Fabian Basabe
Rep. Fabian Basabe (Photo: YouTube)

A Florida State Rep. decided to attend the Miami Beach Pride parade last weekend, wave a rainbow flag and show his support for the local LGBTQ+ community.

That’s good, right?

Well, Republican Rep. Fabián Basabe did not receive the reception he was perhaps hoping for.

The representative for District 106 posted a YouTube video of himself at the parade, smiling and waving from the back of a convertible.

However, his video doesn’t show the whole story. Many in the crowd booed him and shouted at him to resign.

“Hail the queens!”

Basabe was elected in November 2022 following a campaign pushing him as a moderate Republican. He beat his Democratic opponent by just over 200 votes.

However, since taking office Basabe has largely voted along party lines. This has included several bills widely denounced as anti-LGBTQ+.

For example, here he is explaining why he voted in support of a recent ban on kids at drag shows. He says he just wants to keep kids away from anything inappropriate.

“Hail the queens! I voted to protect Drag Artists, who don’t need cheap thrills and improprieties to steal the show! Let’s separate our true entertainers from activists turned agitators,” he said on Facebook.

Advocacy groups such as Equality Florida have been unequivocal on where they stand on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passing through the Florida House. The organization expressed anger and dismay when the state recently expanded its ‘Parental Rights In Education’ law (the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill) to all school years.

In fact, here’s the Political Director of Equality Florida demanding Basabe resign.

Equality Florida staged a protest outside Basabe’s office last week. It accuses him of backtracking on early promises to support the local LGBTQ+ community.

Basabe had yet to be elected when ‘Don’t Say Gay’ was passed last year. However, he did not oppose its recent expansion to all school years.

Fabian Basabe
Rep. Fabian Basabe (Photo: US Gov)

Basabe, who is married to his childhood sweetheart, Martina Borgomanero, says the “Parental Rights in Education” bill is what he, as the father of a teenage son, wants schools to abide by.

“I am the father of a fourteen-year-old boy and I regard this bill to be exactly how I would want my child’s school to carry itself in their relationship with me,” he told Queerty.

On social media, Basabe took aim at the advocacy groups denouncing him. He says they’re spreading a false narrative about him.

“While in Tallahassee, serving my district and state, advocacy groups have taken advantage of my absence to market and promote a false and incomplete narrative.

“The leader of Equality Florida has also served in the House and he understands the process but failed to highlight any of the work I’ve done in each of the committee stops of these bills.

“I campaigned to remove lines 97 to 101 of the Parental Rights in Education bill and I did just that. As adults, we have a responsibility to interpret legislation in the best interest of our collective community.”

Vows to return to Pride next year

Although Basabe was not a lawmaker when ‘Don’t Say Gay’ passed, he informed Queerty he worked behind the scenes with lawmakers to modify some of its language. He says the original wording mentioned LGBTQ, but this was modified to instead simply reference “sexual orientation”.

“My heart is in the right place because I know this Bill does not discriminate in any way the LGBTQ community.”

Advocacy groups such as Equality Florida and Human Rights Campaign do not share that viewpoint. They would argue that the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill will only be used to target minority sexual orientations.

Basabe says he has no regrets about attending Miami Beach Pride.

“Miami Beach is my home. I proudly attended Pride and will again next year. I welcome and have no issues with any political protests – as long as peacefully carried. It’s what makes our democracy special,” he told Queerty.

“I believe there is misinformation about this Bill and I consider my job to present it correctly to those who have doubts, or disagreements, so to have a conversation, and I welcome every opportunity to do so.”

“I identify as a father”

Basabe, 45, was born in New York City to an Ecuadorian father and an American mother. The family relocated to Miami in 1987 and ran a string of successful restaurants. Basabe briefly enjoyed some fame when younger when he was featured on the E! documentary, Young, Rich and Famous. The show documented party-loving socialites.

Basabe’s time as a lawmaker has already stirred up some controversy. He is currently under investigation for slapping a 25-year-old aide. The alleged incident took place on January 3rd at a reception following the inauguration of Ron DeSantis.

Basabe told CBS News Miami this week, “I don’t remember anything like that.”

There has also been speculation about his own sexual orientation. Asked how he identifies, Basabe told Queerty, “I identify as a father and as a man who is true to himself and represents the idea of living and loving as one is emotionally and heartfully guided. As for my private life, I am of an adult age therefore entitled to live any lifestyle I choose as is reinforced by all this legislation we passed.”

“A mouthpiece for the DeSantis brand of right wing chaos”

Queerty contacted Equality Florida about Rep. Basabe’s views.

A spokesperson replied: “[Basabe] campaigned promising to be a legislative ally to the LGBTQ community and for abortion rights and has instead been nothing more than a rubber stamp for DeSantis’ extreme, bigoted agenda.

“The expanded Don’t Say LGBTQ bill, from lines 153-160, still has a clear prohibition on acknowledging LGBTQ people in preK-8 classrooms in Florida. In just one year, Don’t Say LGBTQ has already led to books with LGBTQ characters being banned, rainbow stickers being peeled from school windows, and sweeping government censorship—a fact Representative Basabe should be well aware of, since his own county of Miami-Dade rejected LGBTQ History Month last year as a result of this law.”

“Representative Basabe is little more than a mouthpiece for the DeSantis brand of right wing chaos … He should resign.”

Florida Pride parade canceled

In other Florida-related news, Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast announced Wednesday it was canceling its upcoming parade in Port St. Lucie. The move comes after lawmakers, including Basabe, sent the drag ban/adult entertainment legislation to the Florida governor’s desk for signing.

“It is with a heavy heart that Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast has to announce that this weekend’s Pridefest will now be a 21 and older event. The city has decided that with the likelihood that the Governor will sign the latest bill into effect this evening, that we will need to be on the side of caution and has required us to make this necessary change. We are obviously upset and disheartened that it has come to this. We also regret to announce that we will have to cancel our plans to bring back our beloved parade.”

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