Pride month is here and so are signals from allies and enemies.
Schools too are getting out the message. Florida State University’s Facebook athletics page posted a rainbow-colored version of the team’s logo with the words “Celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion #Pride2021.”
Public officials have also expressed support. Florida Representative Bobby DuBose (D-Fort Lauderdale) has a long track record of advocating on behalf of the LGBT community. When asked why, DuBose responded, “Why not?”
“I don’t want to give cliché answers like ‘I have family members and friends,’" DuBose said. “I want to keep it in a holistic way. We are all humans that should look out for and love one another, especially if you’re a public servant.”
While serving on the Fort Lauderdale Commission DuBose joined forces with Broward School Board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood to seek solutions to alarming suicide rates by LGBT youth. Last fall Broward Schools presented a community forum called “Hear Our Cry” to begin conversations around issues such as suicide, homelessness, depression and bullying.
Openingly supporting LGBT causes may not be easy in some parts of his district, DuBose said, but it’s the right thing to do.
“There’s always some pushback from within different communities around us,” DuBose admitted. “At the end of the day, everyone is someone’s kid. These are young folks who are all born with destinies within them and it’s just a matter of us listening, paying attention and tapping into that. Some of these young folks could have the cure for cancer or scleroderma. We love unconditionally and we say that but why not advocate, why not stand up, why not speak out.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis must have missed that memo and is giving the impression he does not respect LGBT people. DeSantis has signed a bill to limit athletic opportunities for trans youth, vetoed mental health services for Pulse survivors, cut funding for homeless LGBT youth and was accused of ordering the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to turn off the rainbow lighting of its Acosta Bridge. DeSantis’ office denied responsibility for that last one.
Meanwhile, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried tweeted “Love is love #Pride2021.” Fried recently announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination for Florida governor.
In a letter, Fried ripped DeSantis, stating the aforementioned actions further flames of discrimination against a vulnerable population.
“As governor, it is your moral and constitutional responsibility to serve all Floridians, not only those whose antediluvian predilections you share,” Fried wrote. “Regardless of your personal preferences, your administration should not continue to deny or obstruct the simple, non-partisan act of lighting our state’s landmarks to recognize legitimate causes.”
In Wilton Manors, recognition is never in doubt and more so a tradition. The city commission issued an LGBT Pride Month proclamation at its June 8 meeting. The proclamation acknowledged the city’s status as a sanctuary for LGBT people with a unique history of majority gay governance.
Pride Center CEO Robert Boo accepted the proclamation on behalf of the LGBT community.
“I look forward to seeing everyone sweating on Stonewall Pride [June 19],” Boo said.