Far-right fascist groups and homophobic parents instigated violent clashes outside a local school committee meeting in the town of Glendale, California on Tuesday evening which resulted in defenders of the district recognizing June as Pride Month being punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed, and thrown about as police failed to maintain a peaceful situation.
While the Glendale Unified School District board met inside to hear from community members and parents prior to a vote, the overflow crowd that gathered became increasingly confrontational.
Footage taken from above the protest showed the moment when protesters broke a police line and the fighting between the opposing factions ensued:
Local reporters estimated that 500 people—which included local parents opposed to recognizing the dignity of LGBTQ students as well as others identified as “traveling fascists” and outside agitators with no students in the district, like the far-right Proud Boys and other fascist groups—had gathered outside the meeting.
A large group of parents and others who gathered to celebrate a Pride recognition vote and to support the LGBTQ+ community in Glendale were also in attendance, carrying signs that said “Dads Against Proud Boys” and “Stop Threatening Educators.”
In a statement, the police said, “While most of the protest was peaceful, a small group of individuals engaged in behavior deemed unsafe and a risk to public safety.”
According to local ABC affiliateChannel 7 Eyewitness News:
The school board was set to adopt a resolution recognizing Pride Month, which has been done for the last four years. However, a shelter-in-place order disrupted the meeting as a brawl happened outside.
Board members later unanimously adopted the resolution to declare June as Pride Month.
Many in the crowd opposed to LGBTQ+ rights and recognition wore t-shirts that read: “Leave Our Kids Alone.”
The Republican Party and other far-right political actors have increasingly targeted local public schools in their effort to gin up opposition to trans youth and promote a culture war that seeks to equate common-sense love and acceptance of LGTBQ+ children and adults with some kind of leftist “indoctrination” that should be opposed.
One parent of a queer middle school student in the district who was at the June 6 meeting told the Los Angeles Times that her child had faced discrimination growing up.
The woman said she was grateful for the commitment of the GUSD board to protecting LGBTQ+ acceptance. “I’ve never spoken before,” she said, “but as an actual parent, I felt that I had to be here because a lot of the opposing people don’t believe that I exist.”