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LGBQ people six times more likely than general public to be stopped by police

Nearly one in four LGBQ people say they are unlikely to call police in the future



Blade file photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department

LOS ANGELES – A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds more LGBQ adults than people in the general United States population have had interactions with the police, including being stopped by police and seeking help from police.

Six times as many LGBQ people as people in the general population were stopped by the police in public spaces, and more than twice as many were stopped by the police while driving. Nearly seven times as many LGBQ people were stopped by the police for reasons that did not involve a vehicle. In addition, twice as many LGBQ people as the general public had sought help from the police.

Using data from the Generations Study, a nationally representative sample of LGBQ people in the U.S., and the Police-Public Contact Survey, researchers examined the frequency and types of police interactions experienced by LGBQ people compared with the same reports from people in the general U.S. population.

“The much higher rates of LGBQ adults being approached by the police is consistent with previous research that shows LGBQ people are over-policed and experience bias-based profiling by law enforcement,” said lead author Winston Luhur, Research Assistant at the Williams Institute.

The Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law (Photo Credit: UCLA)

Although data about transgender people were not available in the datasets analyzed for this brief, research indicates that transgender people, particularly women of color, are at heightened risk of negative police interactions, including harassment and assault.


  • Compared with the general population, almost six times as many LGBQ people were stopped by the police in a public space (6% vs. 1%).
  • Nearly seven times as many LGBQ people than the general public were stopped for reasons that did not involve a vehicle (7% vs. 1%).
  • LGBQ people were more than twice as likely as the general population to be stopped while driving (19% vs. 8%).
  • Twice as many LGBQ people approached or sought help from the police (22% vs. 11%) as those in the general population.
  • Among LGBQ people, 13% said they did not call the police even when they needed help.
  • Compared with the general population, fewer LGBQ adults said the police behaved properly during their contact (81% vs. 91%).
  • More LGBQ people were unlikely to contact the police again as compared with the general population (22% vs. 6%).
  • Fewer female LGBQ adults reported satisfaction with the police compared to women in the general population (69% vs. 85%).

“It is notable that despite the greater need of LGBQ people for police protection, due to being victimized in violent crimes more often than non-LGBQ people, fewer LGBQ than non-LGBQ people were satisfied with the interaction they had with police,” said study author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “In view of the history of criminalization and victimization of LGBQ people, as police reform is being discussed nationally, it is important that reforms include attention to policing of LGBTQ populations across race and gender.”

The Generations Study examines the health and well-being of cisgender and nonbinary LGBQ people. Transgender people, regardless of their sexual orientation, were included in a separate study ( and are not reported in this study.  

Read the report


U.S. Federal Courts

Trump indicted in classified document mishandling case

The action comes after a more than yearlong investigation by a special counsel into whether Trump knowingly retained classified records



President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

BEDMINSTER, NJ. – A federal grand jury has indicted former U.S. President Donald Trump on seven criminal counts in connection his mishandling of more than 100 classified documents.

In a series of posts to his ‘Truth Social’ account Thursday, Trump said that he has been indicted related to his mishandling of the classified documents taken to his estate at Mar-a-Lago after his term of office ended in January, 2021.

The unprecedented decision comes after a more than yearlong investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into whether Trump knowingly retained classified and top secret government records when he left office and then disregarded a subpoena to return all classified documents in his possession and whether he and his staff obstructed FBI efforts to ensure all documents had been returned.

A person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to discuss it publicly said Trump’s lawyers were contacted by prosecutors shortly before he announced on his Truth Social platform that he had been indicted the Associated Press reported.

In the first of a series of posts Trump wrote:

Page 1: The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax, even though Joe Biden has 1850 Boxes at the University of Delaware, additional Boxes in Chinatown, D.C., with even more Boxes at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents strewn all over his garage floor where he parks his Corvette, and which is “secured” by only a garage door that is paper thin, and open much of the time.

Page 2: I have been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting President in the History of our Country, and is currently leading, by far, all Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 Presidential Election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!

Page 3: This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!”

The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for a comment.

The AP also noted it remains unclear what the immediate and long-term political consequences will be for Trump. His first indictment spurred millions of dollars in contributions from angry supporters and didn’t damage Trump in the polls.

No matter what, the indictment — and the legal fight that follows — will throw Trump back into the spotlight, sucking attention away from the other candidates who are trying to build momentum in the 2024 presidential race, the Associated Press pointed out.

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Missouri Governor Parson signs anti-trans legislation

Parson told capital reporters that he signed the measures without a ceremony and in private because “the issue is divisive to some” 



Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

JEFFERSON CITY – Senate Bill 39, a law that bans transgender athletes, kindergarten through college, from participating in school-sanctioned team sports, and Senate Bill 49, a bill revoking access to gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors and some adults, were signed by Republican Governor Mike Parson on Wednesday, June 7; Both measures will go into effect on August 28. 

According to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Parson told capital reporters that he signed the measures without a ceremony and in private because “the issue is divisive to some.” 

Addressing SB49, Parson noted: “We support everyone’s right to his or her own pursuit of happiness; however, we must protect children from making life-altering decisions that they could come to regret in adulthood once they have physically and emotionally matured.”

PROMO, Missouri’s LGBTQ+ public policy and advocacy organization, said in a statement:

“The final signature of the governor comes during the month-long Pride celebration across the country for the LGBTQ+ community, which recognizes the progress made in our community’s quest for equality, respect, and safety and the battles yet to come. These laws are not what Missourians want, and cities across our state have shown up to double down on protecting transgender youth and adults.”

The ACLU of Missouri issued the following statement:

“The anti-trans legislation Governor Parson penned into law will be devastating for trans people of all ages. While the government pushed this deceitful bill behind the guise of protecting children, buried within the law is a ban on health care for adults based on the amount of money they earn or whether they are incarcerated. 

“As was true with the Attorney General’s failed attempt to limit care for all trans Missourians with his emergency rule, Senate Bill 49 ignores the evidence-based clinical recommendations of every major medical association. This law strips patients and parents of their rights and requires that decisions related to medical treatment that should be based on consent informed by medical professionals be dictated by the uninformed opinions of politicians.

“In alarming fashion, legislators took extraordinary efforts to target and prevent eight students statewide from playing sports in SB 39, while choosing to not solve issues that would benefit all Missouri students such as Missouri’s teacher shortage.

“These bills do nothing but harm transgender Missourians and their families while adding inequities to a system already ripe with discriminatory laws and practices. The ACLU of Missouri will continue to explore all options to fight these bans and to expand the rights of trans Missourians.”

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Dina Titus introduces bill to require U.S. to promote LGBTQ+, intersex rights abroad

White House reconsidering aid to Uganda over Anti-Homosexuality Act



U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nevada) (Screen capture via Dina Titus YouTube)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) on Thursday introduced a bill that would require the U.S. to promote LGBTQ+ and intersex rights abroad through its foreign policy.

The Human Rights Campaign, the Council for Global Equality, the National Center for Transgender Equality, ORAM (Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration), Outright International, Rainbow Railroad and the Trevor Project are among the organizations that support the Greater Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Act. U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) will introduce the bill in the U.S. Senate. 

Titus on Tuesday told the Washington Blade during an exclusive interview the bill, among other things, would endorse the selective use of existing sanctions to punish those responsible for murders and other human rights abuses against LGBTQ+ and intersex people. She also said the measure would require the State Department to allow LGBTQ+ and intersex people to choose their gender marker on passports and other travel documents.

“It’s a way of putting into action our attempts to be a leader in the area of LGBTQ+ rights and to be a leader, not just at home, but around the world,” said Titus.

President Joe Biden in 2021 signed a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ+ and intersex rights abroad as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s overall foreign policy.

Jessica Stern has been the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ+ and intersex rights since 2021. She told the Blade in a previous interview the White House’s continued support of LGBTQ+ and intersex rights includes marriage equality in countries where activists say such a thing is possible through legislation or the judicial process.

The State Department last year began to offer passports with an “X” gender marker. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has delivered millions of doses of antiretroviral drugs for Ukrainians with HIV/AIDS.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield in March chaired a U.N. meeting that focused on the integration of LGBTQ+ and intersex rights into the U.N. Security Council’s work.

Biden, along with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) others, have condemned the signing of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act that contains a death penalty provision for “aggravated homosexuality.” The National Security Council has said it will “evaluate” the law’s implications in terms of U.S. aid to the country.

Titus is among the lawmakers who have previously introduced bills that are similar to the GLOBE Act. 

She noted the Anti-Homosexuality Act when she spoke with the Blade. Titus also discussed Republican-led efforts to curtail LGBTQ+ rights in Florida and other states.

“It’s harder, certainly, to get Republicans on board, but I’m optimistic,” she said when asked if she expects any Republicans will co-sponsor his bill. “The more they hear from their constituents and the more they see the backlash to what some state legislatures are doing and the more they hear from members of their own families, I think that we may get some to join us in this.”

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The White House

White House debuts new actions to protect the LGBTQ community

HUD will launch federal initiatives to combat LGBTQ youth homelessness and new regulations to “protect LGBTQ kids in foster care”



White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden (Screenshot/YouTube LA Times)

WASHINGTON – White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden, during a call with reporters on Wednesday, announced a slate of new actions the administration will undertake to better protect the LGBTQ community.

These will focus on three major areas, she said: safety and security, issues for LGBTQ youth like mental health and housing insecurity, and combatting book bans.

President Joe Biden has “already developed a historic record of supporting the LGBTQ community,” Tanden said, noting that he and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are also prepared to “host the largest Pride celebration in White House history” on Thursday evening.

At the same time, she said, LGBTQ Americans are now experiencing “a whole range of attacks” from “hateful, un-American legislation” to “a disturbing surge in violent threats.”

Administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the administration’s “community safety partnership” will “work hand in hand with LGBTQ community organizations” to provide safety training and resources, Tanden said.

For example, she said, “and it’s so unfortunate to have to say this,” but the partnership will help LGBTQ community centers “prepare for the worst” – including “bomb threats, active shooters, and cybersecurity threats – while also protecting “healthcare providers who serve the community by working with doctors and medical associations.”

Actions for LGBTQ kids that Tanden previewed on Wednesday include HHS’s development of a behavioral health care advisory for transgender and gender diverse youth, to help ensure young people are given the best evidence-based care.

On Thursday, she said, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will launch federal initiatives to combat LGBTQ youth homelessness and new regulations to “protect LGBTQ kids in foster care.”

Finally, Tanden said, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights “will appoint a new coordinator” to combat book bans, which disproportionately target, for exclusion, materials with LGBTQ characters or themes, or communities of color.

DoE’s coordinator will “offer trainings and resources to schools to help them understand that students have a right to learn free from discrimination, and that book bands may violate federal civil rights laws if they create a hostile environment for students,” Tanden said.

A senior administration official, responding to a question from the Washington Blade following Tanden’s remarks, elaborated on the scope of the community safety partnership.

Community organizations, they said, will include “health clinics, community centers, and organizations that are planning Pride celebrations, but it also includes small businesses like restaurants and bars that have been targeted because they’re run by LGBTQI+ Americans or because they host events that support that community.”

“We’ll be encouraging and reaching out directly to organizations that have been impacted by these violent threats to help make sure that they have the training and the resources they need to stay safe,” the official said.

They added that DHS and DoJ, in anticipation of the possibility that threats will increase in June, “have both been working proactively over many months leading up to Pride to communicate with state and local law enforcement about the threats that the community may face and to help local pride organizers get access to any federal safety resources they may need to help keep the community safe.”

Asked to explain how HHS’s healthcare focused initiatives will be reconciled with restrictions targeting medical interventions for trans youth in conservative states, the official noted ongoing efforts to fight back – including by federal rulemaking and litigated challenges of policies that violate Americans’ rights.

When it comes to the actions previewed by Tanden, the official said, “Almost half of LGBTQI+ youth say they seriously considered committing suicide in the past year, and that attacks on their rights have made their mental health worse. That’s a serious crisis that we want to take on and this advisory will help.”

Additionally, they said, “HHS is announcing that they’re going to release new guidance to states to help them use federal funds to offer dedicated mental health services to the LGBTQI+ community,” while “the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA, is releasing $1.7 million in new federal funding for programs that support the health and mental health of LGBTQI+ youth by investing in programs that are focused on family affirmation.”

Responding to other questions about anti-LGBTQ legislation and the rising transphobic and anti-LGBTQ sentiment in America, the official offered some insight into the Biden-Harris administration’s positions on these matters more broadly.

“Part of our role here is to lift up the stories of transgender kids and their families to help the American people understand what is happening to families who, as the President says aren’t hurting anyone but are being hurt by these laws,” said the official.

“These aren’t just attacks on the rights of LGBTQI+{ Americans, they are part and parcel of a coordinated attack on our democracy,” they said. “We’re not just talking about laws that target transgender kids. These are really laws that get at the heart of our basic freedoms and values: the right to free expression, the right to make decisions about your own body, the right to parent and raise your children.”

The official added, “Opponents of LGBTQI+ Americans are leading a pretty significant campaign of disinformation,” which have included “the same types of hateful lies and stereotypes that have been used against our community really for decades and for generations.”

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U.S. Military/Pentagon

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs defends cancellation of drag show

Milley pushed back on accusations that the military had “gone woke” during the interview, marking the 79th anniversary of the D-Day invasion



U.S. Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense)

NORMANDY, France – U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN’s Oren Liebermann during an interview Monday that last week’s cancellation of a drag show at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada was “the absolute right thing to do.”

The top U.S. military officer said the decision came from U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, but added that he agreed with the move.

A Pentagon source familiar with the matter told the Washington Blade on Thursday that Milley informed Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. that it is not Pentagon policy to fund drag shows on bases and the show needed to be canceled or moved off base. 

He echoed those comments during Monday’s interview, asserting that the performances “were never part of [Department of Defense] policy to begin with, and they’re certainly not funded by federal funds.”

“DoD resources should be used for mission-essential operations, not diverted toward initiatives that create cultural fissures within our service ranks,” anti-LGBTQ U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said in a May 23 letter to Milley and Austin.

“I find it completely unacceptable that DoD is using taxpayer dollars to fund DEI programs that are divisive in nature,” said Gaetz, referring to diversity, equity, and inclusion – programs typically administered by corporations that have increasingly become targets of conservative outrage.

Milley pushed back on accusations that the military had “gone woke” during the interview, which took place in Normandy, France, marking the 79th anniversary of the D-Day invasion into Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6 1944.

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U.S. Federal Courts

Hate group attorneys ask federal appeals court to resurrect lawsuit

“They ran a race and lost, & they don’t like the rules” Christian activist lawyers ask to resurrect lawsuit over trans-inclusive policy



Courtroom, U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Photo Credit: Library of Congress/U.S. Courts)

NEW YORK — A lawsuit filed by anti-transgender activists on behalf of four women sprinters that’s already been tossed out by two federal judges is once again getting a hearing on its potential path to the Supreme Court. 

Attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal firm labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, made oral arguments Tuesday before the full U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City. 

They’re asking for the right to sue a Connecticut state agency and several high schools over a policy that allows trans student-athletes to compete with cisgender students according to their authentic gender identity. 

The ADF represents four cisgender women who competed against trans athletes as runners in high school: 24-year-old Chelsea Mitchell and 20-year-old Selina Soule, as well as Alanna Smith and Ashley Nicolleti, who are both 19. 

“All we need to decide today is whether they get into the courthouse door,” ADF lawyer John Bursch told the court, according to ABC News. The judges seemed unconvinced. 

“It is a clear violation when a school or school district knowingly lets sexual discrimination proceed,” said Judge Denny Chin. “I don’t think we can say that here.”

An attorney for the state agency argued the athletes have not alleged any concrete or imminent harm.

“Nothing about track results would affect the plaintiffs’ life prospects,” said Peter Murphy, the lawyer for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, whose trans inclusive policy has stood for a decade.

“Is there an injury in fact that you see on this complaint by money damages, if money damages is available?” asked Judge Alison Nathan.

“No,” said Murphy. “The plaintiffs are alleging they ran a race and lost, and they don’t like the rules.”

The ADF lawsuit specifically names two transgender former student-athletes, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, labeling them “biological males” — a term federal Judge Robert Chatigny ordered the ADF lawyers to avoid using when he was hearing the case in 2020. Chatigny ruled in 2021 that the ADF’s request for an injunction blocking the enforcement of the CIAC policy was “moot” because the athletes named as defendants were no longer high school students, and the plaintiffs did not identify any other transgender girls that were likely to compete against them the following season.

A judge on the Second Circuit affirmed Chatigny’s ruling in December, as the Los Angeles Blade reported, but in February, the full federal appeals court agreed to re-hear the ADF’s appeal.

The centerpiece of the ADF’s lawsuit is to claim Connecticut’s trans-inclusive policy violates Title IX, the law that prohibits educational institutions that receive federal funding from discriminating against students on the basis of sex. In April, the Biden administration unveiled a proposal to expand Title IX to include protections for transgender students and eliminate broad bans that prevent them from competing in school sports, such as the one passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in April, but the proposal drew mixed reactions. 

Title IX historically has been used to ensure equal funding and opportunities for all girls and women, given that their male counterparts still receive greater scholarships and athletic opportunities to this day. The ADF’s central goal, Jezebel reported last summer, is to turn Title IX into a weapon cisgender girls and women can use against those who are trans. 

Even though Mitchell finished first, defeating Miller and another cisgender runner in 2020, the ADF argues that when Mitchell placed third behind Miller and Yearwood in 2019, that loss caused Mitchell “irreparable harm.” 

Her lawyers claim that impacted Mitchell’s college acceptances and “employment opportunities.” Yet Mitchell and at least two of the other cis women plaintiffs received scholarships to run track in college and at least three are currently part of NCAA Division I track and field programs. 

Miller and Yearwood were not offered athletic scholarships. “As a result of this whole process, they’re not competing in sports at all,” said American Civil Liberties Union attorney Joshua Block, who represents the trans women. 

“The allegations in the complaint don’t come anywhere close to showing an actual denial of equal athletic opportunity,” Block successfully argued in September. “Plaintiffs’ complete athletic records show that they defeated Andraya and Terry on multiple occasions and amassed an impressive collection of first-place trophies in the process. The complaint is filled with hypotheticals of a dystopia where cisgender girls disappear from the victory podium but a complaint requires allegations of facts. The races were run under the rules that were in place at the time.”

In the one and only race in which Nicoletti competed against Miller, she finished dead last

Since 2020, at least 21 states have enacted laws or policies that ban transgender athletes from playing on school sports teams with women and girls, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

Those are among the nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed and enacted across the country, including legislation or policies restricting gender-affirming care for minors, and now even trans adults in some states. 

A recent landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court may figure into whether the ADF ultimately wins the right to sue. In April, the justices rejected West Virginia’s emergency appeal of an appellate court’s decision to block the state from enforcing an anti-trans youth sports ban against a 12 year old trans girl, as the Los Angeles Blade reported.
Court observers said while that decision did not set a legal precedent such as in the Bostock case, it did signal that the High Court is not ready to quickly approve discrimination against trans Americans. The West Virginia case marked the first time the Supreme Court has weighed-in on matters involving the inclusion of trans youth in sports.

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Drag bans & Anti-LGBTQ laws loom over Pride celebrations

Anti-LGBTQ and anti-drag laws that Republican governors have signed have prompted Pride organizers to reconsider or even cancel their events



A drag queen performs at Lubbock Pride in Lubbock, Texas, in 2022. (Image courtesy Topher Covarrubio of NeverEnding Memories Photography

WASHINGTON – Anti-LGBTQ and anti-drag laws that Republican governors have signed have prompted Pride organizers to reconsider or even cancel their events this year.

The Bozanich Photography Collaborative, which organizes St. Cloud Pride in Florida, in its statement that announced the cancellation of its June 10 event noted the state “has recently passed a number of laws that target the LGBTQIA+ community” and they have “created a climate of fear and hostility for LGBTQIA+ people.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 17 — the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia — signed bills that ban gender-affirming health care for minors, restrict pronoun usage in schools and require public buildings and other facilities’ restrooms and locker rooms to have “separate facilities for men and women based on biological sex.” DeSantis on that day also signed House Bill 1438, which “protects children from explicitly adult performances in all venues — including drag shows and strip clubs” and “imposes fines and license suspension for hotels and restaurants that admit a child into an adult performance.”

The Republican presidential candidate last year filed a complaint against a Miami restaurant after LibsofTikTok broadcast a video of children attending a drag show.

The DeSantis administration this year has sought to revoke the liquor license of the Hyatt Regency Miami and filed a complaint against the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation after children attended drag shows at the respective locations. 

Tampa Pride on May 18 announced the cancellation of its “Pride on the River” event. Organizers of Pridefest in Port St. Lucie only allowed those who were at least 21 years old to attend their annual event that took place in April. 

Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando has sued DeSantis over HB 1438.

The 2022 Stonewall Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Fla.
(Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

The annual Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival is scheduled to take place in Wilton Manors on June 17.

Stonewall Pride CEO Jeffrey Sterling on Monday during a telephone interview with the Washington Blade pointed out Wilton Drive, the road on which the parade and festival will take place, is a state road.

He said performers and vendors will have to abide by a series of rules that include no nudity, no lewd conduct and no vulgarity or overtly sexual language. Sterling admitted HB 1438 and the other anti-LGBTQ bills that DeSantis signed “indirectly” prompted Stonewall Pride to implement them, but he stressed they do not apply to those who attend the parade and festival. 

Sterling denied reports that suggest drag queens will not be allowed to perform.

“We need to be proud of the beauty of our culture while keeping in mind who we are entertaining,” he said. “Our standards should be that which we would use around our own children or our families’ nieces or nephews. We are performing for all ages, so the youngest in the audience should dictate the minimum standards we should adhere to.”

Miami Beach Pride took place on April 16, less than a week after Equality Florida and the Florida Immigrant Coalition issued a travel advisory for the state. The event took place before DeSantis signed HB 1438 and the three other anti-LGBTQ laws.

The annual Miami Beach Pride parade took place in Miami Beach, Fla., on April 16, 2023.
(Screenshot from video courtesy of Yariel Valdés González)

The third annual PensaPride will take place in Pensacola in Florida’s Panhandle on June 24.

Sydney Robinson, who is a member of PensaPride’s board of directors, during a June 1 telephone interview with the Blade noted the all-day festival is a sober event and “family-friendly, open to all ages.”

She noted drag queens typically perform at PensaPride, but organizers are “still sort of grappling to try and do something or if we want to avoid it altogether because of the new law.” Robinson was nevertheless adamant that Pride events should continue to take place in Florida, despite DeSantis and the anti-drag bill he signed.

“I’m really disappointed with any Pride events that cancel for that reason because I think there is a way to have a vibrant Pride event that doesn’t have drag,” she said. “If you really want to follow the law, if that’s your main concern, you could easily do a wonderful Pride event and just not have that element involved.” 

“On the other end it’s like well Pride is a protest,” added Robinson. “That was the basis of Pride from the start.”

A performer at PensaPride in Pensacola, Fla., in 2022.
(Photo courtesy of Olivia Ashcraft/PensaPride)

‘We’re more motivated than ever’

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on May 22 signed a bill that bans drag story hours in public schools and libraries and restricts “sexually oriented performances” on public property. (His nonbinary child urged him to veto anti-LGBTQ bills that reached his desk during this year’s legislative session.) 

Missoula Pride will take place from June 16-18.

“We’re more motivated than ever to put on just one big hell of a Pride festival,” Andy Nelson, executive director of the Western Montana LGBTQ+ Community Center, which organizes Missoula Pride, told the Blade on June 2 during a telephone interview. “This legislative session here in Montana has been devastating and we just need to come together as a community more than ever.”

Nelson noted the bill that Gianforte signed is specific to public libraries and schools. Nelson said drag queens will perform at Missoula Pride as they normally do.

“As far as drag performers performing at our street party in downtown Missoula, we’re good to go,” Nelson told the Blade. “And so we’re going to have a bunch of queens up there, like usual, doing their thing. They’ll be in the parade and we’re still going to have multiple drag events throughout the weekend.”

Missoula Pride participants in Missoula, Mont., in 2022.
(Photo courtesy of Lo Hunter Photography)

A document the Department of Homeland Security shared with law enforcement and government agencies on May 11 notes anti-LGBTQ threats are increasing and are linked to “drag-themed events, gender-affirming care and LGBTQIA+ curricula in schools.” The document also warns of the potential increase in attacks against health care providers and businesses that specifically cater to LGBTQ people.

Police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho last June arrested 31 armed white nationalists who were protesting a Pride event

“We were definitely on edge,” said Nelson, who noted Coeur d’Alene is less than three hours from Missoula and the arrests took place days after Missoula Pride. “What happened there is not out of the question, that it could happen here as well.”

Missoula Pride participants in Missoula, Mont., in 2022.
(Photo courtesy of Lo Hunter Photography)

Nelson noted a small group of neo-Nazis with AR-15s in March protested an International Trans Day of Visibility event that took place at Missoula’s courthouse. He said a private security team and members of the Missoula Police Department will be on hand during Pride. 

“We’re definitely keeping safety and security top of mind,” said Nelson.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on March 2 signed Senate Bill 2, which imposes fines and even jail time for “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest” on public property or where children are present.

Friends of George’s, a Memphis-based LGBTQ theater company, challenged SB 2 in federal court.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on June 2 declared SB 2, which is also known as the Adult Entertainment Act, unconstitutional. The same federal judge temporarily blocked the law hours before it was to have taken effect.

Tennessee Equality Project Executive Director Chris Sanders on Monday noted to the Blade that Pride events took place in Memphis, Cookeville and in other cities across the state over the past weekend.

Sanders said drag queens performed in a public park during Columbia Pride that took place on Sunday. He noted some Pride celebrations “probably did make some contingency plans or change the way their celebration went on, but many continued to have drag as part of their celebrations.”

Sanders told the Blade that activists in Tennessee remain “extremely stressed, particularly about the anti-trans laws.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the state law that bans gender-affirming care for anyone who is under 18 years old. Sanders noted that statute “continues to hang over everything,” but Parker’s ruling was something to celebrate. 

“People got a bit of relief, obviously, because of the drag ruling and people are very excited about that,” said Sanders.

Texas anti-drag bill has ‘broad and vague wording’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on June 2 signed a law that bans gender-affirming health care for minors in his state. Senate Bill 12 — which would “regulate sexually oriented performances” and “those performances on the premises of a commercial enterprise, on public property, or in the presence of an individual younger than 18 years of age” — is currently awaiting the Republican governor’s signature.

Nick Harpster, the public relations and advocacy coordinator of Lubbock Pride, on June 1 noted to the Blade during a telephone interview that SB 12 would take effect after his city’s Pride events if Abbott were to sign it into law. 

He said SB 12 has “such a broad and vague wording and it’s left up to so much interpretation,” and questioned how it may specficially impact the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. Harpster said Texas lawmakers have definitely targeted drag queens with SB 12 and another bill that sought to defund public libraries that host drag queen story hours.

“That’s been the goal from the get go,” said Harpster.

Harpster said Lubbock Pride “may have to do some things differently” next year if Abbott signs SB 12. In the meantime, drag performances and drag story times are among the events that will take place during this year’s Lubbock Pride that will take place on June 10.

A band performs at Lubbock Pride in Lubbock, Texas, in 2022.
(Image courtesy Topher Covarrubio of NeverEnding Memories Photography)

Dawn Ennis, Christopher Kane, Michael Key and Brody Levesque contributed to this story.

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Maryland governor signs order protecting trans health care 

“You deserve to live safely, openly and freely; and receive the gender-affirming care you need” said Lieutenant Gov. Aruna Miller



Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on June 5, 2023, signs an executive order that protects gender-affirming health care in the state. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Monday signed an executive order that protects gender-affirming health care in the state.

Moore signed the directive during a Pride month reception at Government House in Annapolis.

“In the state of Maryland, nobody should have to justify their own humanity,” said Moore. “This order is focused on ensuring Maryland is a safe place for gender affirming care, especially as other states take misguided and hateful steps to make gender affirming care cause for legal retribution. In Maryland, we are going to lead on this issue.”

“In signing this executive order, this administration is saying to all LGBTQIA+ Marylanders: You deserve to be your authentic selves — during Pride month and every month,” added Lieutenant Gov. Aruna Miller. “You deserve to live safely, openly and freely; and receive the gender-affirming care you need.”

Moore last month signed the Trans Health Equity Act, which requires Maryland’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming care. Moore on March 31 signed a proclamation that proclaimed the day as the International Transgender Day of Visibility in Maryland. 

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U.S. Federal Courts

Federal Judge halts enforcement of Florida trans healthcare ban 

Ruling allows parents challenging the ban to access necessary medical care for their trans children while the legal challenge continues




TALLAHASSEE – In his 44 page ruling, Judge Robert Hinkle of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida barred the state from any further enforcement action against trans youth or their parents from seeking appropriate gender-affirming care.

Hinkle’s ruling allows Florida parents challenging the ban to access necessary medical care for their transgender children while the legal challenge to the bans continues. The ruling blocks enforcement of Florida state Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine rules banning established medical care for transgender adolescents as well as provisions in SB 254 that codify those rules into state law with added criminal and civil penalties.

In his summary Hinkle wrote: “Gender identity is real. Those whose gender identity does not match their natal sex often suffer gender dysphoria. The widely accepted standard of care calls
for evaluation and treatment by a multidisciplinary team. Proper treatment begins with mental-health therapy and is followed in appropriate cases by GnRH agonists and cross-sex hormones. Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate.”

In today’s ruling the court indicated that the plaintiff parents are likely to succeed in their claims that SB 254 and the Boards of Medicine rules unconstitutionally strip them of the right to make informed decisions about their children’s medical treatment and violate the equal protection rights of transgender youth by denying them medically necessary, doctor-recommended healthcare.

The challenge to the Boards of Medicine and SB 254 healthcare bans is likely to proceed quickly to trial.

The families are represented by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign, which issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a powerful affirmation of the humanity of transgender people, the efficacy of well-established, science-based medical care, and of the rights of parents to make informed healthcare decisions for their children. The court recognized the profound harm the state of Florida is causing by forcing parents to watch their kids suffer rather than provide them with safe and effective care that will allow them to thrive. We are incredibly relieved that these Florida parents can continue to get healthcare for their children while we proceed to challenge these bans and eventually see them fully overturned.”

“This ruling is an important win for those challenging the dangerous ban on gender-affirming care and an unwavering endorsement of the right of transgender people to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida Public Policy Director.  “Judge Hinkle was unequivocal: Transgender people are real and deserving of lifesaving healthcare. We are incredibly grateful for the courageous families who stepped forward to challenge these dangerous policies, the legal organizations leading the way, and for the clear-eyed ruling in favor of decency and medical freedom. The Governor’s pursuit of unconstitutional laws and personal vendettas comes at the direct expense of taxpayers. Instead of investing in initiatives that promote the welfare of the community, these actions drain valuable resources and undermine the potential for progress.” 

Read the ruling:

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Louisiana lawmakers send anti-LGBTQ bills to Governor Edwards

“I guess I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that a decision should be made by a patient and a physician”



Governor John Bel Edwards signing a group of previous bills into law from the 2023 Legislative Session. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor/Facebook)

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana state Senate on Monday, following a national conservative movement targeting LGBTQ+ youth, approved three measures that target LGBTQ+ rights. The bills now head to the state’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, one of which has spurred calls for the governor to veto from leading civil rights advocacy groups including the ACLU.

House Bill 648, a ban on trans youth gender-affirming health care, passed on a 29-10 vote that along party lines. HB 648 is the only bill of the three to receive a veto-proof majority vote in both House and Senate should the governor veto it, which sources say is highly likely.

“This extreme government overreach harms everyone in our state, especially transgender Louisianans, and we all deserve better,” ACLU spokesperson Kari Elgin said in a statement.

The local newspaper, The Advocate reported, the Senate voted Monday for HB 466, the ban on talk of gender and sex in school classrooms, on a 29-9 vote, a two-thirds majority; and for HB Bill 81, the pronoun bill, on a 31-8 vote, also a two-thirds majority. However, the House passed each of those bills earlier in session without two-thirds majority votes.

Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement:

“From doctors’ offices to classrooms, Louisiana’s extremist legislators show no shame in assaulting the freedoms of those different from them. Blocking teachers from providing the safe and inclusive spaces that LGBTQ+ youth so desperately need is an unconscionable act. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about being LGBTQ+ or in acknowledging LGBTQ+ issues and people. Furthermore, denying transgender and non-binary youth access to best-practice, life-saving medical care puts their lives in very real danger.  

These bills are a desperate and cruel effort by radical politicians in Louisiana to marginalize and erase the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender youth. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns these discriminatory bills and calls on Gov. Bel Edwards to veto them.”

There was opposition to the trans youth healthcare ban from Senator Republican Committee Chairman Fred Mills, of Parks, joined who had joined with the Democrats in opposition. The bill killed by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, which Mills is chair of on May 24, which was thought to have effectively killed the bill for this legislative session.

According to the Advocate after weeks of political maneuvering that saw it revived by the full Senate as political pressure mounted from conservative interest groups and then approved last week by a second Senate panel, sending it back to the full chamber.

Last month Mills, who expressed his trust in science and health care providers before joining Democrats in opposition.

“I guess I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that a decision should be made by a patient and a physician,” Mills said.

Speaking to the Advocate Monday, Mills said his vote was driven by his belief that decisions about medical care should remain between doctors and patients. He said Monday that blowback to his vote, which included threats from local and national conservatives, came as a surprise because he was unaware of the “cultural war” the issue was enmeshed in.

“This is probably one of the biggest blessings of my life, this controversy,” he said. “I’ve been attacked nationwide by people with hate. But I do not hate these people. I know God blesses them.”

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