Transgender issues finally gain traction in Florida schools

By : Billy Manes
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On Oct. 13, an eighth-grade student from Fairview Middle School in Leon County who wore a dress to class finally gave in to the pressure and left the school for good. According to USA Today, school administrators called the student’s parents and requested a change of clothes because the gender confusion had the “potential” to cause a distraction. The principal, Scott Hansen, told the paper that, “Unfortunately, in middle school there is not as much freedom for expression.”

Leon County School Board superintendent Jackie Pons expressed “concern,” according to the report: not so much for the fact the student challenged gender barriers so much as for the reality that the culture of the school board district failed to address such bullying and the LGBT issues that often precede it.

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Leon County Schools Superintendent response to ACLU letter regarding treatment of agender student

By : Ciara Varone
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Tallahassee – Leon County Schools Superintendent is responding to the American Civil Liberties Union after one of their attorneys asked for insurance that it will permit students to “wear clothing regardless whether it is consistent with gender stereotypes,” in a letter released Oct. 16.

The ACLU dress code letter to the Tallahassee school was in response to an incident from Oct. 13 where a Fairview Middle School student, who was born male but identifies as agender, was told by Principal Scott Hansen that they needed to change out of their dress, because “dresses are not for boys.” The parents withdrew the eighth-grader from the school the same day. The ACLU says the principal’s actions violated the student’s rights established under the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment.

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ACLU asks Tallahassee schools to end restrictions on clothing based on gender identity

By : Jeremy Williams
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An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union is asking a Tallahassee school district to ensure it will permit students to “wear clothing regardless whether it is consistent with gender stereotypes,” in a letter released Oct. 16 to the superintendent of Leon County Schools.

ACLU dress code letter to Tallahassee school is inresponse to an incident from Oct. 13 where a Fairview Middle School student, who was born male but identifies as agender, was told by Principal Scott Hansen that they needed to change out of their dress, because “dresses are not for boys.” The parentswithdrew the eighth-grader from the school the same day.

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Florida DMV updating vehicle form to reflect marriage ruling

By : Staff Report
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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles wants to change the paperwork for car and boat title transfers from “husband and wife” to “a married couple.”

The proposed change would be to a single check-off box on the form where people can declare why they shouldn’t be subject to sales and use taxes when transferring the ownership of motor vehicles, mobile homes or vessels.

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Scott, Bondi sworn in as gay couples marry Jan. 6

By : Wire Report
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While Florida Gov. Rick Scott was sworn in outside Florida’s Old Capitol Jan. 6, across the street gay couples were getting married at the Leon County Courthouse on the first day same-sex marriage was legal across Florida. Scott has opposed same-sex marriage, a fact that wasn’t lost on several dozen couples who were married at the courthouse Tuesday.

“It just shows the universe meant for this to happen,” said Ayana Powell after she married Rochelle Cornwall. “It’s karma.”

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Leon County domestic partner registry to start this week

By : Staff Report
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Leon County officially opens its Domestic Partner Registry with a ribbon cutting at the Leon County Courthouse May 1.

The opening ceremony will be at 8 a.m. in the plaza leading up to the Clerk of Court’s Official Records Office, 313 Calhoun Street, across from the Leon County Courthouse. Guest speakers include Leon County Commissioners Nick Maddox and Mary Ann Lindley.

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Leon County commission unanimously approves DPR

By : Staff Report
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The county that surrounds Florida’s Capital City voted unanimously to move forward with a domestic partner registry March 12.

The measure, proposed by Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley, will extend benefits, similar to those that married couples get, to those who are registered with the domestic partnership registry, gay or straight.

“The county council finds that there are many individuals who establish and maintain a significant personal and economic relationship with another individual,” the ordinance reads. “Individual forming such domestic partnership often live in a committed domestic relationship. Domestic partners are often denied certain benefits and rights because there is no established system for such relationships to be registered or recognized.”

The handful of rights extended to those participating would include hospital and jail visitation and access to each other’s children in the public school system.

What it does not do, however, is define a relationship as a marriage or bestow the some 1,400 rights granted to heterosexual, married couples in Florida.

Leon County’s ordinance is modeled after those that have passed in Volusia, Orange, and Pinellas Counties and in the cities of Gainesville, Sarasota, Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Several members of Equality Florida attended the vote, which was held around 6:30 p.m. March 12.

The county that surrounds Florida’s Capital City voted unanimously to move forward with a domestic partner registry March 12.

The measure, proposed by Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley, will extend benefits, similar to those that married couples get, to those who are registered with the domestic partnership registry, gay or straight.

Several members of Equality Florida attended the vote, which was held around 6:30 p.m. March 12.

Leon County eyes domestic partner ordinance

By : Staff Report
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The county that surrounds Florida’s Capital City could bring forward a domestic partner registry March 12, and early indications are that a majority of its commissioners support the measure.

The measure, proposed by Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley would extend benefits, similar to those that married couple’s get, to those who are registered with the domestic partnership registry, gay or straight.

“The county council finds that there are many individuals who establish and maintain a significant personal and economic relationship with another individual,” the ordinance reads. “Individual forming such domestic partnership often live in a committed domestic relationship. Domestic partners are often denied certain benefits and rights because there is no established system for such relationships to be registered or recognized.”

As it has been done in other Florida counties, area residents are invited for public comment during the meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. March 12. If it is approved, the handful of rights extended to those participating would include hospital and jail visitation and access to each other’s children in the public school system.

What it does not do, however, is define a relationship as a marriage or bestow the some 1,400 rights granted to heterosexual, married couples in Florida.

Equality Florida is encouraging those who support a county domestic partner registry to attend the meeting and wear red.

Leon County’s ordinance is modeled after those that have passed in Volusia, Orange, and Pinellas Counties and in the cities of Gainesville, Sarasota, Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg.

The meeting will be held at 301 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, in the county chambers on the fifth floor.

July 2010: State news briefs

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Leon County LGBT employees get benefits
The Leon County commission has voted unanimously to expand its benefits program to include county employees’ domestic partners. Commission chairman Bob Rackleff credited Equality Florida, Tallahassee’s family tree and “the hundreds of LGBT citizens who rallied in our community to make this happen” with the expansion.

Miami one of gayest cities
The Miami/Fort Lauderdale region just made a list of the top 20 gayest cities in America. The rankings come from UCLA’s Williams Institute, which put Miami in the number 20 spot. According to the study, Miami has 4.81 gay couples per thousand households. With 12.4 gay couples per thousand household, San Francisco topped the list at number 1.

May 2010: State news briefs

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Leon County adds sexual orientation to HRO
The Leon County Commissioners voted 5-2 to pass an LGBT-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance in May. The change adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the protections covered by the ordinance and also adds those protections to the county’s personnel policy. The measure was controversial, with more than 80 people speaking at a public hearing on the changes. Commissioners Jane Sauls and Bryan Desloge voted against the measure.
 
Transgender candidate running for Congress

A conservative, transgender candidate is throwing her hat in the ring, running in the Republican primary for Congress. If she wins the primary, Donna Milo will face off against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, one of the House’s most liberal Democrats. The race is in the 20th Congressional district, which covers parts of Miami stretches into Broward County, including the gay neighborhood Wilton Manors. Milo, 48, is Cuban-American and the youngest of nine children.

Gay teen named prom ‘queen’
A Flanagan High School senior suspended by his Pembroke Pines high school for wanting to wear a dress to his prom was named “Prom Queen” at a Pridelines Youth Services gay prom. The event held at the Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus earned Omar Bonilla—who won the title as “Allison Rodriguez”—plenty of publicity, but at a price. His family disowned him just hours after his win. Bonilla told the Miami Herald he has no regrets.