FIU Students Hold ‘We Say Gay’ Protest

Group of demonstrators hold pride flags and signs outside of the Graham Center. Yansall Rasquides / PantherNOW

Yansall Rasquides / Staff Writer 

A group of FIU students came together to protest the “Don’t Say Gay” bill on Thursday, Mar. 17.

Students in attendance made signs and shared their ideas in protest of the bill that prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in Florida’s primary schools. 

Lia Sepulveda, a sophomore majoring in business analytics, organized the rally in hopes of bringing the LGBTQIA+ community at FIU together.

“I organized this protest for my community,” said Sepulveda. “I can feel the power in these student’s voices and I wanted people to see, support, and understand what this bill is and how it is affecting us.” 

Sepulveda giving a sticker to FIU Police Officer Felisha McKnight. Julian Davis / PantherNOW

Among the demonstrators was Janelle Perez, an FIU alumni and candidate for state senate. Perez was accompanied by a friend sharing pamphlets on her candidacy.

“I’m super proud of these young people that are out here doing this,” said Perez. “Tallahassee and our legislators do everything they can to silence our voice and seeing this is incredible. The youth coming out to protest the Don’t Say Gay Bill has made me so extraordinarily proud and and gives me faith for our future.”

Perez (bottom row in white shirt) photographed with demonstrators on Betty Chapman Plaza. Yansall Rasquides / PantherNOW

Students and demonstrators passed out flags, pins and more in support of the  LGBTQIA+ community.

Demonstrators began in front of the Betty Chapman Plaza at the Graham Center (GC) and marched their way to GC lawns. Students from different organizations at FIU joined in allyship.

Students walk with signs during the protest. Julian Davis / PantherNOW

The peaceful protest ended with demonstrators standing in a circle and speaking their minds to the group.

Christian Ramirez, a junior majoring in liberal studies, spoke on what this protest meant to him and his community. 

Supvelda wears a pride flag amongst demonstrators. Julian Davis / PantherNOW

“I plan to accomplish people seeing us as people, knowing that we’re here to support a big cause and that we’re not going anywhere,” said Ramirez. “This community is iconic, amazing and I’m living for it all.”