By Brian Ratto
Friday, September 2, 2011 is a great day in LGBT history here in California. It was the day "Seth's Law" was passed and sent to Governor Jerry Brown's desk for his signature.
This law was Authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano,. The law is named in memory of Seth Walsh, a 13 year-old gay student from Tehachapi Calif. who took his life after years of anti-gay harassment in school.
AB 9 “Seth’s Law” will ensure that California schools have anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies that include actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, and religion or association with one or more of these groups.
The death of Seth Walsh was one of many LGBT youth suicides that happened in September 2010, prompting Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller to start the internet-based It Gets Better Project. The project has more than 220,000 videos on its YouTube.com page and has a stand alone website www.itgetsbetter.org.
Many people, from all walks of life, have submitted a video and the project continues to grow.
There have been countless attacks on LGBT students from the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard to the most recent killing of Larry King.
These events need to stop.
Since coming out at age 16, I have been subjected to slander and bashing but thankfully, never a physical attack. I cry every time I hear of another LGBT life lost due to someone’s ignorance and fear.
The lives we live are precious and we have the right to live it how we see fit without persecution.
The local clubs and organizations I am a part of have been making major strides in the progression of LGBT safety. Delta Pride, San Joaquin Delta College’s LGBT Club has recently been able to open a Pride Center, and is in the process of starting a Safe zone. There is also a group of people from all walks of life and organizations working together to get a San Joaquin County Pride Center up and running. San Joaquin County is one of the largest urban area’s without a Pride Center.
As part of my personal goal of being more active in the LGBT community I have been attending meetings of the Central Valley Stonewall Democrats Club and have been helping out promoting the SJ Pride Center.
The chance to make a difference in the world is very slim and if I can make one LGBT person feel that they are loved I am doing my job as an activist and as a gay man.