There was political whiplash in Weston when the city commission and Mayor Margaret Brown decided to adopt a pair of proclamations: one declaring June to be Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Pride Month and the other National Caribbean American Heritage Month in the city.
Both were pulled off the agenda late last week, creating accusations of marginalizing the LGBT and Caribbean American communities. But shortly after the start of the June 21 meeting, Mayor Brown reversed course explaining, “Primarily it was an administrative decision ... looking at what we were going to do procedurally” on how to award proclamations.
She then touted the city’s openness to everyone. “However, so no one thinks that the city of Weston isn’t welcoming to everyone I am going to read the following proclamations.”
Lifelong Weston resident Cody Rogers accepted the document on behalf of the community.
Weston City Commissioner Mary Molina-Macfie sponsored both items, and later addressed the meeting. “[I] am the only minority that sits on this dais, the only Puerto Rican and Caribbean representative on the dais. That’s why I brought the proclamation earlier in the month as well as the Pride. Both issues are important to me and my family.” She went on to say she had a very rude awakening this morning. “Unfortunately as of this morning in my agenda review is when I was told the mayor was not going to sign it. After we had the mistake cleared up and we presented the proclamations, all I wanted to do as commissioner was to say thank you.”
The issue quickly raised passions. Wilton Manors resident Michael Rajner traveled to the meeting when he believed the issues wouldn’t be discussed. While he thanked commissioners for doing the right thing, he reiterated there is much work to be done. “I’m a gay man and my community has been under attack for the last four years and this past legislative session in Tallahassee. Trans children, youth have been under attack by Republicans in Tallahassee and it’s disgusting.” He was referencing the ban on trans girls from playing school sports.
Rajner talked with SFGN before the meeting, saying, “…at this juncture of embracing and celebrating diversity and recognizing that everybody is welcome and included, it’s important to recognize that cultures are embraced and celebrated and shown support.”
Community ally Marty Goldenberg then stood up for the LGBT community saying, “I’m a white Jew, raised by Quakers, married to a Catholic in a Unitarian church, so I covered all my bases. I thank you for the consideration, reconsideration … for doing the right thing.”
News of the controversy even got the attention of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Before the meeting she urged the commission to rethink their decision.
“Delaying these meaningful statements would perpetuate the marginalization of both communities, especially given that the achievements of both are historically celebrated in June,” she wrote.