The Charleston City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a resolution supporting Charleston’s transgender community, acknowledging that transgender people are among the city’s most marginalized and affirming that they deserve full equality, recognition, and prosperity. Additionally, the council resolved to reject all discrimination against transgender people, particularly calling out the “coordinated campaign” of anti-transgender bills introduced in 2021 by state legislatures including the SC General Assembly. The resolution directs the City Clerk to send a copy to Governor McMaster, Senate President Harvey Peeler, and SC House Speaker Jay Lucas.
“This resolution makes clear our city’s continuing commitment to ensure that Charleston is a welcoming and accepting place for all,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. “Hate and bigotry have no place in Charleston.”
This resolution follows a wave of failed attempts by SC lawmakers to pass anti-LGBTQ+ legislation including bills targeting transgender youth. SC United for Justice and Equality, a statewide coalition advocating to advance rights and protections for LGBTQ+ people across the state, rallied South Carolinians against six separate bills aiming to ban transgender youth from playing school sports and to ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care. Charleston-area coalition members include Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA), We Are Family, Charleston Area Transgender Support, Charleston Black Pride, Charleston Pride, and Charleston Social Club.
“Earlier this year, AFFA asked the City of Charleston to demonstrate support for our transgender community, and we are encouraged by last night’s unanimous validation,” said AFFA Board President Jeffrey Fleming. “By passing this resolution as a united front, Mayor Tecklenburg and council are sending a powerful rebuke to anti-trans state lawmakers who launched a relentless assault on transgender people in 2021. Despite legislators’ best efforts to expand and legalize discrimination, our LGBTQ+ community is stronger than ever, and we will continue to fight back until every single one of our trans siblings is protected, safe, and able to thrive. Yesterday’s resolution was an important step toward achieving this mission.”
The resolution cites the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index Scorecard, which rates cities on a series of best practices related to nondiscrimination laws, municipal employment, municipal services, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ equality. The City of Charleston earned a score of 81 with perfect scores in the areas of law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ laws.
“As Chair of the City’s Human Resources Committee of the Council, it was rewarding for our committee members to be the recommending group to our full Council last night,” said City of Charleston Councilmember Carol Jackson, who spearheaded internal efforts to pass the resolution. “While our Human Resources Committee unanimously agreed with the initial proposed resolution, we asked our staff to make the ‘whereas’ statements more reflective of our city’s long practice of fostering equality while standing against discrimination and hate. We were glad to hear that the City’s latest Human Rights Campaign Scorecard has improved to 81 out of 100, with only a little more room for improvement yet available to our best practices and laws.”
You can see the City of Charleston’s resolution here.
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