Madison Common Council will declare the week of Nov. 18, 2019 Transgender Awareness Week and Nov. 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance at their meeting Tuesday.
Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance are recognized annually by people and organizations across the country from Nov. 13 to 19. The purpose of the week is to educate the public about experiences of the transgender community and promote advocacy that uplifts transgender people, according to GLAAD.
“Transgender and gender non-conforming folx, unfortunately, continue to be disproportionately the victims of anti-transgender violence,” said co-sponsor and Common Council President Ald. Shiva Bidar, District 5. “It is critical for us as the city council to make a clear statement of support for our transgender and gender non-conforming residents and stand against hate and discrimination.”
Resolution co-sponsor Ald. Patrick Heck, District 2, said recognizing Transgender Awareness Week goes beyond informing — it could also help foster a culture of inclusivity for the transgender community in Madison.
“While I do feel it is very important to raise awareness of the many concerns faced by transgender and gender non-forming people, I also feel it is important to let trans, non-conforming, genderqueer, genderfluid and non-binary folx know that all of Madison loves and supports them,” Heck said.
Madison has shown efforts e to elevate the voices of members of the LGBTQ+ community in the past year. In April, Madison elected the city’s first openly gay mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, a co-sponsor of the resolution.
Even still, Madison has strides to make, according to Heck.
“Despite making a lot of progress in recent years, Madison, like much of our country, is still not an entirely friendly place for trans and genderqueer people,” Heck said. “In some communities, they continue to be victims of violent crime and even murdered simply for who they are. Here in Madison, my trans friends can be confronted on an almost daily basis with uninformed and oppressive behaviors.”
City leaders use their voices and experiences to help develop an atmosphere of increased inclusivity for members of the LGBTQ+ community in Madison.
“As a gay white cisgender male, I benefit from my status,” Heck said. “The least I should do is raise awareness, defend trans and non-conforming folks, as well as advocate for them — others should too.”