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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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.”

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ACTION ALERT: Stop the attack on transgender youth!

The Trans Sports Ban has been added to the Senate Education Committee’s agenda (SB 2012) for tomorrow, Tuesday, March 23rd, 12:30-3:00 p.m.

Transgender youth just want to play sports with their peers, and Florida schools have had policies in place for nearly a decade with no issues.  Will you send an email now to stop this attack on transgender youth and let them play? Click here to send emails to all members of the Senate Education Committee before the vote on the bill next Tuesday.

If you know of anyone who wants to testify, please get in touch with Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer! Due to COVID restrictions, you must appear at the Civic Center in Tallahassee, and testimony is then broadcast into the Senate Committee room. You cannot testify virtually from elsewhere.

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Lobby Days 2021

As a statewide organization with 21 chapters, our strength lies not only in the size of our organization, but also in our members’ stories. Each and every day we fight for equality and advocate for policies that strengthen our LGBTQ+ community.

Lobby Days is an annual event when we have an opportunity to engage directly with our elected officials and make an impact by sharing our stories. Due to COVID-19, all meetings this year will be virtual via Zoom. Training and resources will be provided to all new and returning Citizen Advocates. All participants must pre-register to attend.

Please click this link to pre-register.

Watch Live: 2021 Winter Conference

TOMORROW: Nikki Fried, Stephanie Murphy, Manny Diaz, and more at LGBTQ Dems Virtual Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2021

Virtual Conference to be held on March 6 from 10:30am ET – 1pm ET

DELRAY BEACH, FL – The 2021 Winter Conference brings together LGBTQ+ activists and allies from around Florida; federal, state and local elected officials; Democratic Party officials; and subject matter experts to bring together the LGBTQ+ community and lay the groundwork for 2022.

Feature speakers (in order of appearance) include:

  • Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz
  • Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried
  • Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Marcus Dixon
  • U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy
  • Duval County Democratic Party Chair Daniel Henry

PANEL: The role of black women in Florida politics

  • Jasmen Rogers, Folding Chair Consulting
  • Kezia Gilyard, Kezia M. Gilyard, LLC
  • Alex Audate, QueerMigration Law
  • Jamecia Gray, Peak Power Strategies
  • State Representative Michele Rayner

PFLAG Executive Director Brian Bond

The virtual conference will be streamed live on the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Facebook page starting at 10:30am ET on Saturday, March 6, 2021. This event is open press, but media are requested to register here.

Following the conference, the caucus will hold its membership meeting and elect new officers. The membership meeting and election is closed to press.

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Virtual Meeting with Leon County Commissioner Carolyn Cummings

Join the Capital Equality Democratic Caucus for a Virtual Meeting featuring one of Leon County’s newest commissioners, Carolyn Cummings!

Log on to Zoom and join us to hear more about Carolyn’s perspectives on issues important to residents of Leon County.

We’ll also be hearing from Eddie De La Vega, Director of Veteran Outreach for the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus.

The event will stream live on Zoom on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, beginning at 6:30pm, and is open to all Democrats.

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

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus Celebrates Passage of the Equality Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2021 DELRAY BEACH FL – Today, the US House of Representatives passed The Equality Act by a vote of 224 to 206. This landmark bipartisan legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories in a number of civil rights laws and ensure equality for LGBTQ+ Americans. Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement: “The Equality Act ensures the LGBTQ+ community enjoys basic civil rights protections throughout the US, and bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These protections are long past overdue. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus thanks those in the Florida congressional delegation who voted in support of our community and for their recognition that civil rights should not be up for debate. We hope that when the US Senate takes up the bill that Marco Rubio and Rick Scott will recognize the large number of LGBTQ+ Floridians who are watching. They may have a vote on our rights, but we have a vote on their jobs.”

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LGBTQ+ Dems Welcome Reintroduction of the Equality Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2021

DELRAY BEACH FL – The Equality Act was reintroduced in the US House of Representatives this afternoon. The landmark bipartisan legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories in a number of civil rights laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, among others. Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement:

“LGBTQ Americans face discrimination everyday solely for who we are. The Equality Act is a simple but giant step that ends the patchwork system of equality measures our community faces across the country — and even across Florida. By amending key civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity, the Equality Act strengthens protections for everyone. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus thanks our Florida congressional delegation for their support and advocacy on behalf of equality for all Americans.”

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A Chartered Chapter of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus