LGBTQ Youth Group Told it Can’t March in Anoka, Minnesota Halloween Parade


Justin's Gift, the LGBTQ group in Anoka, Minnesota named for gay deceased bullying victim Justin Aaberg (below), has been told by organizers that its group of 30 kids can't march in the Halloween parade because there isn't enough room, Minnesota Public Radio reports:

AabergJustin's Gift, a nonprofit group created to support gay youth after several suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, received a letter dated Sept. 25 denying their request to walk in the Oct. 27 parade. The letter is signed by the parade chair, who included only her first name, Liz.

"At this time we are unable to accept your application for the parade," the letter said. "We have reached our maximum for walking units."

The parade's website lists a phone number for the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce as its contact number. A receptionist at the Chamber of Commerce said she is taking messages for parade organizers. The group did not respond to a message left Tuesday by MPR News. Parade organizers also did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Justin's Gift posted this message on its website:

Dear Justin's Gift Youth,

We regret to inform you that our application to participate in the Anoka Halloween Parade, as our favorite fairy tale characters, was denied and we are not being allowed to participate.  They stated that there were too many people already walking in the parade.  We know you were looking forward to this opportunity, but we encourage you to attend our Halloween Dance which will be a great night!

Anoka, Minnesota has a poor reputation for handling the needs of LGBT youth. As you may recall, the Anoka-Hennepin School District last March settled a federal suit filed in 2011 by civil rights groups and six student plaintiffs over a sexual neutrality policy blamed for bullying linked to the suicides of seven students over a two year period.

Anoka bills itself as the 'Halloween Capital of the World'.

The Chamber of Commerce's phone number can be found here. Other contact info here.


  1. Dale says

    So if there are already too many people, why were the excesses’ applications accepted? Oh, and of course, 30 more kids would just overcrowd the already overcrowded parade.


    Loving christianity at its finest.

  2. deg says

    So… perhaps another group, already accepted into the parade can invite Justin’s Gift to parade with them.

    Time for a mule stand in for another group to submit an application, and see if they are accepted into the parade.

  3. says

    Ah…Anoka. The town that whose school system turned a blind eye to the plight of gay students, until a lawsuit and a scathing article in Rolling Stone shamed them into changing their tune.

    Still clinging to their old ways, it seems.

  4. bandanajack says

    instead of bitching, i called and left a message for the prez of the chamber of congress, who i presume has the area’s best interests and reputation as his charge, and emailed “liz”. and for the record, far more women are gay supportive than not, if only because homophobia at its root is misogyny, and they know it. those women who are anti gay, are almost always anti feminist as well. and “jason” knows it.

  5. Bill says

    The “excuse” may be legitimate – they probably have a cutoff and a low-level staffer sends a form letter after the cutoff is reached. To show otherwise, you’d need a separate, non-LGBT group that applied after the LGBT one did and that got accepted.

    The problem is that sometimes a cutoff really is reached but a fake cutoff can also be used as an excuse to cover up discriminatory practices, so you need some way of distinguishing the two.

  6. "The Gay" says

    Jesus Christ, seven suicides in two years ?

    See, this is ho they handle it.

    I know I’ve said this a lot here, but so many of us are driven to suicide, and it’s the one thing that we should hold the bigots accountable for the most.

    Or have we all just forgotten those who are gone ?

  7. Andy Humm says

    Parades have a First Amendment right to include who they want and who they don’t IF they are truly private and don’t receive government funds. Exclusion of gay contingents continues in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parades (except one inclusive one in Queens) and in the Pulaski Day Parade. Supporters of LGBT inclusion boycott these parades, but Mayor Bloomberg marches in them anyway. Inclusion isn’t big on his list of things to do.

    The best thing that could happen here would be for other contingents in the parade to drop out and boycott to protest the bigotry.

  8. says

    actually, Stuffy, a great many young people proudly identify as Queer, and the Q also stands for “Questioning”

    you’ll know the proud young people who feel empowered and self-identify as Queer because they stand up to be counted and refuse to lead anonymous lives.

    you could learn a thing or fifty from them.

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