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Peduto To Appoint 17 Members To LGBTQIA+ Commission

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has presented the names of the first members of the city's new LGBTQIA+ Commission. City Council will take up the nominations tomorrow morning.
In a statement Monday, Peduto described the 17 nominees as “a strong and impressive group, and will be extremely helpful in informing policies on LGBTQIA+ matters across City government." The Commission will advise and make recommendations on policies that pertain to the LGBTQIA+ community.

The nominees are: Kathi Boyle;  Denise DeSimone; Jam Hammond; William Hileman;  Sue Kerr; City Councilor Bruce Kraus; Britton Mauk; Leonard Orbovich; Richard Parsakian; Dr. Christopher Robinson; Marcus Robinson; Dr. Sarah Rosso; Luca Salerno; Tiffini Simoneaux; Nekia Burton Tucker; the Reverend Deryck Tines; and Guillermo Velazquez.

Some of the nominees are longtime LGBT activists, like Hileman and Parsakian; others are city officials like Kraus and Hammond, who was recently named to head the city's Commission on Human Relations.

Kerr, a prominent local blogger, says she hopes that once the commission is formed, it will take up a number of policy changes, like asking for a person’s pronouns when calling information numbers like 3-1-1. She says she'd also like the group to focus on how to make Black LGBTQ members feel safer in the city.

“Housing, employment, police interactions, mental health systems, physical health, all of those issues,” she said. “We need to look at that from an intersectional perspective, in particular how it affects the Black trans community.”

Policy-wise, she said she would like the city to look at segregation issues in places like swimming pools.

“They’re very segregated by gender and there’s a lot of concerns about the safety and respect of gender-nonconforming individuals because there are rules around what you can and cannot wear,” she said. “People should feel safe when they go to city pools.”

The commission was established last June to replace an advisory board. Council must confirm Peduto's appointees.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Ariel finally made a “big move” 45 minutes down the interstate to the University of Alabama where she studied Journalism and International Studies. During her time in college she interned with Tuscaloosa News, a daily newspaper in her college town. After college, she got her first job back in her hometown with Birmingham Times, a weekly where she served as reporter and editor. Ariel made an even bigger move to Pittsburgh and joined the 90.5 WESA family as digital producer. She is adjusting to experiencing actual cold weather.
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