President Joe Biden plans to appoint a new federal coordinator to address the increase in book bans enacted across different states, among other pro-LGBTQ+ actions, according to CNN. Biden announced the actions during a news conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The Pride Month event and new executive actions are the latest efforts by the administration to protect the LGBTQ+ community as largely conservative state leaders have led attempts to pass laws targeting their rights.
Also, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden welcomed LGBTQ+ individuals to the White House on June 10 for a picnic and concert to commemorate Pride Month. (It had been scheduled for June 8 but was postponed because of air-quality concerns caused by the Canadian wildfires.) The president praised the "extraordinary" courage of LGBTQ Americans, while acknowledging the discrimination and violence the community faces, CNN noted. "When a person can be married in the morning but thrown out of a restaurant for being gay in the afternoon, something is still very wrong in America," the chief executive said.
On a related note, trans-rights activist Rose Montoyawho has been barred from the White House after going topless during a Pride Month event on the South Lawnhas seen her popularity increase on social media, Newsweek noted. President Joe Biden recently welcomed hundreds of guests to a picnic on the South Lawn as part of a celebration of Pride Month. Montoya's video drew fierce backlash from conservatives online, but her decision to go topless (alongside trans-masculine individuals) also upset some supporters of LGBTQ+ rights. A White House spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement that Montoya's display was "inappropriate and disrespectful for any event at the White House."
Organizers in Colorado Springs, Colorado, held the city's first Pride parade since a November 2022 shooting at an LGBTQ+ club left five people dead and 17 others injured, NBC News reported. Richard Fierroa decorated Army veteran who was one of two individuals who tackled and subdued the gunman inside Club Qled the Colorado Springs Pikes Peak Pride in remembrance of the five people killed in the shooting. Thousands of people attended the event, per KKTV. The LGBTQ+ community of Colorado Springs stood with municipal leadersfrom newly elected Mayor Yemi Mobolade to city council members and event planners. The overall message was one of remembrance and togetherness.
Willi Ninjaknown as the "Godfather of Voguing" and who helped bring the underground dance form from Harlem in the 1980s to the worldwas honored with a Google Doodle on June 9, The Advocate noted. Google noted the anniversary of the release of the legendary ball-culture documentary Paris Is Burning. The Doodle features an illustrated version of Ninja and, after a click, reveals an animated video clip that includes not only a sketch of him, but other voguers performing the same dance style. The video was illustrated by Rob Gilliam and edited by Xander Opiyo, and features original music by Vivacious. Ninja, who would've been 62 this year, died in 2006 of AIDS-related heart failure.
People gathered throughout the weekend at the Pulse Nightclub memorial in Orlando, Florida to remember the 49 people who were killed on June 12, 2016, WFTV reported. Some visitors placed balloons, flowers, and other items at the site all weekend long while several people gathered at the memorial site at 2 a.m. on June 12 to mark the exact time the tragedy unfolded.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution urging that the language in Proposition 8, the state's same-sex marriage ban, be removed from the California Constitution via public vote, per The Bay Area Reporter. Gay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino) has introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which is expected to go before voters in November 2024. If passed, it would remove the Prop 8 language from the constitution.
Black transgender woman Ashia Davis was found dead June 2 in a hotel room in a suburb of Detroit, and police are investigating her death as a homicide, The Advocate noted. She is at least the 12th trans, non-binary or gender-nonconforming person to have died by violence in the country this year. Davis was found at the Woodward Inn, The Detroit News reports. The Michigan State Police have released surveillance video of a man walking and running in the hotel's parking lot, and they say he may be a suspect.
The Cracker Barrel chain of family restaurants surprised many when it recently posted a positive Pride message on its Facebook accountbut conservatives criticized the move, The Advocate noted. The Lebanon, Tennessee companya staple of the South and suburban America for more than 50 yearsresponded to positive tweets about its Facebook post. Many people still remember the company's intolerant past, when it openly discriminated against LGBTQ+ employees in the early 1990s and fired several gay workers; in protest, activists descended on Cracker Barrel restaurants to protest their policy of promoting "heterosexual values."
A Gallup poll revealed that more people than before oppose trans athletes competing in sports that align with their gender identity and say transitioning genders is "morally wrong," according to NBC News. The surveyconducted May 1-24 via telephone interviews with roughly 1,000 adults living in the U.S.found that 69% of people say that transgender athletes should only be allowed to compete on sports teams that correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth, compared with 62% in 2021. Gallup's findings came amid an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ bills, 491, introduced by conservative lawmakers in state legislatures across the country, according to the American Civil Liberties Unionwith the majority of the legislation affecting trans Americans.
Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabel Guzman visited three LGBTQ+-owned small businesses in D.C., The Washington Blade reported. According to a White House official, the two "met with the owners of each location and toured their businesses," where Emhoff "spoke about how he navigated owning a small law firm for eight years" and Guzman "highlighted the actions the Biden-Harris administration has taken to help small businesses and the resources that are available." They visited the sweets sport The Capital Candy Jar as well as Little District Books and the event space As You Are DC.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced its inaugural membership in the first-ever U=U National Task Force organized by the Prevention Access Campaign (PAC), alongside partner organizations in the HIV and health equity space, per a media release. The task force will work to educate and move federal health partners to implement U=U into their guidelines and policies and elevate awareness. Task force organizations include NMAC, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Southern AIDS Coalition, The Well-Project and the Equality Federation.
California's Orange Countywhich includes such cities as Santa Ana (the county seat), Laguna Beach and Newport Beachis not flying Pride flags at government-owned properties this month, The Los Angeles Times reported. Supervisors voted to permit only U.S. government and military-related flags to be flown at county properties, essentially banning Pride flags; Supervisor Andrew Do proposed the policy. Supervisor Katrina Foley said the flag measure was proposed after she and Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento requested that the board agenda include consideration of flying the Pride flag at county buildings during June.
In the midst of Pride celebrations across New York City and around the country, a rainbow flag display at the historic Stonewall National Monument was vandalized on June 10, per Gay City News. Photos provided by District 3 New York City councilmember Erik Bottcher depict rainbow and transgender Pride flags snapped off the memorial and tossed to the ground. The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force told Gay City News that three unidentified men were walking past the Stonewall National Monument when they allegedly started breaking Pride flags on display along a fence.
Starting from San Francisco and ending in Los Angeles, more than 2,000 AIDS/LifeCycle participants crossed the finish line on June 10 to culminate their seven-day, 545-mile journey, per a press release. This year's participants raised more than $11.7 million to support San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Participants were HIV-positive and-negative, LGBTQ+ and allies, ages 18 to 92, and from nearly every state and 14 countries.
The Starbucks workers' union accused the company of banning Pride Month decorationssomething the company denies, according to NBC News. The group, Starbucks Workers United, is alleging that the company's corporate management has been asking its workers in at least 21 states to take down Pride decorations over the last two weeks. However, company spokesperson Andrew Trull said, "We unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community. There has been no change to any policy on this matter and we continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate with their communities including for U.S. Pride month in June."
Donald Trump made an observation regarding loyal Republican party supporters and anti-trans laws, according to LGBTQ Nation. Trump rattled off a list of the current conservative bogeymen at the North Carolina Republican Party convention recently: "critical race theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content on our children." "It's amazing how strongly people feel about that. You see, I'm talking about cutting taxes, people go like that," Trump said, clapping weakly. "I talk about transgender, everyone goes crazy. Who would have thought? Five years ago, you didn't know what the hell it was!"
In Florida, Tallahassee city leaders indefinitely postponed this month's meeting of the LGBTQ+ Advisory Counciland there's no sign it will make it on the calendar before the end of Pride Month, per The Advocate. The Pride Month development came as several anti-LGBTQ+ laws went into effect throughout the state, courtesy of Republican Florida Gov. (and presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis. The cancellation prompted the pro-equality Tallahassee Community Action Committee to criticize local elected officials, saying, "Mayor John Dailey and other officials have shamelessly used the LGBTQ+ community when it is politically convenient, yet they refuse to take concrete actions to support and protect our community members from hate speech and discriminatory actions."
North Carolina Republicans voted to censure the state's senior U.S. senator, Thom Tillis, over his support for marriage equality and gun regulations as well as his criticism of Donald Trump's immigration policies, per The Advocate. Delegates to the Republican state convention took the vote, passing the motion to censure Tillis 799-361, according toThe News & Observer. Tillis was one of 12 Senate Republicans who voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, which passed last year and wrote protections for same-sex and interracial marriages into federal law.
In Maine, Cony High School administrators faced backlash on social media after photos of a presentation on respecting students' choice of pronouns went viral, according to CentralMaine.com . The images received the attention of anti-LGBTQ+ individuals and groups in Maine and as far away as Texas, where a far-right blogger with more than 16,000 followers was among those who circulated the post. The slideswhich Principal Kim Liscomb said students from the Gay, Straight and Transgender Alliance presented to students during the Quarter 4 Recognition Assemblyurge people to be considerate of others.
A gay couple claim they were stopped from buying a Pride-themed onesie for their child at a Target store in Lake Park, Florida, because store employees said the outfit should have been pulled from shelves, according to Metro Weekly. The employees' actions appear to come in response to an ongoing backlash against the big box retail chain from conservatives, who are upset by the sale of Pride-themed merchandise in stores, especially outfits designated for the children's section. Target's market value has reportedly dropped by more than $15 billion since the calls for the boycott first went out.
The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) has selected Palm Springs, California as the host destination for its 2025 Global Convention, per a press release. Palm Springs exemplifies a destination where individuals can embrace their true selves. Its vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, combined with its stunning landscapes and world-class amenities, make it the perfect backdrop for IGLTA's Global Convention," said IGLTA Board Chair Felipe Cardenas. "We look forward to coming together in this remarkable destination in 2025." In 2017, Palm Springs elected the nation's first all LGBTQ+ city council and in 2021, named the first openly transgender mayor in the state and only the third nationwide.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Showtime announced the fourth consecutive year of "Queer To Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative" (QTS), per a press release. QTS aims to uplift and preserve small businesses that serve the LGBTQ+ communityparticularly, businesses that are owned by or that empower LGBTQ+ people of color, women and the transgender community. The businesses will be selected based on the communities they serve and how COVID-19 has affected them. "Queer to Stay" is accepting applications until Aug. 31; eligible businesses can apply at queertostay.org .
On June 16-18, Outreachan LGBTQ+ Catholic ministry sponsored by America Media, a Jesuit ministrywill welcome more than 250 participants, including many keynoters and panelists, to its second in-person conference at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus, a press release noted. Keynote speakers will be Fordham University President Tania Tetlow; Marianne Duddy-Burke, the executive director of DignityUSA; and Juan-Carlos Cruz, a member of the Vatican's Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, will celebrate the concluding Mass on June 18. See https://outreach.faith/conference-outreach-2023/ .
With Pride Month celebrations in full swing, the fate of Baltimore's gay bars and nightspots remains uncertain as the LGBTQ+ community faces mounting concerns, per The Baltimore Banner. Two of the city's largest bars and venuesCentral and The Manorremain closed, with no indication that either will be open for Pride Week activities. (The Manor has been "temporarily closed" since shortly before Christmas due to damage from broken pipes.) The absence of safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people occurs as they and their rights are under attack by many conservative politicians, activists and commentators.
And also in Maryland, Baltimore private school Johns Hopkins University has come under fire for "erasing women" for its updated definition of "lesbian," The Advocate noted. To include nonbinary individuals who might still identify as lesbians, a glossary of terms at the university has been updated to define a lesbian as "a non-man attracted to a non-man." Interestingly, author and transphobe J.K. Rowling chimed in on Twitter, criticizing the educational institution. John Hopkins has since removed the glossary, replacing it with a statement about the backlash and the need to better define the LGBTQ+ community, per The New York Post.
In Washington, a district court judge ordered a spa in Washington state to allow trans women who have not undergone bottom surgery to access its facilities, per LGBTQ Nation. According to local media outlet the Lynwood Times, the decision stems from a Washington State Human Rights Commission complaint brought by Haven Wilvicha trans woman who said she was told in January 2020 that she would not be allowed to attend an event at Olympus Spa because she had not received bottom surgery at the time. The spa employs a Korean model in that it's segregated by gender and it's a place where nudity is required.
In Massachusetts, advocates said that what was supposed to be a celebration of LGBTQ+ pride at the Marshall Simonds Middle School, in Burlington, was instead met with "intolerance and homophobia," CBS News noted. Nancy Bonassera, co-chair of the Burlington Equity Coalition, said that students were invited to wear rainbow clothing on June 2 in celebration of Pride Month. However, she added, "On that same day there was a counter-demonstration in response to what should have been a day to celebrate. Students wore red, white and blue clothing, chanted 'my pronouns are USA' and destroyed rainbow decorations at the school." Select Board Chair Michael Runyan said the board "takes this matter seriously" and will continue to have conversations about the issue over the coming weeks.
ONE Archives Foundation announced the second season of Periodically Queer, a podcast on the history of LGBTQ+ print media from the 1950s & 1960s, per a press release. The new season will premiere on June 21, in honor of Pride Month, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other major audio streaming platforms. The trailer is at onearchives.org/periodicallyqueer.
Newest U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson made some intriguing financial disclosures on her form, per MSNBC. They included a "congratulatory floral arrangement" from Oprah Winfrey valued at $1,200 and a designer dress and jacket from Vogue magazine worn in a photo shoot, valued at $6,580. Fellow justices Clarence Thomas (caught up in controversy after failing to reveal years of lavish gifts from GOP billionaire Harlan Crow) and Samuel Alito both requested extra time to file their disclosures.
Our Lives, based in Madison, Wisconsin, is morphing into a non-profit LGBTQ+ publication, per Press Pass Q. Editor/publisher Patrick Farabaughwho launched the magazine in 2007 and has been with it ever sincesaid the change is being made for a variety of reasons, including the chance for more streams of revenue, including scholarships and grants.
Out journalist Don Lemon supposedly won't return to CNN despite the resignation of his nemesis, Chris Licht, according to The New York Post. Licht fired Lemon on April 24 after 17 years at the news channel following a on-air mistakes and internal feuds. However, Licht's downfall after a scathing, 15,000-word expose in The Atlantic (about how the network boss reportedly alienated rank-and-file employees with his aloof and increasingly paranoid management style) launched speculation about whether Lemon would "return from exile."