LocalUtah Pride 2023

Utah Gov. Cox issues Pride Month declaration, omits ‘LGBTQ+’

For each of his three years as governor of Utah, Spencer Cox has issued a declaration of “LGBTQ+ Pride Month.” This year’s declaration, however, omits the “LGBTQ+” and other boilerplate items.

His declaration this year reads:

Whereas, the month of June is commonly celebrated and recognized as Pride Month;
Whereas, the state of Utah values the uniqueness of all individuals within our communities
and recognizes that everyone has a place in our state;
Whereas, we understand the shared human need for inclusion, belonging and kindness;
Whereas, we acknowledge the numerous organizations in the state of Utah that actively
promote greater understanding and cooperation among residents by cultivating love for all; and,
Whereas, it is our aspiration in the state of Utah to foster a culture of hope, understanding,
love, dignity and respect;
Now, therefore, I, Spencer J. Cox, governor of the state of Utah, do hereby declare June
2023 as
Pride Month in Utah.

Gone are the six mentions of LGBTQ+ in the previous identical declarations from 2021 and 2022. Also gone is a call for “relevant and vital conversations about what it means to love each other, understand our differences, and support our LGBTQ+ friends and family members,” and the recognition that “members of the LGBTQ+ community who do not feel loved and accepted experience higher rates of mental health challenges.”

The declarations of 2021 and 2022 read:

Whereas, the month of June is commonly celebrated and recognized as LGBTQ+
Pride Month;
Whereas, we must encourage relevant and vital conversations about what it means to
love each other, understand our differences, and support our LGBTQ+ friends and family
members;
Whereas, we recognize that members of the LGBTQ+ community who do not feel
loved and accepted experience higher rates of mental health challenges;
Whereas, we can strengthen resilience in the LGBTQ+ community through family
and community inclusion and by providing access to help, and giving them our support, respect,
understanding, and friendship;
Whereas, we must cultivate a climate of inclusion and unconditional love for all;
Whereas, in the state of Utah we strive to sustain a culture of hope, love,
understanding, and respect by celebrating our common humanity;
Whereas, we should all strive to be more inclusive and accepting oftbe LGBTQ+
members of our community;
Now, therefore, I, Spencer J. Cox, governor of the great state of Utah, do hereby
declare June 2022, as LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Utah.

A statement from Equality Utah’s executive director, Troy Williams, states that the organization agrees with the tone of Cox’s declaration.

“As we kick off Pride month in Utah, Equality Utah acknowledges and agrees with the sentiments expressed in Spencer Cox’s PRIDE declaration, that we should all strive to love, respect, and treat one another with kindness and dignity, regardless of any labels we each may wear,” Williams wrote. “This is the true meaning and purpose behind the celebrations this weekend and throughout June.”

The Utah Pride Center statement wasn’t so conciliatory.

“Not including the letters and words that identify the Pride Community — LGBTQIA+ — is an irresponsible coward act of erasure. We believe Gov. Cox can do better,” the group tweeted.

Reaction on Twitter is scattered among praise for the message, LGBTQ people complaining of the “letters” not being included, and out-of-state conservatives saying the governor is “supporting sin.”

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