In San Francisco, We Replace Hate With Love

Image Courtesy of Aric Crabb

In San Francisco, LGBTQ Pride Week is a moment of great celebration. Every year we look forward to this momentous occasion, when we recognize the tremendous sacrifices of our LGBTQ members and reaffirm our collective commitment to fight for equal rights for all.

Outside of our City, however, there is a different story. There is a new wave of discrimination sweeping through this country, targeting members of the LGBTQ community.

In Texas, legislation attacking the bathroom rights of transgender individuals will be up for a vote in a special session next month. Like the discriminatory bill that was passed in 2015 in North Carolina, this legislation would unfairly prevent transgender individuals from using the bathroom of their choice.

At the national level, the Department of Education has rolled back civil rights protections for transgender students in public schools. A new crop of politicians, emboldened by the rhetoric coming from Washington, D.C., are attacking LGBTQ civil rights, calling for an end to same-sex adoptions while seeking to roll back equal protection laws.

We will not allow that happen. In the wake of this new animosity, San Francisco will continue to lead — to show that we are a Sanctuary City and safe haven for all people seeking refuge from persecution and discrimination.

That is why we are a founding member of the Mayors Against Discrimination (MAD), a bipartisan coalition of municipal leaders dedicated to securing nondiscrimination protections. And that is why we hired Theresa Sparks to act as the City’s Transgender Initiatives Advisor. San Francisco became the first place in the country to have such a post, and Theresa has been instrumental in hastening in policies that will protect our transgender community.

Following the announcement in February that the Department of Education would revoke federal protections for transgender students, we doubled down on our protections. San Francisco was the first city in the country to include safeguards for our transgender student body, and we will continue to foster a positive learning environment at our schools.

We are a city of trailblazing, fearless LGBTQ leaders. From Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, to Gilbert Baker, who created the iconic Rainbow Flag, to Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in the United States.

We have an obligation to uphold the convictions and beliefs of those courageous leaders. When we see hate rear its ugly head across the nation, we will replace it here with love.

During Pride Week, we will make this message clear. San Francisco is a place where people can find a better life. In this City you will always find support, goodwill and friendship, no matter who you are or where you come from.

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