State’s only transgender elected official recognized by LGBTQ rights group

Stephe Koontz
Stephe Koontz

The only openly transgender elected official in the state is being honored next weekend by a prominent LGBTQ rights advocacy group.

Stephe Koontz, who serves on the Doraville City Council, will receive the 2019 Allen Thornell Political Advancement Award from Georgia Equality. The group is putting on the 15th Annual Evening for Equality to recognize "inspirational people who exemplify courage, compassion and a relentless tenacity for creating positive change in Georgia," according to a press release.

Koontz was elected to the Doraville City Council in 2017 when she won by just six votes. As the only openly transgender person elected to office in Georgia, she pushed for the city to pass a non-discrimination ordinance last year, becoming just the second city in the state to do so.

» READ MORE: Doraville woman becomes Georgia’s only transgender elected official

It allows people to file complaints with the city against businesses who allegedly discriminate against them on the basis of race, sexuality, gender identity, disability and other identifiers. Several DeKalb County cities have since passed similar rules.

In its other awards, Georgia Equality will give the Phillip Rush Community Builder Award to Jamil Jude of True Colors Theater. As the only black artistic director of a theater in Atlanta, Jude uses his art to provide a platform to LGBTQ people, specifically those of color.

» RELATED: New Doraville ordinance targets discrimination by business owners

And local activist Toni-Michelle Williams will receive the Cheryl-Courtney Evans Award for Trans* Advocacy.

The award ceremony takes place next Saturday, June 15 at the Loews Hotel Midtown Atlanta on Peachtree Street.

Cox Enterprises and The Coca-Cola Company are also being honored and are sponsors of the event. Cox Enterprises is the parent company of Cox Media Group, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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