Pride LA, an LGBTQ publisher in Los Angeles said, “In the real world, no one gives a hoot about your gender identity. Woke kids equal soft kids which equal soft adults.”
Gay Publisher Makes Anti-LGBTQ Argument
The owner of Los Angeles-based LGBTQ publication The Pride LA is in hot water after making disparaging comments toward LGBTQ youth and a Los Alamitos school teacher’s attempts to recognize students’ gender identity.
The publication’s owner, TJ Montemer, posted his comments on Facebook amid calls to recall multiple members of the Los Alamitos Unified School District board after a teacher at Oak Middle School sent out a survey asking students to inform him of their preferred name and pronouns. Students told Spectrum News Orange County that the survey was meant to help ensure a welcoming and inclusive classroom, with one student saying “he wanted his students to know that they are in a safe space.”
But the survey sparked controversy similar to those that have popped up in other school board meetings nationwide. After last week’s Los Alamitos school board meeting turned highly contentious, Montemer voiced his support for the anti-LGBTQ contingent in a Los Alamitos resident Facebook group.
“They should recall the board,” Montemer said. “There is no place in school where this should be a teacher’s place to let kids in middle school decide anything without parents. In the real world no one gives a hoot about your gender identity. Woke kids equal soft kids which equal weak adults. Hope this changes in the right direction before my kids get there.”
Los Alamitos resident Larry Tenney brought the comment to the attention of the Los Angeles Blade after responding to his post. “I wasn’t familiar with Mr. Montemer so I did some Googling and discovered based on his digital footprint that he was the owner of Mirror Media Group which publishes a handful of local tabloids in the West LA/SantaMonica area and an LGBTQ tabloid called The Pride LA,” Tenney said.
Tenney expressed shock and disgust at Montemer’s “ignorant comment,” responding by reminding him that “California law requires 7th grade students receive 10-13 hours of sex education and that includes LGBTQ awareness and understanding.” Montemer deleted his post after Tenney revealed his connection to the LGBTQ publication and other group members responded. “I don’t know, maybe he didn’t want his right-wing Orange County friends to know he was publisher of The Pride LA,” Tenney told the Los Angeles Blade.
According to LinkedIn, Montemer has owned and operated Mirror Media Group since 2009, including The Pride LA, which he describes as “the only traditional media outlet for the LGBT community in Los Angeles.” Neither Montemer nor representatives for The Pride LA have commented publicly regarding his comments.
Race, Gender, Sexuality Discussions Explode Nationally for School Boards
Tenney points to Montemer’s comments as part of a larger issue facing school boards across the country. “Like many communities around the country this past year or two, Los Alamitos has seen a rise in activists on the right attacking its board of education. At the core are issues re: LGBTQ students and education and Critical Race Theory,” Tenney said. “For the most part, the school district is simply following the laws and guidelines of the State of California.”
Similar calls to omit pro-LGBTQ iconography and undermine teachers’ desires to create inclusive environments for LGBTQ students have emerged nationwide. Students in Texas staged a walkout last month in protest of the removal of rainbow stickers used by teachers to signify their classrooms were LGBTQ safe spaces, and school boards in Indiana, Oregon and Utah instituted bans on the display of Pride and Black Lives Matter flags in recent months.
School board meetings have rapidly become the center of these fights, morphing into powder kegs of conservative commenters decrying support of marginalized communities as propaganda that endangers children. The situation has gotten so bad that the National School Boards Association requested federal assistance in combatting the deluge of “threats and acts of violence” against school board members and students.
“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” reads the NSBA’s letter to President Joe Biden. “As the threats grow and news of extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings is being reported, this is a critical time for a proactive approach to deal with this difficult issue.”
Pride LA: Previously on Towleroad
Screenshot via YouTube