Thursday Mayor Ed Murray, along with members of the LGBTQ Task Force appointed in March, announced an action plan to support a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ people in Seattle.
“Seattle has long been a place where everyone can find an accepting and tolerant home,” said Murray. “We celebrate our history of advancing equity for the LGBTQ community and we will support efforts to make Seattle even more inclusive. Thank you to the task force for identifying these actions to reduce the violent attacks and verbal harassment experienced by LGBTQ people.”
In the first seven months of this year, there were 41 anti-LGBTQ hate-based crimes or incidents reported to Seattle police – a 46-percent increase over the 28 reported in first seven months of 2014.
The mayor’s action plan is organized into four areas: Public Safety, LGBTQ Youth, the Built Environment, and Public Understanding. The Mayor has begun to implement many of the recommendations of the task force, and will act on several more:
- Seattle Police Department will continue the Safe Place program to identify local businesses that will shelter victims of harassment until officers arrive.
- The Department of Neighborhoods will use Neighborhood Matching Funds to support projects that promote LGBTQ safety.
- The City will direct more resources to support Project EQTY and other social service providers that work with LGBT youth.
- The Human Services Department will improve rapid rehousing and access to hotel vouchers for transgender homeless youth who experience a disproportionately high risk of violence.
- Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities and the Department of Transportation will address dark alleys and other physical environments on Capitol Hill that provide cover for criminals.
- Install additional rainbow crosswalks near the new Capitol Hill light rail station.
- Adopt a new City ordinance to require that single-person restrooms in public accommodations and city facilities be signed for all genders.
- The Seattle Office for Civil Rights will launch a public campaign to educate all Seattle residents about the concerns and rights of their LGBTQ neighbors.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, one in five transgender people experience homelessness at some point in their life.
“We want to thank Mayor Ed Murray for bringing together a broad cross-section of LGBTQ community leaders to address these important issues,” said Monisha Harrell, Chair of Equal Rights Washington and Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Task Force. “Although diverse in experience, perspective and opinion, each task force member was committed to achieving our end goal of improving public safety. The Mayor and his team have done a terrific job of bringing all of the voices at the table to develop a plan that is realistic in making a difference. We greatly appreciate their commitment and work.”