Los Angeles LGBT Center Responds to Anti-LGBTQ+ Extremism at Glendale School Board Meeting
LOS ANGELES, June 7, 2023— In response to the violent displays of anti-LGBTQ+ extremism at last night’s Glendale Unified school board meeting, Terra Russell-Slavin, the Chief Impact Officer of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, issued the following statement:
“I know the violence displayed by bad actors is going to be the headline from last night, but I want the people of Los Angeles to know better. The Center had multiple representatives at the Glendale Unified meeting, and they were pleased to report that Glendale parents and educators overwhelmingly showed up in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite the uproar happening outside of the meeting, the School Board was simply voting on whether or not GlendaleUnified should recognize June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. What should have been an amicable meeting—even if there was disagreement among some community members—turned into a shelter-in-place order that frightened participants. This is, of course, the goal of far-right extremists: They want us to be afraid.
Unfortunately, we have not seen our partners in the press do a diligent enough job about interrogating the anti-LGBTQ+ presence at last night’s meeting. Community organizers have identified some of the protesters as members of far-right and extremist groups. It’s imperative that we name these bad actors. The press also needs to do a better job at naming misinformation and false accusations, rather than giving unfettered airtime to people making bogus claims about LGBTQ+ education in schools.
The ongoing disinformation campaign planted by the far-right seeks to portray LGBTQ+ people and stories as ‘unsafe’ or ‘unfit’ for children. This anti-LGBTQ+ movement conflates anything LGBTQ+ with ‘sexual indoctrination.’ There are a couple of things we’d like to address here without giving fuel to this baseless rhetoric.
- Through Out for Safe Schools and our Youth Services program, the Center knows exactly why teaching LGBTQ+ history in school and having supportive policies and practices in place is so crucial. According to the CDC, measures like this help all students “experience less emotional distress, violence and harassment, and suicidal behaviors.” According to our friends at The Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. Destigmatizing LGBTQ+ identity and encouraging acceptance and nondiscrimination among students is a way for everyone to feel welcomed. But more importantly, it helps keep our young people safe.
- There is a difference between sex education and LGBTQ+ competent curriculum in schools. In the case of Glendale Unified, there are specific policies in place that allow any parent to review sexual education curriculum ahead of its implementation, and decide as to whether or not they should remove their child from those lessons.
The same far-right extremists that incited violence last night are part of a movement that seeks to: ban our books, rewrite facts about the legacy of racism and slavery in this country, criminalize our healthcare providers, and restrict our bodily autonomy. It’s time we call out these attempts for what they are: Fascism. Pride, on the other hand, is about freedom. The Los Angeles LGBT Center thanks Glendale Unified for standing by the safety and acceptance of our students and families.”
About the Los Angeles LGBT Center
Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed, and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center’s nearly 800 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society. Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org.