Dodgers face backlash for barring drag activists, EU may pull funding over Poland ‘LGBT-free zones,’ NJ fights school outing policies, activists blast AL bill codifying gender and a Mohawk reserve near Montreal’s first Pride

5 queer stories we’re watching: May 19

Happy Friday! It’s been another big week for LGBTQ2S+ news, and since it’s the end of a long week, we rounded up the most important stories into bite-sized chunks, so you can get your weekly news hits without trawling through the headlines. 

We’ve got the EU warning Poland that they’ll lose funding if they keep LGBT-free zones in the country, the Dodgers uninviting a drag activist group from Pride night, campaigns against an Alabama bill that would codify into law definitions of men and women, New Jersey’s attorney general files a civil complaint against a local school board after they implemented a policy requiring teachers to out students to parents, and Kahnawà:ke, a reserve near Montreal, Quebec, announcing its first-ever Pride parade. Read on for your Friday news flash!

1. The LA Dodgers uninvite drag activist group to Pride Night after facing criticism from right-wing groups
2. EU warns Poland that they can say goodbye to their funding if they keep up “LGBT-free zones”
3. New Jersey’s attorney general files civil complaint against a local school board that implemented a policy requiring teachers to out students
4. LGBTQ2S+ activists rally against an Alabama bill that would codify into law the definitions of “men” and “women”
5. Kahnawà:ke, a reserve near Montreal, Quebec, announces its first-ever Pride parade

1. L.A. baseball team uninvites drag activist group after criticism from right-wing groups—sparking massive backlash

The Los Angeles Dodgers recently invited protest and performance group The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to its annual Pride Night, but they’ve since announced that the group has been uninvited, after uproar from conservative groups enraged by the troupe’s use of Catholic imagery.

The Sisters had been scheduled to accept an award at Pride Night, which will take place on June 16. 

“Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honourees,” the Dodgers wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

In response, several key groups have pulled out of Pride Night. LA Pride and the Los Angeles LGBT Center have both announced that they won’t be in attendance for the event, in a show of solidarity with the group, and others have criticized the team for engaging in rainbow capitalism and immediately buckling to right-wing talking points.


According to a team official, the Dodgers weren’t anticipating the backlash to their announcement, and are discussing potential compromises. For many queer fans, that’s not going to be enough. 

“Like a compromise is going to solve this,” reads one tweet. “There’s one organization that’s going to have to bend over backward. Queer people have compromised ourselves for millennia. @dodgers, we’re waiting for your reversal, apology and massive donation to the org.”

2. The EU has warned Poland that they can say goodbye to their funding if they keep up “LGBT-free zones” in the country

Over 100 Polish municipalities are currently declared “LGBT-free zones,” a potential violation of European Union law. Since the municipalities first declared themselves “LGBT-free” in 2019, the EU has closely monitored the country, where some local authorities have ceased funding organizations promoting equality, with communities rallying against queer individuals. 

Now, EU commissioners have responded to a letter from MEP Pierre Karleskind asking that written confirmation be given assuring that funding would be blocked to municipalities participating in anti-LGBTQ+ activities. The commissioners explained that Poland has introduced an anti-discrimination clause agreeing that funding won’t be granted to authorities participating in “discriminatory action” within their agreement with the EU. 

Applications for funding will now be subject to review to ensure no laws are being violated. If it’s found that municipalities are in violation of anti-discrimination laws, the EU will pull funding to those areas, it confirmed.

3. New Jersey’s attorney general files a civil complaint against a local school board, who have implemented a policy requiring teachers to out students to parents. 

The Parental Notification of Material Circumstances policy was passed at a Hanover school board meeting on Tuesday, mandating teachers to out students to parents. In response, New Jersey’s attorney general Matthew J. Platkin called the policy “unlawful,” and filed a civil complaint against the school board. 

“We will always stand up for the LGBTQ2S+ community here in New Jersey and look forward to presenting our arguments in court in this matter,” said Attorney General Platkin in a press release. “We are extremely proud of the contributions LGBTQ+ students make to our classrooms and our communities, and we remain committed to protecting them from discrimination in our schools.”

A letter from Hanover school board in response to the attorney general’s complaint asserts that they will “vigorously defend this common-sense policy that protects parental rights and ensures the safety of all schoolchildren.”

4. LGBTQ2S+ activists rally against an Alabama bill that would codify into law definitions of men and women

House Bill 405, also known as the “What Is a Woman Act,” has drawn criticism from LGBTQ2S+ advocates in Alabama, who believe that the bill would endanger queer people in the state. The bill would codify definitions of “man” and “woman” into law, and it was introduced by Rep. Susan DuBose. 

One of many queer public figures to respond has been former Alabama House member Patricia Todd, who was the first openly gay elected official in the state. She criticized DuBose and her supporters for failing to prioritize issues that actually affect Alabamans. 

“I don’t understand what the obsession is with the trans community,” Todd said. “In Alabama, we have a lot of problems; we have a prison crisis, we have a healthcare crisis, we have a lot of problems that we need to be focusing on. This is not a crisis.”

5. Kahnawà:ke, a Mohawk reserve near Montreal, Quebec, announced its first-ever Pride parade

Kahnawà:ke, a First Nations reserve close to Montreal, has announced that it’ll be celebrating Pride for the first time ever, with a parade and sober after-party set to take place on June 24. 

The parade will be co-hosted by a range of community groups, including Kahnawà:ke Collective Impact, an organization focusing on enacting community change. 

“What’s driving this is the fact that this is something our youth asked for,” said Lily Ieroniawakon Deer, Youth Project Coordinator at Kahnawà:ke Collective Impact. “Whether they openly identify as being part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community or not, it’s something they’re happy space is being carved out for.”

Local schools have been involved in parade planning, with a giant 12-foot-tall unicorn donated by local thrift store Thrifting the Night Away for students at a local school to decorate and use on their float. The day is also family-focused, concluding with an all-ages drug- and alcohol-free party on Tekakwitha Island Beach.

One local queer youth noted that the event is particularly important in the context of an Indigenous community, stressing that “colonialism has really impacted people’s understanding of gender and sexuality.” 

Eve Cable is a reporter based at The Eastern Door in Kahnawà:ke. Her work has also been featured in Filter Magazine, The Rover, The Hoser, and more.

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