The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

JoCo Board of Supervisors approve task force to support transgender community

Board members V Fixmer-Oraiz and Rod Sullivan were appointed to the new task force.
Emma Calabro
Rod Sullivan speaks during the Johnson County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Johnson County Public Health and Clinical Services building on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of an advisory task force to recommend actions the board can take to support the transgender community.

Board member V Fixmer-Oraiz said they need to go beyond just a statement of support and find solutions to address the negative experiences of transgender people in the community.

Board members Fixmer-Oraiz and Rod Sullivan were appointed by the board as the first members of this advisory task force. The task force will present actionable solutions to the board on June 1, which coincides with LGBTQ+ pride month.

“Instead of releasing a proclamation, we are recognizing the direct harm that transgender residents are experiencing in our county and creating a pathway for collaborative action,” Fixmer-Oraiz said.

Fixmer-Oraiz listed several general goals and topics this advisory task force would look into. These topics include:

  • Policies to have people addressed by their preferred name
  • Review internal items listed within the county’s respectful workplace policies
  • Ensuring Johnson County is a safe space for gender-expansive people
  • Increase resources for gender-inclusive housing
  • Providing funding to aid organizations, such as the Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund
  • Support access to gender-inclusive books and media restricted in public schools
  • Support the economic development of trans business
  • Promote political engagement in the trans community

At the board’s work session on Wednesday, Tara McGovern, whose legal last name is Dutcher, but prefers McGovern, spoke to the board about how the transgender community has been targeted by police and the state government.

McGovern was charged with two misdemeanors for their participation in a protest at the Chloe Cole lecture in October. McGovern was acquitted of the charges on March 13 by a jury.

McGovern was one of seven protesters charged and was the only one who did not take a plea deal. Each protester identified as either transgender or nonbinary.

Board member Royceann Porter walked back comments she made during the board’s work session on Wednesday and commended people who spoke to the board about transgender issues, which included McGovern.

During the meeting on Wednesday, Porter said she was disappointed the board is supporting the transgender community while not recognizing similar struggles the Black community faces.

“I would like to stop the attacks on Royceann, it’s always Royceann. I got work to do and Royceann is for what’s right,” Porter said during the Thursday meeting.

Porter said she plans to meet with legislators to address discriminatory legislation and wants to “do the work” to help support the transgender community and then help the Black community.

Porter said she plans to talk to organizations across the country, including the National Association of Black County Officials, or NOBCO, to address discriminatory legislation in Iowa and find actionable solutions.

“It is essential for advocates and policymakers to remain vigilant and proactive in defending LGBTQ+ rights,” Porter said. “It’s hard, and I know it is for you all to sit out there and talk to us because I’ve been in your spot. I’ve been to the city council asking people to please hear us, and for us, nobody did anything. But guess what? I’m going to do something.”

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About the Contributor
Jack Moore
Jack Moore, News Editor
Jack Moore is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from Cedar Rapids Iowa. Along with working at The Daily Iowan, Jack works for the University of Iowa's UI-REACH program as a Resident Assistant. UI-REACH is a program for students with learning, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities intended to provide support to these students throughout their college experience. Additionally, Jack is involved in Iowa City's live music scene as he plays bass for local Iowa City band "Two Canes."