Transgender advocate elected as president of San Francisco Police Commission

May 15, 2007

Commissioner Theresa Sparks
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Police Commission elected openly-transgender Commissioner Theresa Sparks as its new president late last week. Sparks, who joined the commission in 2004, has a long history of advocating for the transgender community, including working on a set of transgender-specific policy reforms adopted by the Police Commission in 2003. With this election, Sparks becomes the city’s first openly transgender president of a major commission and likely the city’s highest ranking transgender official.

“I feel honored to have been selected for this position by my fellow commissioners,” Sparks said in a release. “While I think it is important to recognize the historic step they've taken to make San Francisco a city in which everyone, regardless of our gender identity, can meaningfully contribute, I am thrilled for this opportunity to represent all of the people of San Francisco. I am hopeful that, with this election, I can lead the Commission towards more fully realizing the police reforms that the voters demanded in 2003.”

Prop H was a city initiative that passed in the fall 2003 election. It ushered in reforms to the Police Commission to improve citizen oversight of the San Francisco Police Department. Among other things, it expanded the size of the commission, including expanding the number of commissioners appointed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Theresa joined the larger commission in 2004 as an appointee of the Board of Supervisors.

“Theresa defines trailblazer,” said Transgender Law Center Deputy Director and San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner Cecilia Chung. “Her brilliance and dedication continue to open doors for transgender people throughout San Francisco and the state. She represents a strong, committed voice for our community on issues of police reform and oversight; and this election is a clear indicator of the increasing number of leadership opportunities that are open to more and more community members.”

Sparks, whose day job is being president of sexuality product retailer Good Vibrations, takes over as president of the commission on June 1. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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