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Florida LGBTQ organizations unite to fight Gov. DeSantis’ DMV policy

By staff

Orlando, FL – LGBTQ community leaders gathered outside SPEKTRUM Health on Monday, May 6 for a press conference that demanded Governor Ron DeSantis and his department of motor vehicle cronies reverse their new policy that prevents trans Floridians from updating their IDs.

Organizers announced that they will be launching an all-out campaign to force the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to drop their anti-trans policy and to restore the ability of Floridians to change the gender markers on their IDs to reflect who they are.

More than a dozen community organizations including HOPE Community Center, Orlando for Gender Equality and Dream Defenders were united behind a banner which read, “DeSantis DMV. Drop the policy. IDs for all.” Florida Representative Anna Eskamani also attended and pledged solidarity with the growing campaign. As reporters gathered to hear the announcement outside the prominent LGBTQ health center, activists chanted “We won’t go back. Not one step back!” and “We will not go back in time, being trans is not a crime.”

Jacob Muldoon, lead organizer with Orlando for Gender Equality spoke first and outlined the context for DeSantis’ latest attack on the LGBTQ community. He explained that community groups organized and mobilized in great numbers during the past legislative session. Through actions like protests, letter-writings, die-ins, and more, activists defeated 21 out of 22 anti-LGBTQ bills attempting to move through the Florida legislature. But now, facing defeat, the GOP is pivoting to an undemocratic, administrative rule change.

Muldoon went on to say, “These political moves by DeSantis and the GOP are unconstitutional and follow a trend of Florida violating federal laws like Real ID and Title IX. DeSantis and the GOP are rogue actors, dead set on their unpopular and hate-filled agenda. We must defend Orlando from Tallahassee.”

Well-known community organizer Shea Cutliff delivered a powerful speech, stating, “As someone who transitioned very early, my ID was like a black American Express card. It was a ticket to so many things. It put a stop to being discriminated against before I even had the chance to interview for a job. It was my chance to stand up for myself in a place as simple as a grocery store by presenting my ID with the proper gender marker reflected on it.”

Joey Knoll, founder and president of SPEKTRUM Health also spoke out against DeSantis’ attempts to erase Florida’s trans population from public life. Knoll rebuked the right-wing governor, “regardless of what Ron DeSantis says, thinks or does: trans people have existed, trans people exist now, and trans people will continue to exist long into the future. Nobody is asking for his permission.”

The coalition ended the conference with a call to action, promising to mobilize and protest at DMVs around the state of Florida in the coming weeks.

#OrlandoFL #LGBTQrights #TransRights #TransLiberation #GayRights #RealID #TitleIX #Desantis #