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Gay co-owner of popular Tacoma bakery killed in New Orleans

The 32-year-old Carter was originally from Texas and a longtime Seattle resident and fixture of Puget Sound farmer’s markets



Howdy Bagel owners and husbands Jake Carter (left) and Daniel Blagovich (Family photo)

TACOMA, Wash. – The tight-knit community in South Tacoma is stricken with grief after Jake Carter was shot to death in the early hours January 5, 2024 at the edge of New Orleans’ famed French Quarter. He was the co-owner alongside husband Daniel Blagovich of the popular Howdy Bagel bakery shop near the Tacoma Mall.

According to a press statement from the New Orleans Police Department:

At about 1:32 a.m., NOPD Eighth District officers responded to a call of a shot person at the location. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male gunshot wound victim. EMS arrived on scene soon after and later pronounced the victim deceased on scene.

Investigators are gathering evidence and information to identify the person(s) responsible for this incident and a motive. No additional details are currently available.

Anyone with additional information that can assist in this investigation is urged to contact NOPD Homicide Section detectives at 504-658-5300. Those wishing to report information anonymously can do so by calling Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP.

The 32-year-old Carter was originally from Texas and a longtime Seattle resident and fixture of Puget Sound farmer’s markets according to Seattle Food Columnist and journalist Meg van Huygen. She noted that: “Jake was a goddamn delight and very seriously the nicest dude anybody had ever met. Remember-him-for-the-rest-of-your-life nice. An uncannily sunny soul. This was an act of pure evil and a tremendous loss for not only Tacoma but the whole world, honestly.”

As the community rallied around Carter’s husband and family a GoFundMe was launched as the bakery and bagel shop has been temporarily closed. The fundraising effort targeted a goal of $50,000 to cover the cost of shop rent and other operating expenses, as well as employee wages. As of Tuesday, January 9 there have been 3.6K donations which has raised $210,600, exceeding the amount requested and donations continue to be posted.

In the GoFundMe the writers said:

In an effort to support Daniel and the whole Howdy crew, we are asking that you consider supporting Howdy in two ways. First, take care of one another. Showing up with care for one another as we grieve is a way we can honor the love that Jacob put into this world. In this difficult time, we ask that you do not reach out to Daniel or the family but find comfort with one another. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to the Crisis Connections hotline at 866/427/4747. If you feel the need to reach out with a message via the Howdy Bagel instagram, know that we will hold your messages with gratitude but do not have the capacity to respond. Second, to give Daniel space to grieve without having to worry about the logistics of running a business, we ask that you consider donating.

Van Huygen wrote:

Last year, when I interviewed the couple shortly after Howdy Bagel’s opening, Jake beamed when he spoke about the community that was quickly growing at the space: “We just have some of the sweetest customers I’ve ever known. Sweet to us and to each other! Just, like, I overhear people chatting in line who have never met each other, and they have the cutest conversations. This might sound naive or idealistic, but it’s given me new hope in humanity! I see friendships being made all day!”

If you would like to contribute please click on the logo:



Poulsbo, Washington police investigating LGBTQ+ pride vandalism

Police have launched an investigation after nearly all downtown LGBTQ+ pride banners were vandalized early in the morning of June 1, 2024



Police have launched an investigation after nearly all downtown LGBTQ+ pride banners were vandalized early in the morning of June 1, 2024. (Photo Credit: Poulsbo Pride)

POULSBO, Wash. – Poulsbo police have launched an investigation after nearly all downtown LGBTQ+ pride banners were vandalized early in the morning of Saturday, June 1, 2024 as Pride Month officially kicked off.

According to a Poulsbo police spokesperson:

“Early in the morning of Saturday, June 1, 2024, someone slashed the majority of the Pride Flags that were being displayed in the Historic Downtown Poulsbo shopping corridor. One of the local merchants provided us the following footage which appears to be a tall person wearing a green jacket, a baseball cap, full-face covering, black gloves and what seems to be a long white pole with a cutting instrument attached.

The police are asking the public’s help if anyone has any information on this or are a downtown merchant who may have surveillance footage around the time of this crime (approximately 03:45AM), please contact the department and ask to speak with a Poulsbo Police Officer.”

Poulsbo’s Pride organizers launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover replacing the damaged banners and donations go to support their Poulsbo’s Pride in the Park celebration.

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Law requiring Washington schools to teach LGBTQ+ history signed

The fact that LGBTQ+ people are not specifically mentioned in the language of the bill angered conservatives



Washington Governor Jay Inslee speaking at an engagement in January of 2023. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law this past week which mandates that the state’s schools add LGBTQ+ history to their curriculum starting in the 2025-2026 school year.

Senate Bill 5462, will mandate schools incorporate adopting inclusive curricula and selecting inclusive instructional materials that include the histories, contributions, and perspectives of historically marginalized and underrepresented groups including those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Now that Gov. Inslee signed the bill into law, it directs the state to create a curriculum that highlights the many contributions people of different races, ethnicities and even sexual orientations have made.

The fact that LGBTQ+ people are not specifically mentioned in the language of the bill has angered conservatives and groups opposed to LGBTQ+ equality and rights. “I don’t believe that’s the state’s responsibility. When you break down our main reason for being opposed to more or less the sexualization of children at that very young age,” Brian Noble, with the Family Policy Institute of Washington, told KOMO News.

Danni Askini, with the Gender Justice League, gave KOMO News a different perspective.

“I think that this is based on a stereotype. And I think that even mentioning that LGBTQ+ people are sexual is like mentioning mothers get pregnant and have babies that are somehow sexual. It’s not inherently sexual. It’s a fact of life. Acknowledging the existence of LGBT people does not inherently sexualize anybody, and it does not promote sexual behavior,” said Askini.

“I have no problem with us informing about cultures about different areas like that,” said Noble. “But when it comes to our sexual behavior, those histories and what we’re heightening as acceptable, and as normal, I do believe the conversation should happen between the child and their parent or parents.”

During a public hearing on the measure, Gary Wilson, a conservative family values candidate in the last election for the Evergreen Public Schools School Board, who was also endorsed by the Family Policy Institute of Washington said:

“This bill, forcing curriculum selection that would praise and highlight gay pride activists or gender-confused individuals, will only drive more parents away as our public education system seeks to promote agendas over public education.”

According to KOMO News, Sen. Marko Liias, the bill’s sponsor, argued the contributions of gay Washingtonians deserve recognition. He also said students who see themselves in their schoolwork miss fewer days of school and perform better academically.

The Gender Justice League’s Askini noted:

“Acknowledging the facts of our community, the reality of the world that we live in, and the people that are in that world is not the same as encouraging any type of one type of behavior or one belief.”

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Washington law protects trans kids seeking care without parent’s ok

The bill does not address custody and would not result in the state taking children away from their homes and parents



Washington State Governor Jay Inslee (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor/Facebook)

OLYMPIA – A new law will allow trans youth under the age of 18 seeking gender-affirming care to be protected from intervention by their estranged parents was signed this week by Washington State’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5599 allows licensed shelters and host homes for trans minors now can reach out to contact the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, which could then attempt to reunify the family if feasible. Youths will also be allowed to stay at host homes — private, volunteer homes that temporarily house young people without parental permission.

The previous law required parental notifications within 72 hours when a minor came into their care.

“With this bill, Washington leads the way by taking a more compassionate, developmentally appropriate, and reasoned approach to support these youth as they access gender-affirming treatment and reproductive health care services,” said the governor.

The bill was controversial with those in opposition claiming that the new law fosters “child abuse.” The state Senate Republican Leader John Braun told Fox News:

“The only thing [the bill] would do is cause harm by driving a wedge between vulnerable kids and their parents, at a time when a teen lacks the perception and judgment to make critical life-altering decisions,” Braun said. “A parent may not even know why the child ran away and could involve law enforcement or other groups in a desperate search… all the while going through an unnecessary emotional nightmare, imagining the worst about what might have happened.”

Arguments about the impact of the law were sharply critiqued by right leaning conservative posters on social media and in interviews with media outlets. The Associated Press noted that viral posts falsely claimed the bill would result in children being legally taken from their parents if they did not consent to their child’s “gender transition.”

A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania,®  debunked some of the assertions about the law’s effects:

In a May 3, 2023 article the non-profit project reported:

Q: Does a proposed law in Washington state say that the government can take children away from parents who don’t agree to gender transition surgery?

A: No. Under the bill, licensed youth shelters no longer have to report the location of a runaway child to the child’s parents if the child is seeking gender-affirming or reproductive care. Instead, the shelters must notify the state’s child services department.

“We believe it is better to have a young person in a shelter with some adult supervision than having them out living on the streets — maybe being trafficked, sexually trafficked, maybe being exposed to drugs,” Inslee said at an April 13 press conference.

Online posts have misrepresented the proposed legislation, prompting confusion.

Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter, “Washington passes bill allowing the state to TAKE CHILDREN AWAY FROM PARENTS that do not consent to their child’s gender transition surgeries…”

And the conservative website 100 Percent Fed Up posted a headline claiming: “BREAKING: State of Washington Passes Bill Allowing Government to Take Minor Children Away From Parents If They Refuse To Agree to Gender Transition Surgery.” The site shared that story with its 1.5 million Facebook followers.

A related suggestion from the online posts is the emphasis on “gender transition surgeries,” as if surgery is the primary type of treatment.

But gender-affirming care is much more encompassing than just surgery. The Washington bill uses this definition: “[A] service or product that a health care provider… prescribes to an individual to support and affirm the individual’s gender identity.”

Gender-affirming care, which can reduce that risk, is supported by more than two dozen major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the Endocrine Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The bill does not address custody and would not result in the state taking children away from their homes and parents.

“There’s no procedure in here whatsoever that talks about taking children away,” said Deirdre Bowen, a law professor at Seattle University. “It is not remotely what this bill says.”

“The posts are inaccurate,” Craig Konnoth, a law professor at the University of Virginia, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Children cannot be taken away under this bill.”

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Alaska Airlines to remove gendered restrictions on uniforms

Removes all gendered restrictions from its uniform policy & requires additional training on gender identity and gender expression



Alaska Airlines announcing its uniform and grooming guidelines in March of 2022. (Photo Credit: Alaska Airlines)

SEATTLE — The ACLU, the ACLU of Washington, and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office have secured a groundbreaking consent decree against Alaska Airlines, requiring Alaska Airlines to remove all gendered restrictions from its uniform policy for flight attendants and to require additional training on gender identity and gender expression.

This consent decree favorably resolves the administrative complaint filed by the ACLU and the ACLU of Washington on behalf of Justin Wetherell, a nonbinary and gender fluid flight attendant and flight attendant instructor at Alaska Airlines.

Per the ACLU: “As a flight attendant, Wetherell has been forced to comply with Alaska Airlines’ gendered uniform and grooming policies that were grounded in sex stereotypes and conflicted with their nonbinary gender identity and fluid gender expression.”

“I am incredibly relieved and happy to put this process behind me,” said Justin Wetherell, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant since 2014. “This took far more time than I expected and had a severe negative impact on my mental and emotional health. However, I would do it again in a heartbeat — I truly believe the time is always right to do what is right. This is the right thing for me, for Alaska Airlines, and for many other nonbinary, transgender, and gender non-conforming people. This victory sets the groundwork for other similarly affected individuals to have an easier time fixing discriminatory policies.”

“At a time when the rights of transgender and nonbinary people are under a seemingly endless legislative attack across the country, it is critical that we remain committed to enforcing the strong legal protections that currently exist,” notes Malita Picasso, staff attorney at the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project. “This consent decree should put those who would discriminate against us on notice that we will continue to demand justice for our community. Nonbinary people deserve to show up to work as their full and authentic selves. We are grateful to have helped Justin deliver that message to Alaska Airlines.”

“Justin Wetherell has ensured nonbinary and transgender employees in the State of Washington will feel safer, more comfortable, and accepted at work,” said Taryn Darling, ACLU of Washington senior staff attorney. “Alaska Airlines employees will no longer be subjected to rigid, oppressive uniform policies, and all employees will benefit from additional training ensuring the workplace is respectful, inclusive, and free from discrimination for nonbinary, transgender, and gender fluid people. We thank Justin for the years they spent getting Alaska Airlines to do the right thing. This consent decree will have significant impact, serve as a model for other companies, and send a strong message that we will not tolerate workplace discrimination.”

On December 30, 2020, Justin Wetherell, through the ACLU and the ACLU of Washington, filed a complaint against Alaska Airlines with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (Commission). In September 2022, the Commission concluded its nearly two-year investigation based upon Wetherell’s allegations and issued a reasonable cause finding of discrimination against Alaska Airlines over its policy requiring flight attendants to conform to a rigid set of gendered dress and grooming standards. This was followed by a complaint filed on behalf of the Commission by the Washington state Attorney General.

Under a consent decree filed today, Alaska Airlines will:

  • Change its uniform policy to remove all gendered restrictions and language on uniform pieces, facial hair, jewelry, and makeup.
  • Provide additional training to Alaska Airlines employees on federal and state civil rights protections and on gender identity and gender expression.
  • Pay $70,000 in monetary compensation to Justin and $40,000 in attorneys’ fees to the ACLU and the ACLU of Washington.

In March of 2022, the airline released a social media post indicating it adopted gender inclusive guidelines in its uniform policies:

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Seattle: The Brewmaster’s Taproom targeted over drag show

Online threats and comments escalated when an unknown assailant fired a large projectile at the front window leaving an impact scar



The Brewmaster's Taproom, Renton, Washington/Google Earth

RENTON, Wa. – The increasingly hostile climate around the country directed at the LGBTQ community has included protests outside libraries hosting drag story time by the white nationalist group the Proud Boys and other extremist groups.

There also have been protests at bars and restaurants putting on drag shows and online bullying, and then more recently escalating to death threats and the Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19 that killed five and injured dozens others.

This week in suburban Seattle, The Brewmaster’s Taproom, “a kid and dog-friendly taproom,” which has been serving Renton, Washington for seven and a half years, found itself joining the rapidly growing list of businesses targeted by anti-LGBTQ+ extremists over hosting of drag performances.

This past Wednesday online threats and comments escalated when an unknown assailant fired a large projectile at the front window leaving an impact scar. There were no injuries and the damage was limited to the one impact area, which the taproom labeled on its Facebook page photo as; “What intolerance looks like,” with a green arrow pointing at the impact point.

Previous to Wednesday’s shooting incident, The Brewmaster’s Taproom founder and owner, Marley Rall, had posted a message to patrons and the community discussing the threats over the planned monthly drag show.

Rall told Seattle’s NBC affiliate KING 5 that the taproom often holds events to build community and fundraise for causes supporting children and animals. Over the past year and a half, a Drag Queen Story Hour event has also become a monthly staple, she noted.

“I’m, in general, a huge fan of drag,” Rall said. “I’m jealous of the amount of confidence they exude and I also understand a lot of what happens comes from pain and for me it’s important that we build a very inclusive space for everybody and for everybody to feel they can be their true authentic self and so a big thing for me with the LGBTQIA community is that I want them to know we’re an ally and we’re trying in all different ways to be that and one thing I really feel hinders people is when they live and are raised in a very closed situation.”

The taproom, which sits in a corner of a two story strip-shopping centre and office park near one of the entrances underneath an insurance office and a dental clinic, next to a fitness gym, now has mobile surveillance cameras installed by the Renton Police Department. A spokesperson for the department also acknowledged that patrols have increased in the area of the taproom.

Brewpub hosting drag queen story hour harassed:

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Alaska Airlines’s gendered dress codes are likely discriminatory

Washington State Commission on Human Rights rules uniform policy that requires gendered dress & grooming standards is discriminatory



Alaska Airlines jet at Seattle-Tacoma international airport (Photo Credit: Alaska Airlines/Facebook)

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Commission on Human Rights today issued a reasonable cause finding of discrimination against Alaska Airlines over the company’s enforcement of a uniform policy that requires flight attendants to conform to a rigid set of gendered dress and grooming standards.

The case dates from a complaint against the airline by Justin Wetherell, a non-binary flight attendant and flight-attendant instructor for the airline based in Seattle. Wetherell with the assistance of the ACLU of Washington filed the complaint in December of 2020.

According to the ACLU, the uniform policy comprehensively regulates every aspect of a flight attendant’s appearance by requiring them to wear either the “masculine” or “feminine” uniform, which in turn dictates whether employees may wear dresses or skirts, whether employees may wear lipstick or facial hair, what color shoes employees may wear, and whether employees may wear ties or neck scarves.

“The uniform policy places a particularly heavy burden on non-binary employees, but the uniform’s policy also harms any flight attendant who does not fit Alaska Airlines’ preferred image of either male or female,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “By forcing our client and countless other employees to adhere to Alaska Airlines’ rigid gender categories, the uniform policy demeans employees who do not conform to gender stereotypes and interferes with their ability to do their jobs.”

In its findings the commission found the airline’s dress code forced Wetherell “to try fitting into a binary uniform system despite identifying as neither male nor female and making multiple requests for exceptions to the uniform policy that would have allowed them to dress and groom according to their gender identity.”

“The illegal and discriminatory uniform policy maintained by Alaska Airlines forces employees like me to dress and groom in a manner inconsistent with our gender identities and gender expressions,” said Wetherell. “There is no reason for the airline to continue to enforce this illegal policy – other than to maintain an outdated and discriminatory ideal of gender.”

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Protest for Trans student viciously attacked ends with police response

Police say a male juvenile student had made comments to another student expressing a desire to aim an AR towards demonstrators



Kalama High & Middle Schools (Photo Credit: Kalama Washington School District)

KALAMA, Wa. – Officers from the Kalama Police Department were summoned to the combined campus of Kalama High & Middle Schools due to reports that a student had made a threat of violence against a group of students assembled in front of the school peacefully demonstrating support for a trans student.

According to a spokesperson for Kalama Police in a statement released on Facebook, the schools were placed into immediate lockdown after responding law enforcement units determined that a male juvenile student had made comments to another student (not affiliated with the demonstration) expressing a desire to aim an automatic machine gun in the direction of the demonstrators.

A firearm was not seen and the suspect stated that he intended to go home.

Kalama PD was assisted and supported by the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Woodland Police Department, Washington State Patrol, and Cowlitz Fire District #5. Assistance was offered by a number of other local law enforcement partner agencies.

The witness was concerned enough that they reported the statements to school administrators. The suspect could not be immediately located and his whereabouts were unknown.

Through investigation, the suspect was located and contacted by law enforcement off campus. He was transported to the police department for questioning and criminal charges will be forwarded to the county prosecutor’s office.

Earlier in the month, a trans male student was assaulted in the school’s halls and subsequently treated in the hospital. According to witnesses speaking to Portland, Oregon CBS affiliate KOIN 6 News, another student repeatedly kicked the trans student, who identifies as male, with steel-toe boots.

“The student had been on the ground, begging him to stop and he just kept going,” Katrina Rick-Mertens, a sophomore told KOIN.

The assault technically happened after school hours, just as students were leaving for the day on Monday, June 6. The student has since returned to class, according to a spokesperson for the school district.

Multiple statements on social media posts of the Kalama Police Dept. along with statements made to KOIN reporters point to a hostile environment of bullying in both the high school and the middle school, particularly aimed at LGBTQ+ students.

Many parents and students are alleging that the school administrators are not taking reports of bullying seriously and that not enough proactive disciplinary measures are being implemented to stop the bullying, which in part led to Monday’s protest and walk-out by students.

In an interview with KOIN 6 News, Kalama School District Communications Manager Nick Shanmac says, the district is always limited in what it can share about discipline because of student privacy protections.

“You do have this frustration that it appears on the surface that not enough is being done,” Shanmac said. “There are a lot of emotions that we understand it can feel like that, it can feel like nothing is happening.”

In addition to transphobic actions and homophobic remarks, incidents of Nazi salutes in classrooms and locker rooms are described by students in conversations with KOIN 6 and are also prominent on social media posts on Kalama community pages.

Two of those speaking out say they’ve repeatedly told school administrators how they have been victims.

“You’d think that after so many students go to them about hate speech and going to them that we need these bullies to stop, that they would do something. We shouldn’t have to come to this point to rally together for them to listen to us,” one student said.

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Seattle Pride dumps Amazon over donations to anti-LGBTQ+ politicos

“This Pride Parade is for our community to celebrate, to remember Stonewall in 1969, to continue the fight for our rights”



Screenshot via KING 5 NBC News Seattle

SEATTLE – The organizers and board of Seattle Pride has cut sponsorship ties with internet retail behemoth Amazon citing more than $450,000 to lawmakers who voted against the Equality Act and a demand by the Seattle-based company for naming rights to the annual LGBTQ+ Pride parade.

Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx told local media that donations to anti-LGBTQ+ Washington state politicians and the participation of anti-LGBTQ+ organizations in the company’s AmazonSmile program also factored into the decision.

Marx noted that while Amazon offered a $100,000 sponsorship buy in, which was significantly higher than past donations the company has made in previous years, there were strings attached that included a request to call the annual celebration “Seattle Pride Parade Presented by Amazon.” It felt as if Amazon was trying to buy the event and the nonprofit itself, Marx told media outlet The Seattle Times.

“It was important for us to really take a hard look at how do these values align with us,” she said. “This Pride Parade is for our community to celebrate, to remember Stonewall in 1969, to continue the fight for our rights, and we don’t feel it was possible to accept this money.”

Seattle Pride also cited $11,000 in contributions Amazon made to Washington legislators who sponsored anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender bills during the 2022 session, NBC News affiliate KING-TV 5 reported.

“We simply cannot partner with any organization actively harming our community through the support of discriminatory laws and politics,” Seattle Pride said in a statement

An Amazon spokesperson told KING 5 that the company works with lawmakers on a broad array of topics that impact their business, but that did not mean they agreed with “any individual or political organization 100 percent of the time on every issue.”

“This includes legislation that discriminates or encourages discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community,” a spokesperson said.  

The company went on to cite their support for Seattle Pride and LGBTQ+ issues on a national scale. 

“Amazon has long supported Seattle Pride because we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected. We stand together with the LGBTQ+ community, were early and strong supporters of marriage equality, and are working at the U.S. federal and state level on legislation, including supporting passage of the Equality Act,” a spokesperson said. “We also work hard to offer an inclusive environment for employees and for five consecutive years we’ve received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index.”

Seattle Pride said organizers are also “deeply concerned” about the company’s AmazonSmile program, which allows customers to donate to charities as they shop. Seattle Pride cited an investigation revealing more than 40 anti-LGBTQ+ organizations were signed up to receive funds through the program.

Amazon said an organization’s participation in the AmazonSmile program does not mean the company endorses their views.

“It’s critical Amazon and other corporate partners of Seattle Pride – and for other Pride events nationally – do not allow their platforms to be used by organizations which are actively working against the rights of LGBTQIA+ people,” Seattle Pride said in their statement

When evaluating corporate sponsors, Marx says the group started from the top, with the companies that offered the largest donations and stood to benefit the most from exposure and involvement with the parade, she told the Seattle Times.

“Amazon has been a sponsor for the parade on and off since 2009. It has donated roughly $42,000 since then,” Marx said.

“We simply cannot partner with any organization actively harming our community through the support of discriminatory laws and politics. Making the decision to cut Amazon as a sponsor wasn’t an easy one,” Marx said, and it will affect the nonprofit’s finances.


Seattle Pride cuts ties with Amazon, alleging company donates to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians:

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Washington State high school grapples with racism & anti-LGBTQ bias

“We are devastated that hatred & intolerance has manifested itself in our school district-this causes marginalized students to be fearful”



Monroe High School, Monroe Washington (Photo credit: Monroe School District)

MONROE – Police and school administrators are grappling with an apparent hate crime and a rise in incidents of racism and anti-LGBTQ discrimination at Monroe High School, located about forty minutes Northeast of downtown Seattle.

The latest incident occurred last week in the school’s parking lot just before lunchtime. Mobile phone video footage circulated on Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram showed a white student repeatedly calling a Black student the ‘N’ word in a confrontation, and at one point, the white student hits the Black student in the head with a plastic water bottle.

Monroe police spokesperson, Commander Paul Ryan told media outlets that the confrontation was brief and that a student tried to deescalate it before the school resource officer stepped in.

The Everett and Snohomish County newspaper, the Daily Herald, reported that in a letter/emails sent to parents last Wednesday evening, Monroe High’s principal Brett Wille stated that the school administration is working with Monroe police on their investigation.

“It is with great sadness that I write to let you know about an incident that occurred today at Monroe High School involving racial slurs and aggression towards a Black/African American student,” Wille wrote. “This incident occurred in the parking lot during lunch time and was witnessed by a handful of other students, was video recorded, and was possibly shared on social media. It also resulted in additional police presence on campus and we are partnering with law enforcement in their investigation of this incident.”

In an open letter to the community last Friday, Superintendent of the Monroe Schools District, Dr. Justin Blasko wrote:

“I am writing to you today in response to a recent incident of racial harassment and assault of a Black student at Monroe High School. We are devastated that hatred and intolerance has manifested itself in our school district. We recognize that this incident causes our underrepresented and traditionally marginalized students and families to be fearful, angry, and to question their own sense of belonging in our school community. My heart goes out to these students and families and I commit that, as a system, we will continue to learn and grow together.”

Blasko then cited the District’s policy; “The Monroe School District will provide equal educational opportunity and treatment for all students in all aspects of the academic and activities program without discrimination based on race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, honorably-discharged veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.

He added, “These words are meaningless unless the reality of our environment is reflective of anti-discrimination. The incident this week demonstrates that we must continue to come together to learn, grow, and commit ourselves as a community to do better.”

However, according to the Daily Herald;

Racism has been an ongoing issue in Monroe schools. A survey conducted by the student-led Monroe Inclusion Collective found that, out of 89 respondents, over 57% had experienced racism in the district. Similar amounts reported experiencing anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination or sexism.

Those incidents were most likely to occur outside the classroom but on school grounds, as is the case with the most recent episode. And almost 82% of respondents said they did not report their experiences to school leadership. Their reasons included not trusting staff and a lack of representation among leadership.

Of those that did report racism or other discrimination, again nearly 82% said they didn’t feel safe after doing so.

Students presented the survey’s findings to the Monroe School district Board this past January.

Melanie Ryan, board president of the Monroe Equity Council, told the paper

“All of those students and their families have continually expressed ongoing issues of bullying and harassment and various types of incidences that just haven’t been adequately addressed by the district,”

“What will ultimately decide whether we progress or not is going to likely be the students themselves,” Ryan said. “The students will have a powerful ability to put pressure within this system to say we don’t accept this anymore.”

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Trans 7th grader assaulted in Spokane, Washington by another student

The boy’s mother told KREM CBS2 News that she believes that her son’s gender identity played a major role in the incident



13 year-old Spokane 7th grader Ian Ring via CBS-affiliate KREM 2 News

SPOKANE, Wa. – A disturbing SnapChat video of a 13 year-old Trans male student at Dr. Jonas E. Salk Middle School in Spokane being pummeled by another student this past week is under investigation by the Spokane Police department.

Sitting beside his mother, Ian Ring told CBS-affiliate KREM 2 News Wednesday, “I turned around, he pushed me and then I pushed him back. And he got closer, and he punched me. And then he continued from there, then I had taken his glasses off him to try and get him away.”

Ring’s mother told the station that she believes that her son’s gender identity played a major role in the incident; “The conversation that we have always had about these kind of issues is to walk away, not make yourself a target, you know, especially when you’re alone and not with family,” Ring said. “He’s gone to the mall a few times and was wearing sweaters that are promoting identity and you need to be very careful, like this is an issue and if your family’s not there to protect you can’t just be yourself without worrying about even adults, you know, coming after you.”

Video of the incident, broadcast by KREM CBS 2 News, shows the attack with other students standing around laughing and no one stepping forward to intervene. According to Ring the incident took place after school as students were waiting on busses to take them home.

A spokesperson for the Spokane Police Department told the Blade that a student has been charged with fourth degree assault although no one is in custody and the incident is under active investigation. The police department is barred from releasing names of minors involved in incidents being investigated.

A statement released by Spoke Public Schools reads: “SPS takes any incident involving student conflict very seriously. We are investigating what has occurred and will work to partner with all parties involved.”

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