Metro Weekly

The Riley Roundup: Anti-Gay Slurs Spoil California Chili Cook-Off

A chili cook-off was marred by a competitor spewing anti-gay slurs, while Californians may soon vote on 3 anti-trans ballot initiatives.

Photo: Jim Parkin / Dreamstime


Foggy Bottoms Boys, a gay-owned farm taking part in a recent chili cook-off hosted by restauranteur Guy Fieri at the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale, California, claimed in an Instagram post that a rival business owner made derogatory anti-gay comments and slurs loud enough for onlookers to hear.

The tenor of the comments, which were not directed to a specific person but rather to Foggy Bottoms Boys and their employees in general, escalated throughout the day, and the person making them appeared to be intoxicated, according to co-owner Thomas Nicholson Stratton.

That same person later allegedly backed over some boxes of food and kitchen equipment, damaging them, Nicholson Stratton told the Times-Standard, a Eureka-based newspaper.

While Foggy Bottoms Boys did not identify the person involved in the incident in their Instagram post, the LoCo Fish Company account later commented on the post, writing, “I’m extremely sorry for our actions. We are NOT anti-LGBTQ in any shape or form.”

The Times-Standard reports that Ferndale police arrested LoCo Fish Company’s owner, Jayme Knight, for driving under the influence on Thursday evening.

Knight subsequently told the North Coast Journal that he regretted his actions, but insisted he did not hold animosity toward the LGBTQ community. He also claimed that he accidentally ran over Foggy Bottoms Boys’ table, food, and kitchen equipment while trying to execute a three-point turn.


According to LGBTQ Nation, right-wing pastor Henry Shaffer has claimed that parents who give their kids gender-neutral or androgynous names — or shorten them to gender-neutral nicknames — are setting them up to become transgender.

Speaking at a Labor Day conference run by anti-LGBTQ pastor Greg Locke, Shaffer claimed that the devil’s influence is at play when children’s names are shortened to gender-neutral equivalents, such as a girl named Samantha identifying as “Sam.” He claimed that such actions are part of a sinister plot to force people into identifying as transgender and pursuing gender transitions.

“I have taken enough homosexual young people and transgender through deliverance that nobody would work with… and let me tell you what I found out,” Shaffer told attendees. “The name that God gave them, the devil changed and shortened their name. … And the spirits in school are working for them to confuse their minds at who they are, and you’ve already given them the name that would make transitioning easy.”


A 25-year-old man from Denver has been arrested in connection with a “criminal mischief pattern” involving the removal and damage of LGBTQ Pride flags that had been displayed on a fence near the Stonewall National Monument in New York City’s West Village, reports NBC News.

Surveillance video footage from early June allegedly showed three male individuals ripping down multiple Pride flags as they walked by the fence.

The suspect in the case, Patrick Murphy, was charged with a hate crime and criminal mischief for allegedly taking part in the vandalism incident, which occurred on June 10, during the celebration of Pride Month.

New York City Police are also investigating two other unrelated incidents involving vandalism of LGBTQ or transgender Pride flags adorning the area near the monument, but no arrests have been made.

All three instances of vandalism are part of a number of incidents in New York City, in which various individuals have reportedly expressed hostility towards the LGBTQ community in what are believed to be bias-motivated attacks, including the recent murder of professional dancer O’Shae Sibley at a Brooklyn gas station.


On Tuesday, September 5, U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) presented a new LGBTQ Pride flag to the owner of Shain Park, Realtors, a realty company in Birmingham, Michigan, which had two Pride flags stolen in two separate incidents during Pride Month.

Owner James Cristbrook told Detroit-based ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV that, when the first flag disappeared, he wondered whether it had blown away, despite being securely fastened to the front door. But after the replacement flag was also stolen, he realized that the flags’ disappearance was intentional.

Despite the Birmingham Police Department investigating the case, no suspect has been identified and no surveillance video of the area surrounding the business has been obtained. Stevens, a member of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, presented Cristbrook with a second replacement flag while decrying the theft as an example of hostile actions targeting the LGBTQ community.

Stevens also used the opportunity to highlight the importance of passing the Equality Act, a sweeping federal law that would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in various aspects of life. The bill has twice passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but has failed to gain traction in the U.S. Senate due to the threat of a Republican-led filibuster.


A group of conservative activists called “Protect Kids California” is seeking to collect signatures to put three ballot initiatives, all aimed at restricting transgender rights, on the ballot in 2024, reports the Sacramento Bee.

The first of the three initiatives would force schools to notify parents if their child uses a different name or pronouns, while the other two would ban transgender athletes from competing on female-designated sports teams and prohibit minors from accessing gender-affirming care. 

To appear on the ballot next year, an initiative must gain 546,651 signatures from registered voters by May 9, 2024. Protect Kids California claims it has polling showing that California voters would support all three measures, but doesn’t cite the source of the poll.

Among the backers of the initiatives are State Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside), who proposed a bill to out transgender students to their parents, Assemblyman Joe Patterson (R-Rocklin), the California Family Council, and “de-transitioner” Chloe Cole, all of whom attended a rally touting the proposed initiatives. Proponents of the initiatives claim they’re necessary to “protect children” from being unduly influenced to identify as transgender and pursue medical intervention they may later grow to regret.

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