The ad produced by SAVE features Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, former U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen, and their son Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, who is transgender.
The ad will run in Spanish in the South Florida market.
SAVE, South Florida’s foremost advocate for the local LGBTQ community, announced today the unveiling of a groundbreaking new public service announcement featuring Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican representing much of Miami-Dade County who has been a consistent champion for LGBTQ rights. SAVE will screen the PSA to the public for the first time at the May 16th event at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus.
“Family is everything,” states Ros-Lehtinen at the opening of the advertisement. “Every transgender person is part of someone’s family and should be treated with compassion and protected from discrimination,” she says, flanked by her husband, Dexter Lehtinen, and their son, Rodrigo Heng Lehtinen.
The PSA comes at a time during which legislators in states like North Carolina and Mississippi have passed discriminatory anti-LGBTQ legislation, which criminalize bathroom use by transgender people and sanction discrimination against LGBTQ resident. These efforts are similar to proposals SAVE has been successful in preventing from passing through the Florida legislature in 2015 and 2016.
Anti-LGBTQ laws have wrought economic ruin on states that have enacted them due to rapidly mounting job losses and fleeing talent. The threat of similar economic disaster in Florida has increased the urgency of SAVE’s comprehensive community outreach program to reduce prejudice against the transgender community, which was recently proven highly effective by researchers from Stanford and UC Berkeley in a yearlong study published in the journal Science that garnered extensive national attention.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and her son made history in 2014 by appearing together in a televised interview with Jim DeFede on CBS4 in Miami. The family discussed their experience in raising a transgender child, as well as the value of respect and dignity for LGBTQ Americans, particularly in light of recent changes championed by SAVE to the Miami-Dade Human Rights Ordinance extending protections to transgender residents of Miami-Dade County.
In 2015, SAVE honored Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen as a Champion of Equality for his role in furthering LGBTQ equality in in Miami-Dade County and across the country.
The debut of the “Family is Everything” PSA will be followed by a presentation on SAVE’s outreach technique, termed by researchers as “deep canvassing.” In the wake of the Science study demonstrating the technique’s unique effectiveness at changing hearts and minds, there has been much discussion within the scholarly community about its application to politics and the social sciences.
Both the outreach program and the public service announcement featuring Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and her family are part of a comprehensive effort on the part of SAVE to reduce prejudice in the community at large in order to foster a social environment which allows for the discussion and enactment of pro-equality policies such as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, as well as the rejection of anti-LGBTQ proposals such as the laws in Mississippi and North Carolina.
To view the public service announcement, please visit: http://www.save.lgbt/watchpsa.