SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Human rights advocate and former San Francisco city commissioner Theresa Sparks has been appointed as Mayor Ed Lee's senior advisor on transgender initiatives, the mayor announced today.
Sparks will work directly with the mayor and City Administrator Naomi Kelly on LGBTQ policies as well as oversee the development of new transgender initiatives, according to the mayor's office. Her appointment is effective July 1.
According to the mayor's office, San Francisco is the first city in the nation to have a position dedicated to advancing the rights of and creating policies specifically for the transgender community.
Sparks served on the city's Human Rights Commission from 2001 to 2004 and on its Police Commission from 2004 to 2009, including as president for the last two years of her term. She was appointed executive director of the Human Rights Commission in July 2009.
"Sparks has been a leader in our city on human rights issues, and will ensure San Francisco continues to lead on one of the most important civil rights issues of our times -- equality for the LGBT community, "Lee said in a statement.
Sparks will assist in leading the Mayors Against Discrimination coalition, which was formed in wake of laws viewed as discriminatory that were enacted recently against LGBT individuals in North Carolina and
"We should be adding more protections to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the United
States, not taking them away," Lee said. "San Francisco must lead the fight against this inequity."