Don’t Say Gay? Despite DeSantis, Florida May Get Their First Transgender Senator

Ashley Brundage, a transgender woman from Tampa, has qualified to run for the Florida State House representing District 65 and could potentially become the first transgender person elected to public office in Florida.

Ashley Brundage’s Historic Run

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Ashley Brundage has made history by qualifying to run for the Florida State House and hopes to become the first transgender person elected to public office in Florida, marking a significant step for transgender representation in the state.

Highlighting Diversity

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Speaking to a Tampa radio station, Brundage actually downplayed her transgender identity and instead highlighted her background in upholding diversity and inclusion.

No Real Impact

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Brundage said, “While I’m going to be making history on something like me and my personal life,” she emphasized this historic election, “really has no impact on anything.”

President of Diversity 

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Brundage then said, “What I think is even more history-making is that I used to be the DEI person for PNC Bank and 60,000 employees as their national president of diversity, equity, inclusion.” 

Brundage’s Personal Journey

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In her life, Brundage overcame homelessness to become a part-time bank teller at PNC Bank and eventually rose to take on a significant leadership role in DEI. 

The Spirit of Community Award

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In 2022, Brundage received the “Spirit of the Community Award” from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, recognizing her contributions to promoting inclusivity and diversity.

Campaign Focus

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Now delving into the political world, Brundage’s campaign focuses on three main issues: lowering insurance costs, protecting small businesses from high overhead costs, and advocating for reproductive rights.

Resonating With Voters

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Brundage hopes her campaign, which focuses on these issues, will resonate with many voters who are concerned about economic stability and personal freedoms.

The Opportunity of Inclusion

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Speaking to Orlando Weekly, Brundage said, “Inclusion shouldn’t be scary but instead seen as an opportunity for us to learn and grow as people.” 

Primary Election Challenge

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However, before anything is secured, Brundage must first face Nathan Kuipers in the Democratic primary on August 20 to secure her place as the candidate for House District 65.

Kuipers Campaign

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Kuipers, a former educator and community activist, who has focused his campaign on improving public education, healthcare access, and economic development.

Florida’s Political Climate

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Unfortunately for Brundage, Florida has been recognized as one of the least LGBTQ+ friendly states, thanks to laws like the Parental Rights in Education law, or as you might know, the “Don’t Say Gay” law. 

DEI in Florida

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While Brundage highlights her success in DEI, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has posted on X, “Florida is where DEI goes to die…”

Selfless Contributions

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However, DeSantis once also sent a letter to Ashley Brundage saying, “I am confident that you serve as a shining example of a positive role model in your community… Thank you for your selfless contributions to fellow Floridians.” 

More to Come

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While DeSantis may be giving some mixed signals on the situation, with the increase in people identifying as LGBTQ+ in the United States, we can only expect more transgender politicians across the country in the near future.

LGBTQ+ Identification Trends

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Unsurprisingly, LGBTQ+ identification in the U.S. has grown significantly in the twenty-first century, with 7.6% of U.S. adults identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community, and younger generations are seeing steady increases.

Generational Growth in Identification

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More than one in five Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ+ when compared to less than one in ten millennials, indicating a broader acceptance and identification with LGBTQ+ identities among younger adults.

More Than One in Five

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In a Gallup poll, Jeffrey M. Jones reported, “More than one in five Gen Z adults, ranging in age from 18 to 26 in 2023, identify as LGBTQ+, as do nearly one in 10 millennials.”

Future Implications

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If this current trend continues, the proportion of U.S. adults identifying as LGBTQ+ will exceed more than 10% within the next few decades with shifting societal norms and increasing acceptance of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

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The post ‘Is Florida Getting Their First Transgender Senator?’ first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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