Fresno

After Pride flag, abortion rows, is Fresno set for another ceremonial blow-up?

Is the next great blow-up about to happen at Fresno City Hall? 

Aside from arguments made by Councilman Garry Bredefeld over his colleagues’ use of their district funds for personal matters, another topic could cause controversy at Fresno’s “spaceship” this week. 

Thursday, Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria is scheduled to present the ceremonial proclamation for International Transgender Day of Visibility. 

Per the proclamation, the city will officially proclaim Thursday as Transgender Day of Visibility 2022. 

The proclamation says that the International Transgender Day of Visibility intends to bring attention to the accomplishments of transgender people by sharing knowledge regarding the community and “fighting cissexism.” 

“Transgender Day of Visibility is a time to highlight transgender and non-binary pride and authenticity. Speaking out, taking direct action, and educating others is critical to transgender and non-binary individual’s safety and well-being, especially for our youth. We must protect transgender and non-binary children and families from hateful, anti-trans laws aimed to cause severe harm and danger to these individuals and their support systems,” the proclamation reads. “Our fight for transgender rights and equality continues in our nation and around the world. This is a day to recognize that while visibility is important, we must also take action against transphobia. We acknowledge that visibility with action is a vital tool towards justice and transgender liberation.” 

The proclamation continues: “[T]he City of Fresno recognizes that its entire diverse population should have equal rights and opposes any oppression and discrimination which diminishes the quality of life for any City of Fresno resident or visitor, including those in its transgender and gender non-conforming community. It is the duty of all of Fresno to advocate for those who experience hardship as a result of discrimination and inequity. It is only through a community’s unity that we can we [sic] overcome injustice towards all groups of people.” 

Last summer saw Mayor Jerry Dyer go head-to-head with the council over flying the Gay Pride flag at City Hall.

The mayor was initially adamantly against flying the rainbow flag at City Hall, but he ultimately capitulated in a tearful press conference surrounded by leaders in Fresno’s LGBT community. 

That saga drew on for weeks and dominated Fresno’s news cycle over other city governance issues. 

In February, another ceremonial spat emerged at Fresno’s City Hall but did not make its way onto the dais. 

Twice, Soria and Councilman Miguel Arias placed an item on the council’s agenda that would declare Fresno a “defender of reproductive freedom.” 

Both times, however, they pulled the item before the meetings and never brought it back. 

In response, Dyer and Bredefeld organized a pro-life rally with some of Fresno’s religious leaders to oppose the attempts to make Fresno officially a pro-abortion city. 

With tensions already running high over the city credit cards issued to the council, Transgender Day of Visibility could be the latest item to ignite the powder keg that is Fresno City Hall.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.