KINGSBURG, Calif. (KGPE) – At a meeting Wednesday, Kingsburg City Council heard a proposal from Councilmember Jewel Hurtado to proclaim the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, also recommending that a pride flag be flown outside Kingsburg City Hall during that month.
However, the proposal was met with resistance.
“I was truly shocked because I did not think that in 2021 an issue like this would be so controversial still,” said Hurtado.
Hundreds of people showed up – on both sides of the issue, resulting in more than four hours of public comment.
“Characterizing and dividing people by sexual orientation, skin color, or other omittable characteristics does not unite us. It divides us,” said one person.
“I don’t care what you do in your bedroom. I don’t care what you do in your home. I care what my kids are being force-fed in school, and force-fed that, just like people have said before when we ride down these streets and see all these different flags, I’m going to have to explain to my 10-year-old son what it stands for,” said another person during public comment.
“There was a transgender woman who called in, who works in the city somewhere I don’t know, and she was too afraid to say her name or where she worked because she was afraid of what might happen to her for her safety,” said Hurtado. “There was a 15-year-old queer child who called in, saying I do not feel comfortable at school, people are telling me to kill myself.”
The proposal was effectively shut down since no other council members agreed to bring it to a vote, but they did offer some other ideas to support the LGBTQ+ community in Kingsburg, like funding for counseling through local organizations.
The Fresno County Republican Party sent out an email the day before the meeting, encouraging its members to show up and share their opinions. The day after the proposal failed to go to a vote, they released a statement calling the decision “a victory for Kingsburg, a victory for the Central Valley and a victory for traditional values.”
“Kingsburg and other cities are being fed left-wing philosophy from San Francisco, and the Kingsburg people have stood up against that,” said Chair of Fresno County Republican Party Fred Vanderhoof. “But we don’t hate anybody, we don’t hate LGBT, but we’re really concerned that for them to want a parade or do a flag… well there’s other groups. What about heterosexuals?”