The parade has passed and the booths have been taken down but the feelings of acceptance and belonging that were present for Come out with Pride 2015 are still with me. This year was the best Pride that I have attended! Working in the Equality Florida booth with my 9 year old daughter and my 16 year old niece was a real experience for me. As a parent, the opportunity to share my passion for social justice with my daughter was something I will not forgot.
At 9, Abigail sees the word much more concrete than I do. So as a concrete thinker, she cannot understand why the world might have different sets of standards for the people she knows and loves. In her little world, justice is something that comes from compassionate people looking at multiple sides of a conflict and determining what is the best for all parties involved. The idea that there are forces at play that would prevent people she loves from living where they like, working where they are best suited and happy, and enjoying public spaces equally is impossible!
I found myself surprised that many really educated and passionate people who were in such support of marriage equality did not know about the discrimination LGBT people in Florida still experience. I know the freedom to marry was a huge victory and I think that was part of the exuberance of this year’s pride. But the exuberance should be tempered with the knowledge that we have more left to fight and our opponents are working just as hard to enshrine discrimination against fellow citizens into state law.
The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to existing non-discrimination protections to existing Florida state law. These protections are basic, and they simply ensure that all Floridians who work hard, and meet their responsibilities have the chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and build a better life.
The world my daughter is growing up in is very different from the world I grew up in. In some ways it is more accepting, in others still closed-minded. It is my job as a mother to strive to make the world a place where all children, not just mine, have the same opportunity to fully become who they are. We become our truest self by creating spaces for others to live authentically alongside us. Protecting the basic human rights of all is the measure of a civilized society. The fight is not over! Keep pride alive for all our children.
Central Florida Field Fellow, Equality Florida