An Open Letter from Orange County’s LGBTQ+ Community facilitated by the Lavender Democrats OC
To: Orange County Board of Supervisors Chair Donald Wagner Vice Chair Andrew Do, Supervisor Doug Chaffee, Supervisor Katrina Foley, Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento
We, the LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ Allied signers of this letter, write to condemn the June 6 vote in which Chair Donald Wagner, Vice Chair Andrew Do and Supervisor Doug Chaffee voted to mark Pride Month by passing an anti-LGBTQ+ policy which prevents the flying of the Pride Flag over county buildings.
We commend Supervisors Katrina Foley and Vicente Sarmiento for opposing this ill-advised and destructive policy, as well as for their steadfast support of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Pride movement that started with the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 and that is embodied in the Pride Flag is both a celebration of the progress LGBTQ+ people have made and our continuing demand for full and equal inclusion in society. That three of you would specifically move against those demands in the middle of Pride month is indicative of the historic discrimination toward LGBTQ+ people that is still pervasive at all levels of Orange County government.
We dedicate ourselves not only to reversing your new anti-Pride Flag policy but to building a broader, bipartisan and unassailable coalition that will fight for an Orange County that is just towards all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
In the face of your recent action, we remain proud, not cowed. We know that history and justice are on our side. Thus we extend to each of you the opportunity to work with the LGBTQ+ people, Allies, leaders and organizations that have signed this letter.
With resolve and determination
Stephanie Wade is transgender woman, the At-Large Board Member of the Lavender Democrats OC and a Board Member of the Equality California Institute. A former Marine Corps infantry officer, she works as a veterans museum supervisor, Chairs the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council and resides in Seal Beach where she is active in several local civic groups.
Paul Gonzales (he/him) is Co-Chair of the Lavender Democrats OC, a club dedicated to building LGBTQ+ political capital, as well as to engaging and mobilizing the LGBTQ+ and Ally Communities across Orange County. He works as an investment operations manager and resides in Santa Ana, where he is active in local politics and LGBTQ+ activism.
Lavender Democrats OC Board: Daniel Orea (Political Action), Sean Thomas (Treasurer), Jana Cupp (Fundraising), Paul Gonzales (Co-Chair), Justin Massey (Programs), Billie Joe Wright (Communications), Stephanie Wade (Member-At-Large), Bulmaro Vicente (Vice Chair), Isabella Rubio (Co-Chair), Denise Penn (Membership)
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