An 11-year-old transgender girl is “living her best life,” her mother insisted, as the couple took in the applause at the Come Out With Pride Festival in Orlando on Saturday.
Dempsey Jara became the youngest Grand Marshal in the event’s history when she paraded through the streets of the Florida city in an open car during one of the world’s largest Pride events.
Wearing pink heart-shaped sunglasses and a floral dress, she blew kisses to the crowd while holding a puppy in a blue bow, while her parents beamed in the backseat.
“She always prefers girls’ things and girls’ toys,” teacher mother Jaime Jara, 45, told the newspaper. Orlando Sentinel.
“She would say, ‘I’m a girl in my heart and my brain.’ She’s been on this journey since she was five and living her best life.”
Supporters cheered Dempsey through the streets of Orlando at the city’s Come Out With Pride Festival, as her beaming parents sat near the front
The 11-year-old from Long Island, New York, took pride of place as the youngest grand marshal in the event’s 18-year history
Dempsey’s parents Dennis and Jaime documented her transition on an Instagram page
Florida has pushed back on the trans movement led by Governor Rod DeSantis, who has banned gender-affirming care for children and labeled gender reassignment surgery as “mutilation.”
“I mean they’re trying to perform sex change operations on minors, give them puberty blockers and do things that are irreversible for them,” the Republican governor said last year.
The state has also banned school lessons about gender identity or sexual orientation for children in primary grades, through the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
But an estimated 200,000 people turned out for the Orlando event and Dempsey, who arrived from her home in Long Island, New York, insisted she would “stay strong in my identity.”
“Being transgender is not about a choice,” she told reporters.
“It’s about being true to myself. It’s about embracing who I am, even when the world tries to tell me otherwise.
‘It’s about standing firm in my identity, even though that is very difficult.’
Democratic politicians joined the parade, including Florida Rep. Maxwell Frost, who sang and danced on one of the carnival floats.
“Being transgender is not about a choice,” she told reporters, “it’s about being true to myself.”
The 11-year-old has become a fierce advocate for social justice with the support of her parents
“Our former pediatrician told us that Dempsey was just going through a phase of wearing dresses and saying that ‘transgenderism’ isn’t real,” said mom Jaime.
“This event is important because there is a lot of hate across the state right now, but today is about love in the ‘City Beautiful’ Orlando, where we love each other no matter what, with music and all,” said he told the local broadcaster. WESH who reported the event.
The broadcaster was also equally enthusiastic: presenters Michelle Imperato and Michelle Meredith were enthusiastic about Dempsey’s performance.
“There she is with the sunglasses blowing kisses,” Imperato told viewers.
‘Isn’t she sweet when she also has a cute dog with her?
“They’ve been on TV shows and she just shared her story and just hoped to inspire other little kids you know to live their truth and be who they want to be.
“And her parents have been a remarkable example to other parents.”
Four years ago, Dempsey’s parents told Dailymail.com that they had been accused of “child abuse” for supporting her transition.
“Our former pediatrician told us that Dempsey was just going through a dress-wearing phase and said ‘transgenderism’ isn’t real,” Jaime said.
‘Later she talked about our family behind our backs and called us ‘freaks’.
“However, we have also had great responses; a gas station employee saw Dempsey with her dress and short, slicked back hair and called her little Lady Diana.
‘When I showed Dempsey pictures of the late Princess Diana afterwards, she beamed for a whole week.’
The Long Island family amended Dempsey’s birth certificate in 2019 to reflect her gender transition and set up an Instagram page to document her development.
‘Dempsey has been gender non-conforming since the age of eighteen months, basically since she could express herself. She was always attracted to dolls, dresses and sparkly objects,” Jaime said
“We knew these items were what she wanted and bought them because we knew how happy they made her.”
“When I started sharing our daughter’s journey publicly, I received a flood of messages and calls from friends, acquaintances and absolute strangers in similar situations asking for help and guidance for their transgender or gender non-conforming children,” she said. Jamie. “This continues to this day.
“I feel like I’m doing my part in helping the highly marginalized transgender community in a small way. Being a parent is never easy, you need everything you have, pretty much every day.
‘She always drew herself as a girl with long blond hair. She asked for dolls and princess dresses as holiday gifts,” Jamie said
Dempsey’s parents initially thought it was a phase where she would be more interested in feminine toys and clothes
Parents have accused Jaime and Dennis of child abuse for the way they raised their daughter and attacked Jaime for ‘brainwashing’ her
‘Dempsey has really blossomed and come full circle since the social transition; she is happy, prosperous and generally quite comfortable with herself,” Jamie said
Supportive: The mother has since created an Instagram account to better inform the public about her daughter
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed six anti-LGBT bills into law this year, including a ban on gender-affirming care for minors
‘Having a transgender child, who has the odds stacked against them in every area of life, makes it even more difficult.
‘Unfortunately, I have also been harassed and verbally abused by parents who say that I am abusing my daughter and that my children should be removed from home.
“Many people have commented that Dempsey is lucky to have me as a mother. I feel exactly the opposite. I feel lucky to have Dempsey as my child.
“She teaches me new things every day and has changed my perspective on so many things, many of which are about compassion and acceptance.”