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First-Ever Transgender Voting Center Opens in Los Angeles

News & Opinion

Last week The Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center made history when it opened the country's first-ever transgender voting center.

The West Hollywood-based center officially opened Saturday, March 2, and is set to remain open for municipal, special elections and the upcoming general Presidential election later this year.

Despite aiming to be a safe and empowering place for transgender, non-binary and LGBTQA+ community members,” anyone may cast their vote at the center. 

In a statement, Los Angeles City Council member Katy Yaroslavsky applauded the center's move to include voting.

“I couldn’t be prouder that L.A.’s Fifth Council District is now home to the first voting center in the nation located in a transgender facility,” said Yaroslavsky.

"It's a groundbreaking example of leaders in our state working to ensure that every Californian, regardless of gender identity or expression, has a safe and welcoming space to exercise their right to vote," Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis said during a press conference ahead of the voting center’s official launch. 

The announcement comes on the heels of a 2022 study conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law which showed more than 200,000 transgender voters may face problems attempting to vote at some polls because they do not have an ID that correctly reflects their preferred gender/name. 

“The requirements for updating the name and gender on official IDs vary widely across states, and the process can be complex and costly,” said lead author Kathryn O’Neill, policy analyst at the Williams Institute. “Transgender voters who live in states that require an ID to vote may face scrutiny or be turned away at the polls.”

Since 2021, the Connie Norman Empowerment Center has provided various resources, including medical services, training, and support for transgender people within Los Angeles county. 

The center got its namesake from Connie Norman, a famed LGBTQ+ rights activist and transgender woman. Before dying of AIDS in 1996 Norman was the host of the first daily commercial talk radio show to advocate for LGBTQ+ gay issues in the Los Angele area.

Following her death ACT UP scattered her ashes on the lawn of the White House.


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