Embattled Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle, who has come under intense pressure from a US gay organisations for making insensitive and demoralising public comments about the gay and lesbian community, has been sending mixed messages as of late on his thoughts about gay tourism.
A press release from Fight OUT Loud, a Fort Lauderdale based non-profit organisation dedicated to helping GLBT individuals fight discrimination and hate, shows Mayor Naugle voted just this year to increase spending on the gay tourism market.
When asked earlier this month in a CNN interview if he thought that “tourism dollars should not be spent to attract gay visitors to South Florida because they might contract AIDS here?” Mayor Naugle responded:
“It’s not the men coming here, spreading the disease, unfortunately, it’s people going home with the disease that maybe they didn’t have before they visited Fort Lauderdale.”
Similarly, in a New York Times article Naugle said of the future gay tourism in Fort Lauderdale:
“It has become kind of like the days of spring break 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.”
Meanwhile a few days later, on a local South Florida morning radio show, Mitchell and Morely, Mayor Naugle sang a different tune on the subject of gay tourism, saying:
“Everyone is welcome in Fort Lauderdale, gay or straight.”
Naugle’s contradictory remarks to national and local media have left his detractors scratching their heads and begging the question, ‘Will the real Jim Naugle, please stand up?’
On July 4th, Naugle mentioned in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel that he backed the idea of the city buying smaller, free-standing toilets for the beach because they would cut down on “homosexual sex” between gay men.
“I don’t use the word ‘gay,’” he said. “I use the word ‘homosexual.’ Most of them aren’t gay. They’re unhappy.”
Duane Wells © 2007 Navigaytion.com; All Rights Reserved.