Yesterday I was honored to attend the fourth annual Trans* Equity Summit. This event, unique to Minneapolis, brings together the transgender, gender-nonconforming, and non-binary community and their allies to discuss policy issues and the ongoing work toward equity. Here are the remarks I shared with the Summit:
Thank you all for being here. Thank you all for being champions. Thank you for supporting this Summit, and the work of the Transgender Equity Council. And thank you for inviting me to be share in this space today. I’m honored to be here with you.
As a City government, our first order of business in the time of Trump is to stand firm with, defend, and support our people and our communities who are under attack. This is a responsibility I take seriously, and one I’ve spoken about often.
In my first budget speech in 2014, I spoke about the responsibility to make sure that each and every one of us had true, unfettered opportunities to thrive. That year and every year I’ve invested in making that a reality, regardless of gender identity, race, or income level.
But right now, we’re in a unique and perilous moment. There’s a president in the White House who doesn’t value our diversity, and doesn’t share our values. He’s come after many communities, and the GLBTQ community has been one significant target for attack.
It started early in his term with a clear message, as Donald Trump signaled a move to roll back protections for transgender students —abandoning the federal government’s responsibility to protect some of our most vulnerable young people.
And it continued.
Just a few weeks ago, Donald Trump signed a directive banning transgender people from serving in the armed forces. It was a heartless, thoughtless move—hurting people who have made an honorable decision to serve our country.
And I know that won’t be the last chapter. But I also know that here in Minneapolis, we’ve got different values, and we get to make different choices.
We stand firm with our trans youth, our transgender and gender diverse neighbors, and the GLBTQ community.
Already that has meant working with the City Council to create the Transgender Equity Council. I’m proud that we’re one of the only cities with an advisory council made up of members of the transgender, gender-nonconforming, and non-binary community that actively brings members of that community to the table help make us a better, more inclusive city.
And the Transgender Equity Council has already done great work: from their recommendations, we have invested in updating City properties so that restrooms are thoughtfully available to everyone.
We’ve also worked to pull people together from across the community to be in this space. This groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind in the nation, and now-annual Transgender Equity Summit came from the hard work of Transgender Equity Council and many trans advocates.
These investments, actions and results do represent progress, but in the time of Trump, that work and more will and must continue. We must be more visible as allies, not less, when our neighbors are being abandoned by national leadership. We must be more diligent as leaders, not less, when the future security of our neighbors is jeopardized.
I’m ready to do more. And you might be aware that we have two trans people of color running for City Council in this election. Phillipe Cunningham and Andrea Jenkins are ready to do more.
As mayor, I say again to the people of our GLBTQ community, especially our transgender and gender diverse neighbors: I see you, you matter to Minneapolis and the world, and we will continue to work to create a world that reflects your value as people and our values as a community.
I see you, and I love you. This city is for you.