Realizing last week that they didnt have the votes, SAVE Dade members asked commission co-sponsors to pull the proposal. The group immediately blamed Bell for the defeat, and the next day thanked Edmonson, Barreiro, Heyman and Jordan.
State and national LGBT activists believe that the law will pass eventually.
Miami-Dade will pass these protections. It is too diverse a community and there is too broad of a coalition that supports this to not succeed, said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, the states largest gay-rights lobbying group.
Smith said that her group has successfully fought similar campaigns in places like Gainesville, which passed a trans-inclusive law in 2008.
The education process that came from challenging the lies and tactics to dehumanize transgender people paved the way to victory, Smith said. In the end, I think that will be true in Miami.
Ultimately, Smith said, these heated discussions make the case for why these laws are necessary.
The most crucial first step in passing a gender-identity law is finding a person to be the face of the campaign, said LGBT activist Babs Siperstein of New Jersey, one of two transgender members of the Democratic National Committee.
You need a face. Someone with a family who is willing to come out, said Siperstein, 70, who publicly identified as transgender in the late 1980s. I lived a dual life for 34 years, she said. Then my wife died suddenly.
Acknowledging that many people have little understanding about gender issues, Siperstein encourages other transgender people to come out, too.
Be part of the solution, she said. The general public doesnt know. Frankly, the general media has given us terrible press. Youve got the tranny prostitutes, the drug people. Youve had people get sick pumping the silicone.
Siperstein, whose son and grandchildren live in Lake Worth, said its essential to relate to transgender people as neighbors and family members.
Like in business, you have to play on what people have in common, she said. Youve got to humanize.
Last year, Siperstein attended her grandsons bar mitzvah in Palm Beach County.
The rabbi referred to Siperstein as the boys grandmother.
My son just kind of whispered to him, No, shes the grand father, Siperstein said. Its all part of being positive.