Hundreds of Floridians protest attacks on the trans community

TALLAHASSEE | Hundreds of LGBTQ+ Floridians and allies from across the state joined the “Let Us Live” march and rally Feb. 28 at the Historic Florida Capitol Building to protest the attacks on transgender people by Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers.

The gathering took place as House Bill 1639 moves through the Florida House. The bill would create additional barriers to accessing medically necessary care and legal recognition on state IDs.

“We have the right to be, we have the right to exist, and we have the right to pursue happiness,” Janel Diaz, Executive Director of Capitol Tea, said in a press release. “Let Us Live!”

“I won’t allow the inexperience, ignorance, or apathy of others to dictate my life or steal my joy,” added Equality Florida’s TransAction Florida Special Event Coordinator Angelique Godwin. I will plant my feet on solid ground and continue to have open conversations, tell my truths, and share my world until those who can only hear me decide to listen from a place of receiving. Change is coming, and its face knows no gender. Just respect, peace and equality for all.”

HB 1639 requires certain applications and licenses to indicate a person’s sex rather than gender, according to The Florida Senate. This would require transgender Floridians to display their sex assigned at birth.

“No human being should be stripped of their rights,” Ashley Figueroa of the Gender Advancement Project said. “While we may not agree with the life an individual lives, respect isn’t a compromise! The Florida Government has failed again to act in their professional capacity. Rather, they are acting in that capacity based on their personal beliefs. This should be a concern to all Floridians.”

Attendees gathered at Cascade Park at 9:30 a.m. where transgender leaders from the state gave opening remarks before marching over to the Historic Florida Capitol Building for the rally.

The reasoning behind the march is to spread awareness about HB1639 as the transgender community continues to be on the frontline of attacks, according to the press release.

“As we march through the streets of Florida, let our collective voice echo: We will not be erased, legislated against, or silenced,” said Cielo Sunsarae, founder and executive director of The Queer Trans Project. “We are a force of nature, a testament to the strength that blossoms when authenticity defies adversity.”

View video from Equality Florida here and check for a photo gallery soon.

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