To acknowledge the significant contributions of transgender people to the community and recognize the hardship facing transgender people in healthcare settings, the Board of Health (BOH) proclaimed March 31, 2023, International Transgender Visibility Day in Thurston County.
At the Tuesday BOH meeting, Board Member and Lacey councilmember Robin Vazquez cited statistics that one in five members of the transgender community were refused health care.
"About 28% of the transgender community responding to the survey experienced harassment when seeking health care. That is a pertinent issue for the BOH to address," Vazquez said.
Board of County Commissioners chair and BOH member Carolina Mejia said the proclamation is their way of acknowledging that transgender people are welcome in the community.
"We are seeing suicide rates go up for our trans[gender] community as they are facing a lot of bullying in our very own communities…it goes against you as a human as a person. As a BOH, we find this issue very important," Mejia said.
The proclamation also recognized the work being done by transgender advocacy groups as "they fight for dignity and equal rights for members of the transgender community, to build inclusive and healing spaces, and to protect and defend those who are most vulnerable."
"Thurston County recognizes the significant contributions made by transgender people and affirms they are vital community members," the proclamation stated.
International Transgender Visibility Day was founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall, a licensed psychotherapist and the executive director of Transgender Michigan.
"Organizations across the world celebrate International Transgender Visibility Day as an annual day to celebrate the accomplishments and victories of transgender and gender nonconforming people while raising awareness of the work still needed to save transgender lives," the proclamation added.
Luke Miller and Larry Kronquist of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) thanked the board members for stepping up and "helping them be visible and be understood."
"As a member of the transgender community, we appreciate it whenever our allies, individuals, government entities, or organizations step up to help us be visible and be understood with state legislatures nationwide introducing legislation aimed at erasing our very existence,” Miller said. “It is more than ever that we [should] be visible that we be out loud and proud.”
“Every move like this by a government entity such as yourselves is always helpful," Miller added.
According to Kronquist, PFLAG is a parent-support group. Their mission is to keep the LGBT community protected and families together.
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