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.