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LGBT Activists Shift Blame for Their Own Bad Actions

Dear Editor,

Eight years ago a group of LGBT activists worked to get an anti-bully lesson, Lesson 9, inserted into the Alameda school district curriculum. The sole Latina on Alameda’s school board, Trish Spencer who is now our mayor, was supportive of the idea and spoke about having been bullied in school because of her ethnicity. Unfortunately, the LGBT leadership insisted Lesson 9 only apply to the LGBT community. This was their non-negotiable demand.

The LGBT leadership had arrived at this unfortunate strategy without any input from the LGBT community at large. The organization they formed to support Lesson 9 was run by a steering committee which met in secret. No one other than the self-appointed leaders were allowed to attend steering committee meetings. It was even impossible to get a complete list of steering committee members. Since they did not want any input from their own community, why would they be willing to have any meaningful discussions with anyone else? Compromise was not in their vocabulary.

Ms. Spencer wanted a broader application of Lesson 9 to include racial and religious minorities and the disabled. Unfortunately, meaningful discussion and compromise with the LGBT leadership was off the table. In the face of this stone wall Ms. Spencer stood her ground. Then all hell broke loose. Homophobic crazies came out of the woodwork to oppose Lesson 9 and an issue which could easily have won unanimous school board support caused a tremendous amount of hurt in our community. Ms. Spencer tried diplomacy but the LGBT leadership saw nothing to discuss. Instead they falsely vilified her as a homophobe. Eight years later, Mayor Spencer is still wrongfully vilified by these activists. Thankfully, a majority of the LGBT community has moved on. Those who have observed Mayor Spencer’s words and actions know her to be a friend of the LGBT community. However, those who still cling to the ugly mythology about our mayor have never publicly recognized their responsibility in this debacle.

Another aspect which has never been publicly discussed before is that the self-appointed leadership was almost entirely white. The fact that they chose not to compromise or even, in any authentic way, discuss compromise with the school board’s sole Latina, a victim of bullying herself, can only be identified as racism. These self-same activists are still trying to bully the mayor and blame her for their own failings. This is both racism and, ironically, bullying.

— Leland Traiman, LGBT activist for 47 years, the author of several pieces of pro-LGBT legislation, former coordinator of the Berkley Gay Men’s Health Collective and ran an LGBT fertility service for 20 years.

2 comments to LGBT Activists Shift Blame for Their Own Bad Actions

  • carol

    Thank you, Leland! Well said! [interesting how some people who point out the speck in their neighbor’s eye never notice the 2-by-4 in their own.]

  • Barbara Thomas

    Unfortunately politics today has devolved into people today picking a “special interest” and supporting people that cater to that “special interest”. This is a detriment to those not blindly loyal to a particular message and the population in general.

    Thank goodness that Mayor Spencer has the foresight to understand that teaching something for one group only – does not bode well for equal treatment for all. Ultimately ‘special interests” are merely another form of discrimination. Mayor Spencer has shown herself to be a leader, not a politician.