A rally and march elevating love, support, acceptance, and the importance of amplifying the voice of minority groups is slated for May 6 at 10 a.m. at the South Bay Community Park in Los Osos.
“Community for All” organizer Rey Lady said the idea for the rally followed recent backlash and reported threats that led to the cancelation of an event at the South Bay Community Center.
“I was not one of the organizers of the event, nor am I a member of that community,” Lady told Estero Bay News. “I just saw so much incorrect information presented as fact. So much refusal to become educated about a group of people who were being degraded and threatened. It really made me angry.”
Ultimately, Central Coast Kink Community canceled the adult-only “SLO Fetish Ball: The Future of Kink” billed as primarily educational with workshops on consent, rules, and information to engage in safe kink and fetish practices.
Rey, who identifies as non-binary, connected with the inequity observed having faced it themselves.
“I have always seen and experienced discrimination in Los Osos, as a brown, openly queer person,” Rey said. “I’ve recently come out as non-binary, and saw so much transphobia around me. Once the social media drama happened with the Fetish Ball, I realized that I might finally be believed by the majority that our mostly happy, wonderful town does have discrimination. It’s absolutely not the whole town, or even a majority. But those who do hate and discriminate are surprisingly comfortable doing so. I realized that I had to seize this moment to really show that nice majority that more could be done, and ask for their help to make the hate more hesitant and the discrimination less comfortable.”
Now that Rey has children, the desire to affect change and make others aware of ways they exhibit bias and prejudice, even without knowing it, has taken center stage. The goal is to educate people about “less bold forms of discrimination,” and how to make a change.
“I hope the part of the community that wants to be supportive of minority groups becomes more aware that while Los Osos is a wonderful place where most people feel safe, a small portion of the population still experiences discrimination and hate,” Rey said. “…It [can be] easier for the majority to forget to check in with their privilege and strive to be aware of how to combat prejudice and discrimination in everyday life.”
Rey will speak at the rally and pass out flyers they wrote urging people to “closely examine who they are, what that might mean for their place in society, and call them to action to listen more closely to those whose voices might not be so amplified in the community.”
Rey is interested in putting on future events focused on inclusion, diversity and checking our privilege as a community.
The South Bay Community Park is located at 2180 Palisades in Los Osos.