This post is Part 2 of a talk on LGBT issues in Florida. Read last week’s newsletter before continuing.
Last week, Florida’s legislative session formally began. The Republican super-majority, aiming to help Ron DeSantis tact far enough to the right to overtake Donald Trump in the 2024 Presidential primaries, is on course to pass a litany of social conservative legislation. As I covered in last-week’s post, the GOP narrative about aiming to protect children is a lie. Florida does not fund education well, it does not fund social services like food stamps well, and it has not expanded Medicaid - which would greatly aid millions of families. Oh and they are about to loosen gun laws, despite Florida actually restricting gun rights after the Parkland shooting.
Ok sure the kids are dead from bullets or starvation, but at least they weren’t trans or gay!
Ron DeSantis used his opening session speech to go after the families of transgender children; pushing the fear-mongering that “crazed activists” want to pump kids full of hormones or cut their privates off. Meanwhile, the legislature is working on bills that would cover many issues that will negatively impact transgender youths. These issues include bills that would
Ban doctors from prescribing anything for gender affirming car, including puberty blockers, which are reversible (link)
Take children away from households where they are “at risk” of getting any such care (vague statements are a great thing to models laws after) (link)
BAN teachers from using pronouns other than those based on assigned gender at birth
This also comes as bills are being crafted to further restrict any discussion of LGBT people even existing from classrooms.
The Republicans, just like in 2022, are prepared to launch a full assault on the LGBT community, and do not care remotely how many kids are harmed in the process. The democrats, similar to previous years, are firmly on the opposition.
However, things took a turn on Wednesday when Gallop Franklin, a Democratic member from HD8, said he agreed with DeSantis on limiting procedures or prescriptions on minors. This has led to a great deal of anger in the Democratic caucus.
Let’s Be Clear about Medicine
Now it is important we be clear when talking about gender-affirming care for minors. It is 100% correct that in any medicine, we make sure steps are taken that will not be regretted later. This is why relying on medical experts is so important. And when we talk about gender-affirming care for transgender youth, this is what we are talking about - per Health and Human Services.
When gender affirming care is discussed, it is overwhelmingly revolving around the first two items, namely social interaction and possibly puberty blockers. A note, PBs are not new, being around some 40 years as a way to stop puberty for children who needed it stopped for any number of medical reasons. The movement of them toward transgender youth, who, varying by the person, could experience gender dysphoria caused by the bodily changes they are going. If you want to understand the mental strain of gender dysphoria, talk to literally any transgender person. Or watch this video. This video, from transgender video essayist Contrapoints, was done during her period of dysphoria and transition, it is a heavy watch.
This period is so emotionally fraught for Contrapoints, that she has stopped hosting pre-transition videos because of the lingering dysphoria they still bring up (though she seems ok with fans posting older videos). Her official Youtube Channel follows her journey since this period.
Every person is different. If one person didn’t care to or need to consider any medical aid due to gender dysphoria until they were 30, there is someone who basically was gender non-confirming from childhood and by 14 had a clear understanding of who they are and what they needed. This is why such issues belong between patients/families and doctors. For this reason, gender affirming care, whether it is simple consultations, or a consideration of hormones, is supported by such “far-left” activists groups as the
American Medical Association
American Pediatric Association
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The same group of voters who will read this list and deride it as woke are the same people who already think vaccines cause autism or put a microchip in you. But for anyone who hasn’t put their brain in a microwave, that is a pretty compelling list. This statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics I think sums up this issue well.
Often, pubertal suppression creates an opportunity to reduce distress that may occur with the development of secondary sexual characteristics and allow for gender-affirming care, including mental health support for the adolescent and the family. It reduces the need for later surgery because physical changes that are otherwise irreversible (protrusion of the Adam’s apple, male pattern baldness, voice change, breast growth, etc) are prevented. The available data reveal that pubertal suppression in children who identify as TGD generally leads to improved psychological functioning in adolescence and young adulthood.
It is notable here that different hormone therapies could prevent the need for more aggressive surgeries later. This video, where an actual medical professional is interviewed, clear up some important misconceptions that have arisen from the cynical politics around the issue.
One of the most important stats pointed out is how rare surgery is for people under 18. A VAST majority of gender affirming care involves much less invasive stuff.
The issue has been further complicated by the activism of folks who now ‘renounce’ their transition. There are a few, and I do mean a few, people who went through transition and now say they regret it. The case cited in Florida is that of Chloe Cole, who transitioned at 12 and de-transitioned at 17. Cole has now become a major activist in saying minors should receive no gender-affirming care, including hormones. Now, I want to make sure to lay this out, I do not doubt Cole’s experience or views. By her own biography, she was sexually assaulted as a minor, which led to major mental health issues. Her doctor, per her words, did not follow the proper medical guidelines, and she may well have been mis-diagnosed. If all these facts are true as I understand them, I have enormous sympathy for her.
BUT, lets be clear, for every Chloe, there are thousands of kids just getting the legit help they need. Holding up one case is like the folks who go “see someone had a bad vaccine reaction, but the 100 million other people are fine, stop the shots!” Statistically this does not hold up well. On top of this, Chloe can be hard to trust when she argues against Medicaid funding the gender affirming care of ADULTS. She also spoke recently at the Matt Walsh event. Walsh is a white nationalist who called multiculturalism a failure and said 17 is a good age for girls to have kids because that is when they are “most fertile.”
In the end, Chloe’s upbringing sounds very bad. But now she is using her own experience, regarding a doctor who clearly did not follow the proper medical rules, to arguing for changing rules that - had they been followed properly - may well have stopped any transitioning. By her OWN account, the medical rules are not the issue, it was her doctor. However, she now spends her time arguing to change rules - rules which didn’t hurt her.
It was Chloe’s presence at DeSantis’ event which sparked the comments from Rep Gallop Franklin. No I haven’t forgotten about him.
Gallop Franklin and HD8
Representative Franklin is very new to the Florida legislature. He was elected in 2022 to the open seat of House District 8. The district covers all of Gadsden County, the lone majority-black county in Florida, and the majority-black and diverse parts of Tallahassee. The Democratic primary, which is often 65-70% black, is tantamount to election. Rep Franklin won a crowded primary with 30% of the vote.
At the time of his election, Franklin was the head of the FAMU professor from the Pharmacy College. He was long seen as a future candidate for office, and when the seat opened up, he rapidly was able to raise cash. His biggest opponents were Gregory James, a pastor, and Hubert Brown, a lawyer. While all candidates were from Tallahassee, Franklin did his best there, while losing badly in Gadsden. He has a good base around FAMU and was strong in the whiter suburbs that cover the northern share of the Tallahassee part of the seat.
James appeared to have much stronger support in Gadsden, which is a more rural and religious conservative area. Leon County/Tallahassee is by far the biggest voting block, so Rep Franklin’s margin there was enough to carry him to victory.
Franklin’s race was home to negative moments. Anonymous text messages aimed to claim Rep Franklin was gay and had a secret male lover. To be clear, there is zero evidence of this.
This tactic has revealed itself in other Democratic primaries in heavily black districts; where hate is used to trade on lingering/generational homophobia. We saw this with the Democratic Primary for Senate District 35 in 2020. These tactics trace roots to non-white voters, driven by religious beliefs, being less pro-LGBT until the early 2010s. In the modern era, this tactic work far less, as seen by the subjects to such attacks having lost. Not only that, but anti-gay Democrats have lost races. In 2022, James Bush, who’s bigotry I documented here, lost his primary.
In 2020, Michelle Rayner became the first LGBT woman of color to win a Florida House seat. In 2022, she fended off former Rep Wengay Newton in a redrawn seat black-access seat as well.
This political progress makes Rep Franklin’s comments on transgender issues so frustrating. It is not political necessary for him to stake out these positions (which wouldn’t be an excuse anyway).
Being a Fighter and Advocate
One of the things that is being increasingly used against the LGBT community, or really any marginalized group screaming for its rights, is the fighting posture itself. Go into any right-wing space and you will see nonstop claims that its actually “the gays” who have too much power - and are forcing “woke ideology” on Middle America. The mainstream media has also fell down this belief. This was perfectly demonstrated in the New York Time’s op-ed defending JK Rowling. The piece, which uses shoddy research to say the least, frames Rowling as victim of attacks because she merely offered her take on transgender issues.
I linked this last week and I am linking it again. A detailed look at JK Rowling’s activism is here.
NOW, lets be clear. A billionaire author using their platform and money to push policies against a sliver of the population that simply seeks legal protections is NOT now or will never be, a victim. Being called out on your bigotry does not make you a victim. People holding signs outside the gate of your mansion does not make you a victim. A victim is a transgender swimmer who’s name gets turned into a far-right talking point. A victim is the people shot at an LGBT nightclub by a man who was the relative of far-right politicians. These words lead to radicalization which lead to violence.
But as far as mainstream media is concern, the transgender community, really the whole LGBT community, is too loud. They are too mean. Why do they need to be so aggressive? Can’t they just chill out a bit?
The answer is no. I, as a political operative, understand optics. Sometimes one must be strategic in presentation and argument. Every push for rights from any marginalized group faces internal debate over how “aggressive” to be. The LGBT community has plenty of discussion and debate about how aggressive or passive to be in pushing issues. This occurred in the 1960s with the Civil Rights movements as well.
When Gallop Franklin’s comments came to my attention, this was my instant reaction. Right to twitter!
This right here represents my unedited reaction, the first thoughts that went through my head. The Kim Daniels and James Bush comparisons - maybe to far (we’ll see). The promise to take money out of my own pocket - damnit.
Anyone on the right likely just sees anger and demands for purity. What I think alot on the left see, correctly, is hurt and frustration. I have no illusions that the law being pushed will pass. I have no illusions it will hurt many families. I know for a fact parents are making difficult decisions about moving out of state (which is what the GOP wants) to protect their kids, who THEY KNOW what is best for. Seeing a fellow Democrats, who I am supposed to believe is on the side of the oppressed, offer up what is either an uneducated or uncaring comment, which only hurts people is unacceptable.
It has now been almost a week, and I am dedicating an entire issue of my newsletter to going after a Democrat who represents my county. Many on the right will claim purity testing. “See what happens when a Democrat steps out of line, the WOKE mob goes after them and shuts them up.” My answer to the right-wing is, don’t throw stones from glass houses.
I am calling out a member over human rights. You all dumped one of your few anti-coup members. You all are the cult, I just have empathy.
As for you, Representative Gallop Franklin, you may read this (and I know you will read this) and be driven to anger. You may be frustrated with how you are being treated. You may feel compelled to complain, or to double down. I encourage you to do none of that. I also encourage you to sit down with the medical doctors who know these issues, sit down with families that will be effected, and understand these perspectives.
I also want you to understand, truly, how reasonable I’m being. How reasonable the entire LGBT community is being. People have been killed in clubs, they have been stabbed, they have been arrested, they have been dehumanized. The mental toll on a non-transgender person, like myself, has been crushing. IMAGINE the toll on a 16 year old old transgender teenager. IMAGINE the stress on parents of kids who they want to help with medical care, but are now being demonized.
There is so much anger I have for you right now, and if you have read all of this and don’t understand why, then you are hopeless. However, I do believe people can be made to understand the issue beyond the fear mongering from the right. That is why this post is filled with so much information. I don’t care about the right wing trolls who won’t click a link and just scream “you are butchering kids!” like a lunatic. I know there are people who truly are confused about what is the correct position here. Perhaps that is just you.
I truly hope that a statement from you will come that clears the air. In the meantime, I hope you understand how kind this post has been. The hurt you inflected is 20x worse than anything I have said here. I truly hope you take this to heart and don’t get in a defensive posture. Because I want to stress……. one more time…..
Go Gallop Franklin!
More than ever we need folks who aren't afraid to take a strong stance against the LGBT agenda.