County Council celebrates Pride Month with action

Monday, June 4, 2018

Council approves legislation aimed at eliminating barriers to full inclusion of LGBTQ community 

Inclusion can take shape in many forms, with one step including the recognition that all residents do not conform to a specific gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Metropolitan King County Council on Monday adopted legislation calling for the creation of a task force to develop recommendations related to administrative processes and gender identity and sexual orientation.

“Gender identity is complex and often misunderstood, however this doesn’t mean we can’t affirm there is diversity in how gender is defined,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski, prime sponsor of the motion. 
“Serious discrimination and mistreatment has impacted these communities, due in part to ignorance and misinformation. Today’s motion addresses inequities we must eliminate to make King County a more welcoming and inclusive government for all our constituents.”

This year, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) adopted a rule change that established requirements for individuals to request a change to the sex designation on their birth certificates from male or female to a third option. DOH made the change to provide individuals with an option to have a birth certificate that better reflects their gender identity.

“Government should represent all people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, motion co-sponsor.

The adopted motion calls for the formation of a task force that will develop a recommended countywide gender identity and sexual orientation inclusion strategy and workplan. It will focus on developing a proposed plan to implement the use of an additional gender designation or designations in all appropriate administrative processes, such as forms, questionnaires, and interviews conducted by County personnel.

The objectives of the task force will include:
  • Consulting with county departments and community groups to assess existing King County administrative processes regarding gender identity and sexual orientation,
  • Identifying processes suitable for modification and consider potential complications if a process gathers information used by other government agencies,
  • Developing a recommended statement of intent to address gender identity and sexual orientation inclusion in identified King County administrative processes,
  • Making training recommendations for county employees to achieve excellent customer service and address concerns of task force members.
“As one of the nation's oldest trans run organizations we know all too well the disparate impacts of not being counted,” said Karter Booher, Executive Director of Ingersoll Gender Center. 

The members of the task force will analyze and present recommendations not only on the contents of paper and electronic forms, but also on the personal experience of gender nonconforming, gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals when accessing County administrative services.


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