Allison Chris Myers will make history in New Jersey by becoming the first openly transgender person to serve in the Cabinet of a state.
Myers was appointed Chair of the Civil Services Commission by Governor Phil Murphy this week. His term will begin on January 1. Myers, a native of Cumberland County and a former member of the United States Navy, has served in his current position with the Commission since 2001.
According to its website, the Commission oversees appeals submitted by state, county, and municipal civil service personnel, job hopefuls, and appointing authorities.
Murphy said in a statement that he was looking forward to working with Allison to figure out how to better serve the state’s workers and that it was crucial that the state’s leadership be representative of the communities it serves.
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Newark-based trans author and project manager for Garden State Equality, one of the state’s leading LGBTQ rights advocacy organisations, Damien Alan Lopez, praised Myers’ selection as a win for the trans community at large.
Lopez argued that include community members in decision-making forums was essential to gaining a thorough understanding of their demands.
“It provides a lot of young people the chance to think, ‘Hey, if they made it to that level, then what’s preventing me from getting there one day?'”
Lopez has stated that he considers New Jersey to be one of the most progressive states on trans issues because of its laws such as strong anti-bullying safeguards, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, and Murphy’s recent executive order making the process of changing one’s name discreet.
Lopez stated that the prior policy of requiring persons to announce their name change in the newspaper was problematic for many transgender and non-binary people.
“It is vital that Gov. Murphy has seen and heard what individuals may be suffering as they navigate it,” Lopez added, referring to transgender people who have been the target of discrimination.
Lopez argued that the state could do more to assist locals, such as creating more trans-friendly safe spaces, despite the fact that some progress had been made. He also wants the state to adopt legislation that would protect minors with intersex disorders from having their own health care decisions made without their input.
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According to the Human Rights Campaign, New Jersey boasts some of the most “innovative” regulations that put the interests of the LGBTQ community first.