Michael Emanuel Rajner

Charlie Crist Speaks on HIV/AIDS and Marriage Equality

Filed By Michael Emanuel Rajner | October 28, 2013 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Broward Schools, Charlie Crist, education, Florida Demcratic Party, Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, homophobe, Katie Leach, marriage equality, Media Trackers, Red Broward, Rick Scott, sex education, Tom Lauder

In addition to the HIV virus, activism courses through my veins and I admittedly am an unabashedly vocal advocate to fight for my community in the political and public policy arenas. This past Friday, using her official email, Broward County School Board member Katie Leach wrote in response to last week's post about her homophobic flying monkey,

"I have heard from many in the LGBT community that most choose to deal with you as minimally as possible only to avoid your bullying, bombastic ways when others share their disagreement with their views. I find you to be nothing more than a bully, no different that the ones you rail on about that hurt the LGBT community."

I wear this as a badge of honor, coming from someone who was appointed to the Broward County School Board by Tea Party Florida Governor Rick Scott as he waged a war on Florida's public schools, teachers, and the social safety programs to ensure impoverished families had all the support they needed to provide for their families.

But with all that said, I have been honored and recognized by numerous organizations for my activism and contributions in our community's struggle for civil, economic and social justice. Those contributions have been widely reported on in the media, and while I agree many are not completely comfortable with my style, its been effective when others in our community must walk on eggshells as they attempt to move their organizations' missions forward.

Charlie CristMy role in our community as an activist and willingness to agitate until our needs are addressed have often been said to be relentless. A hero of mine, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has said:

"There is not a finer, more aggressive advocate then Michael Rajner when it comes to the issues to the gay community, the LGBT community. He is the Pitbull you need in the room."

Over the last year, I have been very outspoken as Florida's gubernatorial race gears up. I take responsibility for all my statements while I fight for my community as I engage with lawmakers at every level and branch of our government.

At this weekend's 2013 Florida Democratic Party State Conference at the Disney Yacht Club and Resort in Orlando, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist sat down with me and engaged in constructive and lengthy dialogue that focused largely on issues around HIV/AIDS and the needs of the LGBT community.

As we wrapped up our private meeting on Sunday, Crist agreed to record an exclusive video message on the issues relating to HIV/AIDS and LGBT equality.

Watch, after the jump.

During our private meeting in his hotel suite, Crist and I discussed our departure from the Republican Party and how we aligned ourselves with the Democratic Party because it values and prioritizes the needs of all people.

We spoke candidly about our families and life experiences and I reminded him of a public dialogue we once had relating to abstinence-only sex education and how it fails to factor in the needs of LGBTQ youth and at-risk youth. We also discussed the staggering impact of HIV/AIDS in Florida and how South Florida leads the nation with the highest rates of new HIV-infections.

Later that same day, Crist attended a meeting of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus at the state conference. Below is a recording of his comments at Sunday's meeting. (For the record, I serve as the legislative director for the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus.)


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