Released: March 31, 2023
Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor, Councilman Richard Womack, and District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer joined various leaders from the County on the front of the Courthouse steps on March 31 to recognize International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Transgender Day of Visibility was created in 2010 by transgender advocate Rachel Crandall and is held every March 31 to celebrate the lives and contributions of transgender people and to draw attention to the discrimination, violence, and other systemic barriers that the transgender community faces.
The day aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of transgender people, spread awareness about challenges facing the transgender community, and it’s a day for listening so that non-transgender people might learn more about transgender people and the issues surrounding the transgender community.
Transgender adults experience higher levels of depression and anxiety than their peers with 41% of transgender adults having attempted suicide. 2021 was tragically the deadliest year on record for the transgender community. There has also been a great deal of anti-transgender legislation in the past few years. These bills restrict access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and participation in sports. Some prohibit gender-affirming health care.
“It is now more important than ever that we come together and respect one another and treat one another with kindness and empathy,” said Dr. Taylor. “We need to celebrate our unique differences and also have compassion for one another. We must work together towards eliminating violence and discrimination against transgender people and work towards acceptance and inclusiveness.”
Some of the work being done by the Delaware County team to create change:
Delaware County’s Department of Human Services has been working with providers and its Behavioral Health Managed Care organization to expand services specifically designed to meet the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) is a “SAGE certified” agency and has trained staff to specifically work with transgender identifying individuals. (SAGE = Senior Action in a Gay Environment.)
The Delaware County Health Department understands that promoting the health of transgender people is essential to advancing the improvement of public health. They believe in advocating for the basic rights of marginalized and vulnerable communities. The foundation of good health lies in justice, equity, and the ability to form meaningful connections. Discrimination, bigotry, and disregard for human life undermine the health of our communities. Public health can help create a more supportive environment by increasing public understanding of their experiences. Transgender people face high rates of discrimination in public spaces. The County Health Department strives to support, include, and promote safe and inclusive clinic spaces where transgender individuals can feel comfortable accessing health services.
The George W. Hill Correctional Facility endeavors to develop and strengthen stronger relationships and partnerships with community organizations that provide exposure, advocacy, and services to serve the transgender community as well as many other queer, non-binary, gender-non-conforming individuals. They are actively seeking conversations with people who seek to identify opportunities for the fair and equitable treatment of people in the community when they are incarcerated. Though our prison provides gender affirming care, it recognizes that this is only one aspect. As a correctional agency, their mission is care, custody, and control. The primary needs of the transgender community may differ from the cisgender community and they are working to increase their capacity to provide a safe space for all people.
The Office of Judicial Support (OJS) processes name change applications which requires the publication of the name change application in both the Legal Journal and a newspaper. When someone is applying for a name change due to a change in gender, OJS:
And many other County departments and employees are having discussions and creating change that recognizes the challenges of the transgender community.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer also spoke about the importance of protecting people who are targeted for violence because of their gender or gender identity.
“I am honored to stand with Dr. Taylor and our County elected officials to ensure the members of our transgender community know that we welcome them in Delaware County.” said District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer. “As your District Attorney, I want to take this moment to call on our Legislature to expand our Commonwealth’s ethnic intimidation statute to include criminal penalties for anyone who targets hate-based attacks against individuals or groups because of their gender, gender identification, or gender expression. Hate should have no place in Delco or PA.”
In recognition of Transgender Day of Visibility, transgender flags are being displayed in front of the Courthouse, and the Courthouse will be illuminated pink and blue - the colors of the transgender flag.