The Republican-led Florida legislature has passed several anti-LGBTQ+ bills, but the mayors of eight Florida cities have pledged their support for LGBTQ+ young people. GLSEN, an organization that advocates for the safety of LGBTQ+ students, announced earlier this week that the mayors of Orlando, Miami Beach, Tampa, Tallahassee, and four other Florida cities signed the Rise Up pledge. This pledge is in support of advocating for safe learning environments, affirming resources and curriculum, and taking a stand against hateful anti-LGBTQ+ bills and rhetoric. According to GLSEN, the mayors have also released proclamations stating that their communities are safe and affirming places for LGBTQ+ Floridians.
Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward (D) stated that he was elected to represent every resident of Gainesville, and it is crucial that every person in the community feels welcome and safe, particularly the youngest and most vulnerable. Mayor Ward believes that basic human rights are necessary to guarantee the well-being and healthy development of every person in their community. In a statement, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis (D) declared his city to be a place where people can be who they are without fear of reproach. He highlighted their city’s human rights ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations. Mayor Trantalis also stated that discrimination towards LGBTQ+ children has no place in their society.
The pledges from the Florida mayors come in the same week that Florida lawmakers passed several anti-LGBTQ+ bills. On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated legislature passed a bill prohibiting transgender individuals from using public restrooms that match their gender identity. They also passed a bill expanding the state’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law. On Thursday, the legislature passed a bill that would allow the state to take custody of a child if they have been subjected to or are threatened with being subjected to gender-affirming care. The bill also restricts who can provide gender-affirming care to adults, as only physicians will be able to provide such care.
The three bills are now awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) signature. Despite the passage of these bills, the mayors of eight Florida cities have shown their support for the LGBTQ+ community and have pledged to advocate for safe environments and affirming resources and curriculum.