III. Current Context (For updates since 1996, be sure to check out current action alerts at http://www.youth.org/loco/PERSONProject/Alerts/States/Florida/list.html ):

There have been many recent efforts in Florida to overturn nondiscrimination ordinances or ban them from being enacted. Local radical religious right groups are being joined and supported by national ones including the American Family Association and Coral Ridge Ministries. There are also continuing attempts to pass local nondiscrimination ordinances. On June 13, 1995, Broward County, home nearly 20 years ago to some of Anita Bryant's anti-gay crusades, passed a human rights ordinance banning sexual orientation discrimination by a county commission vote of 6-1. Broward County joins Tampa, Key West, West Palm Beach, Miami Beach and Palm Beach County as Florida locales that don't discriminate against lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

"Of Pandas and People, an anti-Darwin text for middle and early high school students, is under review for use in the St. Lucie County schools.

A prominent and syndicated columnist for the Orlando Sentinel recently lambasted a California lesbian teacher for coming out to her 6th grade class.

Randall Wiseman, a member of the Lake County School Board defeated a radical religious right-backed candidate in the GOP primary during 1995.

In 1996, the Human Rights Task Force of Florida lobbied the Hillsborough County School System on behalf of lesbian and gay students who face harassment and violence in school. Organized meeting with students and youth advocates with top officials, coordinated letter writing campaign by national l/g/b advocacy groups and secured commitment to revise existing policies. (Contact info for HRTFF is below).

The Jacksonville PFLAG chapter is has formed a scholarship fund in conjunction with the Lesbian and Gay Association Jasymin.

IV. Resources:


The Human Rights Task Force is a Tampa-based statewide political committee dedicated to eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation and ensuring equal rights for all people.

Our primary focus is to register, organize and educate voters in support of laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. We currently have chapters in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties and work with organizations throughout the state that support similar goals

Meetings in Pinellas County are held the first Thursday of each month at the Unitarian Church in Clearwater 2470 Nursery Road; the Hillsborough meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at MC Film Festival at 3601 Kennedy Blvd in Tampa.

EMAILING LIST: To subscribe TO this list, send a message to HRTF_list@dq-fl.org and put the following information in the message section: JOIN HRTFFL_info <your email-address>



ALSO Out Youth, Inc.
PO Box 7382
Sarasota, FL 34278

Executive Director: Lori Stephens Tomlinson (email: executive.director@alsoyouth.org)
HIV Prevention Director: Wade Crawford
Office # :( 941) 951-2576
Youth contact pager (941) 252-ALSO ( 2576)

web page: http://www.alsoyouth.org/
The web page has a survey for queer youth, this will be used to help us improve our services and advocate for and with youth. We also have a way to sign up for our frequent email updates that we send to youth.

email is Tbalso@aol.com or srqgayyouth@hotmail.com


Discussion Group: We have a discussion group that meets weekly. The group covers a variety of topics which are chosen by youth.

Drop-In Center: Our center has a library and a place to hang out. The hours depend on the season so call the pager to get info.

HIV Prevention: We have an HIV Prevention Case Manager. He is here to answer any questions young people might have about HIV and safer sex. You can make an appointment with him or stop by during his hours. Call the pager for more info.

Social Events: We plan monthly events for youth. These include Beach "Outings:, Pizza and Movie Nights. These events draw 40-50 different youth.

Advocacy: We are working with our schools, social service agencies and religious institutions to create safe zone allies. We are asking individuals to display the safe zone symbol and agree for us to give their names to youth in their school or institution.

Route 4 Box 345-B
Lake City FL 32024
(904) 755-4899 circulation 12,000




There much in this manual about how to access and utilize news media.
Why should you care about news media?

This is such a high profile issue that inevitably it becomes front page news, whether you wanted it to or not. You have to be ready to handle the media, and it is best to be proactive and put your side of the story out there first.

Get to know your area media people. Make sure you are always accessible to them. Make sure you provide them with accurate information. Be helpful to them, giving them story ideas and leads, background briefings, etc. Be persistent and polite. Remember, media are one of the most pervasive influences in our culture...they can make or break your efforts. Use them to teach the public at large, to organize, to develop allies.

Never let media inaccuracies go unaddressed...the slightest misuse of a word can change a whole story and, if let go, can ultimately ruin all your efforts.

We have provided statewide print media because the orientation of this manual is for systematic change at the statewide level in educational systems. Many smaller media outlets use wire service reports or stories from the major newspapers in their state or area. Thus, you will find that stories big and small bounce up and down the media ladder within a state. It is important to monitor media statewide, since stories, whether good or bad, spread in this multiplier fashion.

Even more important, from the standpoint of your being PROACTIVE, you will want to get the jump on the opposition by sending your releases out by fax and email to as many media as possible.

For important tips on using media and media skills, please refer to APPENDIX VI of our organizing handbook at


For YOUR state's mainstream newspapers, go to


For a searchable database for US local TV stations, go to




Return to the Handbook Table of Contents

Last updated 6/11/2004 by Jean Richter, richter@eecs.Berkeley.EDU