Thursday, May 6, 2021

Boynton Beach To Install Progress Pride LGBTQ Intersection

 May 6, 2021


(Boynton Beach, Florida) At this week's meeting, Boynton Beach City Commissioners selected the LGBTQ Progress Pride Flag as the design for the city's new public art installation to be located at the intersection East Ocean Avenue and 1st Street SE at the end of the city's Town Square.
The Progress Pride Flag adds a five-colored chevron to the classic six-colored classic Rainbow Pride Flag .The chevron emphasizes inclusion and progression, as the additional colors -- black, brown, light blue, pink, and white -- represent people of color, trans and non-binary individuals, and those living with HIV/AIDS.
At the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), Boynton Beach Vice Mayor Ty Penserga began working with city staff last fall on bringing LGBTQ public art to the city in a significant way.
PBCHRC is Florida's oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. 

Penserga worked with city's public art program staff to identify possible locations and develop designs for crosswalks and streetscapes incorporating the colors of the Progress Pride Flag, City Commissioners approved the location on April 20 and the Progress Pride Flag design on May 4.
"By highlighting the LGBTQ streetscape at the entrance to Town Square and downtown Boynton Beach, city officials are proudly letting LGBTQ people know that we recognize you, we stand with you, and we are all part of the fabric that strengthens Boynton Beach," said Penserga, who is Boynton Beach's first openly gay elected official, "We are sending a clear the message -- especially to our younger LGBTQ residents -- that everyone is welcome in Boynton Beach and that our community supports you."
"We thank Vice Mayor Penserga, the Boynton Beach City Commission, and city staff for creating his magnificent tribute to the city's LGBTQ community." said PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch.

"Over the past thirty years, the LGBTQ community in Boynton Beach has gone from being nearly invisible, to being tolerated, to being acknowledged, to being granted equal rights and benefits, to having our families recognized, and now, to having the diversity of the LGBTQ community publically celebrated," said Hoch. "That is quite an achievement."
Road work to prepare for the installation is now is underway. It is expected that paint will be applied by mid-June, in time for LGBTQ Pride Month.

The city plans to dedicate the LGBTQ Progress Pride Intersection in June..

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Delray Beach Moves Forward With LGBTQ Pride Streetscape in Pineapple Grove

May 4, 2021At this evening's meeting, the Delray Beach City Commission presented the design for a permanent LGBTQ Pride Streetscape to be installed in the intersection of NE 2nd Avenue and NE 1st Street in Pineapple Grove.
Last fall, Delray Beach City Commissioner Ryan Boylston opened discussions about bringing significant LGBTQ public art to the city with resident Nicholas Coppola and Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC). .

PBCHRC is Florida's oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. 
Coppola serves on the Board of Trustees of Compass, Palm Beach County's LGBTQ community center.The organization's mission is to engage, empower, and enrich the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and those impacted by HIV and AIDS.

"When the the City of St. Petersburg completed their LGBTQ Pride streetscape last year, Commissioner Boylston reached out to us," said Coppola. "Ryan has been -- and continues to be -- an incredible ally to the LGBTQ community. His leadership on our streetscape is just one more way he shows his support."
Following those discussion, in December 2020, at Commissioner Boylston's request, City Commissioners unanimously agreed to direct staff to explore designing an intersection that would feature the colors in the LGBTQ Progress Pride Flag.
The streetscape includes bold stripes using not only the six colors in the traditional LGBTQ Pride Rainbow Flag (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet) but also the five additional colors in the Progress Pride Flag (black, brown, light blue, pink, and white). The additional colors represent people of color, trans and non-binary individuals, and those living with HIV/AIDS..

"The LGBTQ community in Delray Beach is incredibly diverse, as is the population of the city itself," said Boynston. "With this streetscape, we recognize and honor all of our residents and visitors."
Over months that followed, there was extensive public discussion of the "inclusivity intersection", as it was described by Interim City Manager Jennifer Alvarez at this evening's meeting..

Elected officials and city staff met with the Pineapple Grove Mainstreet Advisory Board, the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Development Authority, Arts Garage, and several other organizations throughout Delray Beach. There was overwheling support for the project.
"We thank the Delray Beach City Commission and city staff for working to create this amazing tribute to the city's LGBTQ community," said Hoch.

"Over the past thirty years, the LGBTQ community in Delray Beach has gone from being nearly invisible, to being tolerated, to being acknowledged, to being granted equal rights and benefits, to having our families recognized, and now, to having the diversity of the LGBTQ community publically celebrated," said Hoch. "That is quite an achievement."
Mayor Shelly Petrolia intends to host a commemorative ceremony for the LGBTQ Pride Streetscape in June, which is LGBTQ Pride Month

 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Meet Sean Conklin, PBCHRC's Newest Bo ard Member

 

Sean Conklin is a South Florida transplant from the northeast. He moved to Palm Beach County in 2014 hoping to pursue a career in higher education. After working at Florida Atlantic University for a few years, Sean explored other career options and fell in love with nonprofit management. He completed a Masters in Nonprofit Management at Florida Atlantic University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Administration. Sean is an active member of the American Society for Public Administration and does nonprofit consulting. He also writes a blog about nonprofits and public administration.

A career public servant, Sean currently works for Palm Beach County as a Program Evaluator for the Ending the HIV Epidemic Program. His ongoing experience with LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations in Palm Beach County has been formative and he hopes to use his experience to act as a voice for people in matters that most impact them.

Sean advises two undergraduate fraternity chapters, one at Lynn University and the other at his undergraduate alma mater, SUNY Plattsburgh. He has presented at conferences on LGBTQ+ issues in collegiate social fraternities and is actively involved in Alumni affairs for his own organization, Zeta Beta Tau. In addition, Sean is a volunteer facilitator for two collegiate programs through Zeta Beta Tau: the Alcohol Skills Training Program and Safe Smart Dating, a sexual assault and domestic violence prevention program.

Among his other activities, Sean also serves as a member of the Imperial Sun Court of All Florida, an organization that raises money for local nonprofits through the art of Drag.

Sean believes in building the world he wants to live in, and he wants to live in a world where our LGBTQ+ community members are afforded the same rights, privileges, and opportunities as everyone else. He is excited to be part of an organization that shares that dream.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance Endorsements - Updated 3/25/21

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance endorses candidates who support LGBTQ initiatives and privacy rights.

Endorsements of candidates are made upon consideration of: 

  • How a candidate has voted on LGBTQ issues 
  • How a candidate has supported the Palm Beach County LGBTQ community

The following elected officials endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance currently hold office:

President Joe Biden and Vice President  and Kamala Harris

U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch

U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel

U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings

Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried

State Senator Lori Berman

State SenatorTina Polsky

State Senator Bobby Powell

State Representative Joe Casello

State Representative Omari Hardy

State Representative David Silvers

State Representative Kelly Skidmore

State Representative Emily Slosberg

State Representative Matt Willhite

County Mayor Dave Kerner

County Vice Mayor Robert S. Weinroth

County Commissioner Mack Bernard

County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay

County Commissioner Maria Sachs

County Commissioner Gregg Weiss

Clerk & Controller Joseph Abruzzo

Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon

Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks

Public Defender Carey Haughwout

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw

State Attorney Dave Aronberg

Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link

School Board Member Marcia Andrews

School Board Member Alexandria Ayala

School Board Member Frank Barbieri

School Board Member Karen Brill

School Board Member Barbara McQuinn

School Board Member Debra Robinson

School Board Member Erica Whitfield

Port Commissioner Joseph Anderson

Port Commissioner Blair Ciklin

Port Commissioner Jean Enright

Port Commissioner Wayne Richards

Port Commissioner Katherine Waldron

Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen

Circuit Court Judge Jaimie Goodman

Circuit Court Judge Dina Keever-Agrama

Circuit Court Judge James Martz

Circuit Court Judge Lisa Small

County Court Judge Ted Booras

County Court Judge Marni Bryson

County Court Judge  Frank Castor

County Court Judge Edward Garrison

County Court Judge Debra Moses Stephens

County Court Judge Ashley Zuckerman

Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Rob Long

Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor Eva Webb

Northern PBC Improvement District Member  Ellen Baker

Boca Raton City Mayor Scott Singer

Boca Raton City Council Member Monica Mayotte

Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Justin Katz

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Ty Penserga

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Christina Romelus

Boynton Beach City Commissioner Woodrow Hay

Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia

Delray Beach City Commissioner Ryan Boylston

Delray Beach City Commissioner Adam Frankel

Delray Beach City Commissioner Shirley Johnson

Greenacres City Councilwoman Paula Bousquet

Greenacres City Councilwoman Judith Dugo

Greenacres City Councilman Jonathan Pearce

Haverhill Town Council Member Ray Caranci

Lake Worth Beach Mayor Betty Resch

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Carla Blockson 

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Christopher McVoy

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Sarah Malega

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Herman Robinson

North Palm Beach Village Council Member Darryl Aubrey

North Palm Beach Village Council Member Susan Bickel

North Palm Beach Village Council Member David Norris

Palm Beach Mayor Danielle Hickox Moore

Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Julie Araskog

Palm Beach Town Councilman Ted Cooney

Palm Beach Town Councilman Lew Crampton

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Rachelle Litt 

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Mark Marciano

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Chelsea Reed

Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Marcie Tinsley

Riviera Beach City Councilwoman Julie Botel

Riviera Beach City Councilwoman KaShamba Miller-Anderson

Royal Palm Beach Village Mayor Fred Pinto

Royal Palm Beach Village Councilwoman Selena Samois

Wellington Village Councilman John McGovern

Wellington Village Councilman Michael Napoleone

Wellington Village Councilwoman Tanya Siskind

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christina Lambert

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shalonda Warren

This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.

President's Message - March 2021

 

March 10, 2021

First and foremost, I hope you are safe and well, riding out the pandemic as best as you can.
Throughout 2020 — despite the pandemic — the officers, directors and supporters of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the PBCHRC Voters Alliance and the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation continued to donate our time and talent to help the organizations move forward with our initiatives.
PBCHRC VOTERS ALLIANCE
For years, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA) encouraged supporters to vote by mail. However, in light of the pandemic, last year we redoubled our efforts. We did not want any of our supporters to take unnecessary risks.

As a result of PBCHRCVA's get-out-the-vote campaign, a record number of LGBTQ and allied voters participated in the March 9 municipal elections General Election — and almost everyone voted by mail!

The following PBCHRCVA-endorsed candidates were victorious in their elections:
Boca Raton City Council Member Monica Mayotte
Delray Beach Mayor Shelly Petrolia
Delray Beach City Commissioner Adam Frankel
Delray Beach City Commissioner Ryan Boylston
Lake Worth Beach Mayor-elect Betty Resch
Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner-elect Sarah Malega
North Palm Beach Village Council Member Susan Bickel
North Palm Beach Village Council Member David Norris
Palm Beach Town Council Member-elect Ted Austin Cooney
Palm Beach Gardens City Councilmember Marcie Tinsley
Riviera Beach City Council Member Julia Botel
West Palm Beach City Commissioner-elect Shalonda Warren
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi

Congratulations to all!

Since PBCHRCVA-endorsed Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Carla Blockson did not receive more than 50% of the vote in yesterday's election, she will be in a run-off election on March 23.
2021 “WINTER” FÊTE UNDER THE STARS

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS NOW ON SALE
PBCHRC will hold our “Winter” Fête Under the Stars on Saturday evening, April 10, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach.

Passed hors d'oeuvres will be provided by Sandy James Fine Food & Catering, who also will set up food stations and several premium open bars throughout the grounds and gardens. Pernod Ricard is our Champagne Sponsor, Michael Kagdis is our Vodka Sponsor, and Table 26 is our Wine Sponsor. And as always, Echo will provide sushi stations.

As we are concerned with the safety of our supporters and event staff, gates to the “Winter” Fête will open at 6:00 p.m. and close at 9:00 p.m. The number of guests will be limited to 200. The extended time, limited number of guests, and the venue’s spacious grounds and gardens will enhance safety and social distancing. We have ordered event masks, as masks will be required to be worn at the event.

We have a very limited number of individual tickets for $350.00 per person. As we are sure to sell out, if you are interested in attending, please go to pbchrc.org/events to secure your tickets. Checks also may be sent to PBCHRC, P.O. Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402.

Thanks go out to the following PBCHRC supporters who have joined the Host Committee for the “Winter” Fête:
Presenting Sponsors
Congressman Mark Foley and Ryan Ruark, R.N.
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

Champagne Sponsor - Pernod-Ricard
Vodka Sponsor - Michael Kagdis
Wine Sponsor - Table 26
Entertainment Sponsors - Gil Cohen and Paul Gervais

Grand Benefactors
Dan Hall
The Law and Mediation Offices of Rand Hoch, P.A.
W. Trent Steele and Douglas B. Andrews

Benefactors
Peter Conn, Jr, and Oscar Garza
Jeffrey and Frances Fisher
Wood Kinnard and Alberto Arias
Mittleman Eye / Dr. David Mittleman and Michael Duquette Fowler
Pernod-Ricard
SandyJames Fine Food & Productions
John Tatooles, Victor Moore, Dr. Rick Pollock and David Dowd
Don Todorich - Corcoran Group R.E

Sponsors
Alexandria Ayala and Rob Long
State Senator Lori Berman
Mack Bernard and Shawn N. Bernard
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
Palm Beach County School Board Member Karen Brill
Mauricio Busa and Barry Hayes
Shawn Cherry and Vincent Ruisi
David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo
Sean Conklin
Nicholas Coppola and David Crespo
Cornerstone Solutions
Palm Beach Town Council Member Lew Crampton
Joseph Paul Davis
Arlen D. Dominek and A. J. Young
Echo
Florida Sugar Cane League
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christy Fox
Charlie Fredrickson (In memoriam)
Wayne Galli
Jeffrey P. Ganek
Edith Hall Friedheim and Peter L. Cruise
Paul Gervais and Gil Cohen
Howard A. Grossman, MD
Tom Holton
Integrity Palm Beach
Michael Judd and Ben Small
Michael Kagdis
Koi Design Group
Mayor Myra Koutzen
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Christina and Monte Lambert
Palm Beach Gardens Vice Mayor Rachelle Litt and Dr. Jeffrey Litt
Sarah and Dawn Malega
Palm Beach Gardens Councilmember Dr. Mark Marciano and Dr. Brandee Marciano
David Miller and Ray Wakefield
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Joseph Peduzzi and Erin Peduzzi
Richard and Ellen Rampell
Roosters
Scott Rixford and Jose Mena
The Rev. Burl Salmon and Robert Henkel
Joseph Marino, Jr. and Anthony Sibilia
James Swope and Scott Robertson
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf
Table 26
Scott Velozo and Stephen Mooney
James Watson
Javier Weicman and Wayne Lewis
Palm Beach County Commissioner Gregg and Rebecca Weiss
Commissioner and Mrs. Robert Weinroth

If you are interested in helping underwrite
our "Winter” Fête Under the Stars,
please go to www.pbchrc.org/events

CONVERSION THERAPY BAN COURT CHALLENGES
Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, filed suit in federal court on behalf of two therapists seeking to nullify the bans on conversion therapy for minors enacted by Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton. The lawsuit is virtually identical to one Liberty Counsel filed against the City of Tampa.

Last year, Judge Robin Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida denied Liberty Counsel's motion for preliminary injunctions, which sought to prevent the bans from remaining in effect pending trial. Having lost, Liberty Counsel appealed the order to the U.S. District Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit and on Nov. 20, one three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the ordinances were unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.

The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County promptly filed a Joint Petition for Rehearing by the full Eleventh Circuit. The City of Miami filed an amicus brief in support of the Joint Petition , which was joined by numerous local governments around the county, including Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Lake Worth Beach, Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach.

We await a ruling on the Petition and we will keep you informed.
PRIDE CROSSWALKS AND STREET ART

In Delray Beach, Nicholas Coppola, the Downtown Development Authority and Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston are working on a project to install a Progress Pride crosswalk to the city’s downtown in time for LGBTQ Pride in June.

In Boynton Beach, longtime LGBTQ activist Allan Hendricks and openly gay City Commissioner Ty Penserga are brainstorming with Glenn Weiss, the city’s Public Art Manager, about bringing Pride artwork to the city.

We are still awaiting work to be completed in Northwood Village on permanent Pride crosswalks using the traditional rainbow colors.We hope the installation will be completed in 2021. PBCHRC and community activists in West Palm Beach continue to work with ArtLife WPB on additional crosswalk locations using the colors of the Progress Pride Flag.

While there has been discussion of Progress Pride crosswalks in Lake Worth Beach, no formal action yet has been taken.


DANIEL S. HALL SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARDS
The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation was established to fund scholarships and other charitable endeavors. As Chair, Joseph Garcia directs the Foundation. Jasmin Lewis heads the Foundation's Social Justice Awards Committee.

The Social Justice Awards are named after longtime PBCHRC treasurer Dan Hall, a local attorney who manages a financial counseling company. As the father of three grown children, Dan always has had a strong interest in education. Over the years, he has mentored several LGBTQ students.

ILast year, three college-bound high school seniors were presented $2,500 scholarships in recognition of their advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community as part of the Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards program. The Foundation has paid for the meal plan for an LGBTQ college student, provided tuition assistance for a Palm Beach State College student, and has made contributions to Compass, the ACLU of Florida, the First Amendment Foundation, and the Movement Advancement Project. In addition, the Foundation provided dues assistance and T-shirts for the members of the Palm Beach Gardens Community High School GSA. This year, the Charitable Foundation has expand ed our initiatives to include college scholarships to openly-LGBTQ athletes.

To apply for one of the 2021 Social Justice Awards, click here. (The application deadline is midnight April 23, 2021.)

If you would like to donate to the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation, checks may be sent to P.O. Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402. Since the Foundation was established in accordance with Section 501 ( c )(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, your contributions may be tax deductible.

OTHER NEWS

  • The Historic Board of the City of West Palm Beach has moved forward with H.G. Rooster’s application for designation as a West Palm Beach Historic Preservation Site. The City Commision is expected to vote on the designation in the next few weeks.
  • PBCHRC Board Member Jasmin Lewis was presented the Palm Beach County Democratic Party Black History Community Award.
  • The Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors® adopted an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination campaign - Realtors® for Equality.


CURRENT INITIATIVES

PBCHRC is currently working to persuade:

  • The Health Care District of Palm Beach County to provide trans-specific healthcare services to indigent patients,
  • The School District of Palm Beach County to adopt a resolution opposing conversion therapy on students
  • The School District of Palm Beach County to cease doing business with Chick-fil-A and other companies that discriminate against LGBTQ people and other minorities.
  • The State of Florida to prohibit discrimination based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" ,
  • The State of Florida to ban conversion therapy, and
  • The State of Florida to include crimes based on an individual's "gender" or "gender identity or expression" in Florida's hate crimes laws

For more than three decades, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. With your support, we will continue to do so in the years to come. As always, we will keep you posted on our progress.

Stay safe and keep healthy.


Judge Rand Hoch (retired)
President and Founder
This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance, P.O. Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Palm Beach County School District To Require Gender-Neutral Graduation Attire









Graduating seniors at Palm Beach County's public high schools will no longer don traditional gender-specific graduation caps and gowns.
The change in policy came about after the issue was raised School Board Member Erica Whitfield following a request by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), Florida's oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Over the years, PBCHRC has been responsible for the implementation of more than 150 laws and policies providing equal protections, rights, and benefits for the LGBTQ community. 
"This is a great day for all children in Palm Beach County," said Whitfield. "I am grateful to the School District for prioritizing equity and continuing to support the needs of all our children."
"While some gender-nonconforming students have come out to their families and friends, others have not," said PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch. "By doing away with the requirement for students to choose graduation colors based on their sex assigned at birth, the School District has taken a signifcant step forward in alleviating potential awkwardness at graduation time."
"When we eliminate the focus on gender by different colored caps and gowns, we put more focus back on the students' accomplishments," said PBCHRC Board Member Carley Cass.

In 2015, gender-nonconforming seniors objecting to their schools' graduation attire rules contacted Cass about their concerns. In the years that followed, PBCHRC persuaded a few principals to update graduation rules at their schools to conform with the School District's longstanding LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies.
As more and more gender-nonconforming students expressed their concerns, additional school administrators adopted rules requiring single color caps and gowns for all students.

However, principals at thee high schools --- Lake Worth, Jupiter, and Pahokee -- still refused to abandon the traditional separate colors based on gender.  A fourth, Royal Palm Beach High School intended to use two gown colors but let students choose either color regardless of gender.

"Apparently, the principal at Royal Palm Beach High School still doesn't get it," said Hoch.  "Sexuality is not binary."

Since there was no uniformity across the School District, Whitfield asked her colleagues to consider a gender-neutral approach by having a single color for each high school's caps and gowns in lieu of separate colors for each gender. The matter was placed on the School Board agenda for the February 3 meeting.
School District General Counsel Shawntoyia Bernard advised School Board Members that the practice of two color, gender-based graduation gowns violated not only eight School District policies, but also federal and state laws.

Following the meeting, Deputy Superintendent of Schools Keith Oswald sent an email to all principals directing them to end the use of gender-specific graduation caps and gowns.
For more than 25 years, Compass LGBTQ Community Center has provided progams and services for LGBTQ youth in Palm Beach County..Compass staff and Board Members were elated with the School District's directive..
"Compass is thrilled the School District continues to support LGBTQ students by making the milestone of graduation inclusive of all gender identities and expressions," said Amanda Canete, the organization's Youth Program Director. "Every day, the staff at Compass sees how enforcing gender expectations on children creates health inequities for our very impressionable youth, especially transgender and non-binary students."

"Since graduation is a time to celebrate achievements, this policy change means no student will have to represent themself as anything other than their own unique self on one of the most important days of a young person's life,” Canete added.
For a copy of Oswald's directive, click here.