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LGBTQ advocates protest outside state legislator's Miami Beach office

A protest organized by Equality Florida took place outside of the office of Republican State Rep. Fabián Basabe in North Beach Village on April 14, 2023.
Verónica Zaragovia / WLRN
A protest organized by Equality Florida took place outside of the office of Republican State Rep. Fabián Basabe in North Beach Village on April 14, 2023.

Demonstrators with Equality Florida protested Friday outside the office of state Rep. Fabián Basabe, a Republican from Miami Beach, denouncing him as an anti−LGBTQ lawmaker.

“He’s willing to lie at every turn to win an election and the minute he gets to Tallahassee he cozied up to Ron Desantis and his Republican cronies and stabbed us in the back,” Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director for Equality Florida, an LGBTQ political advocacy group.

Leading up to his election in 2022, Rep. Basabe told LGBTQ voters he would protect their livelihoods, Pollitzer said.

During Friday’s protest, Basabe stepped outside his office to engage with the protestors. He told them he'd be willing to speak with them and invited them into his office.

He insists he supports “all people,” but said that he stood by his votes.

“They feel that I'm not supportive of them because they’re being told this by paid advocacy groups,” Basabe claimed, without proof of his allegations.

Pollitzer said Basabe's votes show he does not support LGBTQ people.

A House panel on Wednesday approved a measure aimed at preventing children from seeing drag shows. The measure (HB 1423) would prevent children from being admitted to an “adult live performance” and could lead to venues facing penalties for violations.

While the proposal doesn’t specifically single out drag shows, it comes after the DeSantis administration took steps such as filing a complaint against the Hyatt Regency Miami hotel for hosting a “Drag Queen Christmas” event in December, alleging minors were allowed to see the show.

“I find the debate on this bill to be stunning,” House sponsor Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, said before the House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee voted 10-5 to approve the bill Wednesday. “This bill is about children.”

But opponents have argued that parents should be able to make decisions about whether children attend events and say the proposal is part of a broader conservative attempt to take aim at LGBTQ people. Rep. Kristen Arrington, D-Kissimmee, described the bill as “red meat to the right base.”

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 28-12 along party lines Tuesday to pass its version of the bill.

Basabe’s district includes Miami Beach, which is hosting Pride festivities this weekend. Basabe said he would attend the Pride Parade on Sunday.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this story.

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care, as well as Surfside and Miami Beach politics for the station. Contact Verónica at vzaragovia@wlrnnews.org
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