Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

Good morning. My name is Jordan Gwendolyn Davis, and I would like to thank Councilmember Kenney for introducing this resolution declaring November 17th through the 23rd as Transgender Awareness Week in Philadelphia. This is a relatively new concept devised by GLAAD last year to supplement the Transgender Day of Remembrance. While this should not detract from the somberness of TDOR, Trans Awareness Week should also stand for hope, empowerment, and education.

Mara Keisling said it best at the NCTE's 10th anniversary celebration this week. This is our moment, and indeed 2013 has been a historic year for Philadelphia's transgender community. On July 1st, SEPTA finally implemented the elimination of gender stickers from passes as they promised in spring 2012. This was made possible by years of organizing by Riders Against Gender Exclusion, or RAGE, as well as the resolution unanimously passed by this body shortly before their decision.

I was proud to have worked on this resolution. I thank Councilmember Reynolds Brown's office for moving on this and all members of City Council for voting yes.

This year also marked the passage of Bill 130224, an omnibus bill that overhauled the City code to provide further protections for the LGB and especially T community here in Philadelphia from transition-related health benefits, the bathrooms and more. Kathy Padilla and myself worked long hours to make sure that this bill was trans inclusive.

In addition to the many stakeholders, I would like to thank Councilmember Kenney as well as Councilmember Squilla, Johnson, Blackwell, Jones, Clarke, Henon, Sanchez, Bass, Tasco, Greenlee, Reynolds Brown, Goode, and O'Brien for voting yes on this bill and moving Philadelphia light years ahead in terms of LGB and especially T rights, and I'd like to thank Mayor Nutter for putting his signature on it as well.

It has not been all roses for Philadelphia for the transgender community this year. Diamond Williams, a transgender woman of color, was found brutally murdered this July, marking at least the fifth known anti-trans hate murder in the last 15 years. In addition, the criminal justice system, from the cops to the DA to the City jail, is still a hype of trans phobia, and despite attempts at administrative remedies, the shelter system in Philadelphia can still be mercurial towards the rights of transgender clients.

In addition, as I testified before the Law and Public Safety Committee last week, street harassment is still a problem affecting members of our community. Let us use these promises and problems, these challenges and tragedies to take action and to make sure that come whatever may, we work to make respect for gender identity and authentic lives a preemptory and norm in the City.

Thank you very much.

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