On May 1, 2022, multiple groups in Brevard County, Florida came together to celebrate our LGBTQ+ youth and community. The #brevardsaygay rally and march, held at the Front Street Park off of the 192 causeway, gathered hundreds of LGBTQ+ families and supporters.
Proponents of Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay” law say it doesn’t remove any right from LGBTQ+ youth, rather it provides rights to parents. However, it prevents mention of LGBTQ people, history, and culture in the younger grades, and is vague about what is legal in the older grades. It takes away the rights of LGBTQ+ kids, and kids from LGBTQ+ families, to talk about their families in the way that other kids can. It prevents discussion of LGBTQ+ issues even as they pertain to bullying, or individual education plans.
What the new law does is say to LGBTQ+ kids and families that their identities, their families, are not okay to talk about. That violates their right to feel safe, accepted, and included in school.
Multiple members of the community spoke at the rally, to include Melbourne High School student Sebastian Cook, a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ youth.
Listen to Sebastian’s speech here:
Other speakers included West Melbourne City Council Member Dan McDow, Shelley Rodden, Bill McKay of Space Coast Pride, Jabari Hosey of Families for Safe Schools, Monica Toro-Lisciandro of Colectiva Queer, and representatives from Equality Florida, PFLAG, Spektrum Health, and several members of the local transgender community.
Tina Jensen sang for the crowd:
In a delightful and fun closing to the rally, the cast of HBO’s We’re Here – Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela Laquita Wadley – spoke to the crowd and led us all in We are Family – watch for that in Season 3 of We’re Here. Here was their intro:
#brevardsaygay #familiesforsafeschools #equalityflorida #spektrumhealth #pflag #spacecoastpride #colectivaqueer