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- The city of Boston this week announced it will launch a new Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement to empower and protect the city’s LGBTQ+ residents.
- The new office will develop policy and community-driven programming and provide resources for the LGBTQ+ community, the city said in a news release.
- In the first three months of 2022, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country.
A new office dedicated to protecting LGBTQ+ rights is launching in Boston, the city announced this week, to combat a wave of recent legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community across the nation.
The new Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement will develop policy and community-driven programming and provide resources for the city’s “multiracial, multigenerational, multicultural and multilingual LGBTQ+ community,” according to a news release. In the past, that work has been led by a handful of “LGBTQ+ liaisons” in the city’s Office of Neighborhood Services.
“City Hall can do much more to ensure that we are truly connecting with and serving LGBTQ+ residents across all of our neighborhoods,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement. “This new office will ensure that our policies and programs are advancing and protecting the rights and dignity of Boston’s LGBTQ+ residents and centering the lived experiences of queer, trans BIPOC residents in the City’s work to make Boston a place for everyone.”
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The city has not yet hired an executive director for the office, but said they will work closely with the mayor’s Equity and Inclusion Cabinet. The Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement will also partner with other departments and community organizations to “ensure we close opportunity gaps for our LGBTQ+ residents,” according to the news release from the city.
“As a queer first generation Latina, I’m honored to stand on the shoulders of and next to people who have given so much and continue to give to the LGBTQ+ community,” Mariangely Solis Cervera, who heads the Equity and Inclusion Cabinet, said in a statement. “I look forward to working in partnership with the Executive Director and Mayor Wu to eliminate barriers to access, amplify the work of community leaders, and create new opportunities for the LGBTQ+ family.”
The office aims to have at least two full-time employees by fiscal year 2023 and enough budgeted funds to handle a range of programming, NPR-affiliate WBUR reported.
“For too long, members of our LGBTQ+ community have had to invent systems of safety and support for themselves while those in power have looked on or away,” Wu said at a press conference announcing the new office.
“For too long, they’ve needed to find resilience in the absence of protection. And for too long, many of us outside the community failed to act,” she said. “But the pursuit of justice cannot fall only to those impacted most directly by injustice, because the strength and safety of all of our communities is our collective responsibility.”
In the first three months of 2022, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, according to the Human Rights Campaign, including dozens which specifically target transgender youth. Two states — South Dakota and Iowa — have signed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation into law.
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