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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Lesbian Schoolworker Records

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 3.0 license

In 1978, Proposition 6 was presented on the California State ballot. This initiative, proposed by conservative legislator John Briggs as well as California Defend Our Children (CDOC), and later nicknamed the Briggs Initiative, rallied to ban gays and lesbians from teaching within the public school system. This later extended to possibly include any supporters of gays or lesbians as ‘advocates of homosexuality.’ A CDOC pamphlet in circulation at the time argued that the purpose of the initiative would not deny gays or lesbians their human rights, but instead “protect the rights of innocent children from people who choose their position as a teacher,” maintaining that “there is no inherent right for an individual to hold a teaching job.” was the Lesbian Schoolworkers Records, which contained information regarding its organizational history, principles of unity and structure, press releases, newsletters, flyers, paste-ups, and photographs. With a commitment to “fighting racism, sexism, class and oppression within our own movement and this society,” the Lesbian Schoolworkers organized in 1977 to defeat the Briggs Initiatives, Propositions 6 and 7. While this organization was among the many to rally against the anti-lesbian and gay bill, it was uniquely also actively campaigned against the anti-lesbian and pro-death penalty laws, and sought identify the relationship between Third World oppression and the oppression of all lesbians. Throughout the election fight,the Schoolworkers emphasized that the struggle against Proposition 6 was not a single campaign issue or just a fight for civil rights, but instead, “that we are all suffering at the hands of a common enemy.”

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