Florida’s LGBTQ Democratic Caucus convenes its summer conference this weekend, a first of its kind virtual endeavor. 

Themed “It’s In Your Hands” the conference comes with a general election less than two months away and the state’s 29 precious electoral college votes are still anyone’s guess. 

Stephen Gaskill is the President of the Florida LGBTQ Democrats. This is the caucus’ first virtual summer conference. Gaskill said he expects the event to “energize the LGBTQ community and voters.”

“To turn them out for Joe Biden,” Gaskill said. 

Registrations are coming in from across the country, Gaskill said.

The conference is Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no registration fee. Here is the link

Lake Worth Commissioner Omari Hardy is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on intersectionality. Hardy, 30, recently emerged from a crowded field to capture the party’s nomination in Florida House District 88.

“That’s a term I hope to make more popular,” Hardy said of intersectionality. “Being Black and raised by two women who are also Black and gay, my struggle as a Black man is the same struggle as someone who is gay or a woman or someone who’s Jewish or Muslim. Our struggle for dignity intersects and what Republicans want to do is divide marginalized communities from each other by pitting Black and faith communities against the LGBTQ community.”

Hardy said he looks forward to ending those tactics and bringing change to state politics. 

“We can’t have Democrats in Tallahassee who take the bait,” he said. “We have to push back and reframe the argument and all go work together.”

The panel discussion will be moderated by Senator-elect Shevrin Jones of District 35. Joining Hardy on the panel is Representative-elect Michele Rayner-Goolsby of District 70. 

Hardy has two more opponents in November’s general election. As of the most recent campaign filing, Hardy had raised more than $79,000.

“This is a make or break election,” Hardy said. “Everyone needs to have a plan to vote.”

Pete Buttigieg will provide the conference’s keynote address. Buttigieg, the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination and tied for first in the Iowa caucus. 

“He’s a brilliant man,” said Gaskill, who has met Buttigieg. “He’s thoughtful, inquisitive, comprehensive in his planning. It’s inspirational how he sees the country and where we should be.”

Buttigieg spent the better part of Friday on the cable news networks condemning President Donald Trump over a story in the Atlantic Magazine which quoted Trump calling American soldiers killed in action in France during World War II “losers” and “suckers.”

“This President has been disrespecting the military from the day he let ‘some sucker’ — in his view — go in his place to serve in Vietnam because he didn’t want to,” Buttigieg said on Fox News.

Gaskill, who lives in Delray Beach, said the Biden/Harris ticket can win Florida. 

“It looks good,” said Gaskill. “Democrats are much more focused than in the past. Vote by mail is up, donations are up. It feels good.”

Gaskill said the caucus consists of 21 chapters around the state, led by the Dolphin Democrats of Broward, the state’s oldest LGBT political organization.


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