With final opportunity for public comment rapidly approaching, advocacy groups call for equal treatment of transgender Coloradans at redistricting hearings

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission heard public hearings regarding preliminary maps on Saturday, August 28, 2021. Misty Plowright, a transgender resident of Colorado Springs, attended the redistricting hearing in order to give public comment about her community.

Misty Plowright, like all people giving testimony during this process, was asked to identify her pronouns on the testimony registration form. When called to testify during the afternoon session, like all others giving testimony, Misty’s name was pronounced aloud, however her pronouns were not shared.

In his first remarks to Misty Plowright, Commissioner John Buckley III misgendered her and asked Misty to remove her mask. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Commissioner Buckley has misgendered Ms. Plowright in this setting. Furthermore, at a public hearing amidst a global pandemic and rising concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant, making a request for a public citizen giving testimony to remove one’s mask is inappropriate and shows disregard for the individual’s and community’s health.

One Colorado and Colorado Common Cause urge the Independent Redistricting Commission to remember and act according to their mandate by welcoming and respecting all Coloradans who wish to civically engage in this process.

Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Amendments Y and Z, which created independent redistricting commissions, in 2018. The amendments mandated that the public have the opportunity to view and comment on a preliminary map during 21 public meetings. Colorado’s redistricting process is itself dependent on public input.

“All LGBTQ people deserve to feel safe and valued in all of our government processes. In particular, our non-binary, transgender, and gender expansive community members deserve to be seen, heard and live authentically without fear,” said One Colorado Executive Director Nadine Bridges.

The Congressional Commission will be releasing its next draft map this weekend and Coloradans will have a final opportunity for public input on the Congressional map at public meetings September 7 – 10, 2021. The final opportunity for input on the legislative map at public hearings will come on September 17 and 18, 2021.

Amanda Gonzalez, Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause said, “The redistricting process would be significantly worse off if it did not include input from LGBTQ Coloradans. These maps will determine how our communities are heard and whether or not we each get the resources we need for the next decade. We need a diverse array of perspectives to get fair maps. Everyone–including transgender participants–deserves to be heard and respected in this process.”

 

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Colorado Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. The organization helped craft and pass Amendments Y and Z in 2018, which created the new independent redistricting commissions. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empowers all people to make their voices heard in the political process.
The One Colorado Education Fund (OCEF) is the state’s leading advocacy organization dedicated to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families. OCEF achieves this through protecting victories and advancing opportunities, ensuring every student feels safe and welcome inschool, increasing access to healthcare for LGBTQ Coloradans, and removing barriers transgender Coloradans face in their daily lives.