By Bryan Boggiano
The Coral Springs City Commission proclaimed they stand with members of the LGBTQ+ community, declaring June 2023 as Pride Month in the city.
Commissioner Nancy Metayer Bowen introduced the proclamation to recognize the city’s community and honor the history of the movement’s fight for equality, justice, and liberty.
Reverend Steve Blinder from the Royal Palm Christian Church, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, accepted the proclamation from the commission.
Blinder said it is important for localities to declare their support for the community, especially since the state passed or enacted numerous laws targeting LGBTQ+ people. He also stressed the importance of the faith community being accepting of all and accepting transgender youth.
These laws include a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth and some adults, a law restricting bathroom use to biological sex, drag show restrictions, and restrictions on what gender pronouns educators can identify students by.
The ban on gender-affirming care has since been blocked.
“For this city commission, this year, to have a Pride proclamation is something that takes strength, to be able to stand side by side along some of the most marginalized in our community,” said Blinder.
In public comment, resident Joshua Levy responded to the proclamation’s language of protecting the most vulnerable and marginalized in the community by reading aloud the Florida Department of Health’s guidelines on gender-affirming care to tell the “whole story,” which LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and medical organizations state are invalid.
He repeated the department’s recommendations against supporting social gender transition for adolescents and children, providing puberty blockers and hormone therapy to anyone under 18, and providing gender reassignment surgery to minors.
On June 12, the American Medical Association (AMA) passed a resolution reaffirming its support for healthcare accessibility for trans youth and adults and multiple other medical bodies.
Commissioner Joshua Simmons challenged Levy’s claims, interrupting him to say every parent should have the right to do what is best for their children and slamming his comments as hateful. Simmons, Bowen, and Mayor Scott Brook addressed Levy’s remarks.
“My decorum ends where your hate begins. I’m not going to allow people to just spew hate in front of me,” Simmons said. “Where hate starts to come out, that’s where the conversation ends.”
Similarly, Bowen said, “It’s one thing to have an opinion; it’s another thing to have an opinion and project it on other people.”
She continued, saying people who feel that way are only a tiny part of the community.
“You have a commission that is proud of you, that is encouraging you to live in your authentic self,” she said.
Brook stated the community fosters diversity, but Simmons said remarks against the trans community represent what is happening across the country and the state.
“What’s happening in Florida right now isn’t freedom,” he said. “It’s fear.”
- Bryan has a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and earned his masters in geosciences from Florida International University, where he focused in atmospheric sciences. His interests include weather, entertainment, and municipal government.
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