By Mike Lednovich
Mayor Bradley Bean notified Fernandina Beach Pride Monday that he was rejecting reading a Transgender Day of Remembrance proclamation at the Nov. 7 City Commission meeting but then hours later did an about face.
Fernandina Beach Pride President Jordan Morris said Bean telephoned Monday to inform him that the Transgender Day of Remembrance proclamation would not be read at the city commission meeting. The proclamation memorializes those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia.
“He explained that he had three other proclamations to read that were celebrations and our proclamation was too solemn,” Morris told the Fernandina Observer. “Mayor Bean said he would read the proclamation at our Nov. 20th event at St. Peter’s.”
Following the notification from Mayor Bean, Morris notified the Pride board of directors of the decision and said members were “outraged.”
The city clerk was subsequently contacted about the decision by Genece Minshew, who is a past president of Pride, and the Fernandina Observer was told about Bean’s decision to remove the proclamation from the agenda.
While being interviewed by the Observer for this story, Morris received a second call from Mayor Bean. Morris said the mayor told him there had been a “misunderstanding” and he would read the proclamation as planned.
Morris said during his first 15-minute call with Bean that the mayor “wouldn’t budge” on his position not to the read the proclamation.
“I told him how disappointed I was and how upset the Pride board of directors would be about this decision,” Morris said.
Morris said the initial cancellation call caught him off guard because Bean had attended last week’s Pride meet-up event.
“Evidently something changed in the six days since then,” Morris said of Bean’s original decision. “His overall tone was totally different than last week.”
Bean did not respond to a text message from the Observer asking for comment on the proclamation. City Clerk Caroline Best confirmed that the transgender remembrance proclamation was remaining on the regular city commission agenda.
Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 20 was founded in 1999 by a small group, including Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Nancy Nangeroni, and Jahaira DeAlto to memorialize the murder of Black transgender women Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts and Chanelle Pickett in Watertown, Massachusetts.
The local Pride Transgender Day of Remembrance proclamation has been read at city commission meetings for the past several years.