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Newsom’s revised budget includes $3M for LGBTQ+ teacher training

As state legislatures, governors across the country attack Transgender kids, Newsom prioritizes school protections for LGBTQ+ students

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California Governor Gavin Newsom (Blade file photo)

SACRAMENTO – As legislatures and governors in dozens of states across the country advance a record number of bills targeting transgender children, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a budget proposal on Friday that includes $3 million for the California Department of Education to develop an LGBTQ+ cultural competency training curriculum for public school teachers and staff.

The funding was requested by Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, and the request was supported by the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus.

The budget allocation is a significant victory for the LGBTQ+ community and for Equality California, which has long advocated for such training, arguing that it is critical to ensuring teachers have the tools and training to support LGBTQ+ students, who face lower school completion rates, higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation and higher rates of youth homelessness. As many as four out of 10 youth experiencing homelessness in California identify as LGBTQ+.

“We’re thrilled that the governor has prioritized giving our public school teachers and staff the tools and training they need to support LGBTQ+ students,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “While states across the country are attacking transgender kids, Governor Newsom is working to ensure every child has a safe, supportive school and a shot at success.”

The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers — the state’s two largest teachers unions — have strongly supported Equality California’s proposals to ensure public school teachers and staff have the tools and training they need to support LGBTQ+ students.

“Governor Newsom and Superintendent Thurmond have once again demonstrated their dedication to supporting LGBTQ+ students,” said California Federation fo Teachers President Jeff Freitas. “The proposed $3 million to fund the development of LGBTQ+ cultural competency trainings for educators and classified professionals will empower these school workers to have the tools they need to best support LGBTQ+ students.  As the president of CFT, as a math teacher, and as a board member of Equality California, I applaud this effort.”

In 2018, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond — then a member of the California Assembly — passed legislation sponsored by Equality California to require school districts to provide teachers and staff with LGBTQ+ cultural competency training, but the bill was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. The following year, then-Assemblymember Todd Gloria — who now serves as mayor of San Diego — authored similar legislation sponsored by Thurmond and Equality California, but the training mandate was ultimately stripped from the bill due to lack of funding.

GLSEN’s 2019 National School Climate Survey found that 52.4% of students reported that their teachers or other school staff made homophobic remarks, and 66.7% of students reported that their teachers or other school staff spoke negatively about students’ gender expression. These remarks pose a risk of immediate harm to students’ well-being. These statistics also suggest that students may be learning anti-LGBTQ+ language and perspectives from school personnel, perpetuating the societal cycle of anti-LGBTQ+ stigma that feeds the negative health, economic, and other disparities that LGBTQ+ people experience.

Beyond remarks, a staggering 86.3% of LGBTQ+ students experienced harassment or assault based on their sexual orientation, gender expression, or other personal characteristics. Over half (56.6%) of these LGBTQ+ students never reported the harassment or assault to school staff for a variety of reasons, including a fear of escalation, a belief that school staff would not effectively intervene, shame, the involvement of school staff in the harassment or assault, or other concerns. When students did report incidents, 60.5% of them said that staff did nothing.

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Politics

California Rep. Eric Swalwell on death threats from Tucker Carlson fans

“He does this because he knows that his followers will be inspired & radicalized & then aim their vitriol at whoever he is attacking”

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Los Angeles Blade file screenshot Fox News

WASHINGTON – Appearing on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, on Friday, U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell, (D) who represents California 15th which covers most of eastern Alameda County and part of central Contra Costa County, detailed the death and other threats he receives from fans of Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

We receive hundreds of threats. What was specific about this was the caller identified he had just been watching Tucker Carlson. Now, we get a lot of threats that come in as Tucker Carlson attacks me, but this person identified he had just heard from Tucker Carlson. He was now calling my office and then of course dropped a number of racist, sexist, homophobic epithets in the call, and then threatened to kill my entire family,” Swalwell said. “And what is so frustrating about this, Nicole, is that I have personally, eyeball to eyeball, asked Tucker Carlson not to lie about me on his show because of this effect.”

I’ve even in the last couple months sent a text message to him telling him when he lies about me on his show it results in death threats to me, my wife, and our family. And when he had people protesting outside his house just a couple years ago I went on Twitter despite not agreeing with almost anything he says and I said that that’s wrong to go to his house and terrify his wife in the way that that happened. But he does this because he knows that his followers will be inspired and radicalized and then aim their vitriol at whoever he is attacking that day,” the congressman added.

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Politics

Tucker Carlson: “Biden declared biological man is now a female admiral”

“And so you have to ask yourself, how long will it be before Joe Biden appoints his horse to the Supreme Court”

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LA Blade screenshot via Fox News

NEW YORK – In a diatribe delivered Thursday evening, Fox News and anti-LGBTQ celebrity Tucker Carlson called out the swearing in earlier this week of Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine as a commissioned officer in the uniform corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, (USPHS).

Levine, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services is now also in charge of the 6,000 uniformed personnel of the USPHS.

On his show last night Carlson said: “Behind the heavily guarded walls of the White House, everyone has gone crazy. Just this week the Biden administration declared that a biological man who wears a dress is now a female admiral.

“And then they sent that brave four-star female admiral out to deliver a speech that read like something out of a D-Day documentary.

“Come on. They’re daring you to sit there and not say this is ridiculous. But it is, sorry. It is ridiculous. Sorry, not playing along!

“But they don’t think it is. And so you have to ask yourself, how long will it be before Joe Biden appoints his horse to the Supreme Court?

“And when he inevitably does do that, you have to ask, how long will it be until CNN informs us, ‘This is a watershed moment for equine rights.’ Don’t you dare laugh. That would be a hate crime.”

Mediate has the video here.

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California Politics

Trans candidate endorsed for state senate by EQ California & Victory Fund

“A victory for Lisa will shatter a long-standing political barrier in California and will be a milestone moment for the state”

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Lisa Middleton (Blade file photo by Karen Ocamb)

PALM SPRINGS –  Equality California and LGBTQ Victory Fund jointly announced their endorsements of Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton in her race for California Senate District 28 Thursday.

The endorsements demonstrate an early commitment from the LGBTQ political community to elect Middleton, who would be the first out transgender state legislator in California history. In 2017, Middleton became the first out transgender person elected to a non-judicial position in California, when she won her race for Palm Springs City Council.

Only eight out transgender people have ever been elected to state legislatures in the United States. All are currently serving.

“Lisa Middleton is an accomplished leader who has made her region more inclusive, just and equitable,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “That’s why Equality California is thrilled to announce our early support for Lisa’s campaign for Senate. The 28th District needs Lisa’s courage, innovative thinking and unique ability to build coalitions in Sacramento, where she will be a trailblazing champion for full, lived equality while delivering critical resources to her community. We’re with Lisa 100 percent and look forward to helping her make history once again as California’s first transgender state legislator.”

“A victory for Lisa will shatter a long-standing political barrier in California and will be a milestone moment for the state and the country,” said Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Yet Lisa is not running for state senate to be a trailblazer. She is a passionate public servant who brings solutions-oriented optimism to challenges big and small – from filling potholes to healthcare access to climate change. Her constituents’ quality of life will always be the priority, but Lisa’s election will also inspire a new generation of trans leaders to follow in her footsteps.”

“I am deeply humbled and thrilled to receive the joint endorsements of Equality California and LGBTQ Victory Fund,” said Lisa Middleton. “Since launching my bid for State Senate, the profound, extensive support I’ve received from the LGBTQ community has been a tremendous honor and boost to my campaign. I remain committed to being a leader who helps to unify and proudly stands for respect, inclusion and opportunity and that my campaign can also show the transgender community that nothing is out of reach, and we can win at all levels of government. I look forward to hopefully partnering with both incredible organizations in Sacramento to continue being an unrelenting advocate for our community and fighting for full, lived equality.”

As Mayor Pro Tem and a member of the Palm Springs City Council, Middleton ensured PPE and vaccines were available to residents, led efforts on solar requirements for all new homes and worked to address inequities in the city – including the unique challenges LGBTQ+ seniors face.

Middleton’s primary will be held on June 7, 2022.

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