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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Davis City Council officially recognizes June as Pride Month, sparking debate

City council passed an item that would officially denote June as Pride Month at May 26 meeting

 

By HANNAH SCHRADER  city@theaggie.org

 

Content Warning: this article contains discussions of transphobia.

 

On May 26, the Davis City Council met to address both the new agenda items and the previously scheduled agenda items that were rescheduled in order to prioritize the investigation into the recent stabbings. One of the items on the agenda was to pass an item to officially recognize June as Pride Month in Davis, which sparked controversy during the public opinion section of the meeting.

A Davis resident talked about their trans identity and the importance of supporting LGBTQIA+ youth in Davis during the public comment section. 

“If I had never come out of the closet as a trans boy, I would have been dead by last year,” the speaker said. “I understand that some of you are here due to the misconception that we are predators and we sexualize everything that moves, but I’m here to tell you that sickens us to the bone, we are sad that you think that. Queer people have simply existed and love who they love, and you feel threatened? I personally have witnessed the community be nothing but gentle and caring to kids.”

Another concerned Davis resident, who said they spoke on behalf of a friend during the public comment section, criticized the city’s recognition of Pride Month and involvement with the Davis Phoenix Coalition (DPC). 

“Who has given the Davis Phoenix Coalition the authority to sexually emancipate a minor child?” the resident said. “If any adult or teen in attendance [of the Davis pride event] is possibly sexually aroused during the drag show, resulting in a sexual assault of a minor or adult, are there legal implications for the sponsors of this event?”

The DPC is an organization that aims to eliminate intolerance through the cultivation of a more accepting environment and provide Davis with more resources for the LGBTQIA+ community. The director of Yolo Rainbow Families (a DPC program), Anoosh Jorjorian, who also spoke during the recent city council meeting, talked about the tension in Davis surrounding LGBTQIA+ rights at the moment and pointed to Yolo County Moms for Liberty, the group Jorjorian believes is responsible for many anti-trans protests in Davis. 

“So the group that currently is using the Moms for Liberty banner, […] we first found out about them in December at one of the board of education meetings,” Jorjorian said. “But it seems like they’ve settled on Moms for Liberty as the organization that, you know, they’re using that umbrella to advance their anti-trans policies.”

Jorjorian discussed the opposition the DPC has received lately amid the ongoing wave of anti-trans rhetoric around the country. 

“We certainly have this national movement against trans rights,” Jorjorian said. “There have been several articles that have come out about how the GOP selected trans rights as the issue, as […] what are the main issues that they would be targeting for the 2024 election. So this is a very top-down strategic movement that dovetails with a kind of national GOP agenda.”

The DPC’s presence at the most recent city council meeting was also accredited to showing up for council member Gloria Partida, who is also the chair of the Davis Phoenix Coalition.

“[The DPC has] been focusing a lot of our actions on the school board meetings because that is, you know, where policy about children is decided and things like that,” Jorjorian said. “But poor Gloria had been targeted during these city council meetings for months.”

During the public comment section of the meeting, another resident spoke critically about the announcement and criticized the DPC for their support of trans youth in the community. 

“Why is the Davis Phoenix Coalition, an organization founded to counter bigotry toward the lesbian-gay community, completely oblivious to the profound homophobia underpinning gender ideology?” the resident said. “Why are they ignoring the systematic sterilization of gender nonconforming children, who if left to develop naturally, would likely grow up to be happy, healthy homosexuals?”

A young trans kid came up to speak during the public comment, with their parent by their side, to thank the city for its support for the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“I’m mostly here to say keep supporting us and thank you for all the support Davis has given us,” the speaker said. 

Their parent followed and talked about their experience in Davis. 

“I wanted to say thank you for declaring [June as] Pride Month,” their parent said. “I remember back in the ‘90s this being the place where I felt safe enough to explore and come out and [Davis] being a great place to raise a kid [because] it’s a safe and supportive community.”

Jorjorian was also at the city council meeting and talked about the DPC and the hate they are working to eliminate in Davis. 

“We were founded on an anti-gay hate crime,” Jorjorian said. “Therefore, our mission has been to stand up for the marginalized, to end hate in Davis and in our region and to bring marginalized voices forward. We would really prefer to not to have to keep coming to these forums, to say that hate is wrong and that discriminating against any community in Davis is wrong and that hate is not an opinion: it is a position that people take. People claim they are ‘progressive liberals’ and they support the LGBTQIA+ community, [but] when they partner with right-wing media, when they dox our members, when they take photos of trans members of our community and put it public on Twitter with an anti-trans slur — that is hate.”

 

Written by: Hannah Schrader  city@theaggie.org