As California Celebrates Diversity, It Also Confronts Hate

In some ways, there are two Californias.

Depending on your values and political views, the state is either a bastion of diversity and inclusion, or a treacherous place for minorities and marginalized groups.

On one side, many in California embrace its diversity with open arms. Today, advocates and lawmakers will kick off the Transgender Week of Visibility. Throughout the week, expect state legislators to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community by sporting slogan buttons and attending celebratory events.

Tony Hoang, executive director of Equality California, said in a statement: “The trans community deserves to live their authentic lives without the fear of harassment or violence. We are proud to join… the Capitol community to send a strong message that trans people belong and will never be erased.”

Various showings of solidarity and inclusion towards the transgender and gender non-conforming communities have also taken place elsewhere throughout the state. A week ago, the Sacramento City Unified School District board raised the transgender pride flag and a day later, San Jose City Council began its meeting with a brief musical number sung by a local drag artist.

In the Legislature, the Assembly judiciary committee recently passed a bill that would seal the records of anyone petitioning to change their gender if they are younger than 18 years old. Last September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to make California a refuge for minors seeking gender-affirming healthcare.

This focus on inclusion isn’t totally surprising. Because of new districts and more open seats, California’s Legislature has become more diverse than ever. The state has become the first to achieve proportional LGBTQ+ representation in its Legislature, and a record number of women are serving. With Friday marking the end of Women’s History Month, we’ve witnessed several events, including ones held by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Public Policy Institute of California, celebrating women in government.

But there is another side of California.

It’s also a place where a rally against transgender healthcare was held at the state Capitol and where anti-semitism is on the rise. According to the Anti-Defamation League, California ranks second in the number of anti-semitic incidents, with a 41% increase from 2021 to 2022.

This falls in line with earlier trends of rising rates of hate crimes. From 2020 to 2021, hate crimes against Black, Hispanic, and Asian individuals rose across the board in California, with a 177% marked increase in Anti-Asian hate crimes, due in part to the COVID pandemic.

As for policy, 429 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced throughout the country, according to Equality California. This includes one authored by Assemblymember Bill Essayli, a Republican from Riverside, which would require teachers to notify parents if their child is transgender.

In a series of tweets, Essayli wrote: “Children are the domain of their parents, not the government. Schools cannot decide what information should or shouldn’t be shared with parents… Keeping parents in the dark is not just wrong, but dangerous to these minors.”

Lynn La is a reporter with CalMatters.

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. This article is absurd, and represents the far leftist ideology that attempts to divide our people into two camps of beliefs. The “woke” and the “non woke”. The reality is that intelligent Californians have a myriad of opinions about all of these issues, that are predicated on many considerations and not merely an arbitrary salute to the ”group think” of the Blue Team.

  2. I second the claim that this article is absurd.

    We have sitting politicians who openly demand the dismantling of whiteness who get reelected.

    There is a sea of hate and persecution of landlords and developers.

    There is endless hate towards anyone patriotic or at least open minded about history.

    This author is delusional, California is the most hateful and unequal place on Earth.

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