A church in Naples, Florida, will host a "youth pride conference" next week for children ages 12 to 18 that will include a drag show and a presentation on political activism.
Billed as "an exploration of LGBTQ-related issues facing today's youth," the free one-day event, organized by a local chapter of the gay and transgender activist organization GLSEN, will take place on May 21 at Naples United Church of Christ.
The program for the conference includes a drag show "from some of our local drag queens," several presentations on mental health issues for gay and transgender individuals, a presentation on "sexuality and science" by an evolutionary biologist, a presentation on "inclusive sex education" by a representative from Planned Parenthood, and a presentation on political activism and advocacy.
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The event drew significant online attention after Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, shared a report on Twitter by the news outlet Florida's Voice that indicated the organizers planned to use the parking lots at local schools for free shuttle transportation to the conference.
Thank you @FLVoiceNews for exposing this and for making @collierschools aware of the situation! https://t.co/NzdlRjK1Fa— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) May 12, 2022
But the district shot down the plan, telling the Florida outlet that it had not been informed of the organizer's event.
"The District was never informed nor contacted about this event," the district said. "[Collier County Public Schools] is not a sponsor of the event, which is being held at a private facility. CCPS also neither authorized nor approved the transportation of CCPS students to and from district school sites by the event organizers. Any inference to the contrary is fully rejected by CCPS.”
“To this end, CCPS has spoken with the event organizer and explained that the information on the registration form, and any associated flyer, must be immediately corrected to reflect that CCPS is not a co-sponsor nor will it allow its school sites to be used as transit points for the pickup and drop-off of students for this event," the district added.
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Florida has been an epicenter of controversy in recent months after Republicans in the state passed a law prohibiting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools through third grade.
The law, which was met with widespread condemnation by Democratic politicians and liberal activists, was criticized as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, despite the word "gay" never appearing in the text of the law.