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Naugle: is he looking to keep the straight men out of the potty?

The Miami Herald’s Steve Rothaus weighs in on the situation in Fort Lauderdale, where robo-potty advocate, Mayor Jim Naugle, has made a public spectacle of himself railing about the imaginary  epidemic of gay male sex occurring in beach restrooms of the city. If he manages to get a $250K robojohn installed, I hope it has an orientation detector, because apparently many of the men cruising are straight.

No one keeps detailed statistics on sex in public restrooms and parks. South Florida law enforcement agencies say they receive occasional complaints and make a few arrests, but they don’t spend much time cracking down on it. Since 2005, Fort Lauderdale has reported two arrests for sexual activity in a public restroom.

”I don’t know whether it’s the perception or the reality, but it doesn’t seem like it’s that much of a problem,” Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jim Leljedal said.

…American University anthropology Professor William Leap has spent more than a decade researching male sex in public places. In 1999, he edited an academic compilation called Public Sex/Gay Space. His conclusion is that up to half of the men who seek this kind of sex are not gay.

“We are talking about a recreational, erotic activity that involves all different kinds of men,” he said. “That fact has got to get burned into public consciousness. If we are going to demonize individuals, then we need to be looking at a broad category of men. That includes ministers and city officials, all kind of respectable, upscale people.”

You know, people like State Rep. Bob Allen, a Republican who was busted on a charge of solicitation for prostitution after he allegedly asked an undercover officer if Allen could perform oral sex on him for $20 in a park restroom in Titusville.

Another lawyer interviewed for the piece said that most of the men he represents on public restroom sex charges aren’t gay. ”The percentage of people I represent on the charges, the vast number of them turn out to be very straight and very married. They’re looking for moments of instant gratification.”

***

And activists are calling for the Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County commissions to repudiate Naugle. (NGLTF):

A coalition of 16 national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organizations is urging the City Commission of Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County Commission to pass resolutions condemning Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle’s recent anti-gay comments and reaffirming the area’s well-known welcome and support of LGBT people.

The coalition’s Aug. 2 letters (here and here), endorsed by the largest and most prominent national LGBT organizations, state that since Naugle made his defamatory comments in his official capacity, it is up to the commissions to officially and formally respond and assure the public that the mayor’s comments do not reflect the views of either Ft. Lauderdale or Broward County. The letters also cite the national implications generated by the widespread publicity over the controversy.

…”Our elected officials need to know that Mayor Naugle’s appalling behavior has drawn national attention with implications that reach far beyond Broward,” said Waymon Hudson, spokesman for UNITE Ft. Lauderdale, which organized a July 24 rally that attracted nearly 1,000 people. “We need both commissions to act quickly and affirmatively.”

“Our national community needs to hear loudly and clearly from the legislative bodies elected by the people that Mayor Naugle’s words only reflect his own personal and deplorable prejudices, not those of either the city or the county,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “Resolutions repudiating the mayor and reaffirming that LGBT people are still honored and welcomed will go a long way in keeping this from causing permanent damage.”

.See the coalition of signers below the fold.Letter signers:

* Selisse Berry, Executive Director, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
* Jeremy Bishop, Executive Director, Pride At Work, AFL-CIO
* Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family Pride
* Jimmy Creech, Executive Director, Faith In America, Inc.
* Andrea Densham, Interim Executive Director, Mautner Project, The National Lesbian Health Organization
* Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
* Neil Giuliano, President, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, former Mayor of Tempe, Ariz.
* Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
* Clarence Patton, Acting Executive Director, National Association of Anti-Violence Programs
* H. Alexander Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, National Black Justice Coalition
* Patrick Sammon, President, Log Cabin Republicans
* Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign
* Terry Stone, Executive Director, National Association of LGBT Community Centers
* Lee Swislow, Executive Director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
* Rachel B. Tiven, Executive Director, Immigration Equality
* Jo Wyrick, Executive Director, National Stonewall Democrats

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Pam Spaulding

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