By Mike Lednovich
Fernandina Beach Mayor Bradley Bean notified Fernandina Beach Pride Monday that he is unwilling to read the Transgender Day of Remembrance proclamation at Tuesday’s city commission meeting. That was his initial decision, then he relented, then he changed his mind again.
Pride President Jordan Morris said Bean arrived at his home Monday afternoon to notify him that he would not read the proclamation as written.
“I knew something was up when he showed up at my house,” Morris said. “We talked for about an hour and the mayor said he would not read it. This is apolitical and a stain on the mayor’s office because he is not representing all of the constituents of Fernandina Beach.”
Morris said Bean showed him a draft of a new proclamation that he proposed to be read at the meeting.
“The mayor’s draft proclamation eviscerated the intent and meaning of Transgender Day of Remembrance,” Morris said. “The draft language was more about anti-violence in general. There was not one mention of violence against transgender people and I was very concerned with that. The draft was unacceptable, and I told the mayor this isn’t going to work.”
Morris has asked Commissioner Chip Ross to read theTransgender Day of Remembrance proclamation as originally written.
“If I have the authority and am so asked I will read the proclamation. All five commissioners represent all of the people of Fernandina Beach,” Ross said.
Although if Ross is allowed to read the proclamation, it could be an unofficial city document because it will not include the signature of Mayor Bean.
Reached for comment, Mayor Bean texted, “In regards to your continued requests for comment, feel free to stop. I will never provide comment for your blog.”
Morris said he has asked Pride members and supporters to attend the city commission meeting in force for the reading of the proclamation.
Last week, Bean originally told Morris he was rejecting the proclamation, but then changed his stance after people had contacted him and the City Clerk’s office regarding his decision.
Pride posted on its Facebook page Monday morning the following:
“At this week’s Fernandina Beach City Commission meeting (Tuesday, Nov. 7, 6pm, City Hall), a proclamation will be read to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance. Please consider joining us in a showing of solidarity for this cause. Wear light blue/pink or rainbow attire to help demonstrate the importance of this annual proclamation and our love and acceptance for our transgender brothers and sisters. We will leave the meeting when the proclamation is complete.”
Pride has not posted any notice on Facebook of Bean’s subsequent refusal to read the proclamation.
City proclamations are read at the beginning of city commission meetings, which start at 6 p.m.
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.
The proclamation reads:
WHEREAS, fourteen years ago, Ms. Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, founded
Transgender Day of Remembrance to memorialize the murder of a fellow transgender woman, Ms. Rita
Hester who was killed due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice. Like many anti-transgender murder
cases, Ms. Hester’s death has yet to be solved; and
WHEREAS, this Day of Remembrance is an international day of action observed in over 185
cities and in more than twenty countries. Although not every person represented during Transgender Day
of Remembrance self-identifies as transgender, each has been subjected to violence based on bias against
transgender people. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender based hate or prejudice; and
WHEREAS, this Day of Remembrance raises public awareness of hate crimes and publicly
mourns and honors the lives of those who might otherwise be forgotten. Day of Remembrance reminds
people that we are their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. Day of Remembrance
provides our allies an opportunity to step forward and stand in vigil, memorializing those who’ve
tragically died simply for being who they are; and
WHEREAS, Transgender Day of Remembrance is an advocacy, education, and communitybuilding organization that works to end
discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. This includes working towards the empowerment of all persons who have been,
are being, or might be deprived of equal rights and/or fair treatment because of their gender expression or identity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Bradley M. Bean, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of
the City of Fernandina Beach, Florida, do hereby proclaim November 20, 2023, as:
“TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE” and remind all that we are created equal and have certain unalienable rights which include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.