The City of Stockton has taken a progressive step into equal representation at the governmental level. On August 26, the Stockton City Council unanimously passed a resolution appointing Councilmember Dyane Burgos Medina, a Bear Creek alumna, as the city’s official liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community of Stockton, meaning she will be the first official representative of the LGBT community in city history.
This achievement follows news over the summer that the Human Rights Campaign named Stockton as one of the top 30 LGBT friendly cities in the nation.
“I am excited at the opportunity to provide an ear to listen to any concerns and issues in our community in relation to the LGBT population as well as being their voice of advocacy,” Burgos Medina said. “I am proud to be a part of progress particularly in our conservative Central Valley.”
A long-time ally of the LGBT community, Burgos Medina, who graduated from BC in 2002, is a member of the Central Valley Stonewall Democratic Club, a local club that promotes and raises money for candidates for public office who are members of the LGBT community themselves or allies. She also has maintained a presence at the annual San Joaquin Pride Fest representing the council and doing outreach. In June 2013, the Councilmember declared the month to be the city’s LGBT Pride month. At last year’s Pride Prom she gave a stirring message of progress and acceptance to Stockton’s young LGBT community.
“I have also actively worked to improve Stockton’s employment practices to be more inclusive and have less risk of discrimination,” Burgos Medina said.
Burgos Medina’s goal as liaison is “to continue to put Stockton on the map as a place that is welcoming and friendly to the LGBT community. The Councilmember would like to see every high school in the city to establish Gay Straight Alliance clubs to “help support students who may feel isolated and alone.”
“I believe that the liaison’s goal in establishing Gay Straight Alliances in all Stockton schools is amazing, because it’s the next step into making schools not only aware of the LGBTQ community and their fight for equality, but also issues that face teens today,” Bear Creek GSA president Robert Wroten said. “GSA is not only for LGBTQ students, it is also for straight allies. The club here on campus is for support, education, and activism. The students in GSA want to effect change at the BC campus and educate others on issues that teens everywhere face and let people know that. they are not alone.”
The Bear Creek GSA club meets on Mondays after school in B05.
“I would like to see the city take an active role in promoting tourism and business with relation to our LGBT friendliness,” Burgos Medina said. “I would also like to see the City on the forefront of adopting progressive policies regarding couples that are in homosexual relationships, providing health care, and standing up for fair working conditions and labor practices.”
Liaison for only a few weeks, Burgos Medina has already used her position to call out an incidence of hate speech at a city council meeting on October 7. According to Roger Phillips, city hall blogger for The Record, Stockton Unified School District candidate Vincent Sayles, known for driving a pickup truck with anti-gay signs around the area, made “odious” remarks towards former councilmember and current state assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, a member of the LGBT community, tying her political success to “the downfall of western civilization” along with other general anti-LGBT comments.
Following Sayle’s comments, Burgos Medina asked the mayor, “At what point do we stop allowing something like that to be said?”
Despite this incident, Burgos Medina says she has faith in the “movement toward acceptance and inclusiveness” within the community. As a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Burgos Medina has seen firsthand “the power that is created when people are accepted and supported.” As the “big sister” of a young African American, Muslim girl who is a member of the LGBT community, she has witnessed the growth of this struggling girl into a courageous young woman and advocate of the local LGBT youth community.
“I think having these positive strides in our community will reduce bullying and create an atmosphere of acceptance that is healthy for all Stocktonians,” Burgos Medina said.