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Thousands of paper hearts dropped in the Capitol, organizers say it's to support LGBTQ rights

48,000 paper hearts all had messages on them, representing the estimated 48,000 LGBTQ people in Idaho.
Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 19:52:49-04

BOISE, Idaho — During a press conference on the fourth floor of the Idaho State Capitol building, which was aimed to critique legislation impacting the LGBTQ community, organizers dropped 48,000 paper hearts on the floor.

  • The 48,000 hearts symbolize the estimated number of Idahoans who are a part of the LGBTQ community.
  • Organizers cleaned up the hearts immediately after the demonstration.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

On Tuesday, a press conference scheduled to protest against anti-LGBTQ legislation started pretty normally, until this happened.

48,000 paper hearts were dumped out onto the Idaho Capitol floor. Each heart carried a message. A part of the goal is to show just how many Idahoans are impacted by what organizers call harmful legislation.

Organizers said an estimated 48,000 Idahoans are a part of the LGBTQ community.

"Giving a visual to how many of us there are and how many of our families that you are breaking their hearts and discriminating against them is a huge part of this," said Jenna Damron, the organizer.

Damron is an Idahoan and a part of the LGBTQ community. One of those pieces of legislation she's talking about was HB668. It was signed into law last week and outlaws the use of taxpayer dollars on gender-affirming care for transgender people here in Idaho.

"That doesn't mean other treatments are not available for somebody that's having gender dysphoria but it means those are outlawed as far as our tax dollars being used for those. I think that's pretty reasonable given how controversial these treatments are," said Rep. Bruce Skaug, a Republican from Nampa who introduced the legislation.

He says taxpayers shouldn't bear the burden of these procedures that he feels are controversial and harmful.

But Damron doesn't see it that way.

"Lawmakers, the governor, and the attorney general sit in this building and have no connections to the communities that harmful legislation and harmful laws will have," Damron said.

"My intent with this bill is not to cause anyone harm, but rather to protect people, first the taxpayers," Skaug said.

While the legislative session is nearing its end, and laws impacting Damron's community have already been passed, she hopes this demonstration brings determination.

"There is a big community of people behind you and if you want to fight back against this stuff there will be people there," Damron said.