The gay speaker of the California state assembly delivered the keynote address last week at the University of California, Los Angeles's Lavender Graduation.
Speaker John A. Pérez offered encouraging words to the 44 LGBT students graduating from UCLA. He also asked the new graduates to keep fighting for causes such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and transgender rights.
The full text of the speech is below:
“Good afternoon. I am honored to be here as part of UCLA’s 15th Lavender Graduation. This campus has been a leader on LGBT issues for more than 50 years, and the Lavender Graduations continue to be an expression of that commitment.
The word ‘lavender’ was once code to deride and demean gay people. In some antigay hysteria during the 1952 presidential campaign, it was even suggested that a Republican win would -- quote -- get all those ‘lavender lads’ out of the State Department -- unquote.