(Editor’s note: Circling the News is running a letter a day until the L.A. City Commission on Poverty and Homelessness meets on May 13. All of the public comments can be found at https://lacity.primegov.com/Portal/Meeting?compiledMeetingDocumentFileId=8168. This was one of the first comments sent to the committee.)
Dear Councilman Bonin,
I am a member and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in Los Angeles County. I serve as the Co-Chair of LGBTQIA2-S Underserved Cultural Committee at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, I also lead the San Fernando Valley #Out4Mental Health Task Force in addition to my own non-profit, Still Bisexual.
I am writing to express your culturally insensitive proposal to build a homeless encampment at the parking lot of Will Rogers State Beach. You might not be aware of this, but Will Rogers State Beach has been considered “the gay beach” for decades. It’s a safe place for members of the LGBTQ+ to congregate outside with their partners and families without suffering any discrimination. During COVID, it has been one of the only safe spaces for our community congregate outside. Additionally, because it is located off PCH, the parking lot is the only way to safely access the beach. For this reason, I and many LGBTQ+ community members strongly oppose using this safe space for our community as yet another failed attempt to address the homeless crisis in Los Angeles.
If you continue to pursue placing this encampment at Will Rogers State Beach, I will have no alternative but to contact my friends Sepi Shyne and John Erickson on the West Hollywood City Council and other powerful members of the LGBTQ+ community to loudly stand in opposition to this ill-informed and culturally insensitive action.
Nicole Kristal submitted on April 6, 2021.