The mayors of eight Florida cities have pledged to support LGBTQ+ young people as the state’s Republican-led legislature continues to pass anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
Earlier this week, GLSEN, which advocates for the safety of LGBTQ+ students, announced that the mayors of Orlando, Miami Beach, Tampa, Tallahassee, and four other Florida cities have signed the organization’s Rise Up pledge “to advocate for safe learning environments where young people, their teachers, and school staff are free from the violence of racism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, ableism, and all forms of systemic oppression… advocate for LGBTQ+ affirming books, resources, and curriculum in schools… [and] rise up against hateful anti-LGBTQ+ bills and rhetoric.”
The mayors also released proclamations declaring that their communities are safe and affirming places for LGBTQ+ Floridians, according to GLSEN.
“I was elected to be mayor for every resident of Gainesville, and it is important to me that all our neighbors, particularly the youngest and most vulnerable, feel welcome and safe in our community,” Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward (D) said in a statement. “I support the well-being and healthy development of every person in our community through the guarantee of basic human rights.”
In a statement, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis (D) said that his city is a place where “you can be who you are without fear of reproach.”
“The city boasts a stalwart human rights ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations,” Trantalis said. “Discrimination of any kind, particularly towards our LGBTQ+ children, has no place in any part of our society. Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts one of highest concentrations of same-sex households in the nation, and we welcome in an average of over 1.3 million LGBTQ+ visitors each year.”
The pledges come the same week as Florida lawmakers passed several anti-LGBTQ+ bills, the latest in a raft of legislation attacking LGBTQ+ rights in the state. On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated legislature passed a bill banning transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond to their gender, as well as a bill expanding the state’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law, ABC News reports.
On Thursday, the state legislature also 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 New Republic reports. The bill also restricts who can provide gender-affirming care to adults; under the new law, trans adults who could previously receive gender-affirming care from nurse practitioners will only be able to receive such care from physicians.
All three bills are awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) signature.