LGBTQ rights have become an increasingly important issue in recent years, and Central Missouri is no exception. From creating cultural competence training curriculums to issuing political guidelines to combat discrimination, there are a number of initiatives and campaigns that are working to promote LGBT rights in the area. The AAA in Boulder, Colorado has developed a LGBTQ cultural competence training program and has conducted multiple trainings in the region. Local leaders, from mayors to school superintendents, can ensure that their schools abide by federal laws and best practices by issuing political guidelines to help schools fight discrimination, harassment, and intimidation against LGBTQ students.
The Talking About LGBT Issues series is another initiative worth exploring. This series consists of a set of research-based resources designed to shape conversations on key issues of importance to LGBT people. Although there is limited research on the experiences of LGBTQ families in early education programs, particularly transgender and gender-nonconforming children, news reports suggest that too many young people face discrimination in these settings. Mayors can also designate their cities as welcoming communities for LGBTQ immigrants and refugees.
Media Matters for America interviewed law enforcement officers, government employees, and civil and human rights groups in 12 states that protect against discrimination against transgender people, including public accommodations, and none of the participants reported that the protections had resulted in incidents of sexual harassment or abuse. Organizations such as the LGBT Community Center are also working to defend the entire LGBT community or a specific subgroup of the LGBT community in relation to a particular issue or a set of related issues. This initiative calls on the city to promote diversity and acceptance in the workplace, reduce prejudice in hiring and promoting employees, and support minority groups in the wider community. The community school program in Multnomah County, Oregon is another example of an initiative that is working to promote LGBT rights.
This program partnered with a local LGBTQ organization to provide anti-bullying training to educators and coordinate GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances) in schools. The executive can also simultaneously appoint an LGBTQ liaison in the executive office and in other agencies, particularly in the police department. County and city executives can also take a big step towards equality in the workplace by prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment and incorporating that prohibition into personnel policies. In some cases, executives have taken these steps after other legislative reforms have been enacted, while in other cases municipal or county legislation follows executive action, emphasizing the significant role that a local executive can play in promoting equitable hiring.
In addition to these initiatives, there is also a need to pay special attention to LGBTQ issues in any training plan on violence and harassment in schools. By taking these steps, Central Missouri can become a more inclusive place for all members of the LGBT community.