Keisha Lance Bottoms Appoints Atlanta's First Director Of LGBTQ Affairs
The newly appointed director said his priorities in the role will be alleviating housing discrimination and implementing cultural humility training relating to nonbinary people.
November 26, 2020 at 4:21 am
The Atlanta municipal government, hoping to usher in a new age of community governance, has brought on its first director of LGBTQ+ affairs. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms selected Malik Brown to serve in the new role.
According to NBC News, Brown’s position will be responsible for advising Bottoms and city officials on LGBTQ-related projects and endeavors, while also strategizing legislative initiatives with the city council and state government.
“My hope is that we create institutional and equitable change for LGBTQ Atlantans,” Brown said. “One day Mayor Bottoms and I won’t be at Atlanta City Hall anymore, but our hope is that the LGBTQ-supportive infrastructure that we’ve created will still be here.”
As we have all witnessed recently, there are so many incredible leaders in Georgia who are doing life-changing work. I am proud of the much-deserved spotlight that is shining on my home state.
I'm grateful to be among the 100 Most Influential LGBTQ+ Georgians. @OutGeorgia
— Malik Brown (@COAMalik) November 19, 2020
He said his appointment finally gives local LGBTQ+ communities a seat at the mayor’s table that wasn’t always available.
“This will include continuing lobbying to ban conversion therapy in Georgia, support for LGBTQ elders and fighting the spread of HIV,” Brown told NBC News. “When it is safe to do so, we look forward to partnering with our friends at Discover Atlanta, and other stakeholders, to bring more LGBTQ tourism and conferences to our city.”
Brown said his priorities will include alleviating housing discrimination for LGBTQ people and focusing on “cultural humility training” for city employees when it comes to transgender and nonbinary people. He said he will also focus on keeping transgender people safe from violence and ensuring their rights are protected during the pandemic. The development of queer youth will be a focal point of his work, too.
“We are working to create mentorship opportunities for LGBTQ youth, as well as leadership development programming,” Brown said. “Additionally, we are brainstorming innovative ways to get resources in the hands of LGBTQ youth who may be experiencing homelessness.”
In addition to her commitments to the LGBTQ+ community, Bottoms is also making strides in other areas of social development. Following the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks by the Atlanta Police Department, Bottoms announced in June that her office is looking into solutions for reforms into the level of force allowed by the police department.
As Blavity previously reported, Bottoms also joined a coalition of 11 mayors who are interested in the feasibility of a guaranteed income program this summer.
According to a statement from the coalition, the guaranteed income would be a monthly cash payment given directly to individuals to help "address their most urgent needs and [provide] a cushion” for unforeseen circumstances.