A crowd estimated at around two hundred mostly young people marched from the Florida State University campus to the fourth-floor rotunda in the state Capitol Friday, decrying what they called a legislative attack on the LGBTQ+ community.
They arrived just as the Florida House of Representatives was voting to support what has been described as “Don’t Say Gay 2.0,” a legislative proposal (HB 1069) that includes restrictions on how pronouns can be used in public schools.
As protesters swarmed the rotunda and began chanting loudly, Democrats left the chamber to join them, including Jacksonville Rep. Angie Nixon and Pinellas/Hillsborough Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby. A few moments later, Democratic House Leader Fentrice Driskell joined them and told the activists that the only way to blunt the attack is to get more Democrats to the polls.
The rally was organized by the recently established Student Unity Coalition of South Florida, a group advocating for BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color), queer, and trans students from universities in that region.
The protest took place on International Transgender Day of Visibility, which the White House also acknowledged last week. A written statement said the Department of Justice “is pushing back against extreme laws that seek to ban evidence-based gender-affirming health care.”