During a recent city council meeting held to discuss the possibility of bully-free safe zones, Mayor Cameron Hamilton of Porterville, California caused quite a bit of controversy. He stated that, while he is against bullying, he thinks that the issue is made a bigger deal than it needs to be, and that most bullying victims "just have to grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves."
The idea for bully-free zones, which would serve as safe places for victims of bullying, was originally proposed by students and then backed by Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola. In response to Hamilton's comments, Gurrola offered, "It's hard to 'just grow a pair' when you're a ten-year-old girl."
Many of Gay Porterville felt attacked by the mayor's comments, as bullies often target young LGBT people. Interestingly enough, this is not the first time that Hamilton and Gurrola have gone head to head on an issue that directly affected the LGBT community. Only a year a ago, the Porterville city council voted to throw Gurrola out of office after she issued a statement declaring June as LGBT Pride month.
This time, Hamilton was the only one who voted against further discussion of the safety zones. He told the Associated Press that, while he is not anti-gay, he couldn't support the safe zones as they would be costly and potentially dangerous. The topic is to receive further attention.
Watch here for a video of Mayor Cameron Hamilton expressing his opinion on bully-free safe zones.