Saturday, May 18, 2024

Glendale school board meeting once again ground zero for dueling LGBTQ+ protests

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Pro- and anti-LGBTQ+ activists are expected to clash at the Glendale Unified School District office Tuesday for the final Board of Education meeting of the year, two weeks after demonstrations at the district office broke out in violence.

On June 6, three people were arrested after activists met near the district offices as the board voted to recognize June as Pride Month.

Among those protesting against LGBTQ+ issues were reportedly members of the white nationalist Proud Boys group and other right-wing activists.

Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly as the board meeting was being held, temporarily halting the proceedings.

The agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting contains no mention of LGBTQ+ issues.

But an anti-LGBTQ+ group that claims to represent parents of district students, GUSD Parents’ Voices, has urged its followers to attend Tuesday’s meeting and speak during the public comment portion “to protest for parents’ rights,” the group said on Twitter.

During the June 6 meeting, the majority of those speaking before the board were pro-LGBTQ+.

A pro-LGBTQ+ group, GUSD Parents for Public Schools, has voiced concerns over Tuesday’s planned protests.

“We are committed to ongoing, active participation and engagement in matters concerning our children’s education and the protection of our LGBTQ+ neighbors,” the group said in a statement. “However, it is equally important to prioritize safety for our families and the Glendale community as a whole when meetings are being used to generate dangerous street conflicts and social media disinformation.”

Dozens of people hoping to attend the last board meeting of the school year lined up outside the district headquarters more than an hour before the 5 p.m. start time, with groups of protesters and passersby scattered across the parking lot.

At least 30 Glendale police officers stood across the building’s parking lot monitoring the gathering groups. Wooden striped barriers and rolls of fluorescent crowd control wire were stacked in the center of the parking lot.

A Glendale man named Art, who refused to give his last name, said he had two elementary-school-age children in Glendale schools and had lived in the area for more than 20 years. He said he had nothing against LGBTQ+ people but did not like having the subject discussed in classrooms.

The Glendale Police Department issued a statement Tuesday that “unlawful conduct … including violence, will not be tolerated.”

Tuesday’s protest comes amid a flurry of demonstrations regarding LGBTQ+ issues and groups in the Los Angeles area.

On Friday, the main entrance to Dodger Stadium was briefly shut down as demonstrators protested the inclusion of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in pre-game festivities.

That event was attended by right-wing figures including Jack Posobiec, who previously peddled the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, according to footage on social media.

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