Thursday, October 31, 2019

Text of the Transgender Day of remembrance resolution on the Nov. 5, 2019 Metro Council agenda and how to vote or not.

Resolution RS2019-87
A Resolution recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of transgender people around the world whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance was established in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in remembrance of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries; and

WHEREAS, the annual event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community; and

WHEREAS, many communities organize events and activities to create and promote visibility of anti-transgender violence to stakeholders such as police, the media, and elected officials; and

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council recognizes that transgender members of our society are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence, and experience myriad challenges in their daily lives, including discrimination, disproportionately high levels of unemployment, and limited access to health care; and

WHEREAS, according to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the United States due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were black transgender women; and

WHEREAS, fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, who comprise 80% of all anti-transgender homicides; and

WHEREAS, at least 21 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2019; and

WHEREAS, only four out of ten Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender, and at least 74% of the known victims of anti-transgender violence in 2017-2018 were misgendered in initial police or media reports surrounding their deaths; and

WHEREAS, despite the challenges faced by the transgender community, by observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we recognize, admire, and celebrate the growing awareness and acceptance of transgender people in Nashville and across the nation. Local organizations committed to these efforts include the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Relations Commission; and

WHEREAS, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we honor and commemorate the strength, commitment, and remarkably immense efforts of those working to secure full and equal civil rights for all people, regardless of gender identity or expression.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing November 20, 2019 as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the Tennessee Vals, and the Metro Human Resources Commission.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s): Brett Withers, Zachary Young, Nancy VanReece, Russ Bradford, Emily Benedict, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Ginny Welsch, Dave Rosenberg, Jeff Syracuse, Bob Mendes, Sean Parker, Kyonzté Toombs
By Rod Williams - This resolution changes no policy nor spends any money. It simply puts the council on record as recognizing November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance. If a council member does not want to be on record as doing so, they have several options to avoid voting in favor of this. I will explain them.

The resolution will be on "consent" if it passed the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. It will be lumped with a lot of other resolutions and the group of resolutions will be presented as a group to be passed by a single vote.  The assumption is that everyone present votes for the resolution. If a council person does not want to stand out as voting against the resolution but does not want to be recorded as voting for it, they can leave the room while the vote is taken and make sure the clerk knows they were out of the room. The resolution will list those who voted in favor but names of those not present will not be listed.

Another option, a little more bold than leaving the room, is to ask for the resolution to be taken off of consent. Before the vote is taken, the vice mayor will ask if any resolution should be taken off of consent. One has to simply state they would like it taken off of consent, they do not have to say why.  After the resolutions on consent are voted upon, then all of the resolutions not on consent will be considered. Normally after a resolution caption is read and committee reports are rendered, unless someone ask to speak, the vice mayor calls for a vote. He will says something like, "All those in favor say 'aye;' those opposed 'no.' The ayes have it." That way, the resolution is reported as having passed on a voice vote and the way any one person voted is not known.

A bolder move is that when the vice mayor ask for all resolutions on consent, one get recognized and ask to be recorded as abstaining on this resolution, or bolder still to be recorded as voting "no." 

If not on 'consent' or taken off of consent, It may be that a sponsor or other member may want to force a recorded vote.  In that case instead of a voice vote, a member hollers out, "roll call."  If as many as five members want a roll call, the vice mayor will call for a machine roll call vote. With a machine roll call vote, a member may vote "yes," "no," or "abstain," or they may simply not push a button.  If they vote "yes," "no" or "abstain," the minuets will reflect that; if they simply set on their hands the minutes will not list their name as one who voted. It will be as if they were out of the room.

One could of course boldly vote "no" and explain why.

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