Karen Ocamb

California Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani Comes Out

Filed By Karen Ocamb | November 02, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: California, California Assembly, Cathleen Galgiani, coming out of the closet, Livingston, teen suicide

It's a simple headline that will change the life of California Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani - and she apparently hopes - the lives of LGBT teens, as well.

"Galgiani says she's gay" the Stockton newspaper The Record posted Cathleen3-resized.jpgstarkly online on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1:16pm. Within hours the headline and the brief story were picked up and reported on throughout the state of California.

The paper reported:

"Galgiani, D-Livingston, said that by coming out now, she hopes to send a positive message to young people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual identity.

"It sickens me that young people would think about taking their lives because of who they are," Galgiani said. Galgiani, 47, said it was not until well into adulthood, after she was elected to represent the 17th Assembly District in 2006, that she knew she was gay."

Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani comes out as gay (Photo courtesy State Senate campaign)

More after the break.

Capitol Alert added:

Galgiani's spokesman confirmed the report, saying the statement came during an interview on high-speed rail and other issues....

Galgiani, who is termed out of the Assembly next year, is planning to run for a competitive Senate seat in the Central Valley next year. Her opponents in the 5th Senate District race are expected to include Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres, and San Joaquin Supervisor Leroy Ornellas, R-Tracy.

The California LGBT Legislative Caucus now totals eight - the largest in the country, according the Equality California.

The Victory Fund's Chuck Wolfe says:

"We applaud Assemblywoman Galgiani for her bravery and honesty. She joins an esteemed group of gay and lesbian California lawmakers who have worked tirelessly for their constituents and for LGBT Californians across the state."

Her race for that Senate seat really is going to be competitive - especially with the prospects of an initiative to repeal the California Dream Act and the (remote?) chance of an initiative to repeal the California FAIR Education Act expected to be on the Nov. 2012 ballot. Galgiani told the Lodi News last August that she supported the FAIR Act, known as SB 48, because of the suicide of a local gay teen.

The paper reported:

"Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, who has announced her candidacy for the new 5th Senate District that will include Lodi and Galt, said she supported SB 48, primarily due to the suicide of an openly gay student at the University of California, Merced, which is in her current Assembly district.

Adam Wood, 19, hanged himself from a 75-foot-high utility tower off north Highway 59 outside Merced, according to the Merced Sun-Star. Wood's body found on March 23, but he was reported missing two days earlier, the newspaper reported.

"We have seen problems of bullying across the nation," Galgiani said. "It's my way of saying to (gay people) that they have value; you have things you should look forward to. They're our kids. It hurts me to think about the young gay person who takes their life because of who they are."

Let's hope honesty and authenticity matter to the voters of this conservative area.

(Hat tip to Denis Dison of the Victory Fund. Crossposted at LGBTPOV)

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Congratulations Assemblymember Galgiani. There is nothing more important for the safety of LGBT youth, and for our movement for equality, than for all adults, but especially high-profile adults, to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.