VISTA — The city of Vista again recognized LGBTQIA+ residents during the month of June, joining the nation in commemorating the trials and strengths of the community.
While it’s at least the third consecutive year the city has nodded to LGBT rights — this year it had the unique opportunity of a couple doing the honors.
On June 14, the city of Vista declared June 2022 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month.
“Whereas the City Council urges all Vistans to respect and honor our diverse community and to celebrate and build a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance,” Mayor Judy Ritter read from the proclamation, adding a sweet, “Congratulations.”
Councilmember Corinna Contreras, of District 3, first proposed the month-long declaration in 2019.
“Being gay can be very lonely for a lot of people, but we are lucky to have a great community here,” Councilmember Katie Melendez told the Coast News when asked about the importance of representation on council.
Pride is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in Manhattan.
In June 1969, patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, protested against violent police raids and discriminatory laws. The protestors took to the streets in a movement now known as the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement.
In 1994, former President Bill Clinton declared the first Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, which was later adapted by President Barack Obama to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
An important movement that council members in Vista gladly joined again this year.
“Corinna first brought forward the pride proclamation in 2019 in order to make our city more inclusive to people in the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Melendez.
Melendez recently showed the public a little of her affection toward Contreras on social media in recognition of national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month, often shortened to Pride Month or Pride. The two have been dating since last year.
When asked about her relationship with Contreras, Melendez said, “We met through a mutual friend in 2018 and we were both part of the Democratic Club of Vista, having both grown up in Vista, we share similar values and over time we became close. We learned that we both really enjoy spending time outdoors, playing music, and being with family.”
However, Melendez said her relationship will have no effect on her duties as a council member.
“Regardless of their relation to each other outside of a public meeting, all council members must comply with the Brown Act,” Melendez said. “I will continue to uphold the Brown Act, because I believe the work I do on Vista City Council is the people’s work and all discussions and decisions should happen within the public view.”
The city of Vista has a five-member council, including the mayor. Per the Brown Act, no combination of two or more of the elected officials in Vista may meet to discuss agenda items prior to a meeting.