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Flush Naugle: Gays in Fort Lauderdale Call on Mayor to Resign

Flush1

Forty to fifty gay activists with Flush Naugle gathered at the Fort Lauderdale City Hall on Tuesday to protest comments made by six-term Mayor Jim Naugle surrounding the proposed installation of a $250,000 self-cleaning, robotic toilet there. Naugle, who claims he uses the word "homosexual" rather than "gay" because gay people "are unhappy," has said that an added plus to having the toilets is that they would keep gay people from using the facilities for public sex.

Flush2Naugle has also refused to approve the move of the Stonewall Library and Archives to the Broward City Library.

The protest, meant to be the prelude to a larger protest next week, moved from City Hall steps into the Commission chambers.

Dean Trantalis, the city's first openly gay commissioner, spoke at the protest, saying, "Mayor, only a great man can admit his mistakes. We are asking you to apologize. I ask this of you because the only other alternative is for you to resign."

Naugle has said, "Sometimes [public restrooms] are used for sexual activity -- most of it is men meeting men because it's same-sex people in the bathrooms." He added, "We're trying to provide a family environment where people can take their children who need to use the bathroom without having to worry about a couple of men in there engaged in a sex act."

FlushnaugleThe mayor has also embellished his comments with despicable comments about gay people in general: "I don't use the word 'gay.' I use the word 'homosexual.' Most of them aren't gay. They're unhappy."

The protest at the City Commission meeting was peaceful, and as Naugle convened the meeting of commissioners, protesters present in the chamber got up to leave, but not before letting Naugle know their feelings. According to the Sun-Sentinel, "gay activist Michael Albetta stood up and shouted: 'Mayor, we ask you, the city of Fort Lauderdale, to resign!'" with Naugle responding, "Thank you, I'm not resigning."

The controversial toilet was brought up at the meeting last night as well, and "city commissioners ... voted unanimously to delete it from the proposed budget."

Lauderdale's Naugle shrugs off gay protest [miami herald]
Gay activists ask Fort Lauderdale mayor to resign over offensive comments [sun-sentinel]
Flush Naugle [official site]

UPDATE: Flush Naugle has taken out ads in the Sun-Sentinel and New Times asking the mayor to resign. See the ad and read part of the press release after the jump...

The group said in a press release issued today:

"Unite Fort Lauderdale continues to fight against Mayor Naugle’s bigoted views and send a message to the community that the mayor no longer represents this city and should resign. The ads are open letters to the mayor featuring several quotes that show his insensitivity and lack of respect for the diversity of all members of the community. These quotes are in direct contrast with the first value listed in Fort Lauderdale’s Vision Statement- 'Respect for the dignity of our citizens and co-workers, and for the diversity of all groups.' The purpose of the ads is to show that Mayor Naugle’s insensitivity and ignorance extends beyond the gay and lesbian community. Over the years, Mayor Naugle has offended teachers, police officers, and fire fighters with his comments about those who can’t afford housing in the city. He has offended the African-American community by referencing lynching and through his comments made during the Sistrunk Blvd. debate. His comments also show that he does not take important issues seriously, often making flippant remarks about serious topics. For example, he said global warming was concocted by 'a bunch of scientists meeting in Paris who've had too much wine.' One of the ads run in the Sun-Sentinel, which the mayor has referred to as the 'scum-sentinel'."

Letter

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Comments

  1. One advantage to global warming is that Florida will be under water. Having spent a long weekend there a few weeks back, I can only see that as an improvement.

    Posted by: Rad | Jul 18, 2007 9:11:29 AM


  2. While I don't agree with the Mayor's approach or homophobic words and attitude, I do think the underlying issue needs to be addressed by the gay community.
    Having sex in public spaces is not OK. Whether gay or straight, in a park or public bathroom or steam room at the gym. It's inappropriate, immature and selfish.
    I'm all for civil rights but I do not believe that we as a community should be fighting for our right to engage in sex in public. (I understand this particular incident goes beyond this subject). I think people who participate in this behaviour perpetuate negative stereotypes of our community and set our cause back in return for a few minutes of their own personal pleasure.

    Posted by: Cameron | Jul 18, 2007 9:24:41 AM


  3. I go to Fort Lauderdale every winter and all this time had no idea its Mayor was a 'phobe. I'm going to have to reconsider visting a place that is so reliant on gay tourism dollars, yet has a populace that obviously supports this whackjob.

    Posted by: Snowbird | Jul 18, 2007 10:08:06 AM


  4. Cameron--

    What exactly are we supposed to do about people having sex in public parks and restrooms? A lot of the people who do that are deeply closeted "straight" men, or people otherwise stuggling with their sexual identity. It's unfortunate that it happens, but I don't think there's much we can do about it, and frankly I think people whose only sexual outlet is public toilets and parks need sympathy and help more than humuliation and disapprobation.

    Posted by: Dan E | Jul 18, 2007 10:33:54 AM


  5. Cameron-- I could not agree with you more. Go to the bathhouse, already, if it's anonymous sex you want. If a child of mine were to go into a rest room and witness one of my community engaging in a sex act, I'd whip their ass! I know! I know! Someone is going to get all over me for having said this, but public sex by anyone is not only disgusting, but morally and ethically reprehensible.

    Posted by: LMNOP | Jul 18, 2007 10:52:08 AM


  6. yeah, why do gay people have sex in bathrooms. its gross. they usually smell horrible, they're dirty, i mean, dudes, how can you even get it up in there? and come on, its 2007, not 1951. if guys want to have sex, they can hook up online. even married guys know about the internet. la-hame.

    Posted by: dan | Jul 18, 2007 11:19:58 AM


  7. I agree with both Cameron's comments and Dan's response to them. Although I wasn't able to see anywhere the whole interview that the mayor did, I kinda agree with him as well that public sex (gay or straight) is inappropriate especially in a place easily accessible by little ones. A homophobe or not, he's totally right about that one issue. His comments on our "happiness" and other gay issues though are totally out of place.

    Posted by: Shabaka | Jul 18, 2007 12:51:48 PM


  8. It seems to me that we are getting off track. As a gay man, I resent Naugle's homophobic stereotying of gay men as people who have sex in public restrooms. This is not my behavior. By focusing on this, we are complicit in reinforcing Naugle's homophobia.

    Do you think that if Naugle had made this statement about some other minority they would be arguing about whether or not it was acceptable behavior? Or would they be reacting to his racism?

    Posted by: voet | Jul 18, 2007 1:00:21 PM


  9. As I recall, the mayor was using a non-issue (there were few reports of public sex going on) to get a dig in against gay men. That's the whole point here. The mayor was hardly providing a public service. I don't think the protesters are defending bathroom sex either.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Jul 18, 2007 1:37:52 PM


  10. Somebody should pop a cap in Naugle's ass.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jul 18, 2007 1:45:04 PM


  11. Thanks Anon. I had no idea where these posters are coming from. The issue is about the big non-issue according to police in Ft. Lauderdale that it is not a huge problem. This mayor is plainly a bigot. Period. That is the issue. Is it my imagination or did the gay community help bring back tourists and loads of money to Ft. L.?

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 18, 2007 8:03:43 PM


  12. Get that Homophobic idiot out of office. To Dan who said it's gross that gays have sex in bath rooms. Well Dan you.ve probably had sex with women maybe not in bath rooms but elsewhere and I think that's real F'ing gross. How could you get it up, especially after a wiff of what's between her legs. Now that's F'ing GROSS dude

    Posted by: Brian Geier | Jul 19, 2007 4:47:31 AM


  13. The real issue is how can we support anyone in the public that fosters degrading remarks towards any protected class, whether if it is gay, African American, Jewish, Women, etc.? A public official should have composure and insightfulness to know that the thriving businesses in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors are made-up of a variety of different cultures. In particular in this case the gay community. (GAY BASHING SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED, IT SENDS A MESSAGE THAT IT IS OKAY TO BEHAVE THIS WAY!) Naugle needs to resign and we should picket until we are heard. NO MORE OFFENSIVE STATEMENTS TOWARDS ANY MINORITY.

    Posted by: Rebecca | Jul 19, 2007 8:58:46 AM


  14. come back with your indignation once gays stop accepting public sex as a 'fetish.'

    then it might be justified.

    Posted by: buenguy | Jul 28, 2007 5:39:33 PM


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