The City of Hamilton’s LGBTQ Advisory committee will be moving forward with plans to diversify and increase their membership.
At Thursday’s (Sept. 5) meeting of the Audit, Finance and Administration Committee, members passed a motion to increase the number of members on the LGBTQ Advisory committee from nine to 15 and to improve the transparency of the committee’s selection process.
In a report from June 2019, the advisory committee explained the rationale for overhauling the membership selection process.
“We have been criticized, and rightly so, for not representing everyone in our community,” the report said. “While we know that’s not ever going to be possible, we think that there’s much more we can do to be more inclusive of youth, QTPOC, and Two-Spirit members of our community.”
The report also refers to a letter from Speqtrum, a Hamilton-based bimonthly meetup and skillshare for youth and young people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, addressed to 2018 municipal election candidates.
The letter noted that since The Well, Hamilton’s sole 2SLGBTQ+ community organization, closed in 2014, the response to the community’s needs by the city has been ‘reactive.’ The letter called on candidates at the time to, if elected, provide ‘proactive leadership’ and “increase accessibility and engagement of the City of Hamilton LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee.”
At Thursday’s meeting, councillor Brad Clark was first to support the motion, citing the value of adding more voices to the advisory committee.
Councillor Maureen Willson agreed that diversifying will give members of the community a chance “speak about their experience and their needs.”
The June report also calls for “the Interview Sub-Committee to the Audit, Finance & Administration Committee to reopen the selection process using a clearly advertised community-based call-out,” and to ask previously unsuccessful advisory committee applicants if they would like to be reconsidered. Councillors agreed this approach holds merit.
“It’s so important we get this right,” said councillor Judi Partridge, noting that adding the Indigenous voice to the advisory committee — and others — was particularly important.