Mayors Across Florida Join GLSEN’s Rise Up Campaign

For Immediate Release: May 3, 2023


Mayors Across Florida Join GLSEN’s Rise Up Campaign as Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation Passes State Senate

Today, far-right politicians in the Florida Senate passed two different bills that harm LGBTQ+ Floridians, especially youth. 

HB 1521 criminalizes transgender people for using the restroom that matches the gender they live every day and prohibits gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities in schools, government buildings, and correctional facilities. The “Don’t Say Gay or Trans'' expansion (HB 1069) doubles down on last year's cruel bill that banned books, made classrooms more hostile for LGBTQ+ youth, and encouraged lawsuits against school districts. It censors teaching anything about sexual orientation or gender identity up through 8th grade, broadens the bases for book bans, and infringes on parents' rights to ensure their transgender student's pronouns are respected.

In response, mayors across the state are joining GLSEN and pledging to rise up for LGBTQ+ youth in Florida. Leaders from Orlando, Miami Beach, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Hallandale, Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, and Tampa have signed GLSEN’s Rise Up pledge and released proclamations declaring their communities a safe and affirming place for LGBTQ+ Floridians.

“LGBTQ+ youth in Florida have faced relentless attacks from extremist politicians intent on silencing, excluding, and erasing them,” said GLSEN Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (they/she). “We’re grateful for the leaders who have pledged to rise up in support of LGBTQ+ youth and policies that promote safe and inclusive schools. We stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ youth and supportive parents and educators in Florida, and we’re never going to stop fighting for safe, inclusive, and affirming learning environments for all students.”

“Florida’s young people and their families deserve a state that has their backs — a state committed to giving everyone a chance to thrive,” said Equality Florida Press Secretary Brandon Wolf. “Instead, right wing leaders in Tallahassee have plunged our education system into chaos to score political points. As the governor and his acolytes have used classrooms as political battlegrounds, local leaders have continued to push back and stand with students and families. The Rise Up campaign sends a clear message that Floridians are resisting DeSantis’ war on academic freedom and inclusion because young people and their families are worth fighting for.” 

“In Fort Lauderdale, you can be who you are without fear of reproach,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “The city boasts a stalwart human rights ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. Discrimination of any kind, particularly towards our LGBTQ+ children, has no place in any part of our society. Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts one of highest concentrations of same-sex households in the nation, and we welcome in an average of over 1.3 million LGBTQ+ visitors each year. Fort Lauderdale also continues to receive back-to-back perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index that rates cities’ performance on key LGBTQ+ issues.”

"As LGBTQ+ students across the state face mounting attacks from the Florida legislature, it is important for our local electeds to stand up now and stand up firmly in support of queer youth in our communities,” said PRISM Florida President Maxx Fenning. “All students deserve to feel seen, heard, and respected in school, no exceptions."

GLSEN’s Rise Up for LGBTQ+ Youth campaign calls on every adult and ally in a position of authority who supports equal educational opportunity and believes that schools must be free from transphobia, homophobia, racism, and all forms of bigotry and discrimination to rise up and say so. Florida's mayors join gubernatorial and mayoral offices in DC, Massachusetts, and New York in supporting the campaign via proclamation.

Mayors pledging to rise up for LGBTQ+ youth in their communities:

Buddy Dyer, Orlando

Dan Gelber, Miami Beach

Dean Trantalis, Fort Lauderdale

Harvey Ward, Gainesville

Jane Castor, Tampa

Joy Cooper, Hallandale

John E. Daily, Tallahassee

Kenneth Welch, St. Petersburg


GLSEN is a multi-racial, intergenerational LGBTQ+ organization working nationally and locally to transform K-12 educational systems in the United States. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level. Since 1990, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ+ students across the United States and helped launch an international movement to address LGBTQ+ issues in education