Pre-statehood laws banning abortion also made gay sex punishable up to life in prison.

We looked at the territorial laws and found a rule that would criminalize LGBTQ+ people.

Pre-statehood laws banning abortion also made gay sex punishable up to life in prison.
In this week's newsletter: Territorial laws and criminalizing LGBTQ+ people; A fundraiser for the state abortion fund; Get pumped with some like-minded exercise friends; And a brand new Out of the Closet to win free swag.


Every week, we highlight the lives of our readers by showing off what queer joy looks like to them. Show off your life by replying back to this email with a photo, or tagging us on Instagram @lookoutphx.

LOOKOUT Board Chair Meg Taylor at Rainbow’s Festival handing out flowers and making people aware of LGBTQ+ news and community.

LIFETIME IMPRISONMENT:  The Territorial Code of Arizona written in the 19th century that included a provision outlawing all abortions was upheld by the state’s Supreme Court this week.

Reading the territorial code gives insight into how old these laws are, at a time when straight and predominantly white men were the deciders of people’s lives.

When the rules were written, Arizona was almost 50 years from becoming a state, the Civil War was still raging, and women couldn’t even vote. It’s also when criminalizing LGBTQ+ people was common.

We looked at the code and found a law that impacted gay men, which has since been ruled unconstitutional. The code specifically says the territory’s law enforcement could imprison LGBTQ+ people for as long as their natural lives for consensual sex.  

The Howell Code of 1864, named after the New York judge appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to write rules for the newly-acquired Arizona territory, abolished slavery in the territory. But within it, there was a rule that said “the infamous crime against nature, either with man or beast, shall subject the offender to be punished by imprisonment in the Territorial prison for a term not less than five years, and which may extend to life.”

The phrase “infamous crime against nature” is a term used that referred to homosexual sex—specifically sodomy. Thirteen states still have laws that include “crime against humanity” definitions, but they are unenforceable. In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Lawrence v. Texas that those laws were unconstitutional.

That case's outcome, though, was determined off the same privacy rights established in Roe v. Wade, which was overturned last summer. As a result, Lawrence v. Texas has been the focus for some conservatives who say sodomy laws may come back.

Attorney General Kris Mayes’s office said she believes the territorial ban on abortions is “unconstitutional,” but wouldn’t comment on other aspects of the territorial code, generally. 

WHAT WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON: There’s a misunderstanding that abortion care doesn’t affect LGBTQ+ people. It couldn't be further from the truth, though.

In 2020, Women’s Health Issues published a study that found, “all sexual minority groups—except lesbians—were generally more likely than heterosexual peers to have a pregnancy, a teen pregnancy, and an abortion.”

The reasons for this, the study said, are primarily to do with access to contraceptive care as well as proper sexual education.

How does this week’s decision affect you? Let us know by replying back to this email.

  • DEROGATORY LANGUAGE: The owner of The Phoenix Suns used an old slur to describe gay men in a recorded voicemail. AZCentral
  • QUEER OL’ TUCSON: The city’s “small town” but big city charm makes it a perfect getaway for LGBTQ+ people, according to Instinct Magazine. Instinct
  • ABORTION DONATIONS: Marigold, a lesbian-owned pop up bookstore, is donating 100% of their sales from the book “You’re The Only One I’ve Told” to the Abortion Fund of Arizona. Instagram

  • RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill that allows people to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people based on religious beliefs.   Iowa Public Radio
  • BANNED: Nationwide, one in four trans people have said their care has been disrupted due to state laws.   truthout
  • FOSTER CARE: Two states—Tennessee and Colorado—passed wildly different bills for queer youth in foster care. Tennessee could place LGBTQ+ kids among parents who are not affirming of their sexuality or gender. ABC News


Have a community event coming up you want LOOKOUT to highlight? Email us.

  • Thurs. April 11 - Brush up your resume and head over to the Diversity Career Expo hosted by One Community. Info
  • Tues. April 16 - Pump some iron with the folks at Every Body Lifting Club. Info
  • Tues. April 16 - For northern AZ readers: Prism Network is holding a talk on trauma and stress within the community. Info
  • Sat. April 21 - Go grab some brunch with the Queer AF crowd at Hotel Congress. Info
  • Sun. April 22 - Join Sassy DeMornay during a Drag Story Hour online. Info
  • Tues. April 23 - YumBar is hosting an “Unstable Unicorns” game night with the crew from Phoenix Takeover. Info
  • Fri. April 26 - Black Phoenix Organizing Collective is selling wares from disabled artists and merchants at Palabras Bookstore. Info
  • Sat. May 18 - Get all dressed up for the Sparkle Glitter GLSEN prom. Info


Without the LGBTQ+ community, there’s less meaning. Guess the word below with only the support of the letters L, G, B, T, Q, I, A and submit your answer to be entered into our monthly drawing for exclusive LOOKOUT swag. The more times you play, the more chances you get to win!

_ _T_B_ _

Hint: Arizona’s official Pride month

Marissa F.(Mesa); Sheila K.(Phoenix); Clark O.(Phoenix); Elaine R.(Sun Lakes); Victoria C.(Phoenix); Kathy K.(Sedona); Mischa C.(Phoenix)

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