On Monday, Minneapolis Council member Andrea Jenkins became the first trans official in the US to lead a city council. Already, Jenkins has left an indelible mark on Minneapolis. Amid the wave of disaffection following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Jenkins spoke out against police brutality.
She called Floyd’s murder at the hands of Derek Chauvin a "symbol for a knee on the neck of black America." But Jenkins also noted the increasing accountability law enforcement faces.
She hopes the guilty verdicts for both Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter signal a new horizon for black America. Minnesota police officer Kim Potter shot Dante Wright after mistaking her gun for a taser. Disgraced police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes, killing him.
Jenkins believes these recent legal repercussions send "a message to police officers that, in this community, we are going to hold you accountable."
Ironically, Jenkins’ win coincides with rising violence against trans women. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 was the deadliest year for trans people.
Given the greater visibility for trans and gender-nonconforming people in the media, Jenkins remains optimistic though.
"The attacks on trans and gender-nonconforming people are simply a reaction to the fact that this community … is beginning to really make inroads in our society and show up in spaces where we’re not expected to be," she said.
”That’s going to continue, we are not going away, we are not retreating into the background, and we cannot be written out of public life."
The staggering 1,029 LGBTQ elected officials may provide the needed visibility to slow patterns of anti-trans violence and legislative attacks. For now, the US remains a hostile place for trans people.