ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - St. Pete Pride hosted its kickoff event at the Sirata Hotel Thursday, just days after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning transgender youth from playing sports alongside those of their identified gender.
"He had the bill, he intentionally chose to sign it on June 1," said Tiffany Freisberg, the vice president of the St. Pete Pride board. "I don't think any of us are surprised; we all saw that coming."
Freisberg says she will not let the governor’s actions overshadow pride month.
"I have three daughters, I certainly would never want them to win at a sport because they were excluding a trans-girl. Let's be clear, trans-girls are girls, so I think shame on him but again I don't any of us are really surprised," Freisberg said.
Governor DeSantis also vetoed a bill that allocated money for mental health counseling and employment assistance for survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shooting and their families.
However, the governor did approve more than $200 million for community-based mental health funding for the next fiscal year.
"The political battles remind us that the celebrations are really about the fight and the struggle but also about the resilience and about what makes us an incredibly diverse community that is in this to support one another and to carry it on," said Nathan Bruemmer, the St. Pete Pride board president.