Caucus Blasts Governor DeSantis for Signing Ban on Trans Athletes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, FL – This morning in Jacksonville, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB1028 into law. This broad education bill includes the discriminatory ban on transgender athletes.

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement on the bill signing:

“It’s shameful that Governor DeSantis chose the first day of Pride Month to sign the discriminatory trans sports ban into law. This transphobic legislation aims to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, and instead harms children just wanting to play sports. It’s clear the Governor and his Republican enablers in the Legislature are dismissive of Florida’s large and visible LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month is steeped in acceptance, but it is also a statement among our community that we will fight for our civil rights. We are watching, we are working, and we are putting discriminatory politicians on notice.”

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Region 2 Regional Director Joshua Hicks gave a local reaction to the bill becoming law:

“Jacksonville is a welcoming and inclusive city governed by a human rights ordinance that bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression. It’s shameful and disgusting that Governor DeSantis chose our community to sign discrimination into law on the first day of Pride Month.”

# # #

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.”

# # #

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.”

# # #

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.”

# # #

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.”

###

LGBTQ Dems Conduct Lobby Days, Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, FL – On March 29-30, the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus held its annual Lobby Days event. More than 50 caucus members from across the state met virtually with 20 State Senators and Representatives to lobby them on the Caucus’ priority legislation:

  • Support HB 1465 / SB 1618: HIV Modernization
  • Support HB 1471 / SB 718: Eliminating the Gay and Transgender Panic Defense
  • Opposing the Transgender Sports Ban (HB 1475 / SB 2012)

As March 31 brings Transgender Day of Visibility, the Caucus is honoring the strength and achievements of transgender Floridians. We celebrate the progress that’s been made for LGBTQ+ civil rights, while also recognizing we have much more work to do.

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement regarding the Caucus’ 2021 Lobby Days:

“Our strength lies not only in the size and breadth of our organization, but also in our members’ stories. Lobby Days gave us an opportunity to share those stories and engage directly with our elected officials. We will keep making this impact until full equality is achieved.”

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Legislative Director Nathan Bruemmer noted the long-term work that must continue:

“Our members have communicated our values and our concerns to the Florida Legislature. Now, on Transgender Day of Visibility, we’re reminded that we must keep up the fight by opposing discrimination and supporting equality legislation that protects transgender and gender non-binary Floridians.”

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Deputy Legislative Director Robin Witt thanked Lobby Days participants:

“We thank our incredible members for advocating on behalf of transgender kids, LGBTQ+ people of color, and Floridians living with HIV. Our LGBTQ+ community is stronger and closer to equal treatment under the law because of this dedication and commitment.”

# # #

A Chartered Chapter of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus