DC Group Ratifies Three Pro-LGBTQ Measures
On December 4, 2018, the DC Council gave approval for one pro-LGBTQ bill, initial approval for another, and passed "Sense of the Council" which will provide support for transgender people, which is a stark contrast of Donald Trump's anti-transgender policies, according to Washington Blade.
In addition to the above-mentioned matters, the Council voted twelve to zero to confirm DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's nominee, gay activist Peter Rosenstein to the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals, a group responsible for the arbitration of appeals made by D.C. government employees if they were fired, demoted, suspended, etc. This is definitely a positive thing, as someone may be wrongfully terminated from their position for being gay and by having an LGBTQ activist in the Office of Employee Appeals, there might be a higher chance for the LGBTQ person to get the justice they deserve.
One of the bills that got final approval from the Council is the Conversion Therapy for Consumers Under a Conservatorship or Guardianship Amendment Act of 2018 which would ban healthcare practitioners from “engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a consumer for whom a conservator or guardian has been appointed.” This bill was created to protect people whose medical decisions are made by a guardian or conservator (this is mostly applicable to minors) could be forced into conversion therapy against their will, according to Dr. Marc E. Dalton, the Chief Clinical Officer at the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health.
Dalton supported this bill and pointed to the fact American Psychiatric Association opposes conversion therapy, as it is ineffective and may have negative side effects, such as depression, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse.
The Council also voted unanimously in a "first reading" vote to give approval for the LGBTQ Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018, which would require middle and high school students to take an annual survey developed by the CDC. The bill would call on public school officials to include questions relating to one's sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill also requires D.C's Department of Health to participate in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which would also include questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The third measure to gain approval is the Sense of the Council in Support of Transgender, Intersex, and Gender Non-Conforming Communities Resolution of 2018, which protect trans individuals' gender identity. This bill was created in opposition to Donald Trump's transgender policy, in which he states that gender is to be defined by one's genitals at birth and cannot be changed, effectively erasing the identities of trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming people.
The resolution claims “We stand with our community members who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming against efforts to deny their existence or humanity. We reject any attempt to redefine sex or otherwise reinterpret or decline to enforce laws to the detriment of transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming individuals.”
I'm glad to see that legislators are taking notice to the harmful policies and practices that many LGBTQ people have to deal with and it is a nice start at the local level, but I question why the federal government doesn't seem to care about the United States' LGBTQ citizens.
h/t: Washington Blade