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    A First for Pride Month

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    I’ve never been prouder to hail from California. Our state has the largest LGBT population in the country and is home to more than 40 local pride celebrations, from San Francisco to Palm Springs. We have always unofficially observed the month of June as LGBT Pride Month. But this year, for the first time, California officially proclaimed June as LGBT Pride Month under a new state statute that I enthusiastically voted for last year. AB 2969, introduced by my colleague Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), now requires the sitting governor to make the declaration annually.

    I proudly supported this bill because it’s important to stand up for our values in light of what’s happening at the federal level against LGBT rights. From bans preventing transgender people from serving in the military to proposals allowing some adoption agencies to reject gay couples, the Trump Administration seems intent on erasing the progress we’ve made on equality. In fact, AB 2969 stemmed from President Trump’s refusal to make the same Pride Month decree at the federal level during his first two years in office.

    Governor Newsom, on the other hand, eagerly welcomed his duty under the new law. His recent proclamation of June as LGBT Pride Month is a reminder of how great California is. People here are encouraged to embrace who they are and whom they love. We’ve made strides in fighting discrimination, recognizing the accomplishments of the LGBT community and raising its visibility.

    I’m proud to have contributed to this culture by championing the nation’s most inclusive restroom access law, making all single-user restrooms in California businesses, government buildings and places of public accommodation universally accessible to all genders. There’s still more work to be done, but I’m committed to continuing the fight for equality.

    It’s also fitting that the first official declaration of LGBT Pride Month in 2019 coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, an event widely considered as the catalyst of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Officers violently hauled employees and patrons out, leading to six days of protests and clashes with law enforcement. This led to swift political organization and fueled the advances we see today.

    Let’s make a statement at this year’s San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30. Please join me in supporting equal rights and pushing back on efforts to roll back the progress we’ve made. With the current national climate, it is important now, more than ever, that we come together to celebrate diversity in our community.

    The parade route begins South of Market near the Embarcadero and proceeds down Market Street, ending at Civic Center. Afterwards, you are invited to a reception with light refreshments in my district office. For those who RSVP on my website ( https://bit.ly/2WUcoHq ), an exact meeting place prior to the start of the parade will be emailed to you. I hope to see you there!

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.