“This is what is at stake: the safety and well-being of our students and teachers,” said Joey Espinoza-Hernandez, Director of Policy & Community Building
On Thursday, the Los Angeles LGBT Center participated in a joint press conference in Glendale to speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and the rise of extremist attacks targeting LGBTQ+ students and teachers in public schools.
The press conference follows outbursts of anti-LGBTQ+ violence at a recent school board meeting in Glendale, which was targeted by right-wing extremists and out-of-state agitators over a vote to recognize Pride month in the district. In recent months, anti-LGBTQ+ forces have continued to target the district ahead of the school board elections in March.
The Center was joined by the Glendale Teachers Association and the National Union of Healthcare Workers, as well as a coalition of politicians, educators, and community leaders who shared first-hand accounts of the safety issues affecting LGBTQ+ students throughout the Glendale Unified School District.
Joey Espinoza-Hernandez, the Center’s Director of Policy & Community Building, spoke at the press conference, condemning the more than 180 anti-trans bills introduced across the country so far this year and rising rate of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in LA County.
“We’ve seen right-wing extremists show-up at school board meetings, spewing hateful rhetoric, doxing teachers, and creating division in our community,” Espinoza-Hernandez said. “This is what is at stake: the safety and well-being of our students and teachers, especially transgender students.”
A recent report by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations found that hate crimes have more than doubled in LA County over the last decade, with a growing share related to gender and sexual orientation. 2022 saw a record high number of hate crimes targeting transgender people, with almost all of them being violent crimes.
“We are fighting back at the local, state, and national level, including on-the-ground here in Glendale, to push back against this anti-trans rhetoric threatening our community,” Espinoza-Hernandez said, encouraging Glendale residents to vote in the upcoming school board elections on March 5. “We can’t stress this enough, the outcomes of the school board elections will have tremendous consequences on the future of Glendale schools, students, and teachers for years to come.”
“Extremists who want to undermine public education are targeting the educators, students, and families of the Glendale Unified School District,” said Taline Arsenian, president of the Glendale Teachers Association. “Everyone who values a diverse and inclusive community must respond to this coordinated effort. We are grateful to partner with the NUHW and other community members to speak against the purposeful intimidation of educators and healthcare workers who are only trying to serve their students and patients.”
The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s OUT for Safe Schools program transforms school campuses into communities of support and safety for LGBTQ+ students. Learn more at https://schools.lalgbtcenter.org/