The Bay Area is ground zero for expanding protections for the LGBT community. California may be one of the first states to legalize same sex marriage, but many of us would be surprised to find out that our state tops the list for reported hate crimes each year.
Disgracefully, anti-LGBT sentiment still runs too high. We need to do more to create an atmosphere of zero tolerance: policies that stop harassment and bullying in our schools, expand protections at work, and provide real support for alternative families that reside in Oakland.
Dan Siegel has fought for LGBT rights since 1969, when as student body president he insisted that space be made available for an LGBT group in the UC Berkeley Student Union. As an attorney he has continued to fight employment discrimination against LGBT people.
The Bay Area is ground zero for expanding protections for the LGBT community. The city has to be a pro-active advocate in ways that make a difference in people’s lives.
As a city, we can turn the corner on anti-gay and anti-trans bigotry by enacting a local anti-harassment law that protects the LGBT community from mistreatment in our school facilities, at the workplace, in the housing process, and in our streets and other places of public accommodation.
“Alternative” families deserve respect from all of us. Dan Siegel believes we ought to celebrate the diversity of LGBT families by promoting foster care opportunities and adoption for same-sex households. As many studies have shown, LGBT parents make excellent role models for our children who need to be in loving families.
Finally, we need to do more to prevent hate crimes and bullying and to expand and support the LGBT community, including housing and support services for people with HIV, extending benefits to same sex partners. The city has to be a pro-active advocate in ways that make a difference in people’s lives.