After multiple episodes of criticism over not covering transgender surgery as part of its employee healthcare plan, city commissioners were praised last week for promoting the rights of transgender families and individuals.

At the city commission meeting on May 24, SAVE [Safeguarding American Values for Everyone] praised commissioners for recognizing its public service announcement – “Family Is Everything” featuring Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, her husband, Dexter, and her son, Rodrigo. The praise came the same night the city raised the Pride flag permanently for the first time.

“You’re the first city to recognize us for this effort,” said Tony Lima, executive director of SAVE. On its website, SAVE describes itself “as South Florida’s leading organization dedicated to protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, against discrimination.”

“We were born out of the need to fight Anita Bryant,” Lima said.

“Family is everything. Our son is transgender. We loved him as Amanda and now as Rodrigo . . .

Every transgender person is part of someone’s family and should be treated with compassion and protected from discrimination,” Ros-Lehtinen said in the video. It can be viewed at

SAVE also endorsed Ros-Lehtinen for re-election because of her stance on LGBT issues, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and her support of marriage equality. According to the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper in DC, she was the first GOP member of Congress to back marriage equality.

Lima added that the ad is part of his organization’s push to get the Florida Competitive Workforce Act passed. The act has failed to pass numerous times in the state legislature, including earlier this year. If passed, it would add LGBT individuals to the list of groups included in the state’s anti-discrimination law. Lima said efforts were underway to bring the bill back to the legislature.