City to proclaim June 2013 LGBT Pride Month in Visalia 5/29/13

1st LGBT Pride Month Proclamation, Visalia, June 2012

At it’s next meeting, June 3,  the City Council will issue a proclamation declaring June as LGBT Pride Month in Visalia for 2013.

This will be the second such proclamation by the City, the first occurring last year in June.  (June is traditionally the international Gay Pride month) Visalia is the first City or County government in the Central Valley to recognize it’s LGBT community with a Pride Month Proclamation.  Last year’s proclamation was reported at our national blog, (of which I am Vice-President).

Much progress in LGBT equality has occurred since last year’s historic first proclamation.  Several more states have enacted marriage equality laws, bringing the current total to 13, and the District of Columbia, as have several foreign nations.  The Boy Scouts of America recently voted to remove sexual orientation as a status to preclude membership for those under 18, but maintain a ban on gay Scout leaders.  Public polling shows an increasing support for LGBT rights across all demographics, and public figures in politics, sports, and entertainment continue to step out of the closet.  June will see Supreme Court rulings on two major LGBT related cases, Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Much progress still needs to be made, however.  Recent attacks, at least one of which was fatal, have occurred against gay men in New York City.  Random violence still plagues the LGBT community around the United States and the world.  Riots in France and Russia against LGBT communities continue.  Recent news in the LGBT media highlight elderly couples who have been together for decades having their wills, powers of attorney, and other wishes ignored by family, and common assets seized by the family of a deceased or incapacitated individual, leaving the surviving partner destitute.  The struggle to ensure equality is motivated by incidents such as these.

By standing up and recognizing the LGBT community here in Visalia, the City Council expresses the firm conviction that the city supports equality and respect towards all of it’s citizens.

Visalia has a vibrant and active LGBT community.  Organizations such as Visalia Pride Lions (the second LGBT Lions group in the nation), Tulare-Kings PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the Skittles softball team, the Tuesday Evening Dining Group, the Tulare County Outreach Potluck, and various other informal organizations all add to the quality of life for gay Visalians.

All of us in the LGBT community, and the wider community of friends and allies, thank the Visalia City Council for once again recognizing June as Pride Month.

As with so many things, Visalia truly is the “Jewel of the Valley”, and continues it’s leadership and vision for the future.

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