Trustee Michael Vargas criticized as Elk Grove Unified adopts proclamation recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Elk Grove Unified School District Trustee Michael Vargas speaking in favor of
a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month. | 




After dozens of speakers at last night's meeting, the Elk Grove Unified School District unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. While most speakers supported the resolution, one of the Trustees was criticized for his advocacy of the proclamation. 

Opponents of the proclamation directed criticism at Trustee Michael Vargas, the school board's only openly Gay trustee. 

According to speaker Heide Moore (see video below), Vargas distributed a letter urging people to attend the meeting to support the proclamation. During her comments, Moore read the letter Vargas had reportedly distributed urging supporters to participate in the meeting and characterized it as divisive and mocking parental concerns.  

"Mr. Vargas' memo was extremely insulting to parents such as myself, who have valid concerns about sexual explicit content we have found in libraries," Moore said. 

Moore, a frequent speaker during school board meetings, has also urged the district to ban several books from school libraries. She has also pointedly criticized a student-organized drag queen show at Elk Grove's Pleasant Grove High School in March.  

Another person speaking to the board quoted the Bible (see video below) while using profanities to express his self-proclaimed frustration. Speaker Rick Atkinson said he would work to remove school board trustees and mocked the LGBTQ+ community and Vargas by calling his Marcus.

"Good for you 'Marcus' Vagas, who got the whole two-percent L G B T Q community to come out here," Atkinson said. 

Amplyifiy another grievance he had with the school district, Atkinson added, "And this is another promise, the people who voted for the comprehensive sex education health education will not see another term. I will do everything in my legal power to make sure of that." 

While Atkinson, Moore, and a few others expressed their grievances on the proclamation and other issues, overwhelmingly, speakers were in support and urged the school board to resist calls for book bans. Typical of the speakers in support was EGUSD teacher Laura Delight, who encouraged support of LGBTQ+ students and addressed critics of the proclamation. 

"To the detractors who are trying to take our district back[wards], will not flourish here," Delight said. "Our students are protected for who they are."

She added, "The best part - y'all can't change it."

After public comment concluded, Trusteee Michael Vargas opened the board's deliberation by noting this was the fourth year the proclamation had been issued. This year, however, he said there is an added emphasis on transgender and non-binary students.

"Our transgender kids, ur non-binary kids, are the focus of the attacks right now," Vargas said. "We need to do everything that we can to left them up and celebrate them and shower them with the love that they deserve."

Vargas vaguely addressed Moore's assertion when he thanked the large group of proclamation supporters who attended the meeting.

"I would love to take credit for all of you being here, but I do not recognize [visually] most of you," he said.

Vargas added that Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen (D - Elk Grove) and State Senator Angelique Ashby (D - Sacramento) supported the proclamation. In addition, during public comment, a field representative of Rep. Doris Matsui (D - Calif.) expressed her support for the proclamation and solidarity with the LGBQT+ community. 

During his comments, Trustee Carmine Forcina said he would support the proclamation but expressed displeasure with an unnamed colleague's behavior during the hearing. 

"Many issues are being politicized, and I saw that tonight at the dais here. As board members, we are not supposed to interact with the community during public comments, Forcina said. "And yet there were people up here tonight applauding comments that were being made. Shame on you."

In recent months the LGBTQ+ community and its transgender members, in particular, have been targeted with laws many have characterized as reactionary and repressive. Not only have some state legislative bodies moved to prevent gender-affirming medical care for minors, but increasingly, limits are being sought against adults seeking that type of care. 

 



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