Virtual Meeting with Commissioner Jack Porter

The Capital Equality Democratic Caucus is kicking off the new year with a Virtual Meeting featuring Tallahassee City Commissioner Jack Porter! Jack was one of the first candidates we spoke to at an early candidate forum during the 2020 election cycle.

Log on to Zoom and join us to hear more about Jack’s experience in office so far and ideas for Tallahassee’s future.

The event will stream live on Zoom on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, beginning at 6:30pm, and is open to all Democrats.

Registration in advance is required.

LGBTQ+ Dems Call for Impeachment and Removal of President Trump

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2021

DELRAY BEACH FL – Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement calling for President Trump and his enablers to face consequences for their actions that have greatly damaged our democracy.

“President Trump deliberately incited a mob of extremists to attack the U.S. Capitol. Six people have lost their life since the tragedy, including two Capitol Police officers. Trump spent months spreading conspiracy theories that inspired insurrection and he threw the final match onto a powder keg of domestic terrorism. There must be consequences for his actions and further violence must be prevented.

“It’s clear that President Trump’s Cabinet won’t perform their constitutional duty and invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus calls on Congress to take matters into its own hands and immediately launch impeachment proceedings. Impeachment, conviction, and removal are the only appropriate remedies for Trump’s leading role in a violent attack on our democracy.

“The members of Congress who voted to overturn the 2020 election results must also be held accountable. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus renews its call for Congress to expel these members, and we additionally call on all businesses to end political contributions to these politicians and any organizations affiliated with them. Elected representatives who don’t abide by the rule of law must be held to account.”

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LGBTQ+ Dems Congratulate FDP Chair Manny Diaz and New Party Leadership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2021

DELRAY BEACH FL – Today the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) elected a new chair and the following party leadership:

  • Manny Diaz, Chair
  • Judy Mount, Vice Chair
  • Casmore Shaw, Secretary
  • Francine Garcia, Treasurer
  • Democratic National Committee Members Nadia Ahmad, Grace Carrington, Marcus Dixon, Samantha Hope Herring, Thomas Kennedy, Sanjay Patel, Terrie Rizzo, Sean Shaw, and Steve Simeonidis, and LGBTQ+ Caucus members Alan Clendening and Vivian Rodriguez

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement congratulating the new leadership:

“We congratulate Manny Diaz on being elected Florida Democratic Party Chair. Our community looks forward to working with him on his vision to unite the party and rebuild it from the ground up, with a focus on our party clubs and caucuses, DECs, and organizers across the state.

“We also congratulate Judy Mount on being reelected Vice Chair. With the historic election of Chair Diaz, Vice Chair Mount, Secretary Shaw, and Treasurer Garcia, all FDP officers are people of color, reflecting the diversity of our party and our state. We also look forward to working with the newly elected members of the Democratic National Committee.

“LGBTQ+ Democrats are grateful for the leadership of outgoing Chair Terrie Rizzo. She is a true friend and ally of our community. Her commitment and dedication to growing our Party will not be forgotten.

“Florida’s LGBTQ+ community knows that our path to equality requires electing more equality champions to Congress, Florida’s Cabinet, and the state legislature. Our lives depend on it. With Chair Diaz’s vision and this new leadership, we are ready to do the hard work it will take to turn Florida blue and achieve equality for all.”

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LGBTQ+ Dems Call for Trump Cabinet to Invoke the 25th Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 7, 2021

DELRAY BEACH FL – Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement in response to Congress certifying the 2020 election results after supporters of President Trump took over the U.S. Capitol.

“We’ve seen an historic 24 hours for our country: Congress certified Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States. And just as momentously, Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate with confirmations of the elections in Georgia. The first Black man from the Deep South, Rev. Raphael Warnock, and the first Jewish man from the Deep South, Jon Ossoff, will ensure the implementation of the change the Biden-Harris agenda will bring.

“But it’s also a day that will be seen as one of America’s greatest disgraces. After deliberately spreading conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 election, President Trump incited a mob of armed domestic terrorists who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol and occupied both chambers in an un-American display of insurrection.

“President Trump violated his oath of office, and it’s clear he can no longer discharge the powers and duties of the Presidency. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus calls on Trump’s Cabinet to perform their Constitutional duty, invoke the 25th Amendment, and remove him from office.

“In addition, we call on the U.S. Congress to expel Florida Senator Scott and Representatives Cammack, Diaz-Balart, Donalds, Dunn, Franklin, Gaetz, Giminez, Mast, Posey, Rutherford, Steube and Webster for their role in objecting to certification of the election results, which helped incite the tragic events at the Capitol. Public figures like Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr. who encouraged insurrection – and those who committed the act – must also be arrested and held accountable.

“The United States has lived with good leaders and bad leaders, but for the last four years we have endured the worst leaders in our history. Change is coming, but we must recognize the challenges that are still on the table — notably, those who trumpet their own views of the democracy envisioned in our Constitution, even though those views are untethered from reality.

“Elections have consequences. Our democracy has survived this test, but we now know how fragile our republic is. It’s time for healing, and this is our opportunity to return to truth, facts, and evidence in our policymaking. We must make the most of it.”

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Time to Renew Your Membership for 2021

TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP — AND RUN FOR OFFICE!

The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus elects its leadership every two years. Elections for Caucus officers will be held at our Winter Membership Meeting on March 6, 2021. This will be a virtual meeting and more info will be coming to you soon about that.

We are also electing our Regional Directors in a series of regional meetings in January 2021. Each region has three positions available: Regional Director, Deputy Director and Alternate Director. The Regional Director has a vote on the Caucus Board.

Please note that we have a new regional structure taking effect with this election in accordance with the votes of our membership at our Summer 2019 and Winter 2020 conferences. These changes updated our regions and revised the regional leadership.

Due to the pandemic, our regional elections will occur via Zoom. Registration links will be sent to members for their specific meeting no later than one week prior to the meeting. The election schedule is as follows:

Region 1, Northwest: Saturday, January 23, 11am ET/10am CT
Convener: Mark Gillman
Counties: Bay, Calhoun, Columbia, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsen, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, LaFayette, Liberty, Leon, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Walker, Washington

Region 2, Northeast: Saturday, January 23, Noon ET
Convener: Daniel Henry
Counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union, Volusia

Region 3, Central Northwest: Saturday, January 23, 1pm ET
Convener: Rick Boylan
Counties: Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Levy, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Sumter

Region 4: Central Northeast: Saturday, January 23, 2pm ET
Convener: Beth McMillen
Counties: Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole

Region 5, Central: Saturday, January 23, 3pm ET
Convener: Sally Phillips
Counties: Hardee, Highland, Hillsborough, Polk

Region 6, Southwest: Sunday, January 24, 1pm ET
Convener: Mary Ann Shea
Counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Manatee, Sarasota

Region 7, Central Southeast: Sunday, January 24, 2pm ET
Convener: Nicholas Coppola
Counties: Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, St, Lucie

Region 8, Southeast: Sunday, January 24, 3pm ET
Convener: Anthony Ginsburg
Counties: Broward

Region 9, South: Sunday, January 24, 4pm ET
Convener: Javier Estevez
Counties: Miami-Dade, Monroe

Regional directors are key to our strategy of grassroots organizing, local visibility and community awareness. According to the Caucus bylaws:

The Regional Directors shall organize chapters in selected counties in their regions, shall coordinate Caucus activities within each region, shall maintain close collaboration with county Democratic Executive Committees, and shall represent the President, at his or her request, in functions and meetings within the region. A regional director shall maintain residency within the region from which elected; notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, failure to comply shall result in immediate forfeiture of office.

A few rules:

  1. Each region will elect a Regional Director, Deputy Director, and Alternate Director to serve on the Board of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus for a period of two years.
  2. Any Caucus member in good standing is eligible for election to one of these positions.
  3. Nominations for these positions shall be made from the floor on the day of the election.
  4. Absentee and proxy voting are not allowed under Caucus bylaws at this time.
  5. The term of service begins when the convener certifies the election at the close of the regional meeting, at which time the elected directors and alternates must sign the Florida Democratic Party-prescribed loyalty oath. A PDF copy of the Oath will be sent to each convener. They will then forward it to the newly elected Director(s). Arrangements will be made to get them filled out. Once filled out, they should be sent to secretary@lgbtqdems.org to prepare the Caucus for recertification with the FDP.
  6. Newly elected Directors should mark their calendars for the January 27th Board of Directors meeting.
  7. For more information about the election rules and process, please refer to the Caucus bylaws or email info@lgbtqdems.org with specific questions.

Caucus members must be in good standing on the day of the election to be eligible to run for the office of Regional Director, Deputy Director or Alternate Director. Caucus membership fees for 2021 are due and payable by December 31, 2020. New members are eligible to vote and run for regional director if 2021 membership dues are paid and received by the Treasurer by the day before the regional elections. Our bylaws require that all current officers must renew their membership by December 31.

If you have not already renewed your membership, please visit the our Membership page for information and options for payment. Thank you for your participation!

Respectfully,

Dave Cutler, Secretary
Ricki Bauman, Assistant Secretary

Caucus Statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2020

DELRAY BEACH FL – Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor the memory of those who lost their lives to anti-transgender prejudice. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), at least 37 transgender people are known to have been murdered in the United States in 2020 – the most since HRC started tracking in 2013, and the majority of which are Black or Latinx transgender women. Three of those victims were Floridians.

Tony McDade
Killed in a police-involved shooting on May 27 in Tallahassee

Bree Black
Shot on July 3 in Pompano Beach

Yunieski Carey Herrera
Stabbed on November 17 in Miami

Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement for Transgender Day of Remembrance and to honor the lives that we’ve lost:

“We honor our transgender sisters and brothers who we’ve lost and who had the courage to live life as their authentic selves. It’s on each of us to fight hate in all forms, raise awareness, and build acceptance. Today is a hard reminder that we have so much more work to do to create a society that loves and accepts transgender people. We stand united with Florida’s transgender community, who have been the target of deadly violence.”

Nathan Bruemmer, Legislative Director of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, reacted to record levels of violence:

“With reported murders reaching their highest levels in more than a decade, we’ve lost a record number of transgender people in 2020, including a fellow Floridian in Miami this week. It is an epidemic of violence, especially against transgender women of color. Our thoughts are with them today, and we honor them with our actions that ensure transgender people can live life without fear of violence.”

Chapters of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus are taking part in events across the state today:

Tampa Bay Transgender Film Festival (12 PM ET – Sunday, 11/22)

Human Rights Campaign Georgia Voter Outreach (4-6 PM ET)
A virtual event providing resources on the challenges that trans voters face and outreach to “Equality Voters” in advance of the U.S. Senate runoff elections.

Virtual Trans Day of Remembrance (4-5 PM ET)

Trans Day of Resilience in Duval County (5-6:30 PM ET)

Virtual TDOR Observance in Palm Beach County (5-6 PM ET)

TDOR Vigil in Pinellas County (7-9 PM ET)

TDOR Vigil in Alachua County (7-9 PM ET)

PFLAG Connects: Virtual Vigil (8 PM ET)

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Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus on President-Elect Biden’s Victory

November 7, 2020

Delray Beach — Stephen Gaskill, President of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement on the confirmation that Joe Biden has become President-Elect of the United States:

“At last, we have confirmation of what we’ve known since Election Day: Joe Biden is the President-Elect of the United States. Once again, we will have a president who understands and cherishes the role of US leadership throughout the world, defends our civil rights, respects our laws, believes in science, and recognizes the principle that we are one united citizenry working toward our common goals.

“Donald Trump cannot leave office soon enough. HIs presidency has been a stain on our country and an embarrassment for all Americans. He has served only himself and his cronies while in office, disregarded truth and facts, fanned the flames of racism, bigotry and hatred, and stood by as millions of Americans were infected and more than 230,000 died from COVID-19. History will struggle to put his presidency in context.

“In President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, the United States has the most progressive and the most pro-LGBTQ leadership agenda in history. While Senate Republicans will do everything in their power to prevent the Biden-Harris administration from enacting the most needed and most progressive policies, Americans recognize that bold vision and change is necessary to move our country forward. That is how we will achieve the promise of America.

“Finally, we can put the blight of the past four years behind us, and look forward to a better future.”

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Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Statement on Election Results

November 4, 2020

Delray Beach, FL — Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement on the results of the 2020 General Election:

“Florida is heartbreaking. As the sun rises on the day after the election, a tough reality is that the time, effort, and money Democrats put in to this election was a mammoth achievement, but not enough to overcome a similar effort on the other side. Many of our losses were expected, given that we ran candidates in nearly every race and in solidly red districts. But there were notable if surprising successes as well, including Daniella Levine Cava’s win as Miami-Dade Mayor, and clear decisions to raise the state’s minimum wage and defeat proposals for jungle primaries and raising the bar on constitutional changes.

“Fort Lauderdale’s Mayor Dean Trantalis and Vice Mayor Steve Glassman both won handily, keeping the heart of Florida’s LGBTQ community under LGBTQ leadership. We elected Shevrin Jones as our first openly-LGBTQ state senator, and Michele Rayner as our first openly-LGBTQ Black state representative. But those wins are balanced by the loss of State Representative Jennifer Webb, the first open lesbian in the Legislature, as well as other notable LGBTQ Legislative candidates.

“The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus and our 21 chapters around the state worked hand in hand with our DECs, our state and national partners, and individual candidates and campaigns to turn out our voters and change the direction of Florida, and of the country. We won’t stop fighting based on the results of one election. Our civil rights and our lives are on the line. Yes, we have more work to do — there’s always more work to do. Our Caucus, our members, and our community are fighters for equality, which is always on the ballot. We are not finished.”

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Today is ELECTION DAY! Get out and vote!

According to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office, voter turnout in Leon County has already surpassed 60%! But the fight isn’t over until pro-equality Democratic candidates win!

If you haven’t already voted, make sure you get out today and VOTE! Polling locations in Leon County will remain open until 7pm. If you are in line by 7pm, you will be allowed to vote. Don’t wait – high turnout is expected and every vote counts!

Click to Find Your Polling Location

Vote-by-mail ballots that have not yet been returned can be dropped off at the Leon County Supervisor of Elections drop box at 2990-1 Apalachee Parkway until 7pm. If you have any questions or need assistance, the Leon County Democratic Party’s helpline will lend a hand! Call them at 850-296-2099.

Florida Democrats Launch “Drag Yourself to the Polls” Initiative to Encourage LGBTQ+ and Youth Voting

TALLAHASSEE — On Tuesday, The Florida Democratic Party announced that they are launching a “Drag Yourself to the Polls” Initiative with videos from drag queens to encourage Floridians to vote early, vote-by-mail, and vote for Democrats all the way down the ballot.

The drag queens included are Brita Filter, LaGanja Estranja, Willam Belli, all of whom are well known drag queens with significant followings. The videos will be released on the Florida Democratic Party’s social media platforms throughout the next 2 weeks leading up to the election. These platforms include the Florida Democratic Party’s TikTok and Snapchat accounts which are aimed at younger voters.

“Everyone loves a queen, and Florida Democrats are no different! The LGBTQ+ community is loud and proud in our support of Joe Biden and Democrats — because our rights are on the ballot. Our right to love, to marry, to work and to serve are all at risk in this election. And while this election has very real and very frightening consequences for our community, we are responding with humor and grace and grit,” said FDP Executive Director Juan Peñalosa. “The Florida Democratic Party’s campaign headlined by Brita, LaGanja and Willam is evidence of the strength and resolve in our community and America is better because of it. Now, go vote.”

Stephen Gaskill, Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President added, “Drag Queens are exciting and energizing to the LGBTQ+ community and younger voters, two groups that are key parts of the Democratic coalition. The Drag Yourself to the Polls initiative is just one more way that the LGBTQ+ Caucus and the Florida Democratic Party are working to meet voters where they are and encouraging people to vote in one of the most important elections of our lifetimes.”

Brita Filter
Willam Belli
LaGanja Estranja

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TRANSCRIPT FOR ‘Drag Yourself to the Polls’ video

Brita: Why It’s Important to Vote

Hello there Florida Democrats! It’s you girl Brita Filter and today I’m here to tell you about why it is so important to vote in your upcoming November election.

Now we have people in power who are trying to take away our rights and freedoms. Voting for people you want to see in office who can help you, your family, your friends have a better life.

Also, voting for your local officials can help make an even closer impact on the things that matter the most to you and your community.
Oh, you again.

You know voting is a delicious privilege, why not get your piece of the cake if you can choose what’s in it. You know, some people don’t get to choose what’s inside their cake. Use your voice. Do what matters. I want you to vote. Imma vote so you Brita vote. This is good cake. I voted what was gunna be inside that cake and that was delicious. Mmm.

A selection of the additional videos:

Brita: You have the power to make change
Willam: Get 45 Out of Office
LaGanja: Let’s Get Voting Democrats

See Also: The Advocate: How Drag Queens are Helping Democrats Turn Florida Blue

A Chartered Chapter of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus