November 18, 2021 1:56 PM
by Christopher J. Smith
Santa Monica has reaffirmed its commitment to social justice, equity and inclusion. This commitment extends to our LGBTQ+ community and staff. This commitment to equity and the efforts of Out in Santa Monica, the City’s LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, have been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign, as Santa Monica earned a perfect score on their Municipal Equality Index.
Here in Santa Monica, there is a broad commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion across government, businesses, many houses of worship and resident groups. With our partners, we celebrated SaMo Pride, welcomed LGBTQ+ teens to celebrate the 2021 Queer Prom at our Annenberg Community Beach House and advocated for LGBTQ+ inclusive policies locally, in Sacramento and nationally. These are all reasons I am proud to call Santa Monica home.
But in many areas across this country, laws targeting trans youth are being enacted and violence towards LGBTQ+ people is on the rise. Locally, the LA County 2020 Homeless Count found 36% of the unhoused youth and young people up to 24 years old identified as LGBTQ+, many of these are queer people of color. Multiple systemic barriers hinder those seeking to correct their names and/or gender markers on identifying legal documents.
The cost of changing ID documents is one of the main barriers trans and non-binary individuals face in a landscape where they are over twice as likely to be living in poverty as the general U.S. population. Studies have shown time and again that individuals who have had to show an ID with a name or gender marker that did not match their gender presentation were over 30% more likely to be verbally harassed, denied benefits or service (including in doctor’s offices), asked to leave, and/or physically assaulted.
The City Council has allocated funds to provide trans and nonbinary people support to have their correct names and/or gender markers on identifying legal documents by funding the City’s Trans Equity Scholarships to subsidize court and administrative fees for those who live and work in Santa Monica. To do this, the City has partnered with the Church in Ocean Park, a Santa Monica-based, diverse, interfaith community committed to social justice, equity and inclusion.
If you would like to be a part of this profoundly important work, we would love to invite you to be a part of this Season of support, and donate directly to the fund through this link provided by the Church in Ocean Park. Donate here.
This Saturday, November 20, we recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance, remembering those we have lost, victims of transphobia. To date, 46 trans people have been murdered in our country, 376 worldwide: a new record, a record that was broken in 2020 and the year before that. We share their names, learn about them, remember them, honor them and support trans inclusion in our homes, in our workplaces, and in our City. If you are trans or know a trans person in need, the Trans Lifeline is a peer-to-peer resource available to provide help.
1. Tyianna Alexander – Illinois
2. Samuel Edmund Damian Valentin – Puerto Rico
3. Bianca “Muffin” – Georgia
4. Dominique Jackson – Mississippi
5. Fifty Bandz – Louisiana
6. Alexus Braxton – Florida
7. Chyna Carrillo – Pennsylvania
8. Jeffrey “JJ” Bright – Pennsylvania
9. Jasmine Cannady – Pennsylvania
10. Jenna Franks – North Carolina
11. Diamond Kyree Sanders – Ohio
12. Rayanna Pardo – California
13. Jaida Peterson – North Carolina
14. Dominique Lucious – Missouri
15. Remy Fennell – North Carolina
16. Tiara Banks – Illinois
17. Natalia Smut – California
18. Iris Santos – Texas
19. Tiffany Thomas – Texas
20. Keri Washington – Florida
21. Jahaira DeAlto – Massachusetts
22. Whispering Wind Bear Spirit – Pennsylvania
23. Sophie Vasquez – Georgia
24. Danika “Danny” Henson – Maryland
25. Serenity Hollis – Georgia
26. Oliver “Ollie” Taylor – Oregon
27. Thomas Hardin – South Carolina
28. Poe Black – California
29. EJ Boykin – Virginia
30. Evans – Texas
31. Taya Ashton – Maryland
32. Shai – New Jersey
33. Lewis – Ohio
34. Miss – Texas
35. Pooh Johnson – Louisiana
36. Disaya – Illinois
37. Briana Hamilton – Illinois
38. Kier Kartier – Texas
39. Mel Groves – Mississippi
40. Royal Poetical Starz – Florida ‘
41. Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez – Washington
42. Jo Acker – Idaho
43. Jessi Hart – Oregon
44. Rikkey – Washington
45. Lawrence – South Carolina
46. Jenny De Leon – Florida
Christopher J. Smith
Assistant to the City Manager