Waldlaw Blog

Friday, October 19, 2007

When the Bay Area Seems More Like Kansas

Some of you may not know that I am Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Our Family Coalition (OFC), the Bay Area's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family organization. One of the cornerstones of OFC's work is our efforts to make sure that Bay Area schools are welcoming places for LGBT families with children, and that their curricula speak to our children's needs. As part of this effort, we put on two elementary school fairs each year -- one in San Francisco and one in the East Bay. At these fairs, LGBT parents can meet with other parents, teachers and elementary school administrators to learn how different schools are addressing the needs of LGBT families, and to get ideas about which school might be best for their own children. Last night was our annual East Bay school fair, hosted by Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, and much to our shock and horror their was a counter-demonstration outside. The demonstrators showed up at school pick-up time, when the elementary school children were getting picked up by their parents, carrying signs and placards with enticing slogans like "sodomy forum." They handed out flyers to teachers, parents and even some students that included the words "The perverts want your children!" At least one child went home to her parents with the question: "Mommy, are we perverts?!" This was in Oakland. In October, 2007. After our state legislature voted for the second time that lesbian and gay couples should be allowed to marry. With the issue of whether it is constitutional to limit marriage to different-sex couples pending before our state Supreme Court. This was in Oakland, in Alameda County, home to the largest per capita number of lesbian families in the state of California. This was a wake-up call for us at OFC, and for me personally. I am not naive. I know that there are still plenty of people out there who hate gay men and lesbians, who think we're wicked and immoral, and who aren't ashamed to say so. But I had actually thought that we were beyond the point, in the San Francisco Bay Area, where adults would think it was appropriate to hold protests at an elementary school in the name of morality. So, folks, here is my message of the day: If you, too, had thought that we had made enough progress that some of the work that organizations like OFC do might no longer be necessary, think again. And while you're thinking again, it would be great if you could take out your checkbook and make a contribution to OFC or one of the other wonderful Bay Area organizations working so hard to keep our children safe....


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