Statement on Pulse Remembrance Day, Five Years Later

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2021

ORLANDO, FL – On this day five years ago, 49 people were killed and 53 were injured at Pulse Nightclub in one of the worst mass shootings and deadliest attacks on LGBTQ+ people in the United States.

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement for Pulse Remembrance Day:

“The Pulse massacre, a heinous attack on Orlando’s LGBTQ community, will remain with us always. Today is a time to remember and honor those we lost, and also to recognize the survivors who overcame their physical injuries and trauma. Pride Month is always a bittersweet combination of celebrating how far our community has come, focusing our activism on completing the journey to full equality, and commemorating those no longer with us due to neglect, discrimination, or violence. Pulse is a core part of the Pride story, and we thank our Florida congressional delegation for helping to make the National Pulse Memorial a reality. Pulse is now a symbol of resilience and strength.”

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Region 4 Director and Rainbow Democrats President Brandon Nelson gave a reaction from the local community:

“One Pulse and Orlando Strong are more than just slogans. They are what has helped our community to heal. Five years ago, we were devastated by an act of cowardice and terror. As painful as that day was, it has made us stronger as individuals, as a city, and as a community. We can never bring back the 49 lives we lost, but we can and will continue to honor them with action. Their memories are the building blocks of our strength. Keep dancing Orlando, because hate will never win. We are Pulse. We are Orlando.”

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Virtual Meeting with Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox

Join the Capital Equality Democratic Caucus for a Virtual Meeting featuring one of Tallahassee’s city commissioners, Dianne Williams-Cox!

Log on to Zoom and join us to hear more about Dianne’s perspectives on issues important to residents of Tallahassee. Dianne will also discuss the recent launch of her campaign for re-election.

The event will stream live on Zoom on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, beginning at 6:30pm, and is open to all Democrats.

Registration in advance is required. Please follow this link to register.

Caucus Members Featured at Tampa Pride 2021

We’re thrilled that several of our caucus members were featured at Tampa Pride! Jay Chetney was the Grand Marshal Stonewall Pioneer, and Sally Phillips and Ercilia Albistu were the Grand Marshal Couple! Sally Phillips is our Membership and Chartering Director and a past President. Ercilia Albistu is our Region 5 Director, and Jay Chetney is our Region 3 Alternate Director.  

SUNDAY: Tallahassee Day of Action for Trans Youth

Republicans in the Florida Legislature successfully implemented a last-ditch effort to pass the Trans Sports Ban in the House and Senate. This anti-LGBTQ legislation will now move to Governor DeSantis to be signed into law.

Equality Florida is holding Virtual Days of Action in which you can take action to encourage Governor DeSantis to veto this hateful legislation! Local organizations in Tallahassee, including Capital Equality, are pitching in to help.

Join other Tallahassee activists and friends virtually this Sunday, May 2nd, from 11am to 3pm, as we text Equality Florida supporters and encourage them to call the Governor and ask him to veto the Transgender Sports Ban Bill.

Click this link to register to participate in the Tallahassee Day of Action for Trans Youth on Sunday, May 2nd!

If you are unable to join us on Sunday, there are other opportunities throughout the week!

ACTION ALERT: We’re running out of time to stop the Trans Sports Ban!

Earlier this week, Republicans in the Florida Legislature successfully implemented a last-ditch effort to pass the Trans Sports Ban in the House and Senate. This anti-LGBTQ legislation will now move to Governor DeSantis to be signed into law.

Click this link to sign an Equality Florida petition urging Governor DeSantis to veto this hateful legislation!

Florida LGBTQ Democrats React to Transgender Athlete Ban Passing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, FL – After a ban on transgender athletes in Florida died in the Senate committee process, Republicans added it as an amendment to a charter school bill that passed both chambers this evening.

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement in response:

“Florida’s Republicans are pathetically proud of their hatred. They legislate their own bigotry rather than the concerns of their constituents. Deliberately hurting transgender children and playing politics with their lives is beyond shameless. Our community will work tirelessly to hold accountable the politicians who voted for this despicable legislation.”

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LGBTQ Democrats Statement on Derek Chauvin Verdict

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2021

DELRAY BEACH, FL – On trial for killing George Floyd, Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on two murder counts and one manslaughter count.

The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus issued the following statement in response:

“While we applaud the guilty verdict in the George Floyd case, we must recognize that this is just one small step in an ongoing journey towards true justice. One conviction does not make up for prior injustices. Accountability and justice are not the same thing.

The world watched Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd. And every day we see more crimes and atrocities committed against Black and Brown communities, often by those charged with protecting them. This verdict reminds us that we all have more work to do to ensure that our differences do not make people targets.

The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus understands and appreciates diversity and works to foster inclusion. We believe that Black Lives Matter and we stand with all those fighting for equality, equity and the disabling of systemic racism.”

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Florida Senate Must Reject the Hateful Trans Girl Sports Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, FL – On a vote of 77-40, the Florida House of Representatives just passed HB 1475, a blanket ban on transgender girls in sports. Earlier today, Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Legislative Director Nathan Bruemmer participated in a press conference with Representatives Carlos Guillermo Smith and Michele Rayner-Goolsby and transgender youth speaking out against the bill.

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement after the bill passed:

“The Republican-controlled Florida House continues to embarrass our state, insult our citizens, and attack marginalized Floridians for political gain. Our community thanks the Democrats who fought for the dignity of our transgender students. We will take this fight to the Senate.”

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Legislative Director Nathan Bruemmer gave an educator’s reaction to the bill’s passage:

“As a former coach and teacher, I know how important it is for youth to be part of the team and how sports can build character, confidence, and leadership skills. Transgender youth will lose out on those experiences if this cruel, mean-spirited legislation becomes law. We should let kids play.”

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April Membership Meeting and Legislative Update

With the second half of Florida’s legislative session underway, several initiatives that threaten the well-being of LGBTQ+ Floridians continue to advance through the process. Here are a few bills to watch:

  • HB 545 / SB 410: Oppose
    Limiting Access to Sex/HIV Education
    Last Action: 4/2/2021 House – Added to Education & Employment Committee agenda
  • HB 1465 / SB 1618: Support
    HIV Modernization
    Last Action: 3/5/2021 House – Now in Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee
  • HB 1471 / SB 718: Support
    Eliminating the Gay and Transgender Panic Defense
    Last Action: 3/5/2021 House – Now in Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee
  • HB 1475 / SB 2012: Oppose
    Transgender Sports Ban
    Last Action: 4/6/2021 House – Added to Second Reading Calendar

On Wednesday, April 14, Equality Florida’s Jon Harris Maurer will join Capital Equality members during the April general membership meeting to provide an update on these and other issues being discussed by Florida lawmakers.

Log on to Zoom to join us for this informative session. The event will stream live beginning at 6:30pm and is open to all Democrats.

Registration in advance is required. Please follow this link to register.

LGBTQ Democrats Mourn the Loss of Alcee Hastings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2021

DELRAY BEACH, FL – Earlier this morning, U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings passed after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus issued the following statement on the news of Representative Hastings’ death:

“Alcee Hastings was a champion for civil rights, and one of the most vocal leaders calling for equality for the LGBTQ+ community. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus sends our condolences to his family and his constituents. We have lost a fighter for justice, and his voice will be missed.”

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A Chartered Chapter of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus