In January of this year, newly elected Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jacob Frey, signed on to our nationwide coalition, Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination, which features more than 300 mayors who have signed a pledge in favor of comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
Mayor Frey has a history of allying with the LGBTQ community and has worked for many years to make positive change in the North Star State. In 2011, the state’s LGBTQ community was under attack at the ballot due to a proposed constitutional amendment against marriage equality. In response, Frey and his wife, avid long distance runners, organized an event known as the “Big Gay Race,” which mobilized more than 2,000 Minnesotans from across the state and raised over $250,000. The race came months ahead of the November 2012 election, when Minnesota made history by becoming the first state to defeat and permanently stave off a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to different-sex couples.
Minneapolis itself has also worked hard to become a welcoming environment for LGBTQ people, in particular transgender people, who often face disproportionate amounts of harassment, violence and intimidation.
The City of Minneapolis established a Transgender Issues Work Group in March 2014. The Work Group looks at issues facing the Transgender community, and the group’s goal is to examine issues, engage the broader community, and make policy recommendations for City government that will affect the lives of Transgender residents of Minneapolis. The group includes participants from City departments, City Council offices, the Mayor’s office, and the community. The group is taking a systematic approach to examine issues and develop policy recommendations that could be adopted by the City, and areas of focus include criminal justice system reform, employment, health, civic participation, and public spaces.
In November 2017 the city took another huge step forward by becoming the first city in U.S. history to elect an openly transgender person of color to city council. Andrea Jenkins became the first transgender woman of color elected and Phillipe Cunningham became the first black transgender man elected to City Council. Read more about Councilperson Phillipe Cunningham here.
Mayor Frey commented:
“I am so proud to be the Mayor of a city that just elected two transgender people of color to our City Council [in November 2017]. Prior to being Council Members, I worked with Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham and others to approve a resolution in February 2017 that established the Transgender Equity Council. The council serves as an advisory board to the City and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on matters of importance to the transgender, gender-nonconforming, and non-binary community. The council’s work will include studying issues, courses of action, policies, and programs as well as making recommendations.”
Frey has made it clear that the wellbeing, safety, and security of transgender people are an important concern to him and his administration, as demonstrated by his actions past and present. We’re grateful for his work as we welcome him to the Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination coalition!