came the removal of mandatory protections of trans students under Title IX in February of 2017. By September, the Justice Department filed a brief arguing for businesses to be able to discriminate against individuals based on gender and sexuality. A month later, a series of “license to discriminate” laws passed across the South, allowing individual businesses and services to turn away customers due to religious convictions.
Today, a new iteration of the bill that seeks to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military has come to the forefront. In light of these events, the Los Angeles City Council, as guided by the L.A. transgender advisory council, is seeking to pass a motion that would protect transgender and gender-nonconforming citizens on a local level.
“There is concern throughout the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender community that the advisors surrounding President Trump will guide this country down a phobia-driven path to enact an extreme right-wing agenda, which runs counter to what we stand for in Los Angeles,” reads a motion signed by Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Mike Bonin. “We are the “City of Angels,” known for our compassion, tolerance, and inclusion.”
The motion, if passed, would allow L.A.’s Transgender Advisory Council to “report and make recommendations to the Council on issues and topics affecting the Transgender community in the City of Los Angeles, including supportive services for the homeless, HIV/AIDS care, and job creation opportunities.” While L.A. has only taken steps toward becoming a sanctuary city recently, the city has been passing motions with an eye toward protecting LGBTQ+ citizens and members of the immigrant community since the start of the Trump administration. In December, after L.A. City Council approved plans to give the city a formal “sanctuary” label, Councilman Gil Cedillo told the Los Angeles Times that the decision would help the city maintain “harmony from the irrational, erratic actions of the Trump administration.”
Protections for transgender individuals won’t just help struggling young people across the state. Equality California, one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ organizations in the State, recently went public with a plea to Trump’s office to restore questions to an original HHS survey that take gender and sexuality into account. Noting that 50% of transgender-identified seniors live below the poverty line, Equality California wrote in a press release: “The issue of data collection on transgender people is not academic.Low-income transgender older adults are arguably the most vulnerable segment of our LGBTQ community – the ones who most need safety net programs like Meals on Wheels, family caregiver support, adult daycare, and senior centers to cover their basic needs.”