Dear Pride Family,
All across San Diego County and California, we are experiencing a dramatic rise in anti-LGBTQ organizing at school boards, largely driven by a small but vocal and organized group of extremists. These local issues mirror what is happening all over the United States as part of a larger picture that illustrates that this isn’t just an assault on LGBTQ rights, it is a purposeful attack by the broader extremist movement targeting issues of race, women, immigrants, and democracy itself.
Banning LGBTQ books, Pride flags, and other visible LGBTQ safe space measures aren’t the only things being proposed and voted on. Recently, Grossmont Union High School abruptly ended an LGBTQ-inclusive mental health service contract with San Diego Youth Services. Just last week a federal judge blocked an Escondido Union School District policy that protects transgender youth, a move that could force educators to out their students in direct violation of California law. The lives and safety of our youth are at risk.
From San Diego to Santee, from Chula Vista to Carlsbad, our staff and volunteers have repeatedly joined forces with educators, parents, and students to counter these anti-LGBTQ policy attempts and extremist rhetoric at more than ten school districts across the county. While there are several new bills working their way through the California legislature to increase legal protections for our LGBTQ youth, we know this fight isn’t going away any time soon.
Anti-LGBTQ extremists are planning three ballot measures for 2024 that would directly harm transgender youth. We have to stay focused, engaged, and prepare for this fight.
Here is how San Diego Pride is helping and how you can get involved:
Policy & Practices: Learn from our LGBTQ+ Youth Standards of Care
Connection: Sign-up for Programs by and for LGBTQ Youth
Direct Action: Join our Advocacy Team here
Capacity Building: Register for the Youth Leadership Academy
Donate: Fund our youth programs
If you are ready to dive in to the fight and want to learn more, I highly recommend registering for this year’s Pride Youth Leadership Academy where we will bring together LGBTQ youth, parents/caregivers, and educators to learn about their rights, resources, and leadership skills so that we can all be our own best advocates in our schools and communities.
To our youth, parents, educators, and activists serving on the front lines of this fight right here and now, thank you. Your efforts are needed now more than ever. This work is hard and can take a heavy emotional toll. We are here to support you. We have fought and won these battles before, and we will do so again. My gratitude to each of you and we call our entire community together to ensure our LGBTQ youth have educational environments where each of them can Thrive!
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride
P.S. Please consider making a donation to help sustain these life-saving LGBTQ-youth programs.