Florida moves to ban medical care for transgender youth

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WILTON MANORS, Fla. — This year’s Pride celebration at Wilton Manors will take place against the backdrop of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law earlier this year.

The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival will take place at Wilton Manors on June 18.

“This Pride month is different from previous Pride months because we see the attack on the LGBTQ community and because we see the attack took place on the LGBTQ community,” Senator Shevrin Jones said Monday. at the Washington Blade during a telephone interview. .

Jones represents District 35, which includes parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, in the Florida Senate. Jones in 2020 became the first openly gay man elected to the chamber.

On March 7, the South Florida Democrat became emotional when he discussed his own coming out in a speech against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in the Florida Senate before his colleagues approved it. . DeSantis signed it into law — which was challenged in federal court — less than a month later.

The Wilton Manors Pride events will also take place less than a month after the DeSantis administration petitioned the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, a board that regulates physicians in the state, to ‘Essentially ban transgender-specific health care for children and adolescents.

“The flags are being hoisted higher than ever before because it’s not just the physical flag, it’s the flag of our voices, it’s the flag of our advocacy that’s being hoisted right now,” Jones said, referring to Pride month. “There’s a group of people trying to silence the LGBTQ community.”

Brandon Wolf, press secretary for Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ rights group, in a statement to The Blade, noted that “the chilling effects of sectarian law ‘Don’t Tell gay” are already being felt across the state, even before it went into effect.”

“Books with LGBTQ characters are being ripped from shelves. Graduation speeches are being censored. Rainbow ‘safe space’ stickers are peeling off classroom windows. And there’s a climate of unease that pushes educators to quit the work they love in order to avoid discrimination,” said Wolf, who survived the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando that left his two close friends dead. Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his fiancé, Juan Guerrero, and 47 others.

“All of this makes Pride more critical than ever this year,” he added. “Pride has always been a protest. It has always been a resistance to injustice and a demand for equality. This pride, people across the country are called to let pride inspire them to engage civically, recommit to the fight to protect LGBTQ youth, and hold accountable those who work to undermine progress and erode our freedoms. civil.

SunServe is a Wilton Manors-based foundation that provides housing, mental health, and other services to more than 5,000 LGBTQ people through its offices in the city and in nearby Fort Lauderdale. SunServe is among the bands planning to take part in the Stonewall Pride Parade and Festival.

“SunServe enters Pride Month with great excitement and celebrates the 20th anniversary of our founding,” noted Tony Lima, CEO of the foundation.

Lima, like Wolf and Jones, acknowledged that the “Don’t Say Gay” law will impact Pride in Wilton Manors.

“It will be a pride with more emphasis on our young people,” Lima told the Blade. “Young people are our future and we must protect them and give them the opportunity to live full and happy lives.”

Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers approved their state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. (Washington Blade photo by Yariel Valdés González)

Arianna’s Center is another Wilton Manors-based organization that serves trans women throughout South Florida.

Last weekend, the organization participated in a pride parade in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan. Arianna Center staff members also plan to attend Pride Month events with the Mexican Consulate in Miami and with the Miami Police Department.

“June is not Pride (month) for many of our customers, so we celebrate this month with a lot of responsibility, hoping for equality and for the transgender community to be heard,” said Arianna Lint, Group CEO. “We have many wishes for betterment, equality and fairness for the trans community. We cannot celebrate when there are trans people incarcerated for no reason and without social services that help them.

Lint also acknowledged that the “Don’t Say Gay” law has had a negative impact on Florida’s LGBTQ community.

“Everyone is affected and everyone needs to work together and not just in groups or in elite clubs,” she said. “It affects everyone and we need to come together so we can work better together to stamp out this and other kinds of bills that affect us.”

Michael K. Lavers contributed to this article.

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