At the next regular West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, April 18, 2022, item 5.B. in the agenda packet explores providing training to appointed officials regarding the use of pronouns and gather input from the Transgender Advisory Board and transgender service agencies on a potential policy to display gender pronouns during official meetings. The City Council will also consider amending the flag resolution to replace one Lambda Pride Flag with a progress flag. The added annual Pride Month Rainbow Flag on display at City Hall during the month of June would also be replaced with the Progress Flag.
Agenda Item 5.B. makes the following recommendations:
1) Direct staff to coordinate a training for appointed officials led by one of the City’s transgender services agencies on gender identity, gender pronouns, and inclusivity.
2) Direct City staff to allow appointed officials to choose to display pronouns on name placards during official City meetings and gather feedback from the City’s Transgender Advisory Board and the City’s contracted transgender services agencies regarding the potential establishment of a policy to require City Council members and appointed officials – including Advisory Board Members, Commissioners, and Task Force members – to display gender pronouns during official City meetings held virtually or in person.
3) Adopt Resolution No. 22-_____ “A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD AMENDING THE UNIFORM POLICY FOR THE OUTDOOR PUBLIC DISPLAY OF GOVERNMENTAL AND NON- GOVERNMENTAL FLAGS”, which will replace the Lambda Pride Flags and Rainbow Pride Flags currently on display in the City with the Progress Flag.
4) Authorize the Director of Finance and Technology Services to allocate $1,500 from unallocated General Fund reserves to the Special Council Programs Account 100-1-01-00-531001, and increase the budget for Special Council Programs by the same amount.
5) Authorize the Director of Finance & Technology Services to allocate $1,500 from budgeted funds in the Special Council Programs account number 100-1-01-00- 531001 for costs associated with purchasing Progress Flags to replace the permanent Lambda Flags and Rainbow Flags, as well as the annual Rainbow Flags flown during Pride month.
Pronouns are the words we use to refer to people. Some examples include “she/her” or “he/him” or gender-neutral pronouns, such as “they/them” or “ze/hir” [pronounced: zee/heer]. Pronouns are integral to who we are, and individuals share pronouns because to avoid assuming someone’s pronouns based on factors like appearance. Using someone’s correct pronouns shows recognition and respect.
It has become more common for individuals to identify their pronouns in places such as an email signature or name plate. This practice helps to inform and remind people of someone’s pronouns, as well as builds awareness. It gives everyone an opportunity to self-identify, instead of assuming someone’s identity or which pronouns they use. It also can help show you are an ally to the LGBTQ community and have a desire to create a welcoming, inclusive environment.
This item gives direction to staff to coordinate a training for appointed officials on gender identity, gender pronouns, and inclusivity led by one of the City’s contracted services agencies. The purpose of the training is to help educate and provide context for why correct use of pronouns is important to the City and to our community. Similar trainings have been held for City staff and law enforcement personnel in West Hollywood.
This item also provides direction to allow appointed officials to choose to display pronouns on their name placards during official City meetings. In addition, City staff will gather feedback from the City’s Transgender Advisory Board and the City’s contracted transgender services agencies regarding the potential establishment of a policy to require City Council members and appointed officials – including Advisory Board Members, Commissioners, and Task Force members – to display gender pronouns during official City meetings held virtually or in person. Before implementing a requirement, it will be helpful to gather feedback from people in the transgender community on how to implement a pronoun policy to ensure people feel it is supportive and inclusive.
5.B. also explores adopting a new flag policy to replace one of the permanent Lambda Flags and as well as any other temporary Rainbow Flags flown on City property during Pride Month with the Progress Flag. With this proposal, there would be no change to the Transgender Flag permanently on display at the Crescent Heights Triangle Northeast Corner.
According to the current flag policy, two Lambda Flags are permanently displayed at four center medians along Santa Monica Boulevard and a Rainbow Flag is on display at the Crescent Heights Triangle Northeast Corner. In addition to the permanent flags on display, the City flies Rainbow Flags during Pride month in June each year.
The Progress Flag was created by artist Daniel Quasar as a combination and reimaging of the original multi-colored Rainbow Flag created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 in San Francisco and the Transgender Pride Flag designed by transgender activist Monica Helms in 1999. The Progress Flag’s black and brown stripes represent marginalized LBGT communities of color, community members lost to HIV/AIDS, and those currently living with HIV/AIDS. Quasar reshaped the new flag colors into a chevron to represent a need for forward movement. Quasar wanted to, “shift focus and emphasis to what is important in our current community climate.” Specifically, to draw attention to the need to center and support Black and Brown queer and trans people, as well as those living with HIV/AIDS.
The City of West Hollywood recently incorporated the inclusive design elements of the Progress Flag into the crosswalk at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and San
Vicente Boulevards. This flag recognizes the diverse LGBTQ community and acknowledges that equity is needed for historically marginalized members of the LGBTQ community.
=== Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect the revised staff report clarifying that the Pride Progress Flag would only replace one of the lambda rainbow flags and not both at the four locations at the median on Santa Monica Boulevard.