Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Has the “War” Against LGBTs Ceased in Fort Lauderdale?

Fort Lauderdale poster

A kinder, gentler Ft. Lauderdale may be in the cards, as John P. “Jack” Seller takes over as Mayor after 18 years of an anti-gay administration.  Ex-mayor Jim Naugle scapegoated the LGBT community for a non-existent sex and crime problem in public toilets along the city’s fabled gay-friendly beaches.  Enraged at Naugle’s homophobic rhetoric and his enlistment of right wing church groups in a “war” against “immorality,” LGBT opponents of Naugle launched a “Flush Naugle” campaign, parodying the mayor’s effort to get $250k robo-toilets installed on the beaches. 


Robo-Toilet Mayor Naugle Proposed to Address Non-Existent Gay Crime Wave on the Beaches

Robo-Toilet Mayor Naugle Proposed to Address Non-Existent Gay Crime Wave on the Beaches

Naugle’s “war” claimed victims, most notably Simmie L. Williams, Jr., a 17-year-old trans person, known on the Sistrunk Avenue strip where he died as “Chris,” or “Beyoncé.”  Two assailants shot him to death on the night of February 22, 2008, and as yet are not apprehended.  Homophobia has a crooked arm.  No straight line of cause and effect need link Naugle’s diatribes against the LGBT community to Simmie Williams’ murder, but the mayor’s irresponsible rhetoric set the stage for violence against queer folk in Broward County to escalate. 

Simmie Williams' Mother, Denise King, Holding Photo of Slain Son

Simmie Williams died in the street wearing a dress, a casualty in a “war” he didn’t even know he was enlisted to fight.  Mayor Seller, who has just taken office, has his work cut out for him.  Shall it be, “Come Bask in the Sun,” in Fort Lauderdale, or “Come Bash in the Sun”?  At the Unfinished Lives Project, we know which one we vote for.



             ~ Stephen V. Sprinkle, Director, The Unfinished Lives Project

March 18, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, Florida, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Politics, transgender persons | 2 Comments


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