Mayor Ginther Meets with LGBTQ Leaders in Columbus

Aaron Eckhardt - Thursday, February 18, 2016


Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and his staff hosted a groundbreaking luncheon with leaders of the LGBTQ communities of Columbus, ahead of his first State of the City address. The hour long LGBTQ Roundtable discussion took place on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 in the Mayor’s Conference Room at City Hall. The Mayor and his staff met with over 25 community leaders representing multiple organizations, agencies, and constituencies covering issues important to the health and safety of LGBTQ Columbus residents. Issues covered in what the Mayor described as “the beginning of a conversation” working toward continued progress include:

LGBTQ Youth – Amy Eldridge, Kaleidoscope Youth Center
Safe and Affirming Spaces      
After School Program      
GSA Network 
Youth Leadership 

Safety/Violence – Aaron Eckhardt, BRAVO – Buckeye Region Anti Violence Organization
Youth Safety Summits/Leadership Development
Police Relations/Training
Minority Recruiting
Community Policing
Fire/EMS  Training

Health – Peggy Anderson, AIDS Resources Center OhioHIV/AIDS/Sexual Health 
PrEP Access – Youth 
Transgender Health
Mental Health/Addiction 
Conversion Therapy designed to change sexual orientation or gender identity for minors

Legislative – Kim Welter, Equality Ohio
Marriage Equality did not fix Civil Rights Issues with State of Ohio
City Non-discrimination/Hate Crimes ordinances
Lack of Inclusion/Protections sends a negative message to LGBT people
Pending Legislation: Religious Freedom/Pastor Protection Act, Bills threatening existing Civil Rights Protections processes, Municipality Assistance through OCRC – not inclusive

Those present discussed the continued importance of being inclusive with our work in regard to LGBTQ people of color and transgender people must be ever present and at the core of our work. Aaron Eckhardt, of BRAVO said “Historically the LGBTQ community has received valid criticism with being to single issue focused, we must do more keeping anti-oppression values central to our work centering the most marginalized in our communities at the heart of the discussion and leadership. We can’t have a single-issue solution in a multi-issue world.”

It was a lively and productive discussion. We want to express our thanks and appreciation to Mayor Ginther, his staff and Chris Cozad, LGBT Community Liaison to the Mayor’s Office and BRAVO Board Vice-President for arranging this opportunity.

We look forward to continued progress and working toward an ever safer and inclusive Columbus.

Thank you to everyone present and supporting this work.




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