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12 minute video to prevent LGBTQ+ bullying taken down in Florida schools

“The materials you referenced have been removed for legal review to ensure the content complies with recent state legislation”



Screenshot/WJCT PBS Jacksonville, Florida

JACKSONVILLE – In another circumstance of Florida’s newly minted ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law’s negative impact, a 12-min training video aimed at teaching middle and high school students how to prevent bullying and support their LGBTQ+ peers in Duval County Public Schools has been removed from student access.

Jacksonville Today journalist Claire Heddles reported Sunday that besides the video, the district is planning to dramatically reduce a LGBTQ+ support guide.

The video is now inaccessible and, in response to questions from Jacksonville Today, Duval Schools District spokesperson Tracy Pierce said, “The materials you referenced have been removed for legal review to ensure the content complies with recent state legislation.” 

A Gay Straight Alliance faculty sponsor, Scott Sowell, said that now-removed video, specifically created for students, was developed using funds from a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant. 

“The video was co-written by some students, and so it had very student-appropriate and student-specific language that was, you know, teenagers talking to other teenagers,” Sowell told Jacksonville Today. “It’s one critical resource that is now no longer available to teachers to help support students.” 

In addition to the disappearing training materials, Duval School Board members are also set to vote Monday on a policy change requiring schools to send emails to parents if there’s a change in student services, which would include if students want to change their name or pronouns in unofficial school records, like ID cards and yearbooks, according to proposed district guidance. According to the draft policy, schools would send the email to parents, unless there’s a risk of “abuse, abandonment or neglect.”


DeSantis targets Orlando non-profit over holiday drag show



The Plaza Live venue, Orlando, Florida (Photo Credit: Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation)

ORLANDO – Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis escalated his war on the state’s LGBTQ+ community ordering a state agency to launch a complaint against a Orlando non-profit over a drag holiday event it hosted in which children under age 18 were allowed to attend.

The state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed the complaint on Friday against the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation alleging the foundation violated Florida law in allowing for a person to “commit lewd or lascivious exhibition” in the presence of an individual who is less than 16 years old. 

“A Drag Queen Christmas” was hosted by the foundation on Dec. 28 and during the performance sold alcoholic drinks at its Plaza Live venue. In the complaint, the agency states that the foundation used “Christmas-themed promotional materials” that did not give advance notice of the “sexually explicit nature” of the show’s contents. 

The complaint also states that the division sent the foundation a letter ahead of the show saying “sexually explicit drag show performances constitute public nuisances, lewd activity, and disorderly conduct when minors are in attendance” and the foundation’s license could be subject to penalties if it did not ensure minors could not attend the event. 

In its capacity as a regulator of alcohol, the division attempting to revoke the foundation’s liquor license for six alleged counts of violating Florida statutes. 

When asked about the move by the DeSantis administration targeting the non-profit, Bryan D. Griffin, the spokesman for DeSantis said “Governor DeSantis stands to protect the innocence of children, and the governor always follows through when he says he will do something.”

Orlando Weekly writer Matthew Moyer noted that The Plaza Live — besides serving as the performing home base of the Orlando Philharmonic — hosts a robust slate of touring bands, comedians, YouTubers and, yes, drag performers.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani released a statement to Orlando Weekly late Friday afternoon, condemning the state’s actions in no uncertain terms. “Governor Ron DeSantis’ culture wars are destroying people’s jobs and livelihoods. The very notion of shutting down a small business over a drag show is insane and extreme,” said Eskamani. “In the United States we do not allow the government to determine what we can read, see or hear or who we can gather with. Targeting drag performances limits everyone’s freedom of speech and is all a part of the Governor’s sick anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.”

DeSantis previously filed a complaint against a popular restaurant and pub in the Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in July, alleging that it violated a public decency law in allowing children to attend a drag show.

The R house, is a unique casual fine dining establishment and lounge with an integrated gallery right in the heart of the vibrant Miami-Wynwood arts district named for Rocco Carulli, the executive chef as well as creator of the restaurant. The R House identifies itself on its Facebook page as “the proud home of South Florida’s most popular weekend drag brunches! Make some time to check us out and experience R House.”

The complaint was filed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation on asking that the R House restaurant is a declared a public nuisance and has its liquor license revoked. 

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the complaint was issued after a video of a recent performance at the bar’s drag brunch went viral. A topless drag queen wearing lingerie stuffed with money can be seen in the video attempting to dance with a young girl, who the DPBR estimates is “between three and five years old.” Twitter account “Libs of Tik Tok” originally found the footage on Tik Tok, posted by a user who wrote, “Children belong at drag shows!!!! Children deserve to see fun & expression & freedom.”

The department cited multiple incidents of inappropriate drag performances with kids in the audience, including one in which a child “between the ages of ten and twelve” was “seen recoiling and turning away in her seat as a Brunch performer climbed on the back of the child’s bench, squatted, and gyrated a couple of feet above the child’s head.”

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Lawmaker who wrote Don’t Say Gay law indicted for wire fraud

The Republican state representative for Florida’s House District 24, Harding authored Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay law”



Screenshot/YouTube Harding campaign video/Facebook

GAINESVILLE – A federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment against Joseph Harding, 35, of Williston, Florida. The indictment was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

The Republican state representative for Florida’s House District 24, Harding authored Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay law,” titled the “Parental Rights in Education,” passed in March of this year by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida stated:

The Indictment alleges that between December 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021, Harding committed two acts of wire fraud by participating in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) and for obtaining coronavirus-related small business loans by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the purpose of executing such scheme, caused wire communications to be transmitted in interstate commerce.

The Indictment alleges that Harding made and caused to be made false and fraudulent SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications, and made false representations in supporting loan documentation, in the names of dormant business entities, submitted to the SBA. 

The Indictment further alleges that Harding obtained fraudulently created bank statements for one of the dormant business entities which were used as supporting documentation for one of his fraudulent EIDL loan applications. By this conduct, the indictment alleges that Harding fraudulently obtained and attempted to obtain more than $150,000 in funds from the SBA to which he was not entitled. 

Harding is also charged with two counts of engaging in monetary transactions with funds derived from unlawful activity related to his transfer of the fraudulently obtained EIDL proceeds into two bank accounts, and two counts of making false statements to the SBA.

The investigation was jointly conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General. 

Trial for Harding is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at 8:30 a.m., at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville, Florida, before the Honorable United States District Judge Allen Winsor.

The maximum terms of imprisonment for the offenses are as follows:

  • 20 years: Wire Fraud
  • 10 years: Money Laundering
  • 5 years:  Making False Statements

Florida Politics reported that according to POLITICO‘s Gary Fineout, Harding has already been released on bond, and the government did not look to detain Harding.

Harding has already lost his committee assignments for the upcoming legislative term.

“After consultation with Representative Harding regarding his indictment, I am temporarily removing him from his committee assignments to allow him time to focus on this matter,” Speaker Paul Renner said Wednesday in a written statement.

“In America we adhere to the rule of law, and as such, Representative Harding is presumed innocent and will have the opportunity to plead his case before a court. Since the indictment does not relate to any aspect of his legislative duties, any further questions should be directed to his legal counsel.”

The Governor cannot remove a lawmaker from office, even if arrested. The Florida Constitution states that “each house shall be the sole judge of the qualifications” of members. To expel a lawmaker, each chamber needs a two-thirds majority vote.

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DeSantis education purge begins after school board takeovers

Ziegler, a co-founder of right-wing group Moms for Liberty, was one of two dozen school board candidates receiving endorsement from DeSantis



Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis (Screenshot/YouTube Tampa 10 News)

By Julia Conley | SARASOTA – Despite outcry from parents, teachers, and students, newly elected right-wing school board members in Sarasota County, Florida on Tuesday became the latest allies of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to oust a school superintendent over the district’s adherence to public health guidance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dozens of community members gathered at a school board meeting in Sarasota County on Tuesday evening to support Brennan Asplen, the superintendent of schools since 2020, whose contract was the subject of the meeting.

The board met the same day new members, including Chair Bridget Ziegler, were sworn in. Ziegler, a co-founder of right-wing group Moms for Liberty, was one of two dozen school board candidates who received an endorsement from DeSantis during the midterm elections. The majority of those candidates, who received $1,000 contributions from the governor, won their elections.

At the meeting, members condemned Asplen “for not pushing back on the mask mandate” that was in place for three weeks in 2021 after the school board voted 3-2 in favor of the mandate, making Sarasota County the first in the state to defy DeSantis’ law blocking Covid-19 mitigation measures.

On Tuesday the board ultimately voted 4-1 in favor of negotiating a separation agreement with Asplen, after another board member, Thomas Edwards, warned the move would be a “carbon copy” of a similar ouster in Berkeley County, South Carolina earlier this month.

In that case, new school board members who had been endorsed by Moms for Liberty voted to fire the district’s superintendent and ban classroom discussions of racism in history and the present day.

Asplen is not the only school leader who has been pushed out of a superintendent position in Florida by DeSantis allies citing objections to public health protocols.

Five members of the Broward County school board this month fired Superintendent Vickie Cartwright over a grand jury report on the 2018 Parkland shooting. Like Asplen, Cartwright presided over the district during the pandemic and “faced frustration from some parents” over Covid-19 mitigation measures, which were implemented in violation of DeSantis’ order.

All of the members who voted to fire Cartwright were DeSantis appointees following the removal of previous members after a school safety investigation stemming from the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

WUSF Public Media reported earlier this year that the county is undergoing “a transformational shift” with the governor’s allies poised to take “a rare opportunity to advance conservative policy priorities in one of the state’s most Democratic-leaning counties.”

The superintendent of schools in Brevard County was also pushed out last week, hours after DeSantis-aligned school board members were sworn in.

Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America, noted that parents from across the political spectrum have spoken out against the dismissals of school leaders in the Florida counties in recent weeks—”but to little avail.”

“The new playbook of total ideological control is in full swing,” said Friedman.

Bill Kimler, a former candidate for state House in South Carolina, noted that a right-wing takeover of school boards like the one in Berkeley County “is happening elsewhere in the country.”

“Every election cycle, we need to view school board positions with the same level of enthusiasm as we do the president of the USA,” said Kimler. “Our kids’ education cannot be left in the hand of extremists.”


Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

The preceding article was previously published by Common Dreams and is republished with permission.

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Florida Board of Medicine restricts trans youth healthcare

The Florida Health Care Administration’s rule ending Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care in the state went into effect this summer



Los Angeles Blade graphic

ORLANDO – Today, the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy finalized their proposed rules to restrict gender affirming care for transgender youth in the state which, when in effect, will be the only ban on gender-affirming in effect in America. Similar measures in Alabama and Arkansas are currently blocked in court.

The board voted 6-3 (with five others not present) on Friday to adopt a new standard of care that forbids doctors to prescribe puberty blockers and hormones, or perform surgeries, until transgender patients are 18. Exceptions will be allowed for children who are already receiving the treatments.

The Boards landed on similar language that would bar future puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and extremely rare surgical interventions as treatments for gender dysphoria in youth.

That language included an exception for young people already receiving these treatments for gender dysphoria prior to the effective date of the rules. However, they disagreed on allowing nonsurgical treatments for gender dysphoria to continue through Institutional Review Board-approved clinical trials.

The Board of Osteopathy approved language allowing transgender youth to access gender-affirming care via those studies while the Board of Medicine rejected that proposal, paving the way for different rules governing MDs and DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy). No such IRB-approved studies are currently being conducted in Florida.

Once the rules are posted, advocates have the opportunity to request an additional hearing and workshop from the Boards, a move that groups have indicated they will take. If denied, the rules move to a 21-day period in which the public can submit written comments before a final, procedural vote by the Boards.

The New York Times reported that before the medical board decided to craft the new standard, members received personal calls from the state’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, urging them to do so. Earlier this year, Florida became one of at least nine states to bar Medicaid coverage of gender-affirming care, affecting thousands of low-income adults and children.

“With young lives on the line, another state agency has placed the political ambitions of Ron DeSantis over its duty to protect Floridians,” said Nikole Parker, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality. “These rules, as written, put transgender youth at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidality. Those are the facts purposely ignored by a Board of Medicine stacked with DeSantis political appointees who have put their toxic politics over people’s health and wellbeing. Transgender Floridians exist. We are part of this community. Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care — and it is care that is supported by every major medical organization, an overwhelming majority of medical providers, and should be left to young people, their families, and their doctors. Not politicians. Shame on the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy for trading the suffering of transgender youth and their parents for cheap political points.”

Dozens of advocates for transgender youth packed the meeting room today and thousands of people have sent messages to board members, since the start of this process, expressing their support for these young people, a demonstration of the unpopularity of continued attacks on the rights of youth and their families to access the health care they need by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and his allies.

Public testimony included the powerful personal stories of transgender Floridians, families, allies and health care professionals all pointing to increased risks of depression, anxiety, and suicidality in transgender youth whose identities are not affirmed.

Commenters also pointed to the over $80,000 in donations from members of the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy to DeSantis’ campaigns and political committee.

The rulemaking process was initiated after Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo sent a transphobic and medically inaccurate letter in April that officially positioned the Department of Health against health care for Florida’s transgender youth.

Similar policies targeting health care for transgender young people have faced legal challenges in other states, including an Arkansas ban that has been placed under preliminary injunction by a federal judge as the legal process moves forward.

In that case, the court ruled that a ban on gender-affirming care would cause “irreparable harm” to trans young people and their loved ones and would prohibit “medical treatment that conforms with the recognized standard of care.”

In Texas, enforcement of a rule against several families that allowed for child abuse investigations into parents who access gender-affirming care for their transgender children was also blocked, with the judge writing that “there is a substantial likelihood that Plaintiffs will prevail after a trial on the merits”.

A spokesperson for Equality Florida noted in a statement:

“This is the first time a state medical board has been weaponized in this way to ban medical treatments for transgender children. However, the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy are just two among the many state agencies stacked by Governor DeSantis with right-wing extremists and subverted into weapons against LGBTQ Floridians.”

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s rule ending Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care in the state went into effect this summer. Last week, the State Board of Education adopted a new series of rules dramatically expanding enforcement of the Don’t Say LGBTQ Law, putting teachers’ licenses at risk and targeting school districts with LGBTQ-inclusive policies regarding bathrooms and locker rooms.

In July, the governor ordered the Department of Business and Professional Regulation in a complaint against an LGBTQ-owned small business in Miami, threatening to strip the restaurant of its liquor license after it hosted a drag performance at its weekly Sunday Brunch.

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Equality Florida PAC’s new adverts in final days before election

The ads warn Floridians that DeSantis’ extremist agenda will shift even more far-right if he and his GOP colleagues are reelected



Equality Florida PAC political advert midterm elections 2022 (Screenshot/YouTube)

ORLANDO – Equality Florida Wednesday announced three new ads running on digital and television in the final stretch to next Tuesday’s election. Targeting Florida Republicans and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the ads warn Floridians that DeSantis’ extremist agenda will shift even more far-right if he and his GOP colleagues are reelected.

According to Equality Florida:

  • The organization’s PAC spend for these new ads is at $65,000, targeting streaming television viewers, traditional cable in key markets, and digital on all platforms
  • While we have seen a surge in anti-LGBTQ ads targeting Democratic candidates around the country, our TV response ad appears to be among the first from an LGBTQ organization this cycle
  • These ads come as the right wing continues to center anti-LGBTQ animus in their platform, peddling misinformation about transgender health care and demonizing the existence of LGBTQ people in schools


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Florida rule now effectively bans gender-affirming care for minors

LGBTQ activists, Equality Florida and state representatives called into question the fairness of the speakers



A 10-year old trans kid in Florida holds up a trans rights sign. (Photo Credit: Family provided photo/WLRN Public Radio Miami-South Fl.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee Friday advanced a rule that will effectively ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state. 

The policy, which would likely block a minor’s access to puberty blockers, hormone therapies and surgeries – a rare intervention for transgender youth – will now head to the full the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathy for finalization and a vote. 

It came after the state’s Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo in June asked the board to establish a standard for “complex and irreversible” gender-affirming care treatments. Ladapo recommended against certain pharmaceutical, non-pharmaceutical and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria. Puberty blockers, a form of gender-affirming care, are reversible.

Major medical organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary youth. The group, in a statement, said it “strongly oppose[s] any legislation or regulation that would discriminate against gender-diverse individuals, including children and adolescents, or limit access to comprehensive evidence-based care which includes the provision of gender-affirming care.”

Still, Ladapo called the scientific evidence supporting gender-affirming care “extraordinarily weak.”

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is likely to run for president in 2024, holds tremendous power over the board. Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, said the board was stacked with “right-wing extremists” and “subverted into weapons against LGBTQ Floridians.”

During the meeting, the committee heard from scheduled presenters meant to act as experts on gender-affirming care and members of the public. Before the meeting, one of the experts, Dr. James Cantor, was quietly removed from the agenda after it was revealed that he advocated for pedophiles to be included under the LGBTQ umbrella, according to Media Matters

Oxford University sociology professor Michael Biggs, who did speak to the board, has posted transphobic tweets in the past, according to the Oxford Student, the college’s student newspaper. 

LGBTQ activists and state representatives called into question the fairness of the speakers. According to Florida Planned Parenthood Action, two state representatives, Democrats Anna Eskamani and Carlos Smith, “begged” the board to let public comment continue. 

“It is totally unacceptable for a public Board to permit only speakers who agree with the Board Members’ position to testify, and then refuse to permit others from the public with a different perspective to speak,” tweeted Florida state Rep. Ben Diamond, a Democrat. 

After the board cut off public comment, the crowd began to chant: “Let them speak.”

Smith called the meeting a “sham,” adding: “They put all the speakers from out of state and out of the country who agreed with them first. When they ran out of people on their side, they cut off public comment from Floridians OPPOSED to the politicization of gender affirming care.”

“Just disgusting,” tweeted Jack Petocz, a political strategist for Gen-Z for Change.

The board also heard from several so-called “detransitioners” who spoke in favor of the rule. 

However, those who receive gender-affirming care rarely decide not to continue with treatment. A recent study published in The Lancet found that 98% of people who had started gender-affirming medical treatment in adolescence continued to use gender-affirming hormones at follow-up.

“It needs to be repeated without end: gender-affirming care is lifesaving care,” said Nikole Parker, director of transgender equality at Equality Florida.

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Florida parent sues school district over Pride flag in classroom

Deliu, who is an immigrant from Romania, states he and his son are “Orthodox Christians and their religion considers homosexuality a sin”



Emerald Cove Middle School/Facebook

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fl. – The parent of a 12-year-old boy enrolled at Emerald Cove Middle School in Wellington, is suing the School District of Palm Beach County alleging in court documents that a pair of LGBTQ+ Pride flags that his son’s teacher put up in her classroom violates his rights to not have “his child ‘educated’ in the ways of homosexuality” and not have “the state acting contrary to his religious beliefs.”

WPEC CBS 12 West Palm Beach reported that Dr. Francisco Catalin Deliu filed his lawsuit on Oct. 12 against the school district, the Palm Beach County School Board, Emerald Cove Middle School principal Dr. Eugina Smith-Freeman and the teacher Rachel Raos.

In the suit filing, Deliu claims that on September Sept. 16 he was informed by his seventh-grader son that Raos, a computer science teacher had put up two ‘gay pride’ flags in her classroom. Deliu says that when he claimed to principal Smith-Freeman, “she dismissed his complaint and wouldn’t give a reason.”

Deliu said to her that her decision was against the law, referring to the “Parental Rights in Education” law — also referred to by critics as “Don’t Say Gay” — that Gov. DeSantis signed in March.”

In the suit Deliu says that “She [Smith-Freeman] responded that she would have to discuss the matter further with the Board.”

According to CBS12, when he showed up “to demand that his son be temporarily removed from the teacher’s classroom pending anticipated litigation,” he and Smith-Freeman came to a compromise and “the school would look to see if they could change him to another computer science class. “The school did not keep its promise and, instead, unilaterally and without notice to Dr. Deliu moved his son into an art class,” the suit says.

In the lawsuit Deliu, who is an immigrant from Romania, states he and his son are “Orthodox Christians and their religion considers homosexuality a sin.” The suit goes on to refer to “due process rights,” “substantive human rights,” and “natural rights from God which are protected by law,” along with his rights to not have “his child ‘educated’ in the ways of homosexuality” and not have “the state acting contrary to his religious beliefs.”

The suit also notes: “He is against government intrusion upon his rights, especially in terms of how to raise his son and Dr. Deliu is a libertarian who lives by a ‘live and let live’ creed. He respects the rights of others, but also demands they not encroach upon his rights.”

Responding to the lawsuit, Brandon J. Wolf, the Press Secretary for Equality Florida said in an emailed statement to the Blade:

“In his recent ruling, federal Judge Allen Winsor made clear that the bigoted provisions in HB 1557, the Don’t Say LGBTQ Law, do not mean a school district must take down pride flags, safe space stickers, or other forms of visible support for LGBTQ students. Simply put: there is no blanket right to erase support for LGBTQ people from schools. The School District of Palm Beach County  has  long had guidance  in place to protect all students and respect all families — guidance  that has  helped to create inclusive, safe school environments. A  decision to continue allowing teachers and administrators to show support for LGBTQ students will continue to make their schools safer, and is well within their legal right.”


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LGBT+ Center Orlando’s Halloween Drag Story Hour cancelled

The sold-out event scheduled for October 29 was cancelled after threats from anti-LGBTQ extremist groups & neo-Nazi white supremacist groups



Drag queen Bridgette Galore/Los Angeles Blade graphic

ORLANDO – The annual Halloween Drag Queen Story Hour, a sold-out event scheduled for October 29, hosted by the LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. (The Center) was cancelled after a series of threats from anti-LGBTQ extremist groups and neo-Nazi white supremacist groups.

Bridgette Galore, a long time drag artist had been scheduled to read stories of acceptance and tolerance as a Halloween Edition. At the event, each child was to receive a complimentary book. The event was also sponsored in part by City of Orlando Mayor’s Matching Grant program.  

Florida state representative Anna Eskamani said in a tweet that the center and event was targeted by Nazis. “If you’re outraged by this, then please speak up,” she said.

The Center announcement that cancelled the drag show event from its Facebook page.

Florida State Senator Shevrin “Shev” Jones (D-35th district) weighed in on Twitter once the cancellation had been made public blaming the policies and hostile anti-LGBTQ + climate on Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

The decision by the Center came days after about 200 protesters and counter-protesters threw rocks and smoke grenades at each other outside Old Nick’s Pub in the Market District in the downtown area of Eugene, Oregon.

The scene Sunday of violent clashes between the LGBTQ+ supporters and far right extremist group the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis was over “Drag Queen Storytime” event where one of the performers, an 11-year-old girl who goes by the name of Venellope. Eugene Police reported that some in the crowd were armed.

Back in Florida, a popular restaurant and pub in the Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is under threat of losing its liquor license after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in July ordered state officials to pull its liquor license to shut it down.

The complaint was filed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and asks for a final order that the R House restaurant is a declared a public nuisance and has its liquor license revoked. 

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the complaint was issued after a video of a recent performance at the bar’s drag brunch went viral. A topless drag queen wearing lingerie stuffed with money can be seen in the video attempting to dance with a young girl, who the DPBR estimates is “between three and five years old.” Twitter account “Libs of Tik Tok” originally found the footage on Tik Tok, posted by a user who wrote, “Children belong at drag shows!!!! Children deserve to see fun & expression & freedom.”

DeSantis, in a press conference, referring to the LGBTQ+ community stated “children didn’t need some agenda shoved down their throats all the time.”

The animosity against the LGBTQ+ community has also been exacerbated by the state Republican lawmakers and the state GOP party:

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Florida: Anti-LGBTQ+ right-wing activists to book-banning group

A presentation planned for the group’s meeting on Tuesday, which will address content deemed offensive by its conservative members



Florida Department of Education's Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. (Screenshot/YouTube Florida State TV)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Department of Education has begun quietly appointing anti-LGBTQ+ right-wing activists to a “parent workgroup” that will retrain librarians in the state’s public schools amid a push to censor which materials are made available to students. 

A presentation planned for the group’s meeting on Tuesday, which will address content deemed offensive by its conservative members, is expected to draw protests from human rights and LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, along with groups that oppose censorship and book bans. 

News of the appointments was reported Monday by The Daily Beast, which found evidence of surreptitious coordination over candidate selection between Florida’s Education Department and the office of its Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

Spokespeople from the governor and state education agency’s offices did not immediately return requests for comment for this article. 

According to The Daily Beast, Florida’s Education Department passed on “nearly 100 potentially qualified applicants with relevant experience,” some of whom were recommended by bipartisan school boards. 

Instead, they chose nominees like Jennifer Pippin, an activist recommended by a close DeSantis advisor, Keith Flaugh, whose conservative Florida Citizens Alliance has been an ally in the governor’s quest to rid schools of “cultural Marxism” and “LGBTQ values.” Pippin, who does not have the formal training required of librarians and media center employees, did not understand some of the abbreviations used during a recent working group meeting. 

Public school districts were asked to submit nominees for the “parent workgroup” on August 12, a measure that is part of the Florida Republican state government’s efforts to enforce compliance with its “Parental Rights in Education” bill, signed into law this past March. 

During a meeting last week, Florida’s Education Department signaled its plans to move beyond school libraries and into classrooms to police whether materials made available by educators to their students are acceptable under the new law. 

The controversial legislation specifically prohibits schools from exposing students of certain ages to educational content and discussion or classroom instruction concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The law was written with anti-LGBTQ+ discriminatory intent and will create a chilling effect, stifling constitutionally protected free speech, according to its critics – including litigants who have filed a spate of lawsuits challenging the law’s enforcement on these and other grounds. 

Additionally, opposition to the law has been voiced by the American Psychological Association, the American Bar Association, President Joe Biden, human rights and LGBTQ+ organizations like Equality Florida, student activists who have organized protests and walkouts, and 158 major companies that signed a petition circulated by the Human Rights Campaign. 

PEN America, an organization that promotes free expression, literature, and human rights, published a report last month in which the group concluded that, “The large majority of book bans underway today are not spontaneous, organic expressions of citizen concern. Rather, they reflect the work of a growing number of advocacy organizations that have made demanding censorship of certain books and ideas in schools part of their mission.” 

Of the books that were banned by school boards between July 1 2021 and June 30 2022, PEN America found that 41%, or 674 titles, contained “LGBTQ+ themes, protagonists, or prominent secondary characters.” Of the 1,109 bans indexed for this time period, PEN America estimates that at least 40% “are connected to either proposed or enacted legislation, or to political pressure exerted by state officials or elected lawmakers to restrict the teaching or presence of certain books or concepts.”

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Florida poised to ban gender-affirming care for trans kids

“The Board of Medicine in Florida is days away from making a rule to forcibly medically detransition ALL trans teens”



Trans Activists conducting a “Die-In” protest outside the August 5th Board of Medicine meeting. (Photo Credit: Nic Zantop, Transinclusive Group)

ORLANDO – The Florida Board of Medicine is set to make final changes and issue a rule when it meets next week in Orlando to set statewide policies for the treatment of ‘Gender Dysphoria’ in minor children. The board is expected to make the changes effectively banning trans affirming care.

Long time LGBTQ Rights activist Erin Reed noted more bluntly in a tweet, “The Board of Medicine in Florida is days away from making a rule to forcibly medically detransition ALL trans teens. Bills through the legislature have failed to do this many times now. So they’re going about it by executive fiat.”

Gender-affirming care refers to a range of supports that affirm a patient’s gender identity, such as pubertal suppression (for minors), hormonal and surgical treatments, and access to social transition.

Providers in Florida who administer this care already follow robust guidelines set forth by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Legal experts suggest that restricting or banning access for gender-diverse patients could be considered discriminatory and even unconstitutional, as the new rule would not impede access for cisgender patients seeking some of these same treatments (for conditions such as precocious puberty, PCOS, and gynecomastia).

Hundreds of organizations, groups, public officials, spiritual leaders, and healthcare professionals signed on to an open letter opposing the Florida Board of Medicine’s politically-motivated meddling in gender-affirming care. The letter, published today on, details the robust body of scientific research that demonstrates the life-saving benefits of this care, and condemns the collective attempts made by the Florida Board of Medicine, Surgeon General Ladapo, the Florida Department of Health, and Governor Ron DeSantis to restrict access. 

In the letter written by those opposed they state:  “Governor Ron Desantis’ hand-picked appointees on the Board of Medicine initiated these proceedings as one of several policy attacks on LGBTQ+ people in Florida.”

The letter also condemns the Florida Board of Medicine’s handling of the August 5th, 2022 meeting in Broward County, including their decision to end public comment early and without explanation. This silenced dozens of trans Floridians, family members, and allies who had waited hours to speak about the importance of protecting access to gender-affirming care.

“I wanted to tell them that this care will keep kids off the streets, out of the hands of traffickers, safer from assault, hunger, and disease,” said JC, a trans woman who was physically removed from the meeting for speaking up after the Board ended public comment early. “I know because that is what I had to go through to access the care I needed. You may think it’s not important, but gender-affirming care is a life or death issue.”

Equality Florida noted that activists plan to rally at the Board of Medicine’s rule-making meeting scheduled for September 30th from 8am-12pm. The public can sign a petition in support of gender-affirming care and RSVP for the rally at

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