L.A. city officials recognize November as Transgender Awareness Month

The Los Angeles City Council Friday recognized November as Transgender Awareness Month, and city officials reiterated their support for one of the statistically most vulnerable groups of people.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell and members of the city's Transgender Advisory Council commemorated the month during the City Council meeting, providing information regarding violence the community has experienced.

Karina Samala, the TAC president and transgender community advocate, said the transgender community needs allthe support it can get to pass throughthe barriers it still faces in society.

"Today, we are here to further our goal of keeping the city's transgender community visible and safe," Samala said.

"Transgender AwarenessMonth is a time for transgender people and their supporters to take action andassist in educating the public what transgender individuals face on a day-to-day basis: prejudice, discrimination and violence."

— Karina Samala, TAC President 

Prior to the council meeting, O'Farrell led a prayer in Los Angeles City Hall's third-floor bridge art gallery, where a banner hangs, titled "Remembering Transgender American Lives Lost in 2019" with information on transgender people who were killed.

"This year to date, we lost at least 22 transgender or gender- nonconforming people in the United States, the majority of whom were black transgender women, due to violence," O'Farrell said. "It is clear that deadly assaults disproportionately affect transgender women of color. However, these transgender community members are not statistics. They were brave human beings who lived their lives unapologetically, proud of who they were and the communities they were part of."

O'Farrell said a report by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission indicated that hate crimes targeting the transgender community are the highest among any demographic.

"As you know, the LAPD continues to partner with the Transgender Advisory Council and the LGBTQ Task Force, and certainly, we've been working tirelessly on the sensitivity training, and that's ongoing training throughout our department," LAPD Commander Gerald Woodyard said. "We all know that hate has no place in the city of Los Angeles."

Woodyard said hate crimes against transgender people between 2014 and 2018 were about 94% higher than other demographics, based on the county's study.

This month, the TAC recognized transgender advocate Brenda Gonzales, whom O'Farrell called "an agent for change." The TAC also recognized Carlisha Gizelle Brown, who was featured on the Showtime documentary "More Than T" on her experiences as a transgender woman, and who also has advocated on behalf of her community.