Seattle mayor signs executive order to affirm rights of transgender individuals

SEATTLE -- Mayor Ed Murray has signed an executive order that could make Seattle’s transgender community feel more welcomed and safe in the city.

It instructs the city’s Office for Civil Rights to provide guidance and training to city departments on issues affecting transgender individuals.

Surrounded by members of Seattle’s transgender community, Murray said the measure will help Seattle lead the nation in fighting discrimination against transgender people.

“I’m proud to be here today and I am proud of the work the council is doing and that members of the community are doing,” Murray said.  “I am going to sign an Executive Order that affirms Seattle’s commitment to being a fair, inclusive and safe city for our transgender and gender diverse community.”

In August, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed the mayor’s proposal to require city-controlled and privately-operated places of public accommodation to designate single-stall restrooms as all-gender facilities.

That measure passed after it was recommended by the mayor’s LGBTQ Task Force and the City of Seattle’s LGBTQ Commission.

Part of the city’s commitment includes a new training video developed by the Seattle Police Department, which features personal stories of transgender individuals.

The leadership of the Seattle Police Department is also committed to upholding the rights and dignity of transgender individuals.

"I think it was incredibly helpful,” said Seattle Police Department LGBTQ Liaison James Ritter. “And what was even better than the officers getting trained was the transgender community coming together and assisting the police, some of whom have not had the best experiences around the country."

The executive order calls for training of front-line staff at city departments, such as Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Seattle Center, and the Seattle Public Library.

“Transgender people are part of our workplaces, classrooms, neighborhoods, families, communities, and places of worship, and need to be able to use public facilities without fear of harassment or discrimination simply because of who they are,” said Kris Hermanns, Executive Director of the Pride Foundation, in a news release that originated from the mayor’s office.  The Pride Foundation is a regional organization that inspires giving to expand opportunities for LGBTQ people across the Northwest.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Mayor Murray to affirm that our laws do not exclude transgender people,” Hermanns said.