School board president blasts book bans in rousing address: ‘Fear is not our friend, love is’

LAUSD president Jackie Goldberg during a board committee meeting.

A Los Angeles school board president told attendees of a general meeting to “treat me like a decent human being because that’s how I treat you” in a powerful speech against book bans.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)’s openly lesbian president Jackie Goldberg made her feelings on anti-LGBTQ+ book bans abundantly clear during a board meeting on 7 June.

“I want to be very, very, very clear,” she said. “Nobody has to accept me, I’m not looking for your acceptance, but you better treat me the same way you treat everybody else.

“That’s how we live in this country. You don’t have to love me, you don’t have to like me, you can think I’m the devil incarnate, but you better treat me like a decent human being because that’s how I treat you, even though you don’t believe that I have the right to exist.”

The educator made the stirring speech amid a unanimously voted resolution affirming LGBTQ+ students at a time when legislatures across the US are attacking their rights.

Goldberg also heavily criticised proponents of LGBTQ+ book bans after protests of an optional Pride assembly on 3 June at Saticoy Elementary, which featured the reading of a book that includes the line: “Some children have two mommies or two daddies.”

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Goldberg shut down the homophobic criticisms, saying that she had been “confronting this issue my entire life”.

“I’ve been threatened, I have been harassed, I have been denied jobs because of who I am and who I love,” she continued.

Goldberg claimed that, while talking to the protestors of the assembly, she was told on a number of occasions that they had LGBTQ+ relatives and friends, which they allegedly claimed meant they couldn’t be homophobic.

She responded to that at the meet, with the word: “BS.”

“BS – you can be homophobic and have a gay friend, a gay neighbour, a gay son, a gay anything. Talk to all the gay kids that get thrown out of their own houses and onto the streets by parents who say, ‘I won’t have you in my house any longer’ and tell me that having a gay relative means you’re not homophobic.”

The entire speech made Goldberg emotional and was close to tears while she explained that her son had been harassed because he had two mums, but that her grandchildren weren’t, which she said was “progress”.

She then directly addressed those who falsely claim pro-LGBTQ+ activists are “groomers” and that LGBTQ+ books are “sexualising” education.

“I say this to all of you. Nobody in this district will sexualise any children in any classroom in any way shape or form,” she said.

“Those of you who believe that this might happen are allowed to read the curriculum materials, are invited into the assemblies with your children, and are invited not to have your children go to the assemblies.

“We don’t all have to agree. In fact, none of us all agree. But we are going to stand up and say to people shouting outside of a school and the media that when you broadcast this in the way that you did, you frightened LGBTQ+ kids and adults in every school in this district and in this city.”