‘It was the life raft’: Transgender people find a safe haven in Florida’s capital city

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02/25/2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Quandarius “Chanel” Johnson twirled a gold-colored crown that glinted with light streaming in from a nearby window. It’s a symbol to remind her of her strength. After all, “I’m a Leo,” Johnson said. She keeps the crown hanging on her bedpost. Johnson, a Black transgender woman, lives in a safe house not far from the Florida Capitol, where lawmakers in recent years have placed new restrictions on transgender people, as have legislators in other Republican-dominated states. Last spring, for example, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law prohibiting puberty blockers and hormone therapy for minors, and another barring transgender people from using the restroom that matches their gender identity.

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