LGBT Advocacy in Orange County
We are committed to garnering full equality for our family –the LGBT people. We fight against specific incidents of discrimination and work to create policy and support legislation that moves the LGBT agenda forward.
It probably won’t surprise anyone to hear our community is the #2 target of hate crimes in Orange County. A hate crime occurs when someone commits a crime against you solely because they believe you are a member of the LGBT community. If you believe you have been the victim of a hate crime, please contact us. We would also like to know if you have been the victim of a hate incident. A hate incident is a hateful act directed at you because you are LGBT, but the action is still legal. For example, it is completely legal for someone to call you a homophobic name, just as it is legal for someone to call a person a racist name. Hate speech is protected speech, but we still want to know about it. Law Enforcement agencies work with us to track hate incidents. Often, where there is a hate incident a hate crime isn’t far behind.
Please call us immediately if you have been the victim of either a crime or an incident. We have experts on staff who can work with you to report an incident, and help you navigate all the resources available to hate crimes victims.
At The Center OC, we recognize ourselves as part of a national family of LGBT centers; we know many of our family members live in states where one can still be fired based solely on one’s sexual orientation. The federal government has yet to pass legislation protecting LGBT people from all types of job place discrimination. In twenty nine states, it is still legal to fire someone because of their orientation and 32 states do not offer gender protection. Imagine someone telling you, “I don’t like lesbians/gays so you’re fired.” That’s still legal in most of the country. The Center OC is committed to fighting these laws until they no longer exist. We do this through national and state level collaborations and partnerships. We also work locally to fight discrimination.
We are here to help the many LGBT people who face workplace discrimination in conservative Orange County. If you feel you have been a victim of discrimination, please call us; you do not have to face the discrimination alone. The Center OC can advocate and fight on your behalf. Workplace discrimination can be difficult to prove. An employer can discriminate without being openly homophobic; perhaps you’ve been passed over for promotions, denied raises, or on an ongoing basis you are treated differently than your colleagues. Again, please call The Center OC. We will work with you if you want to approach your employee or we can refer you to LGBT attorneys who are experienced in discrimination cases.
California has one of the most extensive set of legal protections aimed at securing the rights of LGBT students. There are schools is the OC, however, that seem intent on ignoring those legal rights. The Orange County School Board is comprised of a majority of members who have opposed protections for LGBT students and are openly hostile toward AB1266, the law that establishes specific protections for transgender students and allows.
The Center OC Youth Program has strong presence in K-12 schools around the county and our “Safe Zone” program has been adopted by many schools. The “Safe Zone” program establishes rooms and sites on school campuses that teachers have pledged to keep free from bullying and any kind of discrimination. Still, there are schools that won’t protect the rights of LGBT students; some that deny Gay Straight Alliances to meet or use school notice boards. If this is happening at your school or your kids’ school, The Center OC has experts who can work with you to advocate for LGBT rights on your school campuses.
We do not do this work in isolation, and we know that just as our allies work to help secure LGBT rights, we must join them in their own struggles for equality. The Center OC works with social justice groups locally and across the state in an ongoing effort to expand the civil rights of those groups who are natural partners to the LGBT community: women’s groups, pro-choice groups, other civil rights groups, many organizations representing minority communities, and those who advocate for the rights of undocumented LGBT people.
Policy and Legislation
The most effective way to secure LGBT rights is to develop policy and secure legislation that supports and protects our rights. The Center maintains relationships with local and state level elected officials and other policy makers. In this work, we both advise policy makers on their work and we advocate for our own policy change.
Advocating for civil rights and the end to discrimination and bigotry is at the heart of our mission. It is work we will continue until all LGBT people are treated with dignity and equality under the law.
Do you need help?
If you need help, guidance, or counseling related to a hate crime, workplace discrimination, or educational environment, please contact us. We understand and respect your need for confidentiality. The form below does transmit an unsecure/unencrypted email to our staff.