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Colorado: David Zalubowski / AP
Colorado: David Zalubowski / AP

Colorado: GOP newsletter calls Queer people "godless groomers," advocates burning of Pride flags
A recent email newsletter from the Colorado Republican Party, surfaced by Denver-based journalist Kyle Clark, refers to LGBTQ+ people as "godless groomers in our society" and includes a video sermon from evangelical pastor Mark Driscoll, who has previously declared "war on the LGBT agenda."

The thumbnail for the video is an image of Jesus with glowing red eyes superimposed on a Pride flag with the text "GOD HATES FLAGS" (an echo of Westboro Baptist Church's "God Hates Fags") and a caption quoting Driscoll, saying the "Pride Month/Agenda" is "darkness."

After Clark published screenshots of the email on X, the party's official account quoted his post with a GIF of animated flames, writing, "Burn all the #pride flags this June."

In response, Clark wrote that the call to burn the Pride flags "reflects that the state party's allegiance is to the values of state chairman Dave Williams, even more so than those of Donald Trump."

Williams, who currently serves as the chair of Colorado's GOP, supported a 2020 measure to ban same-sex marriage and created an issue committee in 2023 to ban gender-affirming care for minors.

Texas: Suit urges permanent PFLAG member protections from AG's demands
On June 10, legal advocates urged the Travis County District Court to limit the Texas Attorney General's Office's demands for access to identifying information and private communications of PFLAG members, calling these actions unconstitutional.

PFLAG, formerly known as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is "the nation's largest organization dedicated to creating a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them."

The case comes in response to demands from the Attorney General's Office in February that PFLAG turn over documents, communications, and information related to PFLAG National and the organization's work helping families in Texas with Transgender adolescents.

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the ACLU, the Transgender Law Center, and the law firm Arnold & Porter represent PFLAG in this newly filed case.

"The Attorney General's Office acted well outside its powers to target PFLAG and the families [it serves] with an openly political and baseless investigation," said Elizabeth Gill, senior staff attorney for the ACLU's LGBTQ & HIV Project. "PFLAG National is being punished for [its] advocacy and...constitutionally protected speech and association. We urge the court to protect the organization and its members' constitutional rights to free speech and association."

"Every time a parent, family member or ally acts to help an LGBTQ+ loved one be authentically themselves, that's when you see love take pride," said Brian K. Bond, CEO of PFLAG National. "The actions of the Texas attorney general to silence PFLAG families with Transgender loved ones fail — and will continue to fail — because our love is louder.

"PFLAG is proud to have another day in court to say — not just loud but on the record — that every Transgender Texan deserves the freedom to thrive."

Minnesota: Lawmakers forbid libraries from banning LGBTQ+ books
Last week, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a law that will prevent K-12 schools, colleges, and public libraries from needing to comply with book or materials removal requests "based solely on the viewpoint, content, message, idea, or opinion conveyed" in their text.

State File 3567 requires that all decisions regarding what materials to stock be overseen by "a licensed library media specialist, an individual with a master's degree in library sciences or library and information sciences, or a professional librarian or person with extensive library collection management experience," according to the state House website.

Walz affirmed that "censorship has no place in our libraries." "As a former teacher, I'm clear: We need to remember our history, not erase it," he posted on X on May 17.

The governor has previously criticized GOP-majority states that have passed book bans limiting students' access LGBTQ+ materials. To date, 15 states have statutes limiting the teaching of LGBTQ+ subjects in schools.

"Those who have asked for book bans have never been on the right side of history. They have never been viewed as being the folks that were the heroes of freedom, they have never been viewed as the people that were looking out for others," Walz told Minnesota Public Radio. "Trying to tell someone else's children that they can't read The Hobbit, or whatever it might be, you're in the wrong."

Amid the latest waves of attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and representation, the state also passed a "shield law" in 2023 that prevents courts from complying with subpoena requests in cases where a Trans youth and their family travel out of state to receive gender-affirming health care, while 25 other states had enacted restrictions on the types of treatment that can be offered to Trans minors.

Maryland: First military spouse, Trans woman, and Asian-American wins pageant
Cambodian-American Bailey Anne Kennedy was crowned Miss Maryland USA 2024 on June 1, notching several historic firsts.

In a pool of 90 other pageant queens, the 31-year-old military wife, an NCAA D1 dance team captain, and a former NFL cheerleader trainee won the state title on a platform OF "beauty without an expiration date."

Not only did Kennedy become not only the oldest and first married woman to become Miss Maryland USA since the Miss Universe organization changed its rules regarding age limits and marital status but also the first Asian-American and also the first Transgender woman to be crowned in the state.

She said she hopes this achievement will inspire young LGBTQ+ people. "I knew it was going to mean a lot for all the LGBTQ+ kids out there who might feel they don't belong in a box, like me, growing up," she told Washington, DC, TV station WDCW.

Kennedy also posted about her accomplishment on Instagram. "Not everyone has to agree with the spaces that you occupy, and it doesn't mean that you aren't worthy of these opportunities," she wrote. "The work that I will do for the remainder of my life is to make sure that children who feel like me will never have to worry about the consequences of being who they are by simply being myself and being a positive contribution to society."

Kennedy will move on to the LA-based Miss USA competition, airing August 4.

NYC: Bill to rename subway stop in honor of Stonewall
New legislation proposed and approved by lawmakers this session would rename a New York City subway station to commemorate the Stonewall riots, a landmark in the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

On June 5, the state legislature approved the bill, which would direct the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to change the name of the Christopher Street—Sheridan Square subway station in Greenwich Village to the Christopher Street—Stonewall National Monument Station.

"This change will memorialize the history of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement and inspire NY to demand justice and equality for all," state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the proposal, posted on X after the Senate's passage of the measure.

The bill now heads to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul for her approval. Her office said it will review the legislation early the week of June 10.

Massachusetts: One of the first Lesbian governors raises Pride flag at Statehouse
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey joined lawmakers and members of the LGBTQ community on June 5 to mark Pride Month by overseeing the raising of the Pride flag on the Statehouse lawn.

Healey, formerly the attorney general, is the state's first Lesbian governor, and shares the title of America's first Lesbian governor with Oregon's Tina Kotek.

The ceremony came ahead of the Boston Pride Parade on June 8, the largest in New England.

"No matter your age, your identity, your gender expression, here in Massachusetts, you are welcome," Healey said as she raised the flag. "We see you, we hear you, we love you, we stand with you, we will always fight for you."

The flag raising also marked the 20th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the first state to allow the unions.

Standing on the Statehouse steps, Healey said she was reminded of all who paved the way for the court decision in Massachusetts that legalized same-sex marriage, and added that the right to marry and other victories for the LGBTQ community must be defended against ongoing threats.

"We are facing a situation where too many are looking to take away important, hard-won rights and freedoms," she said. "These are freedoms. Equal treatment under the law is something that is in our United States Constitution."