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LOCAL News :: Gender and Sexuality

Queers Drop Banners in Opposition to HB1727

Today, the education subcommittee in the Virginia General Assembly approved another hateful piece of legislation against the queer community (HB 1727 by a 5-3 vote), this time targeting queer youth. The intent of the legislation is clear: to deny queer youth access to desperately needed support groups in public schools such as Gay Straight Alliances (GSA's) by requiring parental consent to attend said support meetings.
Press Release

For Immediate Release

1/15/06



Banner Drop at Virginia General Assembly Meeting



Today, the education subcommittee in the Virginia General Assembly approved another hateful piece of legislation against the queer community (HB 1727 by a 5-3 vote), this time targeting queer youth. The intent of the legislation is clear: to deny queer youth access to desperately needed support groups in public schools such as Gay Straight Alliances (GSA's) by requiring parental consent to attend said support meetings. GSAs provide invaluable support to students who are coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity and they are especially important when children do not find this support at home. Alex Mason of the Washington DC based Family Policy Network, the organization championing this legislation, has admitted to the homophobic goals of the legislation saying publicly, "We think it's going to be really hard for most (GSA) clubs to get much of a participation factor because not many parents are going to want to allow their children to sit in front of a homosexual activist."



This type of legislation is inexcusable and targets the most vulnerable members of the queer community, youth, who cannot even voice their opinions through a vote. Thus it is up to the rest of our community to protect them.



During the subcommittee meeting only one person spoke in favor of the legislation, a member of Virginia's Family Foundation. Several queer youth from around the state spoke about the detrimental effects this legislation would have on GSAs and almost the entire room stood in opposition to the legislation. Despite the overwhelming opposition in the room, the legislation passed.



Such hateful legislation requires strong opposition. We feel the time for only lobbying and voting has ended. Our community must stand up and fight back against the bigots in the General Assembly who constantly vote against extending basic human dignity to queer people. This is why, after the subcommittee's homophobic vote, several queer activists dropped two banners. One read: "Virginia is for Haters. Queer Liberation Now" and the other read: "Free the Queers."



This event could not have occurred on a more appropriate day. Martin Luther King Jr. understood that traditional lobbying alone cannot be successful in the face of immense prejudice. Thus we should all take a lesson from him and live by his words: "When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."



Sincerely,



Queer Activists of Richmond, Virginia
 
 


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