ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above first aired on KARE 11 in November 2022.
The Minnesota House of Representatives has formed its first-ever Queer Caucus, which will be led by Representative-elect Leigh Finke, the state's first openly transgender lawmaker.
According to a House spokesperson, Finke (DFL-St. Paul) will serve as caucus chair, while Representative-elect Brion Curran (DFL-Vadnais Heights) will act as vice chair when the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) takes control of the legislature in January.
The caucus was formed in the aftermath of 2022's midterm elections, in which Minnesotans elected the state's most diverse legislative body in history, including several candidates who identify as LGBTQ2S+. The new class also includes Rep.-elect Alicia Kozlowski (DFL-Duluth), who will become the state's first openly non-binary legislator.
“I am grateful for this chance to lead, especially at such an important moment for the Queer community in Minnesota,” said Finke in a statement. “We face serious challenges right now, but there’s an undeniable excitement going into the 2023 session. We’re excited to have a chance to shape the agenda going forward.”
A statement from the DFL says the caucus is preparing for a "robust agenda" in the coming months, focusing efforts on health care access, equity in law and protecting the LGBTQ2S+ community from violence.
The DFL says the Queer Caucus' first initiatives include:
- Protecting LGBTQ2S+ families from discriminatory laws and practices
- Ensuring access to reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare
- Placing a ban on harmful practices like conversion therapy
“The formation of the first MN House DFL Queer Caucus is an incredibly powerful piece of history and I'm honored to be part of it as Vice Chair,” said Rep. Curran in a statement. “Attacks on the LGBTQ2S+ community, both in public spaces and in legislatures across the country, have highlighted the importance of banding together against hatred.”
The Minnesota Legislature convenes on Jan. 3, 2023.
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