Trans-Identifying 11-Year-Old Becomes Youngest Grand Marshal At Orlando Pride Parade
Dempsey Jara
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for GLAAD

An 11-year-old boy who identifies as a transgender girl was selected as grand marshal of Orlando‘s Come Out With Pride Festival.

Dempsey Jara, the youngest person ever chosen for the role, rode in an open-topped car leading the parade on Saturday. The child donned a gown, heart-shaped sunglasses, and waved to the crowd while holding a puppy. Dempsey’s parents were smiling while riding in the backseat. 

“She’s just always gravitated toward girl things, girls’ toys,” the child’s mom, Jaime Jara, told the Orlando Sentinel. “She’d say, ‘I’m a girl in my heart and my brain.’ She’s been on this journey since she was five and she’s living her best life.”

Dempsey told reporters at the event that “being transgender is not about a choice.”

“It’s about being true to myself. It’s about embracing who I am even when the world tries to tell me otherwise,” the pre-teen insisted. “It’s about standing tall in my identity even when it’s really hard.”


There were mixed reactions online, including many who criticized parade organizers for selecting a minor for that role. 

Dempsey’s mom told The Daily Mail during a previous interview that she started believing Dempsey might be transgender from a very young age.

“Dempsey has been gender non-conforming since the age of eighteen months old, basically since she was able to express herself. She always gravitated to dolls, dresses and sparkly objects,” Jaime told the outlet.

“Knowing that these items were what she wanted, we bought them because we knew how happy they made her,” she added. “Once I began sharing our daughter’s journey publicly, I started receiving a flood of messages and calls from friends, acquaintances and absolute strangers in similar situations asking for help and guidance with their transgender or gender non-conforming children. This continues to present day.”

Florida is one of several states that has issued bans on “trans-affirming” surgeries and experimental puberty blockers for minors. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 254 in May.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Trans-Identifying 11-Year-Old Becomes Youngest Grand Marshal At Orlando Pride Parade