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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Derby

York County Commissioners Proclaim June as Pride Month

ALFRED, Maine – Through a proclamation, York County Commissioners have declared June as Pride Month throughout the county.


"We encourage residents to reflect on the continuing struggle for equality by members of the LGBTQ+ community,” the proclamation states, in part.


It was the second year York County Commissioners made the Pride Month proclamation. All three commissioners present at the June 5 meeting – Chair Richard Dutremble, Richard Clark and Justin Chenette, voted in favor. Commissioners Donna Ring and Robert Andrews were absent.


A Pride Month proclamation was first introduced by Chenette and passed by the board in 2023.


“It was the first time in our long history of county existence, since 1636, that we passed a pride proclamation,” Chenette said later. “Making history as the first openly LGBTQ+ member of the York County Commission means for me, Pride Month is personal. It’s striking to me that it took until we actually had an openly gay commissioner on the board before we passed such a simple recognition of the LGBTQ+ community in our county. Policy decisions and outcomes are greatly improved by having diverse voices at the table and leaders with varying lived experiences.”


Chenette said that was something he saw as the youngest openly gay state lawmaker in the country in 2012 as a member of the Maine House of Representatives and the only LGBTQ+ senator to serve in Maine between 2016 and 2020.


He said words, actions, tolerance, and acceptance as a county government matter and quoted a statistic from The Trevor Project that states 41 percent of LGBTQ youth have considered attempting suicide.


While commissioners approved the proclamation without comment, one member of the audience spoke out in opposition prior to the vote.


Susan Wiswell, a GOP candidate for District 5 (Eliot, Kittery, Ogunquit, Wells, York) County Commissioner, said she was concerned about the proclamation.


“This is not promoting equality,” she said, in part. “This is promoting discrimination against heterosexuals.”


Both Gov. Janet Mills and President Joe Biden have designated June as Pride Month, and there are a number of events and commemorations across York County and throughout Maine.



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