LGBT organizations around the country are rallying behind Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.’s gay residents following a series of offensive remarks delivered by the city’s mayor, Jim Naugle. The firestorm surrounding the mayor began nearly three weeks ago when, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Naugle claimed that the city’s public toilets should be upgraded in order to prevent “homosexual sex” that he believed rampant in men’s restrooms. Following the initial remarks, the public outcry forced Naugle to respond. His apology seemed to make matters worse when Naugle stated that he believed that he didn’t, “use the word ‘gay.’ I used the word ‘homosexual.’ Most of them aren’t gay. They’re unhappy.” Organizations including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have issued statements condemning the mayor’s inappropriate speech.
GLAAD responded, “Mayor Naugle’s comments and his lack of remorse for dividing his community are wrong. He needs to enter a dialogue with the constituents his words have hurt and start being the mayor he was elected to be—one who represents all residents of the community.”
These protests, as well as a quickly spreading “Flush Naugle” campaign, have yet to incite a second response from the mayor.