As the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill has passed the Florida Senate and now heads to the Governor’s desk, I think first of our LGBTQ+ children and families. As a gay parent, I know that all children deserve to see representation of their beautiful families included in classroom instruction at all levels. As this vague and harmful legislation seeks to block such representation, we want to affirm that YOU are wonderful, lovable, important, and deserving of much better treatment from our state. Your identity is valid, normal, and essential to our collective wellbeing. Your identity and your family should be not only represented but celebrated and embraced. If you are feeling isolated or unsafe, please reach out for help. You are not alone. There is a huge, powerful community that knows how you feel, and we are here for you. The world is so much better with you in it.
Second, I want to thank every person who made calls, painted signs, gave testimonies and speeches, wrote articles, walked out of classrooms, drove to Tallahassee, and showed up in all your glorious queerness, transness, and allyship. Not one moment of your time was wasted. Your work moved us forward. We did not stop the bill, but we galvanized and empowered our movement. No one can take that from us.
Third, I want to state unequivocally that the passage of this bill and the debates and comments leading up to the passing make clear that its supporters do not understand or genuinely care for the LGBTQ+ community, our health, or our wellbeing. There are people in our state who choose to remain ignorant of our validity, our wholeness, and our belonging within the tapestry of our communities. I refuse to hate these people, because hatred is a poison no matter where it shows up. Dr. King said, “They’re not bad people, they’re blind people.” I believe they are choosing not to see the truth of who we are. However, other people’s unwillingness to value us does not decrease our value. So, I will continue to show up, be myself, and advocate for our community. I choose to recommit to the work of love and justice as we journey forward together. I welcome anyone who is willing to work for justice and against harm. We are still here. We are alive, and we will be well. We are not going anywhere.
Sending you all love, light and gratitude,
Josh Bell Executive Director