SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In response to mounting attacks on LGBTQ+ rights San Francisco Pride is hosting its first annual "Human Rights Summit" Thursday.
"In years past there might have been one state trying to pass a controversial anti-trans bill and now it's so many, many states," said Suzanne Ford, Executive Director of San Francisco Pride, referring to the nearly 500 bills currently being tracked by the ACLU taking aim at LGBTQ+ rights. "My phone was ringing off the hook about all this anti-queer legislation, especially anti-trans legislation and people wanted to know what we're going to do about it."
SF Pride is answering by bringing lawmakers and activists from across the country together at the Commonwealth Club of California.
"We wanted to concentrate the media attention on the issue in these red states, (and) mostly red states, and the problem they're facing in the community with hate," Ford said.
Montana's first transgender lawmaker, Zooey Zephyr, will be joining the conversation. She made national headlines earlier this year after being censured by the state's House of Representatives.
"We want everyone to get together in one room and hear what you need from us. You know we don't want to assume we know what they need in those states, so we want to get everyone together in one room and learn what we can do to help them," Ford said.
"The homophobia and transphobia we're seeing in government and community -- including in California -- is absolutely terrifying, and it really reminds us that we need to be organized and fight back," said California State Senator Scott Wiener.
Just this past weekend, protestors gathered outside a Drag Story Hour in Petaluma, and in LA there were protests outside Dodgers Stadium while the team honored the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In San Francisco a nonprofit serving LGTBQ+ youth for decades is also under threat.
"For the past 15 months, we've actually experienced three direct bomb threats," said Laura Lala-Chavez, executive director and president of LYRIC.
And, Ford says that's exactly why the summit is as important as ever.
"Human rights in the Bay Area -- you can't just take that for granted. We have issues here too, and we need to talk about those also," Ford said.
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