, 2023-01-17 09:30:00,
Sen. Scott Dibble was often the sole openly gay person in the room when he started out in politics. First elected to the Minnesota House in 2000, the Minneapolis DFLer was one of just three openly LGBTQ people at the time to serve in the Legislature.
The three — including Allan Spear, one of the nation’s first openly gay lawmakers, and Karen Clark — never served together but jokingly referred to themselves as the Queer Caucus.
Two decades later, the jokes are over. Twelve LGBTQ lawmakers came to St. Paul this month following historic elections. Minnesota House DFLers formed a real caucus, including the Capitol’s first transgender lawmaker and first nonbinary member.
The legislators say they are prepared to flex some of that new political muscle to secure access to health care, protection against violence and other priorities for LGBTQ people. On Wednesday, a bill to prohibit conversion therapy will get its first hearing in the House Human Services Policy Committee.
“To have a dozen out queer legislators sitting here, giving a voice to the issues that affect our lives … is nothing I ever imagined,” Dibble said in a recent interview with MPR News.
‘We’re in the room. We’re at the table’
The House DFL Queer Caucus marks the newest point on a 50-year arc from Spear’s 1972 election and his 1974 decision to say publicly that he was gay,…
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