SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders.
What stories are not getting enough attention?
The last 8 years have been extremely good for LGBT rights, but many of these rights are currently at risk of being overturned. With just the strike of a pen, the Trump administration ended Transgender protections in Public Schools. Other Obama era legislation at risk includes, Federal LGBT employment protections for Government Contractors. The repeal the Affordable Care Act could remove protections for transgender people in accessing health care and leave millions of LGBT adults without insurance. Plus, because we still have no Federal protections in housing, employment or public accommodations, it is unlikely that the new Attorney General will fight for our rights the way the Obama Administration did.
– Lee Rubin, Blogger and Community Organizer
I think it’s really important that people are focused on the connection between the LGBT and the Women’s movements. The protections that we strive for are very similar in both movements and we would be nowhere without these allies in both groups.
— Meredith L Ockman, community activist and a director of NOW
There’s so much going on, it’s hard to know where to look. One area that has been contentious for a long time is the pseudoscience of so-called conversion therapy (“pray away the gay”). It's heating up as the religious-right bigots double-down on their anti-LGBT zealotry. The practice is opposed as harmful - especially for youth - by dozens of professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, National Association of Social Workers, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and so many more. Kudos to Palm Beach County Human Rights Council for working with local city governments (most recently Riviera Beach) to ban therapists from using conversion therapy.
— Toni Armstrong, Founder/Director of BLAST Women of WPB
Yesterday Equality Florida held it's Miami Gala honoring Lisa La Monica, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho spoke at length about his support for LGBT student, especially transgender students in light of the Trump administration's withdrawal of the Federal Guidance on Transgender Students. There were many niceties and self-congratulatory statements...
My question is why was no one asking about Comprehensive Sex Education in Miami-Dade Schools? No one at Equality Florida or Safe Schools South Florida was talking about this. In the county with the the highest HIV incident and prevalence in the US, it is unconscionable that our youth are not getting the information they need to make good decisions and protect themselves. While the number of new HIV infections have dropped for most ethnic and age groups in Maimi-Dade, Young Latino and African-American MSM (men who have sex with men) ages 20-29 have see significant increases in the number of new HIV infections year after year for the last 5 years. This fact is not unrelated to the fact that our youth are not receiving adequate sexual health education in high school.
Last September Superintendent Carvalho was appointed to the Getting 2 Zero Task Force by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a high-level multi-sector group tasked with addressing Miami's HIV epidemic. From the beginning Comprehensive Sexual Health Education in High School was identified as a critical issue. Yet Superintendent Carvalho did not attend a single Task Force meeting, Miami-Dade Schools was absent from more that half of the Task Force meetings and represented by Ms Martha Harris or low-level employees for the remainder. If Mr. Carvalho cares so much about LGBT students, how come the fact that one out of every two young gay men in Miami-Dade County Schools will be in infected with HIV by age 50 isn't even on his radar screen?
— Luigi Ferrer, bisexual activist and director of health services at Pridelines
For four years, we will watch the dismantling of our Federal government. The state in which we have residency will determine the extent of our rights. The rainbow lights that illuminated the White House will be off until a true ally is elected President. Resist or disappear.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist
I'm not sure if this is gay related but his constant traveling to West Palm is using tax dollars and damaging local business.
— Robert Hadley, community activist