Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton will be a part of California's newly formed Transgender Advisory Council.
Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis announced the formation of the council on Monday. The council gathers transgender leaders to create a dialogue between state leaders and the transgender community in California.
The goal of the council is to bring attention to the issues faced by the transgender community by inviting stakeholders in advocacy, government, and different industry sectors to hear directly from the council, according to Kounalakis' office.
The Transgender Advisory Council is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
“Here in California, I’m proud we have enacted many protections for LGBTQ+ people, but we still have work to do, and that is especially true for issues facing our transgender and nonbinary family, friends, and neighbors,” said Lt. Governor Kounalakis. “Establishing this council gives transgender leaders the space to have an open dialogue with key stakeholders who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to hear directly from them. I hope bridging this gap will help to amplify important issues and bring more understanding of the community. I look forward to the opportunity to listen, to learn, and to help elevate the voices of the members.”
The council includes transgender activists, advocates, and elected officials from across the state.
“I congratulate Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis for her leadership in organizing the Lt. Governor’s Transgender Advisory Council,” said council member and Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton. “At a time when so many political leaders see transgender Americans as a political opportunity to exploit and target, Lt. Governor Kounalakis is reaching out to help, integrate and provide opportunity. I look forward to working with my colleagues within California’s transgender community and the Lt. Governor to advance employment, housing, and healthcare opportunity and equity for all Californians.”
Middleton became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California in 2017 when she won the election for Palm Springs City Council. She was re-elected in 2020 for a four-year.
Joining Middleton on the council be:
- Ian Anderson, Legal Services Project Manager, Transgender Law Center
- Zizi Bandera, Program Manager, Equality California
- Blossom Brown, Activist
- Ebony Harper, Executive Director, California TRANScends
- Drian Juarez, Vice President of Training and Culture, Folx Health
- Evan Minton, Activist
- Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO, TransLatin@ Coalition
- Rosio Leon Velasco-Stoll, Fresno Spectrum Center
“This California Transgender Advisory Council is historic,” said council member and California TRANScends Executive Director Ebony Harper. “I’m extremely honored to serve in this capacity and grateful for our Lieutenant Governor for seeing the need.”
“This is historic for the state of California,” said the TransLatin@ Coalition President and CEO Bamby Salcedo. “Having an official body composed of trans people under the Lieutenant Governor’s office sets a precedent for other states to follow. I am so grateful to live in such an inclusive state!”
“I am beyond thrilled to work in partnership with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office to create what will hopefully be the first of many Transgender Advisory Councils,” said council member and Equality California Program Manager Zizi Bandera. “To have a high-ranking state official show their solidarity with our community in this way means a lot. I am honored to continue the work of so many transgender advocates whose relentless passion for justice and liberation have made this possible.”
The advisory council is set to meet regularly.