Contra Costa County strives to support LGBTQIA+ community

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (June 27, 2023) — Pride Month is not just declared locally, but nationally.

In June 1969, protesters convened for six days in New York after police raided a gay bar known as the Stonewall Inn. This protest became known as the Stonewall Uprising. The following year, the first Pride marches began to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights.

For me, Pride is personal. I have worked as a public servant for the last 35 years. When I started my career as a Concord police officer in 1988, there was not a lot of support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

After I came out in 2002, I started to advocate for my rights and the rights of others. As the first openly gay member of the Pleasant Hill City Council, I established June as Pride Month within the city. I also authored the Inclusive City Resolution, which promotes the protection of human rights, social justice, equality, diversity and social well-being.

Six months ago, I was sworn in as the first openly gay Contra Costa County supervisor. As I stood in the board chambers with my husband Jeremy by my side, I reflected on my great appreciation for those who came before me.

While the fight for our rights continues, I want to share with you a few of the programs that the county provides to support the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Contra Costa County Library does not have a policy for banning books of any kind and has the LGBT+ DeLoach and Troy Trust Special Collection. This collection includes books for all ages that relate to gender identity and sexual orientation. While the collection is kept at the El Cerrito Library, these books can be placed on hold and picked up from your local library.

In addition, the county libraries are handing out coloring books and rainbow buttons as well as hosting more than 20 events and activities to raise awareness around Pride throughout June. For the remaining events, please check out

Contra Costa Health (CCH) has a Pride Initiative, with the mission to integrate practices and policies that foster a safe and inclusive environment, equal access, and quality health care along with awareness, acceptance, and respect for lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, and nonbinary employees and the people they serve.

CCH provides monthly outpatient clinics for transgender and non-binary patients. This is a welcoming environment for transgender and non-binary people to receive culturally competent medical care. CCH also provides an HIV/AIDS & STD program, with the goals to reduce transmission, provide services and treatment, and raise awareness of HIV and STDs.

I am lucky to live in a community where I can be my authentic self, and everyone deserves that right. If you or someone in your community wants to become an ally and show your support by getting involved, I encourage you to become civically engaged. You can start with organizations such as PTAs, community groups, local commissions, etc.

Let’s clear the way for the next generation of leaders.

Ken Carlson is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Carlson at or call his office at 925-655-2350.