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As The 2020 Session Ends, How Did Florida's LGBTQ Bills Fare?

Mar 13, 2020
Pride flag at parade
iStock

As Florida’s legislative session nears its conclusion, it’s shaped up to be a tough year for LGBTQ residents and their supporters.

The Temple Terrace Public Library's Erica Richardi serves as the young adult librarian, but she stresses that the library is a place where everyone is welcome. 

So she started an initiative where the library created posters and placed them inside the doors of the bathroom stalls to tackle difficult subjects that people might not feel they can ask about outright. 


Despite a ban in 22 Florida communities, conversion therapy is a widespread practice in Florida, according to activists. 

Pride Flag
COURTESY PHOTO: JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS,Va

Therapists in Tampa are once again able to conduct the controversial procedure known as conversion therapy after a federal judge struck down a city ban on it.

Three years after the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQ people in the history of the country, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, activists across the state are encouraged by what they say are positive steps forward for Florida’s LGBTQ community. 

Intersection of Moon Lake Rd. and Bethwood Ave. in New Port Richie
Google Earth

A non-profit organization that says they aim to "provide positive role models in the LGBTQIA+ and allied communities" is celebrating Pride Month in a way few other groups are.

Pasco Pride adopted a section of Moon Lake Road in New Port Richey which was sponsored by an infamous hate organization 25 years ago.

Hyde Park Methodist Church

Local branches of the United Methodist Church are reacting to a landmark vote. 

On Feb. 26, representatives of the UMC voted 438 to 384 in favor of the “Traditional Plan,” which continues the ban on same-sex marriage weddings and LGBTQ clergy members.

Hyde Park United Methodist Church

Same-sex marriage and the acceptance of LGBTQ clergy are issues that many religions are dealing with today. Now, the United Methodist Church is holding a special session to vote on a proposal regarding those subjects.

A Tampa federal magistrate has called for an end to a part of the city’s ban on conversion therapy, saying it infringes on the free speech rights of licensed mental health professionals.

Republican State Senator Joe Gruters introduced the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act that would amend the Florida Civil Rights Act to include workplace protections for LGBTQ people.

Governor Ron DeSantis did not include LGBTQ employees in an executive order that setup workplace discrimination policies in government offices this week. Without these protections, people can be hired or fired solely based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Two immigration attorneys are fighting to protect the rights of LGBTQ asylum seekers facing persecution in their home countries.

On Saturday, Sept. 15, O Cinema Wynwood is hosting a panel about immigration issues focused on how they impact the LGBTQ community. They will be screening a documentary web-series titled “Finding Home” about LGBTQ asylum seekers in Los Angeles.

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando argues a new anti-bullying scholarship fails to protect LGBTQ victims.

Pasco Pride Facebook page

Pasco Pride is planning its first LGBT event for October, and organizers say it’s long overdue for the county.

Palm Beach County is the first county in Florida to ban conversion therapy for minors.

County commissioners voted 5-2 Tuesday to ban the controversial form of treatment that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation.

Opponents say the practice is pseudoscience dangerous to gay, lesbian and transgender youth. The American Psychiatric Association also opposes the practice and calls it unethical.

But supporters of conversion therapy argue the ban will infringe on free speech, religious freedom and parental rights.

Attorney General Pam Bondi says she backs workplace protections for members of the LGBTQ community. Her comments come amid a bill just filed again in the Florida legislature to prohibit discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott said Sunday that he was never told by Homeland Security officials in 2016 when he was Florida's governor that Russian hackers had gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties ahead of the presidential election.
MyFloridaHouse.gov

When 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Florida in 2016, Gov. Rick Scott publicly offered his sympathy to the victims' families and the LGBT community.

The largest statewide organization for LGBTQ equality in Florida issued a response to President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender service members.

'It Gets Better' In The Community And The Theater

Mar 22, 2017
from It Gets Better

Getting through middle and high school can be stressful – especially for students who struggle with their sexual orientation.

The national It Gets Better Project is in Tampa for the first time this week, assuring young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that their lives can improve after high school.

With same-sex marriage now legal nationwide, lawmakers in numerous states are preparing for a new round of battles in 2016 over whether to grant discrimination protections to LGBT people or religious exemptions to nonprofits and businesses that object to gay marriage.

Bigger Gains Expected from St. Pete Pride

Jun 24, 2015
Gay pride flag
"WorldPride 2012 - 164" by Tom Morris via Wikimedia Commons

St. Pete Pride, the annual LGBT celebration in downtown St. Petersburg is here for it's 13th year and organizers expect a $15-20 million economic impact. 

"We've seen hotels throughout downtown St. Pete just booking like crazy," executive director of St. Pete Pride, Eric Skains said. "A lot of them are sold out. The typical ones are already sold out and a few are booking up quickly that really normally don't."

USF Library

A University of South Florida graduate who was one of the lawyers in a ground-breaking gay and lesbian rights case will speak at his alma mater Thursday night.

stevebrownetc.com

A self-described “former leftist lesbian," Rosaria Butterfield, has a lecture tonight on the USF Tampa Campus.

Luke Blankenship, president of the P.R.I.D.E Alliance, says he hopes Butterfield's message doesn't influence young minds confused about their sexuality.

hillsboroughcounty.org

Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously voted today to lift the ban on county promotion of gay pride events.  

But one opponent to repealing the ban was Bianca Perez.

"As a mother and as a resident of Hillsborough County, I do not want my tax dollars being used to promote a lifestyle that the Bible clearly says is wrong," she said.

She continued to quote two scriptures from the Bible.