Santa Clara County First Nationwide to Open Office of LGBTQ Affairs

Santa Clara County this week became the first in the nation to open an office of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer affairs.

While other jurisdictions employ liaisons and advisory commissioners from the gay community—namely Washington DC and the city of Philadelphia—no other county or state has a dedicated office for LGBTQ residents.

“I am proud to say that Santa Clara County is now the first county in the nation with an office exclusively dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, the county’s first openly gay elected official.

The Office of LGBTQ Affairs will model itself after the county’s efforts serving women, veterans, immigrants and ethnic minorities. Primary functions of the new office will include training county staff and community stakeholders on LGBTQ issues, guiding county departments, identifying gaps in service and fostering dialogue.

“While our country and this county have come a long way in recent years, it is clear we can be doing more to serve LGBTQ individuals and ensure improved outcomes for this community,” Yeager said. “I am confidence that the Office of LGBTQ Affairs will get us closer to that end.”

The county will staff the department with two full-time workers: Manager Maribel Martinez and Management Analyst Ashley Scarborough.

Martinez has worked for the past eight years as director of the Associated Students César Chavez Community Action Center at San Jose State University. Under her lead, the center launched youth mentoring programs, a community garden and tackled issues including poverty and homelessness.

“Access to resources and a responsive government are essential to the longevity and well-being of LGBTQ communities, especially those whose identities intersect multiple areas of marginality,” Martinez said. “We can look to Santa Clara County and its leaders as trailblazers for inclusive justice.”

Before accepting her position for the county, Scarborough worked for the California STD/HIV Prevention Training Center in Oakland. Both Martinez and Scarborough start in their new roles on Jan. 19.

7 Comments

  1. Very appropriate coming from a government long crippled by queer values and priorities. How long before these elected J-off’s extend their hand (or reach around) to accommodate compulsive masturbators?

  2. Maybe they should be first to open an office of “Terrorist Affairs”, I hear that’s an up and coming thing too!

  3. Normal Citizen,

    What standard is it that makes you normal? Is it your sexual preference, physical stature, sociopolitical values, lack of physical or mental handicaps? Your choosing to brand yourself as normal reveals you as someone who sees others as either normal or abnormal. Because I have no way of knowing the criteria you use in making normal/abnormal distinctions, I can’t tell whether you allow others to set their own criteria or if you claim that right only for yourself. Tell me, please, are you the sole arbiter of normality?

    If by claiming yourself to be normal (in response to my criticism of our local government) you mean to say you find it abnormal for someone to mock the government’s setting up a special office to serve citizens based solely on their non-heterosexual sexual identity, then your definition of abnormal may well include the majority of Americans. Is it your preference that they too abstain from procreation?

    I’d appreciate hearing from a normal person exactly how taxpayer dollars can be responsibly spent on someone whose only claim to qualification is that he, she, or it is a queer? To whom is the county referring with that word? And what qualifies one as a lesbian? Given that many lesbians once lived with and mated with males (and some will do so again), how will the government determine who is and isn’t a lesbian? Same goes when it comes to defining who’s transgender, bisexual, even gay (at least those gays who aren’t aflame).

    Is is possible for the answer to be anything other than that no distinctions will be made? In practice, all that will be necessary to obtain the special services now provided to women, veterans, immigrants, and ethnic minorities (whose qualifications are documented) will be their claim of LGBTQ membership. (Military veterans — many who risked their lives in service to their country, must be thrilled to be lumped in with others who earned their qualifications at birth.)

    This ridiculous approach to spending tax dollars on services makes sense only if government’s one true goal is to serve every non-veteran who isn’t a heterosexual white male. But then, maybe that seems normal to you.

  4. I don’t spend much time thinking about this issue so I will offer a perspective expressed to me by 2 gay friends. They have been a couple since college. Both are in their late 40’s now but both still look like they are 30 year old GQ models. (It’s depressing). Both are very successful professionally and probably give more money away to what they call “generic charities” every year than I earn in a year.

    Both stated that they were somewhat insulted by the establishment of a “Gay Center” as it implies that without some sort of government help and intervention, gays are somehow unable to deal with whatever supposed “special problems” they have as a result of being gay. According to them, such a Center implies yet again that gay people are somehow so different and so far outside the supposed main stream of society that special programs must be established by government to remedy whatever the special problem is, and that tax dollars are somehow needed to help someone be gay. Both opined that such Special centers do more to foster a false image that Gays are somehow yet another special interest group from which the straight community and the general public are somehow excluded and that gays are somehow just not the same as everyone else. My friends said that neither of them has a sign on their office door that says “Gay Accountant” or “Gay Lawyer”. The placard simply identifies them as an accountant or a lawyer, just like anyone else. One of my friends stated that if the County really wanted to do something to help the gay community and the community in general, perhaps they could do something that would shorten the lines at DMV.

    Surprising to me was that while not opposed to gay marriage, neither necessarily supported it either. They thought that the idea was silly and that they didn’t need a government agency or some formal religious ceremony to validate their relationship. (They have been happily together longer than most “heteros” that I know). In fact, rather than spending money on tuxedos and flowers, my friends “skipped over” any ceremony and just took a honeymoon to Bermuda where they spent most of their time in swim trunks, lounging on beach chairs and sipping pina coladas. Both told me that the latter experience taught them that if a government agency really wanted to open some sort of Center, it should be one that helps counsel straight women regarding the surprise, disappointment, and possible depression they might feel after being rebuffed, however politely and gently, after hitting-on attractive gay men.

  5. This new office should be considered a “re-education camp.” Robillard’s friends are correct that the whole LGBT thing is way over the top and I feel that the issue is used as a politicizing tool. People can just be considered people and shouldn’t have themselves used as a means of empowerment by others for the means of brainwashing.
    Here’s an example.
    WTF does “transgender” mean? That a person is changing their gender? It seems to me that it’s really just some degree of body modification. Lipstick, hairstyle, clothes, hormones and piercing and so forth are all just varying amounts of modifying one’s body. If you put Camaro taillights and rims on a Mustang does that make it a Camaro? If C. Jenner has his boy part removed does that make him a woman? The DNA is still male, granted a male body that has been modified but male nonetheless. Grafting wings on a person’s head does not make them a bird. I have nothing against a person modifying their appearance, but to pass laws and open public offices that are bent on re-education of public perception is nonsense and can only bring further social and family destabilization. “Yes Junior, now we have to call daddy a girl.”
    Another example of re-education is the fine mess of made of the meaning of marriage. Before there was a Supreme Court or any government and even before organized religion could put their spin on it – marriage was defined by nature. Eons ago when our ancestors were climbing out of trees and living in caves – a primitive young man was attracted to a young woman – they did what teenagers do – -and the rest of the tribe celebrated because they knew it would be a continuation of the tribe (good for caring for elderly) and this combing of the XX and XY chromosomes was recognized as a part of nature. Repeat this countless times and you get smarter offspring able to better adapt in the world. We call this evolution. So the early cave tribe folks celebrated this. It became ritual and in time became marriage. It is symbolic of the natural evolution of the species. Early religions recognized this and prized certain pairings of young men and women (call it selective breeding if you like) but it was duly noted – so and so begat so and so and they begat so and so and then they begat so and so – – you get the idea. Linage was an important thing. Mary was a virgin not in the physical sense but because her linage could be traced far back. She was of the Tribe of David. In short marriage was a part of nature.
    I have nothing against same sex or gender kind people pairing up and having the same legal rights as everyone else. But for the courts to force a law upon society defining such a union as marriage should really be embarrassing to the same sex community. Exalt in your uniqueness but to let some office of re-education define you as married (to be like everyone else) must be embarrassing.

  6. “Trail blazing for inclusive justice”
    I can only assume this means every bakery, flower shop, and church in the county will be bully raged, tested, harassed and persecuted to the fullest extent of the law, in violation of the 1st amendment, at taxpayer expense.