Pride and progress: Celebration and fight highlighted at South Bay LGBTQ+ events

Lauren Martinez Image
Friday, June 23, 2023
Celebration and fight highlighted at South Bay LGBTQ+ events
Pride and progress were themes at two events in downtown San Jose celebrating LGBTQ+ community members and organizations.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Pride and progress were themes at two events in downtown San Jose Thursday, celebrating LGBTQ+ community members and organizations.

LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Silicon Valley hosted an event at Splash in downtown San Jose.

WATCH: Here's how to watch 2023 San Francisco Pride Parade on ABC7

Jessa Walsh, president of the local chapter of Alliance, said they advocate for fair finances and housing.

"So it's really important to get the allies on our side and to give them an understanding of who we are as a community you know, how to work with us you know, what we like as consumers," Walsh said.

Here's how to watch 2023 San Francisco Pride Parade on ABC7

Alliance formed in 2020 as a needed voice in the industry.

"Gen Z, over 25% self-identify as LGBTQ+ nowadays so that's one in five - as real estate professionals our future consumers that identify as our community," Walsh said.

Walsh said living in Silicon Valley does not isolate them from discrimination.

The scene is set for one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world and one of San Francisco's most popular events of the year on Sunday.

"We were planning our one-year celebration for our chapter just last month and a balloon company denied service to us - they weren't comfortable putting together a package of rainbow balloons for our event and all we're fighting for is equal opportunity for housing in our communities," Walsh said.

Walsh introduced Silicon Valley native and State Assemblymember Evan Low to speak at the event. She said Pride month is both a celebration and a fight.

Low says he's fighting for rights on the state and national level.

"Over 400 pieces of legislation have been introduced that are anti-LGBTQ," Low said.

Low is now authoring a bill to repeal Proposition 8. If the Supreme Court were to overrule its marriage equality decisions, marriage rights for same-sex couples would be in jeopardy in California.

"Two justices sided that marriage equality will likely be next," Low said. "If that is the case, California's law on the books would reflect marriage equality being illegal. And that's why it's important we pass Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 to repeal Proposition 8 and enshrine constitutional protections for same-sex couples and interracial marriage in California."

Just downstairs, State Assemblymember Alex Lee hosted a Pride event.

MORE: SF Pride pushes back against attacks on LGBTQ+ rights ahead of weekend celebrations

Advocates and lawmakers united Thursday for the first-ever San Francisco Pride Human Rights Summit to continue the battle for LGBTQ+ rights.

"I think it's really important to small local events like this where we're recognizing seven incredible individuals and organizations," Lee said.

He said it's important all generations see that people in the LGBTQ+ community are in positions all over the place, and not in some kind of niche part of the community.

"California is the first state legislature to achieve 10% LGBTQ representation and I think in the next cycle, you're going to see the first trans legislature and even more representation - we're going to increase our numbers," Lee said.

Joshua Ta, a fair housing coordinator for Project Sentinel, said he feels appreciated being at this Pride event.

"Makes you feel like, yes I'm out and there are people fighting for my rights and making me feel visible," Ta said.


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