The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to have gender identity and gender expression training added to the Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training, and individual neighborhood councils will have additional training if they have a board member or actively involved community member who has transitioned or made it known that they changed their name or preferred pronouns.
“The neighborhood council system should be a welcoming place where everyone who wants to participate is treated with dignity and respect. Sadly this is not always the case,” Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who introduced the motion, said before the vote.
“This item responds to the manner in which a young person was treated at a neighborhood council in my district based on their gender identity and gender expression.”
Blumenfield said he hopes the mandatory training for all neighborhood councils will help prevent people from treating others with disrespect, instead of simply addressing a problem when it arises.
“It’s important for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to do that so the neighborhood council and its board members act properly and do not create problems from the start, rather than waiting for a problem to explode.”
The motion was meant to enhance Councilman Mike Bonin’s motion, which was approved last summer, to create the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for neighborhood councils.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell thanked Blumenfield during the meeting for the addition, calling it a “great improvement to the initial motion.”
O’Farrell also spoke about an initiative to get all city departments to receive similar training, which he said is being developed.
“Many years ago on this Council, I introduced an initiative that requires mandatory training in terms of transgender awareness and sensitivity for all city departments, all elected officials, all elected officials’ staff members, and that includes the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, and that training is being developed as we speak and should be ready for rollout imminently,” O’Farrell said.