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Nick Espinosa: the gay ally Gingrich glitter guerilla

Meet Nick Espinosa, one of Minnesota’s most colorful LGBT activists. Nick made national news on Thursday when he dumped several pounds of glitter onto Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich at an event hosted by an anti-gay organization.



Nick Espinosa
Nick Espinosa

Nick Espinosa, the Gingrich zapper (photo courtesy of Nick Espinosa)

A prominent Minnesota gay ally activist made quite a stir Thursday night when he stormed a book signing hosted by the Minnesota Family Council and greeted the guests of honor–Newt and Callista Gingrich–with a box of glitter confetti.

“The book signing was part of a larger event with the Minnesota Family Council, who are the anti-gay group pushing the marriage amendment [to ban same-sex marriage].  The amendment passed the senate last week–shocked and upset.”

Nick Espinosa is passionate about getting attention for what he sees as an urgent issue facing the LGBT community.

As he poured the confetti over the top tier candidate for the Republican nomination for President, Espinosa shouted “Feel the rainbow, Newt! Stop the hate. Stop anti-gay politics. It’s dividing our country and it’s not fixing our economy.”

Gingrich reacted by saying “Nice to live in a free country.”

“I have a history of pulling these sort of stunts to call attention to the things I’m working on.  I see this as part of the larger movement for gay rights, not just here in Minnesota, but nation-wide.”  Espinosa’s sister came along to shoot video for the zap, and he involved several of his friends in the planning process, but Nick says that he was operating of his own accord.

“[My friends] let me bounce ideas of their heads, play with ideas and help with framing,” said the 24 year old former social worker and community organizer.  “When I do something like this, there are always plenty of people there to lend a hand.”

Nick Espinosa

Nick Espinosa (photo courtesy Nick Espinosa)

This is not Espinosa’s first action of this sort.  Last year he made news in Minnesota when he dumped $20.00 in pennies (approximately 11 pounds and 1 oz in coins) in the lap of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer as the Conservative politian sat down for dinner at the Ol’ Mexico Restaurant in Roseville Minnesota.

“He proposed cutting wages on servers and bartenders because he said they ‘make too much money.”

At the time, St. Olaf College graduate Espinosa tied Emmer’s position to the larger immigration debate taking place in Minnesota, and saw the move as an attack on immigrants and other economically disadvantaged groups.  Espinosa sees all of these as part of the same debate over human rights.

“With Newt coming into town–I want to be clear–after three marriages and three divorces, if Newt Gingrich wants to come to Minnesota and tell people who they can marry and can’t marry, we’re going to respond to this serial adulterer.

“Our generation–we’re not just the future, we’re the present,” Espinosa proclaimed. “[Conservative politicians will] find it harder to get elected if they continue to adopt anti-gay stances.”

Espinosa wants to leave all Conservative politicians with something to ponder.

“To Newt Gingrich and all Republicans using a strategy of pushing anti-gay hate, focusing on divisive social issues does nothing to unite our country and doesn’t help our economy–it hurts it.”

“Getting back to our roots”

“It was classic civil disobedience with a gay twist,” said Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, when reached for comment. “It delighted me to see our community react to these people like this.  I was thrilled to see him say ‘stop the hate,’ or ‘stop the hate campaign,’ I think I heard. We need to shine a light on people who hate, not ignore, which is what this community does so often. But do it in a non-violent way.”

Mark should know a thing or two about Nick Espinosa’s brand of political theatre. In 1973, at the age of 19, Mark stormed the set of CBS Evening News, helmed by Walter Cronkite, and fourteen minutes into the broadcast America saw the young Segal sit on Cronkite’s desk holding up a sign saying “Gays Protest CBS Prejudice” in an effort to call attention to what he and his fellow activists of “The Gay Raiders,” believed was censorship of LGBT rights gain by the network. Segal went on to disrupt The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Today Show with Barbara Walters, helping bring visibility to the struggle for LGBT fairness right into living rooms across the country.

“When I heard ‘stop the hate campaign’ and when I saw the glitter, I put it together and I immediately knew it was a gay zap.  And it warmed my heart.  We’re getting back to our roots.  We’re a civil rights movement and we need to use these non-violent civil disobedient tactics to call attention to these people.  [Newt Gingrich] is a serial adultist, how dare he talk about morals the man has had three wives and three religions and he’s cheated on all of them.”

Nick Espinosa is becoming somewhat of a master of the attention-grabbing political theatre.  During the Minnesota Gubernatorial race in 2010, The Minneapolis native faced off with Emmer several times.  Aside from the infamous pennies incident, Espinosa also confronted the Conservative state politician at a debate with a Dora The Explorer doll to protest the Republican’s stated policies on immigration.

“That one was better than the pennies,” Emmer joked when the debate resumed.

Will we see Nick Espinosa and Newt Gingrich reunited again anytime soon?

“I only used two out of the three bags of glitter that I had.  I might give the last bag to Newt for his next wedding.  Its cheaper than Tiffany’s.”

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  1. Adam

    May 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’m a proud gay man and I want it to be known that Nick Espinosa doesn’t speak for me. This is a stunt, plain and simple, but it borders on assault. Based on principle I reject this tactic: he wants to bring attention to the lack of rights of one group (LGBTers) by violating the rights of Newt Gingrich (security of his person -if you have any doubt, why use glitter, which annoyingly sticks around for a long time)? It seems quite hypocritical. You win ideological battles with your words, not stunts. Newt Gingrich is a bigot and a political opportunist, but his presidential aims are DOA. From a political perspective, this was just really dumb and will be used by haters to label all LGBT activists as extremists and gives ammunition not to take us seriously. Thanks a lot for giving this jerk a forum Washington Blade, now other copy cat stunts can be performed by other “activists”.

  2. Bob S

    June 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

    As a father , grandfather I deplore the gays… they are destroying our country… from aids on down… its bad enough with all the illegals in our country, but with the gays mixed in, it is going to be a disaster.. the only thing good about it, iis they will eventually die off from disease and they won’t reproduce…

    • Jimmy M

      June 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      You’re trolling, right? Do they still make people like you? You’re simply pathetic.

    • taha

      August 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      This post is disgusting, and you sir, are disgusting… worst of the worst. If you would like to engage in small and civil debate regarding your beliefs, then lets debate. But this garbage? Show some tact and be a gentleman when posting in forums.

      What an embarrassment.

    • billfromny

      September 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      And straight people and people like you will naturally keep propagating gays and lesbians, good or bad, and you can’t do a damned thing about it. What sweet revenge!

    • Rick

      September 22, 2011 at 12:23 am

      I think your alittle harsh here.

  3. billfromny

    September 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I think the glitter-bombing is great! Where can I join up?

    • Rick

      September 22, 2011 at 12:22 am

      you want to be a glitter fairy also?

  4. Rick

    September 22, 2011 at 12:21 am

    This guy should of been arrested! He just might glitter the wrong person and end up knocked out.

  5. ThirteenthLetter

    February 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    What an incredible jackass this guy is. Dang. Gingrich should’ve pressed charges.

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Alarming numbers of Texas Trans kids in crisis over litany of anti-Trans bills

“Under the guise of protecting children- Texas legislators are directly harming thousands of transgender & nonbinary youth”



LGBTQ youth protest anti-Trans bills at the Texas Capitol building (Photo Credit: Equality Texas)

NEW YORK – The Trevor Project received nearly 4,000 crisis contacts from transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas in 2021, with many directly stating that they are feeling stressed and considering suicide due to anti-trans laws being debated in their state.

This new data comes during a year when Texas lawmakers have proposed nearly 70 anti-LGBTQ bills, including more than 40 bills that specifically target transgender and nonbinary youth — far more than any other state.

The Texas State Senate passed its anti-trans sports ban SB3 this week, and the companion bill HB10 is now moving forward in the Texas House. 

Republican Texas Governor Abbott has prioritized SB 3 and called for a third consecutive special session of the legislature to consider this bill, which would ban transgender student-athletes from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

“The Trevor Project’s crisis counselors have been hearing from transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas who are scared and worried about anti-trans laws being debated in their state — and some have even expressed suicidal thoughts. This is a crisis. We urge Texas lawmakers to consider the weight of their words and actions — and to reject HB10/SB3,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project.

  • Between January 1 and August 30, 2021, The Trevor Project received more than 10,800 crisis contacts (calls, texts, and chats) from LGBTQ young people in Texas looking for support. More than 3,900 of those crisis contacts (36%) came from transgender or nonbinary youth.
  • Crisis contacts from LGBTQ young people in Texas seeking support have grown over 150% when compared to the same time period in 2020.
  • While this volume of crisis contacts can not be attributed to any one factor (or bill), a qualitative analysis of the crisis contacts found that:
  • Transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas have directly stated that they are feeling stressed, using self-harm, and considering suicide due to anti-LGBTQ laws being debated in their state.
  • Some transgender and nonbinary youth have expressed fear over losing access to sports that provide important acceptance in their lives.

“As a transgender young person in Texas, this new data from the Trevor Project is not surprising, but it’s nonetheless harrowing and alarming to see this representation of the detrimental impact Texas Lege is having on our community — especially our kids. Lawmakers and proponents of bills like SB3 and HB10 should be alarmed by these statistics, too,” Landon Richie a Trans youth activist and GenderCool Youth Leader from Houston told the Los Angeles Blade.

“Under the guise of protecting children and promoting fairness, Texas legislators are directly harming thousands of transgender and nonbinary youth, denying them the dignity, respect, and childhoods that they deserve. It’s never an exaggeration to say that the passage — and merely debate — of these bills will cost lives,”  Richie added.

National mental health organizations like The Trevor Project and state LGBTQ equality groups including Equality Texas and Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) are raising concerns about the impact of such legislation on the mental health and wellbeing of transgender and nonbinary youth.

The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year and 1 in 5 attempted suicide. Further, Trevor released a new research brief earlier this month on LGBTQ youth participation in sports, which found that a majority of LGBTQ young people (nearly 66%) do not actively participate in sports — with many citing fear of bullying and discrimination as a key factor for not participating.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at, or by texting START to 678678. 

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2nd largest school district in Utah bans Pride & BLM flags as ‘too political’

“We have to have a politically neutral classroom, and we’re going to educate the students in the best possible way that we can”



Davis School District Offices in Farmington Utah (Photo Credit: Davis School District)

FARMINGTON, Ut. – Administrators this week in the Davis School District, which is Utah’s 2nd largest school district with 72,987 students, banned LGBTQ Pride and Black Lives Matter flags, saying they are ‘politically charged.’

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Davis Schools spokesperson Chris Williams told the paper; “No flags fly in our schools except for the flag of the United States of America.” Williams later walked that statement back adding a clarification that some of the Districts schools have flags from sports team or international countries which are considered “unrelated to politics.”

“What we’re doing is we’re following state law,” said Williams. “State law says that we have to have a classroom that’s politically neutral.”

Amanda Darrow, Director of Youth, Family, and Education at the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City, told multiple media outlets the school district is “politicizing the rainbow flag” which doesn’t belong on a political list.

“That flag for us is so much more,” said Darrow. “It is just telling us we’re included in the schools, we are being seen in the schools, and we belong in these schools.”

KUTV CBS2 News in Salt Lake City checked with the Utah State Board of Education. In an email, spokesman Mark Peterson said, “There is nothing in code that specifically defines a rainbow flag as a political statement so it would be up to district or charter school policies to make that determination.”

The local Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also weighed in saying in a statement;

Whether or not a school district has the legal ability to ban inclusive and supportive symbols from classrooms, it is bad policy for them to do so,” the advocacy organization said in a statement. “Utah schools have an obligation to ensure that all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identify, feel welcome inside a classroom. We urge school administrators and teachers to adopt policies that make all students feel safe and included.”

Williams insisted the policy is not meant to exclude anyone and that all students are loved and welcomed – they just want to keep politics out of school he told the Tribune and KUTV.

“We have to have a politically neutral classroom, and we’re going to educate the students in the best possible way that we can,” said Williams.

A Utah based veteran freelance journalist, writer, editor, and food photographer weighed in on Twitter highlighting the negative impact of the Davis Schools decision on its LGBTQ youth.

Davis County School District bans LGTBQ and BLM flags as ‘too political’

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Non-binary person reports assault by Proud Boys near Portland

‘They nearly killed me’



Juniper Simonis (Photo by Mariah Harris)

It was a typical day for Juniper Simonis. The freelance ecologist decided to break from work for lunch at about 3 p.m. to take their service dog, Wallace, to the local dog park and grab a bite to eat.  

But a planned peaceful afternoon quickly turned ugly. Simonis says they survived a gang assault of about 30 perpetrators in Gresham, Ore., a suburb outside of Portland. The Oregon resident encountered the group for only minutes but suffered a concussion, sprained jaw, extensive car damage and verbal assaults, they said. 

“They nearly killed me,” they said.

Simonis said they turned into a parking lot to pick up lunch in Gresham, Ore., and stumbled upon a rally that included several members of the Proud Boys — a far-right, ultra-nationalist organization known for its anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminism and neo-fascist ideologies. 

There was a “Flag Ride” right-wing rally in a parking lot earlier that day. Simonis was under the impression the event had ended after checking reports on Twitter. After pulling into the lot, originally to look for lunch options, Simonis saw a large gathering still in the lot. 

Simonis decided to take pictures of what was happening to post online to warn others and was intentional in keeping their distance, they said. As Simonis was preparing to leave the area, they yelled from inside the car, “Fuck you, fascists, go home.” 

“I did not expect this to escalate into violence,” they said. 

The attack itself only lasted about three minutes, Simonis said. Simonis was quickly surrounded by several people and physically blocked from leaving the lot. People stepped in front of the parking lot exit, then a car was moved to barricade Simonis. People began to shout homophobic slurs at Simonis, they said. 

“I’m in serious trouble now and I know it,” they said. 

Simonis was then punched while inside their vehicle and was briefly knocked out. They regained consciousness a few seconds later, and a cinder block was thrown at the car and shattered the back window of their car inches away from their service dog, Wallace. 

Simonis got out of the car to assess the damage and make sure their service dog was safe. They quickly got back in their car and was able to leave the lot by maneuvering around the blocked exit, Simonis said. 

Wallace, Juniper Simonis’ service dog. (Photo by Mariah Harris)

Looking back at the photos and videos Simonis took before the assault, Simonis said they saw people looking into the camera and acknowledging them taking photos. 

“I honestly don’t know if I hadn’t said anything, that … things would have gone any different,” they said. 

Last year, Simonis was targeted and arrested by federal police in Portland during the tumultuous Black Lives Matter protests in the city. They were denied medical attention, misgendered, jumped and aggressively handcuffed while taken into custody. 

Simonis is still working through legal proceedings in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit. 

A witness to the event called the Gresham Police Department, which was only a few blocks away from the incident. But the call went to voicemail and the witness did not leave a message, Simonis said. 

Another witness called 911, Simonis said, which led to an officer calling Simonis about 45 minutes after the accident to take a report.   

In the police report obtained by the Blade, Simonis is consistently misgendered. Simonis’ sex is also listed as “unknown” in the report. The incident was labeled as vehicle vandalism. 

Simonis said the conversation with the officer was filled with victim-blaming and the officer wrote in the report that Simonis should avoid “approaching groups of this nature.”  

“At no point in this conversation does he treat me as an actual victim of a crime,” Simonis said.

The Gresham Police Department did not respond to a request for comment. 

Weeks after the assault, Simonis is struggling mentally and physically, they said. 

The concussion makes working on a computer virtually impossible because of light sensitivity and trouble focusing, Simonis said. The pain caused by the sprained jaw makes it difficult to focus, as well. 

Simonis is not able to begin physical therapy for their jaw until November because of long medical wait times, they said. The cost to repair the car damages will be about $8,000, as well, they said.  

The times where Simonis is able to focus are usually taken up by piecing together what happened that day, they said. 

“The part of my brain that I use for work has been hijacked functionally by the part of the brain that needed to know what happened to me,” they said. “There is such a painful need to understand what happened to me.”

Because of past traumatic events, like the experience of being in federal custody last year, Simonis said processing and living with the trauma is a bit easier to handle. But their ability to work will be forever changed yet again, they said. 

“I’m not able to work at the pace that I used to work at before I was assaulted by DHS. I’ll never be,” they said. “And this is just a further knockdown.” 

The trauma of the event has increased Simonis’ hyper-vigilance, as well. 

“Every time I hear a car go by, I’m double-checking,” they said. 

Even though Simonis has the tools to process and live with the immense trauma, they will never be the same person, they said. 

“They fucking changed my life forever. Point blank,” they said. “Not just mentally, but physically and physiologically. I can’t go back to where I was before. I’m lucky that I survived.”

Simonis has reported the attack to the FBI and is pursuing legal action with two specific goals in mind: to heal and to prevent similar crimes from happening.

“I am somebody who believes in abolishing the carceral system and the justice system as it exists and policing,” Simonis said. “But also a 37-year-old trans and disabled person who somehow managed to survive this long. And so naturally has become pragmatic about the world.”

Because of the reaction of the Gresham Police Department, Simonis did not want to work with local officers and instead went to the federal level. But because of the alleged assault by agents in Portland last year, this decision wasn’t easy for them.

Perpetrators in the assault threatened to call the police on Simonis,  even though Simonis did not commit a crime. Reporting the crime to the federal level is also a layer of protection, they said. 

“All of this is forcing my hand,” they said. There is no easy decision in the situation, they added. 

“We all know that crimes are underreported. We hear about it all the time,” they said. And there are reasons why people don’t report crimes and they’re totally understandable. A lot of victims are very concerned about what will happen if they break anonymity. In my situation, I’ve already broken anonymity.”

With recent arrests and crackdowns on the Proud Boys and other hate groups in the United States, Simonis is bracing for a long process. 

“This isn’t just going to go on a shelf,” they said. 

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