A Utah Pride Center program dedicated to fostering communication and understanding between law enforcement officers and members of Utah’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community will hold a town hall meeting at the Salt Lake City Main Library on July 13.

The Public Liaison Safety Committee, which consists of officers from several Wasatch Front agencies and civilians, will address such hot button topics during the 90 minute meeting as hate crimes, being out and safe in public spaces, and the ways in which the idea that gay and transgender Utahns have no legal protections can create an unsafe environment. It will also discuss the workings of law enforcement and the ways that officers can protect queer citizens, as well as the impact that gay and transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances are having in cities and counties across the state.

This is an important opportunity to learn how law enforcement work to support the need for safety and protection for the LGBTQ community and how we can be active participants in that process,” said Jennifer Nuttall, the Center’s Adult Program Director.

Panelists who will speak at the meeting will include: Brandie Balken, executive director of statewide gay and transgender rights organization Equality Utah; Sg. Julie Jorgensen of the West Valley City Police; Paul Parker, Justice Division Administrator for the Salt Lake City District Attorney’s Office; local activist Eric Ethington; and Sim Gill, Chief prosecutor of the Salt Lake City District Attorney’s Office and the Democratic challenger to incumbent Lohra Miller.

In addition, the Center will also present the results of a recent survey to the committee and to the audience. The survey, held at the center, asked respondents to discuss their perceptions of safety in their communities at large. The Center has said that this is the first public opinion survey to examine the impact and effectiveness of the recently passed ordinances, which prohibit employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The meeting will be held July 13 in the Salt Lake City Main Library’s auditorium,  210 East 400 S., from 6:30–8 p.m. An open discussion forum will follow the panel and survey presentation.

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