LA County District Attorney forms LGBTQ advisory board

LA County District Attorney

LA County District Attorney George Gascón, left, swears in members of his LGBTQ+ Advisory Board. Photo: LA County District Attorney’s Office.

The LA County District Attorney’s office has formed its first LGBTQ+ advisory board.

“This new Advisory Board creates a precedent for this office to truly listen and learn from the LGBTQ+ community and inform my policies,” LA County District Attorney George Gascón said in a press release.

The nine-member, volunteer board will advise the District Attorney’s office regarding policies, priority issues, and best practices related to LGBTQ+ Angelenos and the criminal justice system.

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Some of the board’s goals include equity and fairness in the legal system, addressing violence against the trans community, and training to make sure people in the legal system are culturally competent about the LGBTQ+ community, said Tiffiny Blacknell, the community and government liaison in the district attorney’s office.

The advisory board meets monthly, seeks input from the greater community, and will provide regular feedback on improvements to better serve LGBTQ+ residents and all those who come into contact with the office, as well as improve diversity and inclusion within the office itself, the release said.

The group was formed last year and has met about six times. Members were selected by Blacknell. 

“We wanted geographic diversity and age diversity,” Blacknell said in an interview. “Nobody was denied. The board might add more people.”

Here are the LGBTQ+ Advisory Board members:

  • Bamby Salcedo, chair (she/her/ella) is the president and CEO of the [email protected] Coalition, which advocates for and addresses the issues of transgender Latinas in the United States.
  • Vincent Jones, vice chair (he/him) is the CEO of The Citizen Jones Companies, a collection of socially minded businesses created with the spirit of doing good, having fun and helping others do the same.
  • Allison Blaylock (she/her) is the president of the OUTreach Center in Lancaster. She also advocates for awareness and ending of domestic violence within the LGBTQ+ community through the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s STOP program.
  • Chela Demuir (she/her) is the founder of the “TransGiving Dinner,” a dinner with all the traditional trimmings of a holiday meal that is now celebrated in various states across the country. Demuir is also a founding member of Trans Pride LA and Unique Woman’s Coalition.
  • Ari Gutiérrez Arámbula, (she/her/ella) is an advocate for the Latinx LGBTQ+ community. She is a co-founder of the Honor Political Action Committee and the Latino Equality Alliance.
  • Joey Hernández (they/them) is director of policy and community building at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Hernández has engaged in LGBTQ+ rights advocacy more than 15 years.
  • Skylar Myers (they/them) is a victims rights advocate for the Anti-Violence Project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • Brad Sears (he/him) is the founding executive director and David Sanders Distinguished Scholar of Law & Policy at the Williams Institute and is the associate dean of public interest law at UCLA Law.
  • Stella Ursua (she/her/hers) is a board member at the LGBTQ+ Center Long Beach and programs and partnerships manager of GRID Alternatives-Greater Los Angeles.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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