Pride Council created in SR
By Nick Ng
The vandalism of the rainbow-colored Pride fence in Scripps Ranch at the northern end of Scripps Trail spurred two local residents to spread their message louder. Brittany Fuller and Lindsay Hanlon created the Scripps Ranch Pride Council (SRPC) on Facebook in June.
The group, which promotes a safe and inclusive environment for the LGBTQIA community in Scripps Ranch, had nearly 300 members as of last week.
Hanlon sparked the idea of SRPC after she cofounded the Scripps Ranch for Diversity and Inclusion group in 2020, but Fuller molded the idea into reality after her Pride flags were stolen for the third time from her home on June 15.
“I had enough, especially after what I heard at Marshall [Middle School] with the trans community and gender-neutral bathrooms,” Fuller said. “I could either be quiet and just put another flag up, or based on the needs of this community and kids, I could stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough’ and do something creative and colorful.”
Fuller was referring to incidents at Marshall Middle School this spring in which some students urinated on lockers in a transgender changing room.
With the help of the community and a Los Angeles mural artist, Fuller transformed a fence on her property into a rainbow on Juneteenth. But in less than five days, vandals spray-painted “DADT” – “don’t ask, don’t tell” – on the fence, which prompted volunteers to repaint it quickly.
The SRPC held its first in-person town hall meeting on July 14. But it didn’t take long for vandals to once again deface the rainbow Pride fence with streaks of gray paint soon afterward. At least one surveillance camera was also knocked off its perch.
Fuller heard three stories last spring of LGBTQIA students who left local schools recently because they were bullied. She wants to push a zero-tolerance policy for the LGBTQIA community in schools, which currently does not exist.
“They were so beat down every day verbally that they are either home-schooled, or they’re in a charter school, or some type of private school,” Fuller said. “That is awful. This never should have happened. This is your school. You should feel safe and accepted.”
While attending Baylor University in Texas – a Christian Baptist institution – for her graduate degree in social work about 10 years ago, it was against the university’s policy to have any kind of “gay alliance,” Fuller said.
She was part of a small campus group called Sexual Identify Forum and had read about gay students who were accepted into Baylor but were fearful about attending.
“At that time, I hadn’t come out yet,” Fuller said. “This is an amazing school, but how is it that people are coming here and not knowing if anyone is going to understand and accept them?”
Fuller has been getting several thank-you messages since she launched the SRPC group, she said. Some people told her that they did not think they would live to see this happening in the 20-plus years of living in Scripps Ranch.
Like the Black Lives Matter flag, a Pride flag in a neighborhood means safety for members of the LGBTQIA community and their allies. When Fuller used to jog in the neighborhood and see a Pride flag flying on a house, she would smile and feel safe.
“It fills a void in the sense that you’re welcome here, this is a place for you,” Fuller said. “It’s no longer a place where you walk down the street without holding your partner’s hand because they’re afraid people are going to yell or stare or race by you in their cars.”
Besides helping to promote a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQIA community in Scripps Ranch, the SRPC advocates for including the GLSEN inclusive program in local school districts. This helps teachers and staff communicate and handle gender identity issues that some students bring up.
“If our schools are not doing that, we gotta figure out why,” Fuller said. “Is it because they don’t know how? Let’s figure out how we can teach them how so that our kids can be safer and stop all this harassing, hate and violence.”
The SRPC scheduled ano-ther town hall meeting for Aug. 11, and the public is welcome to attend.
“The community is here, and we have your back. We’re not going anywhere, and neither is the fence,” Fuller said.