Thereâ€™s a new attack on LGBT rights in California. We need your help to defeat it.
Weâ€™re sponsoring a bill, called the FAIR Education Act (SB 48, authored by Senator Mark Leno), that would ensure that all students learn in school about the contributions LGBT people have made to the history of California and the U.S. The Act would also prohibit discriminatory instruction against LGBT people from being included in the classroom. It will make our classrooms a fairer, safer place for LGBT and all youth.
This week when we were at the billâ€™s first committee hearing, anti-LGBT activists pulled out all the stops. They organized about 40 opponents of the bill to testify. These opponents argued that we shouldnâ€™t teach about Harvey Milk in our schools because being gay had nothing to do with his success or his assassination. They contended that homosexuality is an abnormal medical condition. And one opponent referred to a transgender member of the community as a â€œso-called man.â€ It was beyond shocking.
We have to mobilize a whole host of fair-minded and intelligent people to testify in support of SB 48 at the next hearing. We also have to build upon the supportÂ of the California Teachers Association and the manyÂ other organizations and individuals who are already behind this bill. We have to help legislators connect with the billâ€™s goals, reach out through the media and online, and more. Please help us do this important work and advance LGBT rights across California.
Research shows that when students learn about LGBT people and the issues that affect us, the rate of bullying drops by 50 percent. When LGBT youth grow up in safe environments, they become confident and strong, and they are much less likely to succumb to depression or even suicide. SB 48 can save lives, if it passes.
P.S. I testified in support of SB 48, as did Carolyn Laub of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, also a sponsor of the bill. Our calls for fairness helped us win this vote, but the next one will be tougher.