Democrats Celebrate Progress for LGBTQ+ Under Mills on Site of Upcoming Pride Festival


Victor Trepanier, Activist; Gia Drew, Executive Director of EqualityMaine; Henry Beck, Treasurer; Bev Uhlenhake, Vice Chair of the Maine Democratic Party and Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) at a Press Conference This Morning at Deering Oaks Park, Portland.

Bev Uhlenhake, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party, Makes a Point at the Press Conference This Morning.

Activist Victor Trepanier Spoke at the Press Conference About his Experience as an Activist Opposed to Conversion Therapy.

House Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) at This Mornings Press Conference at Deering Oaks Park, Portland.  Behind Him is the Well-known Duck Ppnd.

“Send it to my desk,” House Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) said of a conversation he had with Governor Janet T. Mills (D) when she first took office as Maine Governor back in 2019.   The Speaker knew exactly what the Governor meant.  She would happily sign into law a  bill that banned conversion therapy  –  a ban that former Governor Paul LePage had vetoed back in 2018 just before he left office.  Some legacy!

Conversion therapy is a dangerous practice that targets LGBDQ+ youth and seeks to change their sexual or gender identities – from homosexual or bisexual to hetersexual.  It uses  psychological or physical interventions that were dehnounced many years ago as humane as well as dangerous.

Speaker Fecteau, the first openly gay Speaker of Maine’s  legislature. described this change in Maine law  at a press conference this morning hosted by Maine Democrats.  The press conference featured detailed examples of why Governor Janet T. Mills (D) must be reelected rather then allowing LePage to serve a third term in Augusta as Governor.

Democratic party treasurer Henry Beck said that a third term for Paul LePage will threaten the reputation of this state.  “It would cause more fights, more controversy,” he said.  “Just look at what is going on in Florida and Texas.”

Victor Trepanier talked about his experience as a trangender Maine native.  As a teenager he felt compelled to organize around LGBTQ+ rights.  He was part of an effort to organize two LGBTQ+ youth lobby days.  They were centered around the bill to ban conversion therapy for minors in Maine.  He devoted his time out of school to this goal rather than participating in after school clubs and focusing on friendships.  There was a constant weight on his shoulders, he said at the press conference this morning at Deering Oaks Park, Portland. The Governor, the leader of our state and my home, did not care about me.  Transgenders should not be in schools claimed LePage.

But Victor did come out – and he felt the pressure to work hard to maintain what he’d fought so hard for.  “Protecting people – protecting children is not a bad policy,” he said.  All he wanted was to know that his rights as a human were protected by his home state.  “It’s all any of us want.  Governor Mills has delivered on that.  I had the great fortune to attend the bill signing for the ban on conversion therapy.  The sense of relief was overwhelming….We have a Governor who would not pick and choose who has the right to live comfortably in their home,” Victor said.

Former governor Paul LePage was the only govenor in the entire country to veto a ban on conversion therapy said Bev Uhlenhake, Vice Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “We will not go back to the old days of Paul LePage.”

Gia Drew, Executive Director of Equality Maine said:  “We are so excited to see so many LGBTQ+ communities having pride events.  It is special today that folks feel special and feel safe.  We don’t have to wait for June 18th to celebrate gay pride.  We can celebrate it every day.”

The Gay Pride Parade is returning after a two year pause because of the pandemic. On Saturday, June 18,  it begins at Monument Square at 1:00 pm and proceeds along Congress Street to Congress Square Park.  It proceeds down High Street to Park Avenue where it enters Deering Oaks Park.  The Festival at the Park runs from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

For more background information on the Gay Pride Parade, please visit post herein dated June 18, 2016.