The Boise Police Department wants to know if you’ve been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Department officials drove that message home during an informational outreach meeting Dec. 20 with several Boise-area LGBTQ community activists and allies, including myself; Pride Foundation board member Emilie Jackson-Edney; Monica Hopkins, executive director of 2012 grantee ACLU of Idaho; Donna Harwood of past grantee Lion’s Pride Cubs and Lion’s Pride Idaho; Hannah Brass Greer of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest; Jess Caldwell O’Keefe, director of the Boise State Department Women’s Center, also a 2012 grantee; Mistie Tolman of Add the Words Idaho; James Tidmarsh of The Idaho Agenda; and JamieLou DeLavan of the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s Bureau of Community & Environmental Health.
The gathering came about following the Boise City Council’s Dec. 4 unanimous passage of a citywide ordinance prohibiting discriminatory acts in housing, employment and public accommodations based upon sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. The ordinance goes into effect on Jan. 1, and can be read in its entirety here. Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory conduct, and a violation is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, jail time up to six months, or both.
Boise Police Dept. officials and City Council President Maryanne Jordan, who also attended the Dec. 20 meeting, encourage the city’s LGBTQ community to report acts of discrimination, and pledge to working to build relationships within the community and doing ongoing educational outreach about the new ordinance and its impact. A “Frequently Asked Questions” document addressing issues such as how to report a discrimination crime and summarizing key points of the ordinance is in the works. Officials at the meeting sought input from those of us in attendance to help with drafting the document.
The department also has appointed a new LGBTQ liaison officer, Katie Davey, also BPD’s victim/witness coordinator. She can be reached at 208-570-6224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Martin is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Idaho. Email Steve.