When we last left our story, “Hate in a small town“, the June LGBT Pride Month proclamation had been rescinded, the Mayor and Vice-Mayor were removed from their ceremonial offices and replaced by two of the cabal of three anti-gay council members, and the City of Porterville was a laughingstock in LGBT and mainstream media around the world. Tonight, Tuesday October 1, 2003, opens the next salvo in the battle for LGBT rights in the central California community of 56,000.
Tonight, the council considers a request for a proclamation for National Coming Out Day.
How do you think that’s going to go over?
The text of the proposed proclamation:
Whereas: National Coming Out Day on October 11 is celebrated internationally and in Porterville as a day of self-affirmation and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, by members of the LGBT community, their families, friends, and allies regardless of ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, political affiliation, profession, or socio-economic status.
Whereas: National Coming Out Day was founded in 1988 to celebrate the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights in 1987, in which 500,000 people marched on our Nation’s Capital to raise awareness of and garner support for the LGBT community.
Whereas: Coming out, which is public self-acknowledgement of belonging to the LGBT community, is recognized by many as a significant life experience.It is a turning point from concealing one’s identity to the fulfillment of being true to one’s self to claim dignity, empowerment, and self-respect, and to receiving the tolerance and support from others that is deserved by all.
Whereas: For students in Porterville, coming out can be particularly difficult in light of bullying and harassment occurring in schools and on social media platforms.
Whereas: Numerous studies show that inclusion of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) and LGBT-inclusive curricula in schools have positive and significant impacts in reducing homophobic remarks towards, and feelings of insecurity among LGBT students.
Whereas: There are many organizations working in Porterville, CA towards creating an accepting and supportive community for all Porterville residents including Gay Porterville, The Trevor Project, Porterville College Pride Club, Porterville Equality and Fairness for All Coalition, PFLAG Tulare-Kings.
Now, Therefore I, Cameron Hamilton, Mayor Of Porterville, on behalf of the Porterville City Council do hereby proclaim October 11, 2013, as
“National Coming Out Day” in recognition of the courage it takes to come out and respect for the diversity and dignity of all LGBT community members and employees of Porterville
The request was included in the consent calendar, but has already been pulled for individual consideration. That moves it to the end of the agenda, so it will be several hours before we know the outcome of this vote by the council.
Facebook reports by those there state only two people spoke against the proclamation, and about ten spoke in favor, but there is another open comment session before the council adjourns.
Stay tuned for updates as they come out of the Council Chambers.
Posted 7:55 pm, Pacific Time
UPDATE 9:10 pm, Pacific Time
Reports out of the Council Chambers say the request was denied, 3 – 1. No Coming Out Day proclamation for Porterville. Comments from various speakers to be posted as they are available.