Trans girl aged 11 is youngest ever Orlando Pride marshal: ‘Living her best life’

(Getty Images/Instagram/dempseydreamer)

An 11-year-old trans girl has made history as the youngest ever grand marshal of the Orlando Pride parade. 

On Saturday (21 October), at Orlando’s Come Out With Pride Festival, Dempsey Jara rode in an open-top car with an adorable puppy in her lap, through the streets of the Florida City centre.

She is the youngest grand marshal in the Pride event’s 18-year history.

Wearing wearing pink heart-shaped sunglasses and a floral dress, the 11-year-old waved and blew kisses at the crowd while her parents beamed from the backseat.

Around 200,000 people turned up to the Orlando Pride festival and Dempsey told reporters that she would continue “standing tall” in her identity, despite the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ laws plaguing the Sunshine State. 

The young trans trailblazer delivered some inspirational words to reporters, telling them: “Being transgender is not about a choice. 

You may like to watch

“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 tall in my identity even when it’s really hard.”

Jaime Jara and Dempsey Jara appear on stage during the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at New York Hilton on 13 May 2023. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for GLAAD)

Demsey’s mum, schoolteacher Jaime Jara, 45, told the Orlando Sentinel: “She’s been on this journey since she was five and she’s living her best life.

“She’s just always gravitated toward girl things, girls’ toys. She’d say, ‘I’m a girl in my heart and my brain’.”

Posting about the parade on the Instagram account that her parents run, Dempsey shared footage from the event withe the caption: “Yesterday was the best day of my life!

“It’s not easy to be a constant target of hate, but I remain visible because I want other Trans kids to know there is such #joy in being your authentic self. Thank you, #Orlando, for showering me with so much love! #bewhoyouare”

Democrat Maxwell Frost – the representative for Florida’s 10th congressional district who has previously accused state governor Ron DeSantis of practising “fascism” following attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and Black history – was also in attendance/

Frost told local broadcaster WESH: “This event is important because right now across the state there is a lot of hate but today is about love in the ‘City Beautiful’ Orlando, where we love each other no matter what, with music and everything.”

Dempsey’s achievement follows her parents previously being accused of “child abuse” for supporting her transition. The 11-year-old had her birth certificate changed in 2019 to reflect her affirming gender. 

Her mum Jaime has previously shared that Dempsey has been gender non-conforming since the age of 18 months. 

She said sharing her daughter’s gender journey publicly saw her receive a flood of messages from people in similar positions. 

Jaime told Mail Online: “I feel that in a small way I am doing my part helping the very marginalised transgender community. Being a parent is never easy, it takes everything you have, pretty much every single day.

“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.”