Supervisors Peschong and Arnold oppose LGBTQ+ proclamation for being divisive
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Supervisors were again divided on Tuesday, June 20, regarding a proclamation declaring June 2023 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month in San Luis Obispo County. What was proposed on the consent agenda for approval was pulled for separate consideration by District 5 Supervisor Debbie Arnold.
Stacy Korsgaden came to the podium to introduce herself for public comment on the proclamation. She lives in Grover Beach with her partner and strongly opposed the proclamation calling it outdated and submitting to identity politics.
“It does not acknowledge our desire to be accepted not based on sexual orientation but by our contribution to society,” said Korsgaden. “If you should vote yes on this resolution, it encourages segregation. It separates us from decades of efforts, sacrifice, and successes we have made to be included.”
Referring to the proclamation as a call back to the 1980s, Korsgaden specifically pointed out the document’s phrase to grant LGBTQ+ the right to joy and success.
“I submit to you, Board of Supervisors, this list is and should be for everyone and not just the LGBTQ+ community,” said Korsgaden.
Arnold echoed Korsgaden, saying this is the second proclamation the board has seen within the last two meetings that she felt adds division to the community. During the June 6 meeting, Arnold voted against a proposed proclamation condemning racism. She and District 1 Supervisor John Peschong voted against the proclamation because of it singling out Templeton for a “White Pride” banner incident.
More on that meeting can be found here: atascaderonews.com/news/slo-county/county-supervisors-argue-over-resolution-condemning-racism
Arnold had presented her own proclamation for condemning racism which she felt was more inclusive, and mentioned that proclamation again at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re all Americans,” said Arnold. “We have become a much more inclusive society just by being good friends, neighbors, and community members.”
However, District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson strongly disagreed with Arnold.
“Those who would oppose this expression of tolerance and respect for our fellow community members are either unaware of history, or ignorant or willfully ignorant of the history that that community has experienced,” said Gibson, rebutting against Arnold.
He added, “I am proud for us bringing forward this expression of values, and I am proud to celebrate with the community it references.”
Before presentations, Arnold responded to Gibson’s comments.
“I value the LGBTQ+ community as spelled out in last week’s resolution,” she said. “It tried to be very inclusive, and we are all going to try to go forward working with each other as community members of this county and not as individual separated groups.”
In a repeat of the June 6 meeting, Arnold and Peschong both voted no on the proclamation as it stood. Supervisors Dawn Ortiz-Legg (District 3), Gibson, and Jimmy Paulding (District 4) voted to approve the Pride Month proclamation. SLO County Gala Pride and Diversity Center Executive Director Dusty Colyer-Worth and Content Creator Lola White-Sanborn were present to accept it.
During their acceptance, Colyer-Worth said that LGBTQ+ rights have not been covered by blanket human rights laws.
Referencing a comment made by Korsgaden, he said, “It [the resolution] is not taking us back to the ’80s in any way when we look at the fact that there is an unprecedented amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation nationwide … know that pride and the recognition an uplifting of LGBTQ+ people is needed now more than ever.”
White-Sanborn echoed Colyer-Worth’s sentiments and shared some of her experiences in SLO County.
“I am regularly stalked and harrassed for being queer,” said White-Sanborn. “Trucks have attempted to run me over. It is, therefore, difficult for me to believe that anyone who would seek to oppose such a proclamation has an [any] angle other than exclusion.”
Paulding then referenced the proclamation as a day going down in history for the Board of Supervisors, adding that the last Pride Month proclamation was made in 2011 by the board. He said he took “great issue” with Arnold’s earlier comments.
“Your community has been historically, not just represented, but historically marginalized,” said Paulding. “You and your fellow members in the community have been under attack, especially lately.”
In response to Paulding’s comments, Arnold thanked White-Sanborn and Colyer-Worth for being at the meeting.
“I hope you know, I meant it when I said we value everybody,” said Arnold. “I believe we are striving for the same thing, just a little different approach.”
The next Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, at 9 a.m.
Feature Image: SLO County Gala Pride and Diversity Center Executive Director Dusty Colyer-Worth and Content Creator Lola White-Sanborn take the podium to accept the SLO County Supervisors proclamation recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month during the board meeting on Tuesday, June 20. Screen Capture from SLO County Supervisors