[UPDATED: Majority of Trustees Agree!] Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove Unified Trustee, To Ask District Not Allow Homophobic Tet Parade Organizers Use of School Bus

bao_nguyen_garden_grove.jpg
Nguyen: Fighting the good fight
See the end of this post for an update...

ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 5, 3:32 P.M.: Tonight, the Garden Grove Unified School District board of trustees is scheduled to vote on whether they'll allow organizers of this weekend's Tet Parade to use a district bus and driver, a bus in which school trustees sit and wave to the masses. Usually, this is a gimme, given the Tet Parade is such an important part of Little Saigon cultural life, and Garden Grove's proximity to it. And it's such a formality that the motion to approve is part of the consent calendar.

However, board member Bao Nguyen will not only ask that the motion be pulled off the consent calendar to for discussion, and not only vote no, but will also urge his fellow trustees to vote no and to not participate unless some things change. See, the Tet Parade this year is causing national controversy this year because organizers don't want LGBT Vietnamese to march in the parade, and Nguyen--someone that the Weekly has known for over a decade, and by far the most ethical, humanistic politician Orange County has ever seen--will not stand for Know Nothings of any kind.

"If we were to approve the use of our public school bus in the Tet parade which has banned this LGBT group, I believe we would be violating our District nondiscrimination policies and the Constitution of the State of California, which each member has sworn to uphold," Nguyen posted on Facebook today. "At tonight's school board meeting, I will vote NO on allowing the use of our public school bus and driver in the Tet parade."

Sources tell the Weekly Nguyen will also read a statement tonight to further expand on his thoughts.

LGBT activists--including Laura Kanter, youth director for The Center OC, will also attend the board meeting to urge Nguyen's fellow trustees to pull the buses from the Tet parade and not participate unless parade organizers allow LGBT folks to march in the parade. Should be fun, and see you there!

UPDATE, FEB. 6, 7 A.M.: You know, given the pathetic makeup of most school boards in Orange County, I really thought Bao's effort would go for naught. But amazingly, all of Nguyen's trustees agreed except one (we'll get to that in a bit). On a 4-1 vote, Garden Grove's board of trustees voted to ride in the Tet parade on the condition that organizers allow LGBT Viets to march. If they don't? They won't participate. THAT is democracy!

The sole dissenting vote was Lan Quoc Nguyen, a ally of Little Saigon's would-be king, Van Thai Tran. You might remember Lan as the lunatic who once bragged white and Mexican schoolchildren feared going to school with Vietnamese kiddies because of the latter's inherent superiority. This time around, Lan not only refused to condemn homophobes, but also offered to pay for the school bus and driver on his own dime. Would be HILARIOUS to see Lan ride alone on the bus--and telling.

Bao Nguyen, on the other hand, read the following statement:

When my mother was eight months pregnant, carrying me in her womb, she escaped Vietnam in the dark of the night, through an underground passageway. She was an illegal emigrant, while I was a stowaway. Such an act was a crime punishable by death. So, why take such a risk? Because her homeland was not a place that valued the freedom to differ from how life was defined by others. That was a life marked with fear. However, immense hope led us here from afar, and that hope is alive and well with the freedoms that are protected by the constitution of our great nation and that of our great state of California, my homeland. To honor all the sacrifices made for me, I stand for the freedom to define life for oneself and for the freedom to live without fear.

Like a family, a community is inherently diverse, while the values of unity and seeking understanding holds us together. Acknowledging our differences and being able to celebrate together distinguishes my homeland from my mother's homeland. But I will not forget where I came from. Remembering, a free and democratic society is not necessarily defined by a majority, but defined by how one allows others the same liberties one wishes for oneself. True liberty is marked with such moral values as tolerance, compassion, and acceptance.

At its heart, Tet, the Vietnamese lunar new year celebration, is a gathering of the whole family that extends into the community. It is a time to set the tone for the coming year with formal gestures of mutual respect, abundance, and cheerfulness. So, I'd like to extend my very best wishes to all our families, without leaving anyone out. Happy Tet!

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20 comments
NetUser
NetUser

Lan lives up to his lunatic reputation as a family court attorney.

Zin_Pua
Zin_Pua

People need someone to look up to. People need role models. Who do we typically choose? People who look like us. It's a harsh reality. But you know what? Even Asian LGBTQ people need someone to look up to. Caucasian lesbians can always look up to Ellen Degeneres. Caucasian transgenders can always look up to Chaz Bono. Caucasian gays can always look up to Neil Patrick Harris. There's so little representation of the Asian community in America in the first place, why in the world should we make it even worse for the most discriminated subgroup of the most discriminated-against ethnicity in this country? Let them march, let them be role models:

http://www.abcsofattraction.com/blog/10-ways-to-be-an-asian-role-model/

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

Actually, this decision probably runs afoul of the Supreme Courts upholding of the right of free association in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, Inc. [ 515 U.S. 557 (1995)]

You see, right there in the Constitution is the 'right to free association'. And that right entails the right to exclude as well as include. Imagine it this way, suppose that OC Mexicans could actually get themselves together enough to organize a calbagata for Quatro de Cinco. Further, let' say an organization called 'Mexican-Americans for Sane Immigration Policy' wanted to participate. They could represent the 27% of 'Latinos' that voted for Prop. 187.

Well, under Hurley, the other Mexicans could exclude the patriotic Mexican-Americans. And that's okay. Right of free association.

Or imagine a 'gay pride' parade where organizers are petitioned by an 'ex-gay' group to allow them to participate. Should they be forced to? No, and under Hurley they aren't required to.

Now, whether a city should have to participate in that exclusion by leasing a bus to said parade is a bit trickier. I'd say that if a city would lease a bus to any other parade that it is also required to lease one to a parade whose organizers, exercising  there constitutional right to choose who participates. But I am not sure there is a case on that. Certainly Garden Grove cannot refuse a permit for this our any other 'exclusionary' parade.

BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

My hat's of to Bao. We can't let these bible-thumping jerks exclude a part of their own community from this celebration. I know I will not be going this year unless they decide to recognize the LGBT members of the community.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

" and by far the most ethical, humanistic politician Orange County has ever seen"

As usual, Gustavo is a master of understatement. 

Laura Kanter
Laura Kanter

Bao won! We won! There will be no school bus from the district unless the Tet Parade organizers change their minds by Friday at noon, to allow FULL participation of the Vietnamese LGBT contingent.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

Bao is a great guy. Orange County is very fortunate to have him as an elected official. Ive known Bao for several years and I have always been very impressed with him.

Dweezle
Dweezle

At first take I thought he was asking not to allow the bus because of  LGBT participation, See what happens when you continue and read the entire article/ you learn he was asking for the entire communities participation not to exclude a portion of the community.

BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

The problem here is that the LGBT had representation in the parade for the previous 3 years. The other issue is that Garden Grove or other public entities are not obliged to participate and can place demands or restrictions when issuing permits.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@BobLoblawsLawBlog I don't know about the role of previous participation and how that would affect the organizers under Hurley. I am pretty sure that under Hurley, GG absolutely cannot try to limit a parade which excludes gay groups, or another other type of group, under the guise of 'public safety'. 

BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

Your loss, festivals are a blast and the Tet, Greek, Korean, Oban and other ethnic-based ones are the best. They let you experience a slice of culture and try new food.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@BobLoblawsLawBlog Again, no need to reason with a homophobic white supremacist with as much reason as melanin on his pasty ass skin...

BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

Since it's just signing off on using our school busses, they can say 'no'.  The problem under the Hurley decision for the current parade organizers is showing that the inclusion of the LGBT group would be " a message contrary to the one the organizing group wanted to convey" considering they marched in the same parade for the past 3 years. They could also run afoul of AB1441 which prohibits discrimination discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in state operated or funded services, activities and programs.

BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

Good for you, I have yet to visit all those places so this is a bit cheaper and I don't have to deal with TSA.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@BobLoblawsLawBlog I've been to Greece, and Korea, and Japan. I'll probably go to Vietnam someday.

 I'll take the real thing.

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