Photo courtesy of Herm Tjioe
For the first time EVER, a city in California’s Central Valley declares June LGBT Pride month. Which city? Well, one might assume Fresno, but it was actually Visalia. Tonight almost 50 members of the Visalia area LGBTQ community and their allies, enjoyed this historic moment. This event, spearheaded by Jim Reeves, was a first of its kind and quite moving for the community in which it honors. I can only speak for myself, but, even though it is just a fancy piece of paper mounted on a plaque, the efforts behind it, the significance it invokes and the sheer respect, recognition and dignity it incites, makes it quite more than just that fancy piece of paper. A community came together tonight, with heads held a little higher. And although we know this step is FAR from where we need to be, I think it gives us the push to forge ahead with a hope of what IS possible for this area we call home.
The proclamation is pictured below and signed by all council members, the mayor and vice mayor. It reads as follows:
LGBT Pride Month
WHEREAS, June is LGBT Pride Month across the United States; and
WHEREAS, Visalia has a diverse LBGT community, which includes individuals from
all walks of life including doctors, lawyers, police officers, nurses, construction workers,
professionals of all types, teachers, and religious leaders; and
WHEREAS, the LGBT community in Visalia has organized workshops, festivals,
sporting events, dinners, and other activities to celebrate Pride throughout the year; and
WHEREAS, LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their
straight peers, and more than 1/3 of LGBT youths have attempted suicide and nine out
of ten LGBT youths report harassment at school, and three-fifths report feeling unsafe at
WHEREAS, High School students in Visalia have organized Gay-Straight Alliances to
fight bullying, provide support, and encourage education to combat homophobia; and
WHEREAS, being “out” is the most important action members of the LGBT community
can engage in to provide role models, and support to young people who may be struggling
with their sexual orientation.
NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Visalia does hereby proclaim June
2012 as LGBT Pride Month in the City of Visalia and commend the LGBT Community
for helping to raise awareness in our community.
Photo courtesy of Herm Tjioe
This story was even picked up by the Fresno Bee. You can read their article HERE. I’m not even sure if our own newspaper bothered to cover the story. See, with every step forward there is sometimes a step sideways.
Thanks again to Jim Reeves for making it possible. Thank you to the City of Visalia Council members for honoring my community tonight. And thank you to my community for your show of support and your smiling faces. It is always such a great reminder of why we do what we do and why we need to keep on doing it!
I know this can and will all change with the blink of an eye, but for now, as I head to bed tonight, I am proud to be a Visalian.