By Tracey Labgold
It’s hard to be queer in Florida right now. When I drive through town, I wonder which one of my neighbors voted to erase my identity. I post on social media about the legislation being introduced in Tallahassee and it doesn’t provoke the outrage that I would expect. I sometimes feel like I am shouting into a void.
So when volunteer leader Stepanie Midler had the idea to host the Inaugural South Palm Beach County Community Pride Shabbat on Transgender Day of Visibility, I wasn’t sure who would show up. To my surprise, registrations exceeded the maximum capacity of the room — over 230 people! And, together with Keshet, the Adolph and Rose Levis JCC, The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, 10 other Jewish and LGBTQ+ organizations co-sponsored the event.
We packed the JCC in Boca Raton together to pray and sing in community.
Clearly, the need is here, and so are we.
Right now, Florida legislators are debating SB 254, which threatens doctors with jail time for providing essential medical care to transgender children, as well as limits access to care for transgender adults. It weaponizes the state’s custody courts against an affirming parent, effectively permitting kidnapping by an unsupportive parent. And last week, an amendment proposed to allow prescribed medical care in severe cases of gender dysphoria to prevent suicide was rejected by Republican members.
At times, I feel hopeless. And yet, when I think about last week at the JCC in Boca Raton I am reminded that I am not alone. Our collective liberation is bound together.
Your gift to Keshet means that Jewish communities in Florida and across the country have the tools to fight back against attacks on our rights and our dignity.
This Passover, let us journey to liberation together.