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City of Buffalo Press Releases

Posted on: May 11, 2018

Mayor Brown Reinforces His Commitment To Diversity and Inclusion

TRANSGENDER ANNOUNCEMENT 2018

May 11, 2018 – Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown joined by members of Buffalo’s LGBTQ community announced new City of Buffalo Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines for city employees. These guidelines adhere to Mayor Brown’s mission to make Buffalo an inclusive city of opportunity for all people and works to address the needs of those employed by the city.

“As we get ready for Pride Month, my administration continues its commitment to supporting employees who are in the process of or intend to transition,” said Mayor Brown who pointed out that the city already has in place trans-inclusive health insurance and recently installed gender-neutral bathrooms in city hall. “The introduction of this new internal policy reflects our goal, laid out in my Opportunity Agenda, of building a city that respects the diversity of its people. Department heads will refer to these guidelines when an employee is undergoing or has undergone the process of gender transition in the workplace and will use them to best support the transitioning individual.”

Unaware of any employees who may be transitioning or considering transitioning, Mayor Brown ordered a thorough review of current policies and decided to implement these new guidelines in an effort to ensure potential transgender and gender non- conforming employees within city government feel secure in the workplace and support from city leadership. These new guidelines also keep in line with Mayor Brown’s Buffalo Opportunity Agenda, a set of policies implemented last year aimed at developing    a more inclusive city. The review and creation of these policies, led by Mayor Brown, included the city’s Chief Diversity Officer Crystal J. Rodriguez, City Hall employees and members of local and national LGBTQ organizations.

“Thank you Mayor Brown and Chief Diversity Officer Crystal Rodriguez for making inclusion a priority within the Brown administration,” said retired Buffalo Police Officer Ari Moore. “The implementation of these guidelines make the City of Buffalo’s workforce a more inclusive and fair place for current employees, as well as future employees of the City of Buffalo. As a retired Buffalo Police Officer, these guidelines are a signal of progress the City of Buffalo is making in social acceptance and inclusion of transgender people. The creation and implementation of these guidelines comes from a group of community members, the Mayor’s Office and the Chief Diversity Officer who have all collaborated together during this process. It is important to remember that these guidelines are a voluntary action of inclusion from Mayor Brown and his commitment to diversity. It is my hope that City residents will see employment opportunities within the City of Buffalo as an open and inclusive environment to work.”

“Trans People of Color Coalition lauds Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo for ensuring that Transgender workers will be protected the same as other city workers,” stated Kylar W. Broadus, Founder and Executive Director of the national civil rights organization. “Trans people wake up every morning with the fear of being discriminated against in every walk of their life, especially in employment. It is wonderful to see cities such as Buffalo and other jurisdictions take such proactive stands to protect Transgender people by creating such policies. TPOCC hopes this policy not only serves as a guide for workers at the City of Buffalo but that this will serve as a model policy for other cities to protect the rights of all workers.”

“Discrimination can be an everyday experience for transgender people and affects nearly every area of life,” said Damian Mordecai, Executive Director of the Pride Center of Western New York. “These guidelines define the City of Buffalo’s expectations for welcoming and supporting transitioning, gender diverse and transgender City employees. The Pride Center is grateful to Chief Diversity Officer Crystal Rodriguez and Mayor Brown for reaffirming his Administration’s commitment to making the City of Buffalo a more progressive and inclusive city. Our team looks forward to continued collaboration with the City in the future.”

“The NCLR applauds the City of Buffalo for its commitment to creating an inclusive, supportive work environment free from discrimination and harassment for transgender employees,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Equality Project Manager Ben Panico. “We encourage cities across the country to follow Buffalo’s example and create similar thoughtful workplace transition guidelines to increase public education and ensure that all employees are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

“Freedom for All Americans is grateful to Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo for their commitment to ensuring dignity and respect for transgender employees who contribute every day to their thriving city,” said Kasey Suffredini, president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans. “These new guidelines provide a welcoming, inclusive workplace for all their employees -- and ensure that employees are judged based only on their job performance and nothing else. We applaud the city and hope they will serve as a model for other cities seeking to guarantee equal treatment to hardworking LGBTQ people.”

Dr. Jeanette Jurasek stated, “Although we might typically expect a policy to be a rulebook with endless and excessive detail, the City’s new Guidelines are impressive because of the unmistakable tone of generosity and civility. To me it is as timely as it is decent, as refreshing as it is welcome.”

Bryan Ball, President of the Stonewall Democrats of WNY said, “Stonewall Democrats of WNY commend the City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown and Chief Diversity Officer Crystal Rodriguez for instituting gender transitioning guidelines for city employees. These standards set in place today will further our great city’s reputation as a leader on civil rights. They will honor the struggles of past brave transgender employees and pave the way for a better future for transgender Buffalonians. In a nation, where basic civil rights for transgender people are often under attack from the highest levels of government, we are grateful for cities like Buffalo, and great leaders like Mayor Brown, who take action and stand firm to embrace, protect and uplift our transgender and gender non-conforming communities.”

David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) said “The National Black Justice Coalition commends Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo for the proactive steps it has taken to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all employees with today’s announcement of the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Inclusive Policy. All employees deserve a safe and fair workplace, and this policy stands to provide Transgender and Gender Nonconforming individuals with working conditions equivalent to those of other workers - a standard we look forward to seeing other municipalities replicate. As the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming community continues to face severe unemployment, underemployment and pervasive discrimination in the workforce, policies like this are vitally important. NBJC looks forward to continuing to work closely with Mayor Brown to establish additional best practices for a more inclusive Buffalo, and we hope to see other mayors follow Buffalo’s lead by taking similar action.”

The city’s guidelines work to provide department heads and transitioning employees with a step-by-step guide, to help facilitate the process of a workplace transition. Subject matters addressed in the new policy include understanding your rights, a definition of terms, transitioning process and practices, how transitioning employees can prepare, initial conversations and a workplace transition plan. These guidelines are consistent with the City of Buffalo’s Non-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment policy, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) is a non-profit organization founded by attorney, professor and activist Kylar Broadus. TPOCC is the only national social justice organization that promotes the interest of trans people of color.

The Pride Center is a Buffalo-based health promotion organization specializing in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) health and HIV prevention.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.

Stonewall Democrats of Western New York is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Democratic voice in WNY. Our mission is to advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community within government and the Democratic Party.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide.


New COB Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines
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