A Florida landlord has been caught on camera telling a tenant to leave her property because she doesn’t “want homosexuals coming in and out of my place.”
Two weeks after moving into his flat in Middleburg in the north of the state on December 1, Randal Coffman filmed his landlord Jackie Cooper telling him: “Listen to me now, you have to leave this place.
“You think I want homosexuals coming in and out of my place like that?”
— Jackie Cooper
In the video, reported by First Coast News and allegedly filmed on December 15 with Cooper’s knowledge, she continues: “You didn’t tell me you’re gay until yesterday.”
Watch a report on Randal Coffman and his landlord:
Her tenant responds: “Why do I have to tell you I’m gay? I don’t have to tell you,” to which she asks: “You think I want homosexuals coming in and out of my place like that?”
Coffman claimed that Cooper started abusing him after she warned him not to invite women to his place late at night, to which he responded by telling her he was gay.
“I’ve been gay since I was born,” said Coffman. “After that, the harassment for being gay started.”
He added: “If I was straight I think me and her would get along great.”
The tenant said that Cooper, who has denied all accusations, has given him until December 27 to find new accommodation.
It is understood that protections against LGBT discrimination don’t exist in Clay County, where Coffman was living, and that a homeowner can deny rental opportunities to anyone they want.
Cooper, who was renting the place to Coffman a month-to-month basis, is legally obliged to give 15 days’ notice before the end of a monthly period. Her notice allegedly falls short of that number.
Coffman said he was scared to return to the flat, and was looking for a new place to live.
Florida has mixed recent record on LGBT+ rights
Florida has seen an increase in the number of openly queer people winning political representation in the past few months, but still has progress to make in terms of LGBT+ rights.
Shevrin Jones, a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives, came out as gay in August at age 34, five years after telling his family.
He followed David Richardson, Joe Saunders and Carlos Guillermo-Smith in serving Florida as an openly gay representative.
And in November, Wilton Manors became the first Florida city in history to elect a government made up exclusively of openly queer politicians.
Justin Flippen, who has been serving on the commission since 2008, was elected Mayor, while two other openly gay candidates—outgoing Mayor Gary Resnick and newcomer Paul Rolli—joined queer lawmakers Tom Green and Julie Carson as commissioners.
However, earlier this year, 13 men were reportedly smeared and possibly outed after being arrested at the Pleasure Emporium, an adult entertainment store in Hollywood, Florida.
The men were charged with public exposure and lascivious acts for engaging in sexual activity at the back of the store, despite the acts reportedly being consensual and taking place in private rooms.
This year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, at least six trans or queer people have been killed in Florida.
After trans woman Sasha Garden was killed in July, local activists said trans people in the state “fear this could be a serial killer or orchestrated violence targeting the community.”