The critical intent of the person behind the Porterville Proclamation

A question never considered is now finally addressed by the person who advocated for the Porterville LGBT Pride Proclamation

By Melanie Nathan, July 23, 2013.

Brock Neely PortervilleBrock Neeley (Pictured right) and his husband were the first same-sex male couple to marry in Tulare County, and Neeley was the person who first approached the Mayor of Porterville, Mayor Virginia Gurolla, to ask for a proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month in Porterville. This article explains its importance and hammers home the impact of its rescission.

The Mayor agreed  with Neeley,  in the face of vehement opposition by City Council members, and signed the proclamation. Instead of embracing the Proclamation and looking at the reasoning for its value, the City Council forced Porterville into an unprecedented battle, helmed by hateful rhetoric, that brought disappointment and shame to the small California Central Valley gateway, and may well have served to exacerbate an underlying problem, suicide.

The City Council’s anti-gay move resulted in a change to the council protocols by taking away the Mayor’s power to sign Proclamations without the vote of City Council members, which means that all city proclamations can now only be promulgated by a simple majority vote.  It was this new rule that enabled the City Council members on a 3-2 majority, to revoke the LGBT Pride Proclamation from the previous month which the Mayor had signed.

The LGBT community in Porterville and its surrounding towns have been hard hit by the battle that should never have been. Here is a letter to the Editor of the Porterville Recorder, that has yet to be published, by Brock Neeley speaking to his motivation for requesting the Porterville Proclamation and it elucidates just how thoughtless and negligent the rescission was on the part of the City Council members who voted for it.

Dear Editor,

Here is the question never asked to date: “What was my intent in requesting the LGBT Pride Month Proclamation?”

My intent was to raise awareness to an “At Risk” sector of the population. That awareness is to allow them to know there “IS” a LGBT Community here in Porterville that they can reach out to. I feel this awareness is just as important as the “Step Up” program that Councilman Ward thinks is so vital to reach out to another “At Risk” sector. I agree with Ward that there is a Bullying and Suicide problem with all sectors of the population, but when you have a sector with elevated rates you should also do outreach to that sector to intervene whenever possible. Since we can not count on PUSD to offer any assistance in this endeavor, the LGBT Community has to do the work themselves. For those who brought up their fake science statistics, (Family Research Council, American Family Association. . . . .etc), Here is some “CREDIBLE” Information

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24 and accounts for 12.2% of the deaths every year in that age group.  [1]
  • LGB youth are 4 times more likely, and questioning youth are 3 times more likely, to attempt suicide as their straight peers. [2]
  • Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers. [3]
  • Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt. [4]
  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. [5]
  • 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9-12) seriously considered suicide in the past year. [6]
  • Suicide attempts are nearly two times higher among Black and Hispanic youth than White youth. [7]
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average. [8]


[1] CDC. (2009). 10 leading causes of death by age group – United States, 2009.

[2] CDC. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] CDC. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[4] Grossman, A.H. & D’Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening BehaviorsSuicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors.37(5), 527-37.

[5] Family Acceptance Project™. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adultsPediatrics. 123(1), 346-52.

[6] CDC. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[7] CDC. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[8] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youthsAmerican Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32.

Brock Neeley




If at risk, or if you know someone at risk, or need help or guidance or counseling on the issue of suicide please contact:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at If you are in crisis call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or

For LGBT and Youth – The Trevor Project: If you need support, please call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 to speak with a trained volunteer counselor.



4 thoughts on “The critical intent of the person behind the Porterville Proclamation

  1. so much work to be done…we can never give up, in spite of what may appear to be temporary setbacks. we can no longer ‘do nothing’ and allow prejudicial ignorance to triumph. i am proud to be in the company of strong, courageous, compassionate, rational human beings, working for equality for all men and women everywhere on the planet.

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