It’s not often that I throw down a challenge to elected officials asking them to take a strong stand against the bigotry of some of their constituents. Today brings one of those exceptions. I had hoped that the organizers of the 2013 Tet Parade in Westminster would recognize diversity and not exclude the Partnership of Viet LGBT Organizations from participation in the 2013 Tet Parade.
Since 2010, the group has respectfully represented the LGBT community that is part of the Vietnamese community in Orange County. In 2010, when participating groups initially threatened to pull out of the parade if the LGBT contingent was allowed to participate, the bigots threatened to pull out of the parade. That same rationale is being used as a reason to exclude the Partnership of Viet LGBT Organizations this year.
The Orange County Register reported yesterday:
Organizers suggested to the LGBT representatives that they host their own parade on the same day but not be a part of the greater event, which annually draws about 10,000 people.
“They said that if we participate, other groups will pull out,” said Tuan Trong Le, a Rowland Heights resident and co-founder of the Gay Vietnamese Alliance.
“They deny our human rights, which they’ve been fighting for all these years. What about us? We’re not humans?” Le said, as other supporters held a giant rainbow banner representative of the gay community.
This has been a standard used by groups throughout history to deny participation by LGBT community groups in public events involving the public at -large. Well isf thy are so concerned about bigoted groups pulling out of their parade, maybe it’s time for elected officials to issue the same ultimatum. Many elected officials in Orange County, both Republican and Democrat, oppose discrimination in all its forms, including LGBT discrimination.
So here is my challenge. Elected officials, many who have participated in this community event for years, should notify the parade organizing committee that they cannot support discrimination against the rights of communities recognized as minority and oppressed groups in the state of California. Therefore, if the LGBT contingent, represented by the Partnership of Viet LGBT Organizations, is not allowed to fully participate in this years parade, they will not be participating as well.
Bigotry cannot be tolerated in our civilized society. Our elected officials must take a stand against bigotry, particularly when their participation in and event delivers tacit support of such bigotry.