At its upcoming Regular City Council Meeting on Monday, October 4, 2021, the West Hollywood City Council will consider directing City Staff, the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB), and Transgender Advisory Board (TAB) to explore the creation of a new commission representing the LGBTQIA+ community. Essentially the city will consider removing LGAB and replacing it with the new more inclusive LGBTQIA+ Commission, while still maintaining the Transgender Advisory Board.
According to the City Staff report, West Hollywood has a number of commissions and advisory boards established by a resolution of the City Council to advise and provide direction on specific subject matters. For example, the purview of the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board is to address matters relating to the Lesbian and Gay community such as education, empowerment, equal rights, hate crimes prevention, and domestic partner rights.
Commissions, on the other hand, are established by ordinance and are codified in the City’s municipal code. Commissions have specific purview and powers, and typically approve or provide recommendations related to specific items, for example the Planning Commission approves development projects, the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission approves public artwork and arts grants, and the Human Services Commission provides recommendations related to social services funding.
The creation of a new LGBTQIA+ Commission would allow that body to have a specific purview and more authority to implement items that are important to the LGBTQIA+ community and provide additional meaningful policy and funding recommendations to the Council.
An important part of this item is the development of the purview of the LGBTQIA+ Commission. Items including:
- Reviewing RFP responses and providing funding recommendations related to LGBTQIA+ related City grants and services contracts,
- Developing a set of standards for outreach to LGBTQIA+ businesses for city contracts,
- Providing insight and contract recommendations regarding the City’s annual Pride activities,
- Discuss and take positions on LGBTQIA+ policy at the local, State, and federal level, and,
- Continuing to oversee the Rainbow Key Awards and other important city sponsored events.
There also continues to be the need for focused conversations regarding the needs of the Transgender community. With this in mind, the Transgender Advisory Board should remain as an Advisory Board and during conversations about the LGBTQIA+ Commission there should be discussions related to having dedicated seats on the LGBTQIA+ Commission representing the Transgender community.
Earlier this year, an item was approved by the City Council directing staff to work with the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board to incorporate into its work plan a discussion of the Board’s name, makeup, and purview to be more inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community, and to return to the City Council with recommendations for further consideration. Since the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board and Transgender Advisory Board were created, the terms and common identifications of those in the LGBTQIA+ community have evolved and become more expansive and inclusive of gender identities, sexuality, and relationships, specifically, the community now includes individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, and asexual and/or ally (LGBTQIA+). A new Commission will be more inclusive of all LGBTQIA+ communities with focused and expanded purview.