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    Celebrating Pride Month Together

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    As Pride events return to the Bay Area this month, LGBTQ+ allies will join community members in public celebrations of love, unity, and freedom. However, as we all know, the fight for social justice requires continuous efforts that go beyond this annual month of festivities. When corporations remove the Pride flags from their advertisements at the end of June, it is crucial for the public—allies, especially—to remember that the uplifting of the LGBTQ+ community cannot be isolated to this month.

    This is particularly pressing, given the organized campaigns across the country to attack the LGBTQ+ population and restrict the basic liberties of its members. From bills that outright prohibit classroom discussions of gender and sexuality, to hate groups who aim to do nothing but disturb LGBTQ+ community spaces and events, each occurrence is a harsh reminder of the reality in which we live in and the uphill battles that still lie ahead.

    While our national climate is disheartening, I feel an incredible amount of gratitude to our LGBTQ+ community organizers and activists. Not only are they putting together the myriad of Pride events we will enjoy this month, but they are foundational to our resistance against bigotry. When I attended the National AIDS Memorial Quilt Display on June 11, celebrating 35 years of their community quilt project, I was reminded again of how fortunate we are to have such dedicated and resilient advocates all around us. As a former board member of Equality California, the largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights group in the country, I can attest to how much I learn as an ally of this community through this type of work.

    However, in order to make even bigger strides towards equality, legislation and institutional support must progress in parallel with the work of activists on the ground. In my role as an Assemblymember and the Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I have worked hard to allocate state resources to ensure the wellness of the LGBTQ+ community, which has been marginalized and underserved by our public institutions for far too long.

    Several items in our recently passed Budget in the Legislature align with these equity goals. First, I am pleased to announce that $5 million will be going to healthcare and community organizations to improve services for LGBTQ+ foster youth, giving younger generations the care that they deserve. In addition, increased funding will enable the Office of School Health to create a new position dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives in our public schools.

    Additionally, a combined $49 million over the next three years will go towards outreach screenings and service linkages for syphilis and congenital syphilis through the End the Epidemics program. $8 million will also be allocated for hepatitis B.

    These vital investments are supported by the landmark legislation and funding we have seen in recent years. This includes my tax equality bill for same-sex couples, which was passed during my first year in the Legislature. In 2016, I also worked with several LGBTQ+ organizations to write my inclusive restroom access bill, which finally made single-gender facilities statewide inclusive to all gender identities. This year, my proposed Youth Bill of Rights would extend protections to prohibit discrimination again incarcerated youth on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, or HIV status.

    The successes we have gained together give me hope for the future, even when facing the vocal bigotry and “othering” we witness in our country. I am proud to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and grateful to community members who share with me their experiences, stories, and perspectives. The road to social justice is never-ending, but when we collaborate on community work and policy, we take a few steps closer. Happy Pride month to all, and I look forward to celebrating with you in this year’s parade.

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

    Published on June 23, 2022