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Commission On LGBT Affairs Chair Resigns Following Ousting

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The fledgling Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs had a shake up this week when its members voted 13 to 3 to remove the chair.

The commissioners claimed she “attacked” community members on social media.

When Sharron Cooks was elected Chair of the 23-member Commission on LGBT Affairs in April, she became the first transgender woman to chair a city commission.

But on Tuesday, during a two-hour emergency meeting, the commissioners ousted her, and on Wednesday “she decided to resign from the Commission,” said Amber Hikes, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

Hikes says the city received complaints about Cooks’ past and current social media posts, which allegedly “attacked” commissioners and community members.

Cooks, a transwoman of color, did not respond to a request for comment, but told GPhilly she was not supported by Hikes’ office.

Cooks was the second commissioner to resign.

“She is a very valuable member of our community and we wanted her to stay and participate in this very important work,” said Hikes.

The Commission will meet June 6th.

Amber Hikes offered the following statement:

“Given the profoundly complicated challenges our communities face, it is important that the members of our Commission work together in a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment. We cannot do this work when we alienate, insult, and publicly deride our fellow community members. While I respect that individuals at times disagree, I will never stand for anyone in this community consistently and viciously lashing out at others with prejudiced, bi-phobic, and educationally elitist attacks. Our work is too important and the stakes are too high.”

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