It is a new level of insanity when people have to fear for their safety and life when they are just existing peacefully as themselves. Florida is known for its loose gun laws and strict laws on being LGBTQ+. Recently Miami-Dade made another disputed decision to not support the LGBTQ+ community. 

Miami-Dade Controversial Decision 

The Miami-Dade school board voted against having October recognized as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History Month. They also voted against teaching twelfth graders on two landmark supreme court cases that impacted in LGBTQ+ community. 

These days there is a day for absolutely everything. If we can have an ice cream day, a day dedicated to corn or dogs, we should have a day to represent, learn, and celebrate a marginalized community. It is barbaric to continue ostracizing the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ deserve all the rights, respect, and recognition as any other human in America. 

Maxx Fenning, president and founder of PRISM FL which provides sexual health information for LGBTQ youth mentioned during the board’s deliberation that the school board is mimicking how the Nazis behaved in Germany. This is not the first time this has been said, especially when it comes to Florida and the new laws and expectations for our schools. Nazis ostracized gay people and required them to wear a pink triangle for identification purposes. Maxx explained that not acknowledging the LGBTQ+ community is inherently ostracizing them. We know that the LGBTQ+ community is already more susceptible to mental illness and feelings of isolation. Not being accepted in school, where youth spend so much of their time during such informative years can be so extremely damaging. 

The Trevor Project explains that the LGBTQ+ community is not more susceptible to mental illness and suicide ideation because they identify as LBGTQ+. On the contrary, the rate of suicide and mental illness is increased due to society’s reactions to the community and how the individual is poorly treated and stigmatized. The Trevor Project also noted that LGBTQ+ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. An astounding 1.8 million LGTBQ+ youth ages 13-24 seriously consider suicide each year while one attempts suicide every 35 seconds in the United States. 

Those who opposed the motion said it was against their religious beliefs and that having October be recognized as LGBTQ+ awareness month would be condoning sexual abuse of children. Sadly, some people believe being transgender or LGTBQ+ is any type of abuse. There are children, youth, and teens being abused and are in unsafe households every single day. Often many of them don’t receive the help they need and putting energy worrying that being LGBTQ+ is child abuse takes away from the individuals who are being abused. All of that energy needs to go into accepting LGBTQ+ people and ensuring they are safe and happy while helping those who are being abused. While this meeting was taking place a pastor was outside in prayer with others praying that the motion did not get passed. This entire situation sounds like something from an outdated newspaper that makes no sense in 2022. Our youth have access to google and computer via their phones at almost all times. It’s almost comical to think that by restricting education parents think that children will just stay ignorant on certain topics. While some may, it seems like a strange tactic that in the end won’t be effective and could be harmful. 

It is refreshing to see our youth fighting these decisions by staging walkouts in school and supporting the LGBTQ+ community by sporting pride flags and being an ally. It has been reported when LGBTQ+ people have allies in school it lowers the rate of LGBTQ+ youth suicidal ideation. All communities and people in them need connection and support. Marginal communities need them more than anyone and we should be working on being supportive versus damaging. 

Some Transgender History 

Many believe that being transgender is something new or even a phase that will “eventually go away”. Similarly to how DeSantis is eliminating critical race theory and teachings on gender and sexuality, some of society is trying to erase transgender history, from history. It’s hard enough to be transgender in 2022. In the past, if people feel they have to be secretive about themselves, they will. Not everyone that is transgender is open or out so some historical events have even been misrepresented. Less than 1% of Americans openly identify as transgender. This fact does not mean that there aren’t many people who are transgender, just not many that feel safe being open about it.

As far back as 2,000 years ago, transgender people have been represented in the Kama Sutra. Many different cultures and countries have other names for being transgender, specifically from the past. For example, some indigenous American nations share the term two-spirit and saw transgender people as shamans in their community. It was not until colonization that they were told being anything outside of your birth gender is wrong and therefore scrutinized. 

Being transgender does not just mean someone who has had surgery to change parts of their body. Often it is something that is fluid and can change. By definition, transgender means; “denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.” Often this definition has been criticized as there are many ways to define and look at gender. Sometimes people switched genders to fulfill male-only roles in history, such as serving in the civil war. Harry Buford and Franklin Thompson were both females who were “unsexed” to be able to fight in the civil war. Both were highly respected for their work as spies. Researchers think that approximately 1,000 women fought in the civil war in disguise. Women weren’t allowed to enlist in the American military until 1948.

How One Mom Almost Lost Her Transgender Daughter 

One mom shared her story of how she almost lost her transgender daughter in 2011. Someone made an anonymous complaint against the family citing child abuse for supporting their transgender daughter. As we know recently people are being encouraged to report these things now in Florida, such as teachers and neighbors. 

The mother who wishes to remain anonymous noted that she has four children total who were and are all thriving and accepted members of the community. All her children are loved, supported, and safe and are not in any danger or harm. These are the households you would WANT a transgender child to be in. It is utterly barbaric that it is not only legal but encouraged that children are taken away from their loving families due to their gender identity. Being transgender is not a problem that needs to be fixed, or taken care of. The investigator that had their case concluded that their daughter was not in any harm and that the mother and father were both safe and good parents. The mother also recounts how bizarre and frightening it was for her and her family. From this experience, THe mother goes on to explain they moved from an American southern state to a northern state that was not so rigid on transgender and LGBTQ rights. 

Unfortunately, not all families or transgender individuals can just uproot and move to a safer more accepting community. We are currently in one of the worst economic and housing crises. Many don’t have friends or family to move in with or live with. Many don’t even have enough for first last and security let alone moving costs and the cost of any pay gap from changing jobs. Moving now is incredibly difficult and it’s not fair that someone should need to because of who they are. it is incredibly privileged to be able to take sure measures to ensure their daughter’s happiness and safety.

Some states in the United States are seemingly trying to push away or push out all marginal people you are left with one thing; cisgender, straight, white men. Banning rights on gay marriage, taking away women’s rights and eliminating the ability to say the word gay is quite literally an attempt to eradicate anyone who might be different in ANY way. History can tell us that some idealistic version of a utopia where everyone is the same is not going to happen. Humans were not born to be all the same and every person no matter how they identify is perfect as they are. 

Transgender Rights 

Although we have made some strides in rights for LGBTQ individuals we are so far from where we need to be and we keep dipping our foot back in the past by taking away the rights we have fought for. Each state in the United States also varies in the laws they have and don’t have. Not every state protects renters and home buyers from discrimination if they are LGBTQ+. In 2021 the supreme court said that the language of the civil rights act of 1964 which prohibits sex discrimination applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This gave protection to transgender employees and allowed them some protection from discrimination in the workplace. We have so much further to go for the protection of our LGBTQ+ community. They deserve the same rights and access to things such as housing, healthcare, and marriage as anyone else. 

If you are LGBTQ Florida is one of the worst states to be in politically. Governor Ron DeSantis has made his stance on the issue abundantly clear; don’t be gay, don’t say gay, don’t support the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t forget that DeSantis also wants to take away diversity training in the workplace through the Individual Freedom Act. Recently two businesses triumphed over the law and the court sided in favor of the business. DeSantis is still making it that much harder to exist in the LGBTQ+ community. We need diversity training and awareness in the workplace. It is not something that should be omitted when we are trying to be progressive. All these things contribute to being roadblocks for the LGBTQ+ community (and many other marginal communities). 

No human should ever feel unsafe being in their own body. Just being you should never be a crime in regards to gender identity. All humans should have equal rights whether they are a man, woman, transgender, or however one may identify. This should not even be up for debate and the fact that in 2022 we still do not have equal rights for all U.S. citizens is uncivilized. DeSantis can try to create his idea of a perfect state and it is never going to happen. DeSantis is blatantly racist and discriminatory and relentlessly tries to create laws and rules for people to oblique by that no one should have to. At the end of the day, if someone else’s lifestyle choices aren’t hurting you or themselves, why does anyone even care? 

What Can We do to Help? 

This might seem all doom and gloom but it really takes a village to create change and here is how you can help the  LGBTQ+ community!

-Donations-you can donate to non-profits that create a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community and that offer services, education, and support. Try the Trevor Project, GLADD or PRISM Florida.

-Learn how to be an ally. Talk to any LGBTQ+ friends, family, or even acquaintances and ask how you can help.

-Attend school board meetings and make sure you are voting in all elections.

-If you see something and it’s safe to do so? Say something!