Phillip Alexander Downie, host of MOCO Pride has special guest, Dr. Amena Johnson the first Montgomery County LGBTQ Liaison. Dr. Johnson is the go between Marc Elrich, the County Executive and the LGBTQ+ Community, Parents, Allies, and Teachers of LGBTQ+ residents. Johnson take the concerns of the LGBTQ+ community of Montgomery County back to Elrich, like the many Liaisons Montgomery County has to communicate their concerns. Like, some seniors expressed that coming out in facilities after Covid-19 occurred didn’t feel safe and felt like they had to go back in the closet. Dr. Johnson created best practices for workers in facilities and expresses what impact having LGBTQ sentiments could have on this issue. She discovered that it wasn’t disparaging things being said, but more like they weren’t saying they aren’t welcome and to a generation who grew up in a time that being “out comfortably” didn’t exist its needed. If this section of the elder community didn’t know that a place is welcoming, i.e. LGBTQ+ material, use of affirming language, actually informing the public that your accepting then how would they know to be comfortable. Due to heteronormativity and cis-sexism these things aren’t considered.
Dr. Johnson first role working with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) was the Keynote Speaker at this year’s recently past MCPS Pride Town Hall and is working with them, hopefully soon, to provide LGBTQ training to teachers. She is also concentrated on the Transgender community since they are the most at risk in the LGBTQ community. Black Trans women are getting killed in hate crimes . If we focus on the center most marginalized, Black Trans women, we all will benefit. Dr. Johnson’s focus is making sure this part of our community are not dying and are safe, can have jobs, education, and housing they choose.
Dr. Amena Johnson is the Associate Director of the LGBTQ Center at Georgetown University and her wife Nikki Brooks is an Artist and an Elementary School Art Teacher. Recently she has centered Black Trans women that we have lost to hate crimes in her work because she wants people to remember who they are. If you have any concerns contact Dr. Johnson and she will listen and take your concern to the County Executive. Also, Amena has started an LGBT advisory group that is open to more members. Email Dr. Amena Johnson if you are interested or have questions or concerns at Amena.Johnson@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.
Watch this episode of MoCo Pride below, or on MMC’s YouTube channel and subscribe!