Last week, San Antonio City Councilmember Elisa Chan found herself in hot water due to comments she made expressing her views on homosexuality while unknowingly being recorded by a now former staffer during a meeting discussing a nondiscrimination ordinance, including her belief that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt and that homosexuality was not natural.
Unfortunately, this kind of story is not unprecedented. In February, Vietnamese LGBT organizations were barred from marching during Orange County’s largest Lunar New Year celebration. They had marched the three previous years when local government organized the parade, but when the parade was shifted to a private organizer to save money, the LGBT groups were denied entry.
Events like these illustrate the need for continued vocal and active support of the LGBT community. With recent electoral victories, it’s easy to think that everything is now fine and equal. But whether it’s a disparaging comment from a public official or discrimination at public events, it’s obvious that our society is not just quite there yet.
Luckily, there are bright spots in the community. In Washington, Referendum 74 passed with overwhelming support from the APA community, including endorsements from OneAmerica, ACRS, the JACL, InterIm, OCA, and many prominent community members. In Garden Grove, Orange County — one of the most ethnically Vietnamese cities in the country — the school board refused the use of district buses and drivers for the event. There, School Board Trustee Bao Nguyen made an impassioned speech, convincing three of the four other trustees on the mostly Republican board to support the LGBT community.
It’s through constant activism, adovacy, and education that we can create a more harmonious society.
As for Elisa Chan, she has acknowledged that her comments might be offensive to some at a press conference full of her supporters, but she has refused to apologize and says her comments are free speech. She’s right, they are. But the criticism she faces is also free speech, and hopefully, with time, she realizes how hurtful and wrong she is. (end)