St. Pete recognizes Trans Day of Visibility 2024

(L-R) Nathan Bruemmer, Jane Haskell, Andy Citino, Stephanie Leaf and Jim Nixon at City Hall March 21. (Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent)

ST. PETERSBURG | The City of St. Petersburg formally recognized Transgender Day of Visibility during its March 21 City Council meeting, issuing a proclamation declaring March 31 as such.

TDoV celebrates the accomplishments of transgender people worldwide while raising awareness of the work needed to improve and save lives. The proclamation was issued by Mayor Ken Welch, who reflected on the importance of the annual observance through a local lens.

The mayor began by thanking LGBTQ+ Liaison Jim Nixon for his work to ensure the city remains informed and connected to its residents. He subsequently welcomed him to the podium for the proclamation’s reading, along with St. Petersburg Community Engagement Coordinator Eric Vaughan and St. Petersburg Police Department LGBTQ+ Liaison Major Markus Hughes.

Additional guests included Empath Partners in Care LGBTQ+ Community Support Counselor Jane Haskell, Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Nathan Bruemmer and TransNetwork Co-Founder Andy Citino. Representatives from Equality Florida, Metro Inclusive Health and St Pete Pride were also in attendance.

“Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates transgender representation, activism and equality,” Welch read from the proclamation.  “…We come together as a community to promote visibility and fairness to all transgender individuals …  [and] acknowledge the resilience of transgender individuals throughout history [who have] made our American tapestry even more vibrant.”

The proclamation also referenced the “repeated attacks on trans people in Florida,” noting that the City of St. Petersburg believes “everyone should be treated with respect and dignity in society and lawmaking.” In addition to explicitly anti-transgender policies enacted by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration in recent years, legislative sessions under his tenure have included explicitly anti-transgender bills crafted by the state’s Republican supermajority, some of which he signed into law.

The proclamation concluded by noting “we honor the bravery of the many transgender individuals who live in this vibrant city … in their authentic gender.” Welch also called on “all citizens to treat each other with dignity and respect, without exception.”

Haskell spoke afterwards. She noted that “visibility is often a double-edged sword, one that comes with a fierce knowledge of self, unshakeable bravery and daily courage to stand in one’s truth.

“Visibility also comes with a risk,” she continued. “A risk of losing loved ones, employment, housing and safety, especially for trans communities of color.”

She also noted that she is visible “to honor our ancestors, to celebrate those walking this journey with me and to continue carving out space for future generations.” She ended her remarks by challenging those in attendance to consider doing the same.

Citino closed the presentation, celebrating the city’s dedication to inclusivity. He noted that “when feeling included, I feel safe,” thanking local leaders for their support.

“I wish every city was just like St. Pete,” he noted. “This country would be a much better place.”

View the city’s full proclamation below:

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