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Mayor Garcetti Pledges To Support And Protect Rights Of Transgender People

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Mayor Garcetti speaks at the Transform California Rally on Monday (via Facebook)
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Mayor Eric Garcetti and other elected officials signed a pledge promising to protect the rights of transgender people as part of a new statewide coalition. At a rally on the steps of City Hall on Monday, the mayor announced the launch of Transform California, a campaign that aims to raise awareness about transgender issues, reports the L.A. Times. The statewide coalition, founded by Equality California and the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center, calls on the support of all Californians to help end discrimination and violence against transgender individuals.

“Nobody should hate themselves,” Garcetti said. “Nobody should consider taking their own lives. And today, we save lives we will never be able to count by just speaking up and standing together.”

At the event, the mayor was joined by members of the transgender community, statewide LGBT organizations, local officials, businesses, civil rights groups, faith-based leaders and other community members, all of whom signed the Transform California pledge, which opposes transgender discrimination. The rally is the first of six that will take place around the state over the coming months, in an effort to build support for the coalition and discuss transgender issues, according to KPCC.

The pledge, signed by Garcetti and others, reads:

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We pledge to oppose any efforts to single out transgender or gender non-conforming Californians for discrimination or disrespect. We pledge to learn and share more about the lives of transgender people in California and the issues they face. Together, we can transform misunderstandings and build a safer, more respectful California for all.

Everyone deserves to live their life as who they are, and that means all of us uniting and taking action to support the dignity of all people; that means rejecting words and actions that diminish or demean transgender and gender non-conforming people.

The signing of the pledge follows the recent creation of a new Transgender Advisory Council, which will advise Garcetti, the City Council and other officials on issues that affect transgender people in Los Angeles.

This past Friday, the L.A. City Council voted to refrain from conducting business with Georgia and North Carolina, as a result of laws in those states that critics say are discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, according to the L.A. Times.

Kris Hayashi, the executive director of the Transgender Law Center, told KPCC that even though issues faced by transgender people have recently received greater public attention and there are now more laws to protect them than 20 years ago, there is still along way to go to address violence and harassment. Hayashi points to the incident earlier this month when a transgender teen was allegedly run over intentionally by a driver in Monterey Park, and the fatal shooting of a transgender woman in Skid Row this March. A transgender man in Long Beach also recently filed a suit against a barbershop for refusing him service.

Hayashi told KPCC:

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I think we’re in this moment in the community where, while there’s been this increase in visibility and while we have more protections, it’s clear that the majority of transgender people are really struggling to survive on a daily basis and facing incredible rates of violence and harassment. So this campaign is really about building up a broad and diverse coalition of Californians to really move the state into a place where we're all making a commitment to build a state that supports transgender people.