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Santa Clara Hires Trans Manager

by Heather Cassell

Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, left, with Anthony Ross, the county's new transgender program manager at the Office of LGBTQ Affairs
Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, left, with Anthony Ross, the county's new transgender program manager at the Office of LGBTQ Affairs  (Source:Courtesy Supervisor Ken Yeager's office)

The Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs announced this week that Anthony Ross will be the manager of its new transgender program.

Ross, a queer transgender man, hopes to create programs to meet the needs of the trans community in Silicon Valley.

"I feel very aware of how unique this opportunity is and I'm just incredibly grateful to be a part of it," said Ross, 45. "I'm just super excited and can't wait to get started."

Ross' first day in the office will be March 26.

"There's a lot that the community needs," said Ross, listing support for the transgender community and their families at all ages and levels of transition; support and training for service providers, teachers, and peers; and bicultural and bilingual materials about transgender people.

As the transgender program manager, Ross will be responsible for not only creating and developing a countywide program for the transgender community, but also for determining the program's objectives, developing and implementing policies, advising key county leaders from the Board of Supervisors to task forces, and liaising with public and private entities concerning the transgender community, according to his job description.

Ross served as the program director for Outlet, an LGBT youth program of Adolescent Counseling Services in Redwood City, for the past decade. Prior to being promoted to the position in 2008, he held a variety of jobs at the organization since 2003.

"I'm excited to continue working with the community," he said. "I'm actually excited to bring the skills I learned from Outlet and then to gain more now that I'll be working with the whole community, not just the youth community."

Departing Outlet for his new position at the county's office dedicated to LGBTQ issues is a bittersweet moment, he told the Bay Area Reporter.

"I'm thrilled. It's bittersweet to leave Outlet because I just love the work there," said Ross. "It's been an amazing experience."

Philippe Rey, PsyD, executive director of Adolescent Counseling Services, praised Ross.

"I feel happy and proud for him, even after losing him after working 15 years at Outlet," said Rey, pointing out that Ross was a keen strategist and partner working at Outlet. "Most important, he cares about the community and the populations he serves. He is so dedicated.

"It's a huge gain for Santa Clara County's LGBTQ community," he added.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to create the LGBTQ affairs office in June 2015 at the urging of gay Supervisor Ken Yeager.

Last year the board designated $1 million for LGBT programs for Fiscal Year 2017-2018.

Yeager had sought the funding allocation, which included money to hire Ross' position, among other services. The county is the second local government entity in the nation, after San Francisco, to have an employee focused exclusively on the transgender community and its issues.

Ross' salary is $95,854.

"Having a program manager focused on the unique needs of the transgender community fills a much-needed gap in expertise for our county," Yeager said in a March 7 news release announcing Ross' hire. "I am thrilled that we have such a qualified individual filling this role. I have long admired Anthony's dedication and contributions to the community. I know he will be a great asset to the Office of LGBTQ Affairs."

Maribel Martinez, director of the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, could not be reached by press time.

Ross holds bachelor's and master's degrees in health education from State University of New York College at Cortland. The former East Coaster moved to California 16 years ago for its LGBTQ community and beaches.

"I wanted to move to a cool gay beach town, so I moved to Santa Cruz," said Ross, who lives there with his two dogs, Teddy and Emma. "I love it here. I love the beach."

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