Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced the City of Charleston is establishing its first LGBTQ working group. This group will work directly with Mayor Goodwin to offer recommendations and help develop LGBTQ related policies and procedures in the City of Charleston. This group will include representation from the City of Charleston, Charleston Police Department, Charleston City Council and the general public.

"Charleston is committed to being an inclusive community. We have a responsibility to advocate for and support all citizens and visitors of our city. Everyone deserves a seat at the table,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “The formation of the LGBTQ working group provides us with a unique opportunity to develop and implement forward thinking policies and programs to better serve ALL members of our community.”

The working group will meet monthly beginning June 2019. Goals of the working group will include: establishing an anti-bullying youth council, developing anti-bullying and harassment policies for City Parks and Recreation facilities, developing LGBTQ-awareness training modules for City employees and reviewing City health insurance coverage to ensure it is LGBTQ-inclusive.

“Twelve years ago, Charleston led the way on LGBTQ+ protections when it became the first city in the state to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance relating to housing, employment and public accommodations. This committee will ensure that Charleston continues to be known for its inclusive practices and policies, and I look forward to getting to work with my fellow volunteers,” said Billy Wolfe, Communications Outreach Specialist for Fairness WV.

"Our Capital City is the host of West Virginia’s largest Pride Celebration for our LGBTQ community and it’s straight allies. With a mission of organizing impactful social and educational events, Rainbow Pride of WV, along with the support of the City of Charleston and over 20 other community and business sponsors, invites everyone to participate in our upcoming Pride Month events. The City of Charleston’s support of Rainbow Pride of WV and acceptance of a more diverse community reinforces that Charleston is the best place to live, work, play and Love," said Chris Gosses, President of Rainbow Pride of WV.

Members of the working group include: Kay Albright, Ashir Coillberg, Caitlin Cook, Jerry Comer, Chris Gosses, Jake Jarvis, Dr. Brad Marple, Ebony Matthews, Carling McManus, Jessi Redden, Natasha Stone, Tina Stinson, Barry Turley, and Billy Wolfe (chair).