Roy at the checkout counter at work
Claire Goforth

Today, Synthia Roy works at a tattoo parlor in Jacksonville’s Edgewood area, she does set design and makeup for horror films and recently produced her second movie. 

But seven years ago, in her mid-30s, her life was a blur. In college, she’d turned to alcohol and drugs, finding they helped her express herself. Roy was a closeted transgender woman living a life that felt like a lie. Over time, the coping mechanism became a crutch.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

After months of protests and vigils for a string of transgender women killed in Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is holding a community forum Thursday about LGBT safety concerns.

Our Friday First Coast Connect Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, WJCT contributor Charles Griggs and Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski.

Our topics included,

  • Mayor Lenny Curry presenting his budget to the Jacksonville City council with an emphasis on public safety, libraries and infrastructure improvements.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

A group of advocates upset with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s handling of transgender shootings spoke out at the City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

3rd Jacksonville Transgender Homicide Sparks Pushback For Answers

Jun 26, 2018
SVG file Dlloyd based on Monica Helms design / Wikimedia Commons

Sunday’s shooting death of another black transgender woman in Jacksonville is getting national attention as well as local lobbying for protection as at least two events are planned this week.


Thursday on First Coast Connect with guest host Jessica Palombo we talked about the shooting of three transgender woman in Jacksonville and problems with police misgendering the victims with Jacksonville Coalition for Equality Dan Merkan, WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride and transgender activist Savannah Bowens (01:00). 

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

updated at 2/26 at 11:30 a.m. 

LGBT advocates are upset with the way the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is identifying a deceased shooting victim who they say was a transgender woman. Police haven’t announced any arrests in the murder.

krytofr / Flickr

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we discussed recent national and local news involving transgender people with Director of the University of North Florida LGBT Resource Center Kaitlin Legg (01:18).    

Our Book Club blogger feature this month was Snow by legendary Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (23:12).

Kedgar Volta and Joash Brunet, the creators of Brighter 2Gether, gave us a preview of the amazing display they are bringing to Five Points this weekend (46:00).  

Today on “First Coast Connect,” we heard legal analysis of a federal lawsuit filed by a transgender student against the St. Johns County School District from attorney Mike Freed (01:09). Monique Burr Foundation Program Outreach Manager Joni Shook (29:44) talked about the new program Summer Safety Matters. And local activist Matt Killen (40:08) gave us a preview of a new event called Clean City Saturday. 


  Today on “First Coast Connect,” our weekly Media Roundtable included Charles Griggs from the Jacksonville Free Press, Jacksonville Business Journal Editor Timothy Gibbons and WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride (01:13). We also spoke with Florida Education Association President Joanne McCall (33:31), and Fuada Velic told us about Saturday’s Srebrenica genocide remembrance in Jacksonville. 

restroom door with male and female figures
Kelly Florida / via Facebook

A federal lawsuit filed in Duval County to challenge transgender students’ use of their preferred bathrooms has been dropped, court documents show. 

St. Johns County Commissioner and Florida 4th District Congressional candidate Bill McClure appeared Monday with Melissa Ross on First Coast Connect ahead of next week’s primary election.  

We also spoke with transgender Jacksonville resident Denise Iondoli who is the subject of the latest video produced by local advocacy group “We Are Straight Allies.”

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

More than 30 people, many of them high schoolers, took two hours to address the Duval County School Board Monday night about the district’s policies toward transgender students.

The board heard opposing views on how it deals with accommodations like restrooms, with the majority of speakers in favor of the district’s current policy.

Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

A Northeast Florida lawmaker who’s running to be Nassau County school superintendent is asking Gov. Rick Scott to sue the federal government over recent transgender guidelines it sent to schools.

State Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach), who chairs the House K-12 Education Subcommittee until her term is up in November, wants Florida to join 11 other states that sued last month.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News


Updated 11:53 a.m.

The Duval County Public School Board will meet privately to discuss a lawsuit against its policy of allowing transgender students to use restrooms matching their identified gender.

Private “shade” meetings are allowed under Sunshine Law when the body is discussing litigation.

Clay County Schools

Clay County School Superintendent Charlie Van Zant is defending mentions of his religious beliefs in his phone messages to parents. One parent says she’s uncomfortable with what she sees as his “editorializing” in official correspondence.

Media Roundtable

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Paula Horvath, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly editor; and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk.

Topics include lawsuits against the Duval County and Clay County school districts over transgender students and bathrooms, the latest in the El Faro investigation, and more.

LGBTQ Workshop

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News


The Duval County School Board and school superintendent are being sued for allowing transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.

Transgender Students and Bathrooms

A new directive from the Obama administration on the use of school bathrooms by transgender students has provoked a torrent of criticism. It also marks a new front in America's long-running culture wars.

Last week the Departments of Education and Justice sent a letter to every public school district in the country with guidance for how to respect the rights of transgender students.

In 2012, the Jacksonville City Council failed to update the city’s human rights ordinance to include the First Coast's LGBT community. One of the sticking points was language referring to transgender residents. Some Council members reportedly didn’t want the ordinance to mention the words “gender identity or expression.”

In this week's issue of Folio Weekly, writer Clare Goforth follows the lives of several members of Jacksonville's transgender community. We speak with Goforth and two of the residents featured in the story: Jake Moore, UNF program coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center; and tattoo artist Synthia Roy.

Caitlyn Jenner says she is finally free after a Vanity Fair cover photo is shared around the world. The former Bruce Jenner went public with the decision to come out as transgender during an interview with Diane Sawyer in April. Transgender advocates say Jenner’s story is a powerful transformative moment, but they also want to remind people that Jenner’s experience and privilege is not typical. And media covering the transgender movement find themselves entering a new terrain.

The City of Miami Beach will be the first in the state to offer transgender benefits to city employees, starting this October. The Commission voted unanimously last Wednesday to offer the coverage.

How do you relate to a sibling that decides to make one of the most substantial life changes a person can undergo, changing their sex?