Utah governor removes LGBTQ+ references from Pride Month declaration
Utah. Gov. Spencer Cox came under fire Thursday after his 2023 Pride Month declaration eliminated all mention of LGBTQ+ people.
- Meanwhile, conservatives lambasted Cox as "woke" for making the declaration in the first place.
Driving the news: The omission quickly gained notice as Cox posted the proclamation on social media, calling for "inclusion, belonging and kindness" and praising "numerous organizations" for "cultivating love for all."
Details: This year's declaration also removes an acknowledgment that appeared in previous versions, that "members of the LGBTQ+ community who do not feel loved and accepted experience higher rates of mental health challenges."
- It also eliminates a call "to be more inclusive and accepting of the LGBTQ+ members of our community."
What they're saying: "Not including the letters and words that identify the Pride Community — LGBTQIA+ — is an irresponsible … act of erasure," the Utah Pride Center tweeted. "We believe Gov. Cox can do better."
Axios reached out to Cox's office for comment but did not receive a reply.
Context: Cox has made a sharp right turn on LGBTQ+ policy this year, signing the year's first statewide ban on gender-affirming health care for trans minors one day after the Utah Legislature passed it.
- A year earlier, Cox won widespread attention and praise from LGBTQ+ advocates when he vetoed a ban on trans athletes in school sports.
- In 2016, he was heralded in national media as a compassionate conservative after he wept on stage at a rally following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Catch up quick: Cox was the only Republican governor to proclaim a statewide Pride Month when he made his first declaration in 2021, the Chicago LGBTQ+ publication GoPride reported.
What's next: Cox is up for re-election in 2024.