San Francisco Hires City’s First Official Transgender Adviser

Amber Randall | Civil Rights Reporter

San Francisco’s mayor appointed a former Human Rights Commission executive director as the city’s first senior adviser on transgender issues and equality, according to Thursday reports.

Mayor Ed Lee appointed Theresa Sparks, the former police commissioner and executive director for the Human Rights Commission, as the city’s new senior adviser on transgender equality issues. In the new position, Sparks will work with the mayor and Naomi Kelly, the city administrator, on transgender issues and LGBTQ policies.

“Sparks has been a leader in our city on human rights issues, and will ensure San Francisco continues to lead on one of the most important civil rights issues of our times — equality for the LGBT community,” said Lee.

Sparks, a transgender woman, starts the new position July 1 and will be earning approximately $187,000 per year, according to KQED News.

“A lot of it will be overseeing and coordinating existing programs that we have and making sure they’re effective and doing a gap analysis to see what we’re missing,” Sparks told NBC News.

Sparks claimed in an interview with KQED News the position will help pave the way for transgender equality on a national level. “It recognizes San Francisco in a leadership role in this community. We’ve been in that position for many years, but this really, really puts it on the front burner,” Sparks said.

Spark will also help direct the Mayors Against Discrimination Coalition, an organization that brought mayors together in a bid to prohibit city business with companies in states with unfavorable LGBTQ laws. One of the organization’s first acts was to prohibit any official travel to states like North Carolina that have allegedly anti-LGBTQ laws.

“We should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United States, not taking them away. San Francisco must lead the fight against this inequity,” Lee said to KTUV.

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