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The North Bay Village City Commission unanimously supported a resolution Tuesday urging the Florida Legislature to support a bill that will protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination.

“Being a champion for workplace protections is extremely important to me,” said Commissioner Julianna Strout. “[Senator] Jason Pizzo sponsored this bill and I hope more will follow his lead as well. We need to create a ripple effect to ensure change in Tallahassee no matter how large or small your city is - you have power in creating change.”

Strout has been an advocate for LGBT rights since her college days when she was crowned Miss Rhode Island and went on to compete in the Miss America pageant. She said she didn’t make the finals because when she was asked about her thoughts on one day having a lesbian Miss America she stood with the LGBT community.

“My support for LGBT rights cost me the title down the line,” she said. “So I may not have won the crown and sash, but now I am able to implement those initiatives.”

The Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, State Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota), introduced the bill giving LGBT activists hope it would have a chance at passing in the Republican-dominated Florida legislature.

“I am so proud of the commissioners in North Bay Village and Senator Jason Pizzo for supporting the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act,” said Tony Lima, executive director of SAVE. “It’s imperative that we try to protect as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.”

Some LGBT activists have come out in opposition to the bill because it only covers discrimination in the workplace, leaving out housing and public accommodations.   

There also appears to be confusion over whether FIWA covers the transgender community.

FIWA would protect all of the LGBT community from workplace discrimination by adding both sexual orientation and gender identity to Florida’s Civil Rights Act. Additionally, a coalition of local trans groups came together releasing a statement of support of the bill. 

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