Panel pushes for training to assist LGBTQ+ community

The Oasis Center for Women & Girls on East Call Street. Photo by Tatyiana Hayes

Leon County’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls held a Safety and Violence meeting Thursday geared towards members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Members from the committee of CSWG welcomed Capital Tea members, a support group for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Different policy ideas were brought up in the meeting on how the city of Tallahassee could better accommodate people within the community who are scared to seek help from the organizations set in place to help them.

Founder of Capital Tea, Janell Diaz, became emotional while giving her story on being a trans-woman in Tallahassee. She explained the struggles she went through while trying to be herself.

I think it’s very important that we actually have a space dedicated for our trans women,” Diaz said.

Emotions rose when Diaz said she witnessed and encountered different forms of disrespect. She added that some of the people who have been involved in disrespecting trans women are city officials.

Committee chairwoman Bernice McMillan asked several questions in an attempt to find out the suggestions members of the CSGW committee board or Capital Tea. She also sought to include members of the public.

Individuals continuously brought up that Tallahassee needs to implement some sort of training so that individuals could be informed on the proper protocols in speaking to someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Lauryn Kelly-Manders, a Tallahassee native and an avid volunteer for different organizations, discussed different ways to include equality for members of the LGBTQ+ community in schools.

We’re going to direct our focus to match our policies with the city to show a clear representation for children of the LGBTQ+ community,” Kelly-Manders said.

The committee members explained that some city officials may not understand the effect that the lack of acknowledgment to children within the LGBTQ+ community can affect these children.

Children can become depressed, suicidal and afraid to come to the centers around the city because they are afraid that they are not going to be able to be themselves.

Diaz spoke about the Black community not being as accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community.

There are different pieces of training and policies around Leon County that members of Capital Tea and CSWG would like to be implemented so that they are able to feel comfortable in their everyday lives.