Governor Jay Inslee talks during a press conference at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds in November in Chehalis.

Gov. Jay Inslee this week announced the appointment of 15 people to serve on Washington’s new LGBTQ Commission.

J. Manny Santiago was named commission director in August. The LGBTQ Commission, established by the Legislature, was signed into law by Inslee in April of last year. 

The commission was established to identify the needs of the LGBTQ community and advocate for equality and inclusion in all aspects of state government.

“It is incredibly important to have a commission focused on this needs of the LGBTQ community in our state,” Inslee said. “The commission will be a valuable resource to all Washingtonians and provide recommendations and advice to my office, the Legislature and state agencies on issues important to all LGBTQ people.”

All appointments to the commission are effective immediately.

“This is an incredibly diverse group of people to serve on the LGBTQ Commission,” Santiago said. “The collective experience of this group on issues that affect LGBTQ Washingtonians of every background will be crucial as we continue to advance LGBTQ rights in our state. These people represent every corner of our state and I look forward to working with them to identify the needs of our community throughout Washington.”

The appointees were chosen by the governor with input from members of the state House and Senate and community stakeholders. Commissioners will serve three-year staggered terms.

The appointees are Marsha Botzer, Ingersoll Gender Center, King County; Alvaro Figueroa, Avista Corporation, Spokane County; Josette Ross, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Pierce County; Karen Goldsen, University of Washington, Island County; Matt Landers, GSBA, King County; Jac Archer, Spokane Human Rights Commission, Spokane County; Michelle Kelly-Barroga, Oasis Youth Center, Pierce County; Isyss Honnen, Pride Foundation, King County; Everett Maroon, Blue Mountain Heart to Heart, Walla Walla County; Beto Yarce, Ventures, Snohomish County; Maeve Griffith, City of Spokane, Spokane County; Steven Sawyer, People of Color Against Aids Network, King County; Jeffrey Robinson, Franklin Co. Dem Committee, Franklin County; Tobi Hill-Meyer, Gender Justice League, Thurston County; Lars Erickson, WSDOT, King County

(4) comments


Why do we need a special commission for LGBTQers? Treat everyone equally, this smacks of special treatment.

Of course we know that women, alphabet people, and colors other than white need and deserve special treatment. (sarcasm there) After all, they are more special than we the racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, power mad white males.

Get back to me when you balance the entrance and graduation rates for males in State Universities. Institute a Male studies center on the UW campus, and offer graduate degrees in Male studies.


Theirs a complete waste of tax payers money.We really need o get this man out of office


If Washington State has enough money to pay for an LGBTQ Commission, then we are being overtaxed.


It would be wonderful if we treated everyone the same. That's an important goal for our country. Sadly, that's not the reality.

And before anyone says it, hate crimes relate to bias - why was that victim chosen? It's not the same as saying "every crime is a hate crime." No. Hate crimes refer to the reason, and but for the victim being Catholic or from France, that victim would not have been the victim of *any* crime.

According to the 2018 FBI Hate Crime Statistics (available here

Washington state's reported hate crime rate is 6.77 per 100,000 people.

The national reported hate crime rate is 2.3 per 100,000 people.

California's reported hate crime rate is 2.69 per 100,000 people.

New York state's reported hate crime rate is 2.7 per 100,000 people.

Think about that. Washington state's reported hate crime rate is almost three times higher than New York's and California's. In Washington, you are approximately *three* times more likely to be targeted based on your race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identification. ~THREE times more likely to be targeted. Because that's the definition of a hate crime enhancement: the victim was chosen solely because of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identification.

No one is convicted of a hate crime. Rather, if a crime is committed, and it's proven that the victim was chosen solely for the reasons I listed above, the sentence for the underlying crime might be lengthened (enhanced). The crime charged could be something like battery, and let's say battery carries a two year prison term. If the victim of the battery was chosen simply because they're Jewish or gay or from Canada, their sentence can be enhanced by say, five months or so. I'm making up the length of sentences. The important thing to remember is that people are not convicted of committing hate crimes. Their sentence might be enhanced if the underlying reason for the crime was bias.

These are real statistics:

Nationally, "[a]nalysis of the 7,036 single-bias incidents reported in 2018 revealed that:

57.5 percent were motivated by a race/ethnicity/ancestry bias.

20.2 percent were prompted by religious bias.

17.0 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.

2.4 percent were motivated by gender-identity bias.

2.3 percent were prompted by disability bias.

0.7 percent (47 incidents) were motivated by gender bias."

On average, 19% of hate crimes nationally were based on sexual-orientation and gender-identity bias.

That means about one person out of 100,000 people in Washington state is targeted based on sexual-orientation and gender-identity bias. That might not sound like much until you look at our population, ~80 people per year are victims of hate crimes based on sexual-orientation and gender-identity bias.

That might not sound like a lot, but to those 75 people, their families, friends, and communities, that crime is real. And based on our total population, that number is insanely high.

So, yes. It would be wonderful if we treated everyone the same. But we don't. We need to do better.

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