'Let's stand firm': Supervisors move to raise LGBTQ+ rights, gender-affirming healthcare

June 7, 2023 : Los Angeles County Supervisors decreed two motions Tuesday intended to enhance the lives and health of their LGBTQ+ constituents, quoting “horrific” attacks by policymakers on gay and transgender youth nationwide.

The foremost, authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Lindsey Horvath, strives to improve the county’s gender-affirming healthcare benefits. The second, written by Solis and Supervisor Janice Hahn, constructs an advisory commission focused exclusively on promoting LGBTQ+ approaches.

In the previous year, conservative lawmakers have flooded statehouses with bills targeting lesbian, gay, nonbinary, and transgender youth. These have contained proposals to ban books, outlaw classroom debates on sexual orientation and gender identity, and ban trans athletes from competing. Solis said she wanted the two movements to set the county apart from these legislatures targeting the LGBTQ+ society.

“Those bills are absolutely, in my view, unconscionable,” Solis said. “Let’s stand firm and make certain that we don’t go in the opposite direction and allow for cruel policies to be expanded.”

County leaders have six months to create the 15-person commission to advise the council and 30 departments on policies, budgets, and schedules to support the LGBTQ+ society. Each supervisor will nominate two people, and the county’s other three elected administrators — the sheriff, the district attorney, and the county assessor — will choose one person. Two members will be selected via an application process.

Supervisor Holly Mitchell dubbed for the commission to include transgender, intersex, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary designees.

The county already has more than 30 committees, some of which deal with LGBTQ+ matters. For instance, the county’s Commission on Human Relations creates programs to address homophobia, among other endeavors. The commission’s most recent report on hate offenses found 41 anti-transgender crimes in 2021 — the vast majority damaging. The majority of hate crimes toward gay men were also damaging.

Unlike other county boards, this one will be composed exclusively of people who recognize as LGBTQ+, according to the movement.

“Having an commodity made up of individuals who know and have encountered the unique struggles that are common to the LGBTQ+ community is paramount,” the motion stated. “This commission will permit the county to see this community through its own lens and comprehend the many overlapping challenges they often encounter.”

County supervisors also reported Tuesday the number of bills presented nationwide criminalizing doctors and families seeking gender-affirming healthcare. Leaders said they wanted to bolster these services shortened in other states through a motion strengthening coordination among county departments that can offer gender-affirming healthcare.

Horvath told these services would include HIV deterence drugs PrEP and PEP and puberty blockers for transgender child.

“We must re-dedicate ourselves as a whole county and know this is a responsibility, we all have,” she told. “This is not a burden that is placed on the shoulders of the LGBTQ+ community to battle by themselves.”