Members of LGBTQ community want say in future protective city policies

By Patty Santos - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Members of San Antonio’s LGBTQ community said they want to have a say in future city policies that will help protect them.

On Tuesday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee held a town hall meeting with Nirenberg to bring forward a list of changes it would like to see.

Committee member Maria Salazar said enhancing the nondiscrimination ordinance policy to ensure everyone knows where they can turn to file a complaint is a priority.

“We want to get the community to understand what their rights are, when it comes to applying for public services, where to go,” Salazar said.

She said San Antonio has made great strides in becoming more welcoming of the LGBTQ community, but more needs to be done to protect victims of crimes.

“There’s still hate crimes committed. We don’t provide adequate services for folks who encounter authority. They can be fearful when it comes to encountering police and law enforcement,” Salazar said.

According to the FBI, in 2016, there were 10 hate crimes reported by participating Bexar County law enforcement agencies. In 2017, there were six hate crimes reported, but none were connected to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Committee member Anel Flores said the way crimes are reported and the assurance victims are given needs to change so that the FBI number can truly reflect the number of crimes committed against the LGBTQ community.

The board will continue to meet with the mayor, but it wants the board to become permanent so that the LGBTQ community can have a place at the table when policies are formed in the future under new leadership.

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