Tampa Pride kicks off amid fraught political climate for LGBTQ+ community

Tens of thousands of people are expected to line the streets of 7th Avenue in Ybor City Saturday afternoon for the city of Tampa’s Pride parade.

It’s a time where the LGBTQ+ community and its allies celebrate and reflect on the community’s history of overcoming obstacles.

"We are proud to be who we are and through years and years and trials and tribulations of adversity, we continue to be proud of who we are and continue to shine and I think that’s what the essence of what a pride event or what a parade is," said Trevor James, the President of PFLAG Tampa.

This year’s pride comes at a time when state leaders are making decisions that some say go against the LGBTQ+ community.

This week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed expanding the Parental Rights to Education Act to all grade levels.

Opponents of the bill call it the "don’t say gay" bill. Although it does not say that verbatim, the law is aimed at prohibiting classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity. 

MORE: Expanded Florida law would ban lessons on sexual orientation, gender identity in all grades

All of this also comes after a year-long dispute between Disney and Governor DeSantis, who signed a law that ended decades of autonomy at the Disney resort.  It was seen as punishment over Disney’s opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Act.

There’s also a new law championed by the governor that makes it illegal to get puberty or hormone blockers for kids.  It also outlaws transition surgery for people under 18.

"It is sad we have to say this but our children aren’t guinea pigs for science, and we can not allow people to make money off them mutilating them," said the governor during his state of the state address earlier this month.

Opponents say this legislation is hurtful to the gay community and could do more harm to children than good.

On Wednesday, four families filed a lawsuit in federal court against Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and the state boards of medicine; claiming the ban on puberty-blocking hormones and gender-affirming surgeries for minors violates the equal protection clause of the constitution by singling out transgender minors.