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Ft. Lauderdale Doesn’t Want Your Tourist Dollars

Timothy Kincaid

August 21st, 2007

Mayor Jim Naugle is on a crusade to defend Ft. Lauderdale’s morals.  First he wanted an automatic toilet to stop gay men from having sex.  Then he declared that gay people are unhappy.  Next he tried to block a collection of gay themed material from being housed in a city owned building.  Finally, he staged an “apology” for not warning the residents of this terrible epidemic of public sex in bathrooms.

Now Naugle has support for his efforts to fight the “public heath crisis” – the usual collection of anti-gay activists that make bizarre and untruthful hyperbolic claims about the evils of “the homosexual lifestyle”. 

  • Americans for Truth (Peter LaBarbera)
  • Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (Gary Cass previously of Reclaiming America for Christ)
  • Christian Interaction Network (I think they just made this one up)
  • Concerned Women for America (Matt “Bam Bam” Barber)
  • Coral Ridge Ministries (Jerry Newcombe)
  • Faith2Action (Janet Folger, previously of Coral Ridge and Center for Reclaiming America)
  • Stephen Bennett Ministries (ex-gay gadfly Stephen Bennett)
  • Worldwide Christian Center (O’Neal Dozier)

Naugle brought Dozier into town to give this message to Ft. Lauderdale’s residents:

God hates the act of homosexuality.

This, of course, is the same Dozier who shared with us this theological gem:

“Why is it one of the paramount of sins?” he poses. “Well, it is a very bad kind of sin because it really hurts society in so many ways.” God, however, found a way to punish the homosexuals through HIV-AIDS, he says. “It is a type of judgment for such a sin as this one, homosexuality.” 

Naugle and his merry band of haters blared out their denunciations of the gay citizens of Ft. Lauderdale but, as  Chanel 6 noted, “many lacked statistics to back up their claims”.  In fact, the mayors claim of “eight arrests of people engaging in sexual activity in public restrooms over the last two years” is refuted by the police who report two arrests in the past three years.  It’s hardly a “public health crisis” in either case.

But the mayor seems to have an most unusual intention for a city that thrives on tourism dollars.  Here are a few comments of Naugle’s that suggest that some imaginary public health crisis of bathroom sex is not his real concern:

But the ironic thing is is that the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is even advertising in their vacation planner, the bath houses, which are one of the worst places for the spread of AIDS. And that’s another thing that I’m going to try to get changed here in Fort Lauderdale so that we can be a healthier community. We welcome homosexual tourists to our city, as long as visitors, whether they’re gay or straight, don’t engage in these activities.

In this case “these activities” are not public sex that threatens the kiddies at all… but sexual activity in a private context.

In a New York Times article, Naugle is clearer about what who he doesn’t want in his city:

A “climate of permissiveness” has developed in the city, he said, similar to when Fort Lauderdale was a magnet for rowdy spring breakers several decades ago.

“It has become kind of like the days of spring break,” he said, “when we ended up clamping down because people were jumping off balconies and other things. We are kind of going in that direction with the gay tourism.”

By surrounding himself with imported homophobes (Janet Folger, O’Neal Dozier, etc.) using language intended to be offensive, Naugle has given a very clear message to gay and lesbian travelers across the nation:  we don’t want you in our city. 

And until the local citizenry removes him, I’m inclined to honor his wishes.

UPDATE: The Sun-Sentinal has a story about Naugle’s little circus of bile.  They mention that one of his speakers was NARTH’s Dr. John Diggs, the author of The Health Risks of Gay Sex which we parody here.  His conclusion:  “Approving same-sex relationships is detrimental to employers, employees and society in general.”  His contribution to today’s nastiness:

“It should be clearly seen that homosexual acts have a key role in the spread of all sexually transmitted diseases,” Diggs said, adding that “homosexuality is an act, it’s not the nature of a person.”

My favorite response to the “facts” presented by Naugle and his moral crusaders came from a heath department official:

“if you torture a statistic long enough, it will confess to anything”

Comments

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a. mcewen
August 21st, 2007 | LINK

And don’t forget John R. Diggs. His paper, the Negative Effects of Homosexuality, is also making its way around various religious right web pages. I have seen it and its pretty much the same trash that got James Holsinger in trouble.

In addition he also cites the standard religious right errors, including:

The distortion of the 1997 Canadian study to claim that gay men have a short life span,

The use of The Gay Report, published in the 1970s, as an accurate critique of gay sex habits.

Timothy Kincaid
August 21st, 2007 | LINK

thanks, a mcewen.

Emily K
August 21st, 2007 | LINK

people deserve to do what they want with their bodies as long as there is consent.

But you know what? I HATE bathhouses. As a queer, I think they are a zit on the face of LGBT life. Yes it’s people’s personal business where they have sex – but they ARE where VD and crystal meth are most likely to be found in the gay community. I wish NO gay people would visit them, and I would especially hope that gay people wouldn’t be attracted to Ft. Lauderdale for bathhouses and circuit parties.

Timothy Kincaid
August 21st, 2007 | LINK

Emily,

I seriously doubt that anyone is going on vacation to Ft. Lauderdale to visit the bathhouses. This is simply the same old accusations that the gay-haters throw up as excuses for their evil.

Erica
August 21st, 2007 | LINK

You’d think a mayor would have more and better things to do with his time… I wonder what sort of platform he ran on to get elected and whether his supporters (or the other residents of Ft. Lauderdale) expected this to be one of his major efforts in office.

I imagine he’s also going to lose some straight tourists from visiting as well. Who wants to go to a place that advertises hatred and idiocy, when there are plenty of other spots in Florida that don’t?

Bruce Garrett
August 21st, 2007 | LINK

What makes the most sense to me out of all this is a suggestion I saw somewhere that Naugle is trying to polish his right wing credentials for a spot on talk radio or somewhere in the right’s media noise machine. He’s going to be term limited out in a year or so, and he’s wanting the good life in the spotlight, and like a lot of them, sees gay bashing as his ticket to fame and fortune on the right wing talk circuit.

And it’s not like he has an public relations contract with the orange growers to worry about.

I guess there’s some reason why the locals down there can’t mount a recall drive…?

a. mcewen
August 22nd, 2007 | LINK

i made an error – Diggs paper is called the Health Risks of Gay Sex. But the other things I said about it – i.e. bad sources – are correct.

Nicki Grossman
August 22nd, 2007 | LINK

Hello,
As president of The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, I wish to reassure you and your readers that Greater Fort Lauderdale is a warmly welcoming destination to all travelers. We stand united and proud that our destination has long been enjoyed by gay visitors and supported by the local gay community.

The long-standing and positive reputation in the hospitality industry, and the actions of our community, speak far louder than the words of any one individual. Ten years ago, our tourism industry rolled out the Rainbow Carpet and we are committed to providing SUNsational Service to all visitors—straight and gay. Our community is very proud of the diversity of our residents and our visitors.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has aggressively promoted the destination to the gay travel market for more than ten years and will continue to do so. As home to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, and with more than 150 gay-owned establishments including 30 gay guesthouses, plus restaurants and bars and the largest Metropolitan Community Church, we invite your readers to personally come and experience our diversity.

We look forward to welcoming readers of this blog to our sunny beaches and appreciate your continued support of Greater Fort Lauderdale and the local gay community.

Thank you.

Nicki E. Grossman
President
Greater Fort Lauderdale
Convention & Visitors Bureau

Martin Lanigan
August 22nd, 2007 | LINK

Duplicate comment removed.

Alonzo
August 22nd, 2007 | LINK

I agree with Emily K. Did we in the Homosexual communtiy forget that bathhouses was a major factor for the spread of AIDS in America in the earlier 80s?

Emily K
August 22nd, 2007 | LINK

And you know what? With ads like the “Real Jock” banner on the left of this blog, It’s no wonder Fundie Christians who want to get to know serious gay political culture will immediately dismiss any credibility presented. I can see it now: “For the gays, even blogging is all about sex!!!”

And honestly, I can’t really blame them. I’d think the same thing if a heterosexual blog had bikini-clad supermodels in their banner ads.

I think as gays, sometimes we can do better.

And if anyone who runs this blog is offended, well, I’m a pistol.

a. mcewen
August 22nd, 2007 | LINK

it’s been said what is a cold to white folks can be pneumonia to black folks.

i think when it comes to sexual matters, the same could be said for lgbts. heterosexuals have ads and such about “sex” and “body images” on their blogs and no one says anything. gay folks do it and everyone grabs the petticoats and start going all Victorian era.

there is nothing wrong with that “real jock” banner. Those who are against the lgbt community will use whatever they can to demean us. If they didn’t see ads like “real jock,” then they would use something else. They are the ones with the problem, not us.

I think that a degree of decorum is necessary when it comes to sexual matters, but I am not going to overcompensate in anything I do to please someone who will not understand my orientation in the first place.

Benton
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

This may be pulling the thread off and if so, the powers that be may feel free to delete this post.

But in the het community, sexuality is totally prevelant but unrecognized. The other day I saw two teens playing tonsil hockey and a couple in their twenties walking around with their hands on each others arses. If my partner and I were to do this, we would be “in their face” but when they do it, it is normal.

Emily K
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

If I saw a hetero political blog with sexy women in ads on their webpage, I would take it less seriously than if it were simply ads anything politically-related. It goes the same for gay or straight. I don’t discriminate.

Jason
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

Emily,
Right now you’re guilty of the same thing that right wingers are guilty of: ignorance.

You obviously have not been to RealJock.com

it’s tag line is “Gay Fitness Community”.

As of my writing they have listed in on their front page box “Today on Real Jock” the following….

“Prostate 101: Protecting your Prostate”

“Suspension Training” (it’s an exercise article)

“How Sweet it Is: Sugars vs. Sweetners”

to the left of those 3 articles is a section labeled “Workout Plans” with 4 categories to start searching:
-Strong and Lean Workout Plans
-Triathalon Training Program
-Marathon Training Program
-Half Marathon Training Program

Next to that, and below the 3 main articles are the latest forum posts made by users:
-Your Wildlife Photos
-Gym Shorts
-Shaved Legs
-Picture Perfect?
-60 pounds!
-Hyperbole

There are also some photos of members who are currently signed in. they’re all either head-shots or waist up. Some are shirtless, but you can see that at the beach.

So no, RealJock is not about sex. The ad is actually a skyscraper or rectangle ad (banners go horizontally, not vertically, FYI) and says “Great Guys, Workouts, and more.”

It would appear that RealJock is a combination of Men’s Health and MySpace geared toward gay athletic men.

So you’re suggesting BoxTurtle is less serious about gay issues because it uses advertising from a Health, Fitness, and Social networking website? Or is it because that website chooses to use athletic men (it’s target audience) in it’s ads?

Kevin
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

Perhaps the mayor could drastically reduce rape and sexual assault by forcing a dusk curfew for heterosexual men.

Emily K
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

I’m saying that no matter what the ad is advertising, appearance is everything. What is advertised doesn’t matter to me.
RealJock might not be about sex, but sex DOES sell, it’s good advertising. More power to them. But to see a sexy advert on a political blog, IN MY OPINION, lessens the credibility of the political blog’s message. As I said before, I WOULD THINK THE SAME THING OF A HETEROSEXUAL POLITICAL BLOG.

And there’s no rule in the homo law book that says we gays can’t be right-wingers. I myself am a moderate.

Jason
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

We can go round and round about what counts as far as appearance vs. content. I doubt we’d ever get anywhere.

He has the words “jock” and “workout” on him. That makes me think that I shouldn’t eat another donut, and that I should definitely be doing more crunches more often.

But that’s just me.

I just wonder where your mind is if whenever you see a shirtless man you immediately think about sex and only sex.

Emily K
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

“I just wonder where your mind is if whenever you see a shirtless man you immediately think about sex and only sex.”

OK, I’m sick of people putting words in my mouth. I’m going to do this one more time and request people read this whole way through.

I clearly explained in my comments why having sexy ads on a political blog could, for some people, denigrate the credibility of the blog. Sex is used to advertise all sorts of products – nearly all of them having nothing to do with sex. I find no fault with this (although I admit I’m not a fan of any kind of exploitation.) I did not say RealJock was about sex. i did not say this blog is not serious. I did not say heterosexual blogs do not do the same thing. I did not even request that the ad be taken down or replaced- nor am I requesting it now.

But you know what? Fine. Forget it. You guys win. I’m not really an opinionated centrist queer – I’m a repressed right-wing crackpot with nothing but sex on the brain and have been campaigning for the FMA since Bush hit office in ’00. Permitting gays to exist is the reason why terrorists hate America so much. Whenever I can, I attend Westboro Baptist Church. I boycott Spongebob and Tinky Winky products. Long live James Dobson!

cowboy
August 23rd, 2007 | LINK

You may boycott those products Emily…but I hear from reliable sources…it was YOU who dressed as a purple Tinky-Winky at last year’s Halloween party.

(tip of the hat)

Jim Burroway
August 24th, 2007 | LINK

Emily,

You’re a pistol! We love you.

Emily K
August 24th, 2007 | LINK

:-D

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