The St. Johns County Board of Commissioners will not consider a request to recognize June as LGBTQ pride month.
The requested resolution would have recognized lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people as valued members of the community, specifically LGBTQ people who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. It would have included the county flying a rainbow flag to affirm it.
“It made me realize, no, I want you to open this door,” said St. Johns County resident Mary Cobb, who was involved in writing the proclamation. . “At least to the point where we can have the dialogue and you can vote against it. That’s fine. But to not even have the opportunity? That was what was more offensive and hurtful.”
Under the board’s bylaws, only the chairman of the board can put an item on the agenda, said Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair Henry Dean.
“Let me put it this way,” Dean said, “I certainly support their cause and I would vote for it if it was on the agenda, but I don’t have the authority to put it on the agenda.”
Board Chair Jeremiah Blocker did not immediately respond to WJCT News’ request for comment. This story will be updated if he responds to our questions.
Cobb and fellow St. Johns County resident Sara Bloomberg have successfully pushed versions of the resolution to the governments of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach in previous years, but this was their first time asking the county government to take it up. It was also the first time the amendment specifically affirmed LGBTQ people of color.
“I was told on the phone that the county will not even introduce anything that is too far right or too far left,” said Sara Bloomberg, a county resident who pushed to have the resolution added to the agenda.
Bloomberg said the proclamation would have sent an important message to young people.
“There is a complete lack of community for youth ages 4 to 13 who are queer,” Bloomberg said. “There’s nowhere to go, there’s nowhere to see people like you, and there are no places where people can feel safe.”
Bloomberg, a transplant to Florida from New York, is one of the co-founders of the House of Prism, a nonprofit that is working to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in St. Johns County.
The governments of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach have said they will consider the resolution.
Contact Sydney Boles at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.