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National News Highlights — May 26, 2023

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Photo courtesy of Abprallen
Photo courtesy of Abprallen

Business booming for Trans designer ousted by Target drama
Brick-and-mortar retail giant Target Corp. pulled some of this year's annual Pride collection from its stores in Southern and otherwise conservative locations, over concerns for the safety of both customers and staff. But one of the collection's Trans designers, Erik Carnell, said demand for his products has risen so much that he had to put orders from his Etsy store on hold.

"Your support during this extremely difficult time means more than I can express," Carnell wrote in a post on the Etsy page.

Then on his Instagram account, Carnell wrote, "I hope that none of Target's retail employees are the victims of further threats and that none of them come to any harm."

Carnell's brand Abprallen had three items in the Pride collection: a slogan sweater with the words "Cure Transphobia Not Trans People," a tote bag saying "Too Queer for Here," and a fanny pack saying "We Belong Everywhere."

The Etsy store also carries pins that say "Satan Respects Pronouns" and "Trans Healthcare Now." These led to accusations on social media that Carnell was "Satan-loving," which he didn't deny.

"I am, believe it or not, a Satanist," Carnell said on Instagram.

Supporters of the drag community protest against Florida's anti-drag laws — Photo by Octavio Jones / Reuters  

Spirit of defiance burns hot for Florida Pride
Even as they beef up security and limit minors' access to events, organizers of Pride in Florida are rallying against the state's string of anti-LGBTQ legislation.

"The most important message of this year's Pride is that we all show unity and family and togetherness," said Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride organizer Jeff Sterling.

Former Democratic state representative Carlos Guillermo Smith of Equality Florida said, "We are telling people not to run, not to hide. That's what the bigots want."

One smaller Pride event outside Orlando was canceled after drag performers backed out, citing fears over new state laws, but St. Pete Pride will continue, according to head board member Tiffany Freisberg.

"The new laws have a very real ripple effect of fear on our communities," she said. "But that's why events like ours are more important than ever.

Gay Days CEO Joseph Clark of Orlando echoed a similar sentiment.

"When people come to Pride events, that unity and coming together creates a layer of security for our community, and it shows that we're here and we're not going anywhere," he said.