If there’s one thing that people won’t stand for in ‘Murica, and especially Florida, one of the most ‘Murican parts of ‘Murica, it’s treating the Ell-jee-bee-tees like human beings. Case in point: at Tuesday’s school board meeting in Brevard County (the Orlando area), board members were voting on whether to schedule a public hearing about a proposed non-discrimination policy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. According to Florida Today, “that meeting included many outbursts from the audience, including yells, cheers, and jeers”…and one slightly unhinged guy who decided to tell some story about a teacher who showed his students a photo of his erect penis.
Because this is Florida in the 21st century, there’s video, which I took and turned into my latest “Florida” piece:
From Florida Today:
Before the LGBT policy can be voted on, a public hearing must be scheduled. Though a vote on whether to schedule a public hearing is typically a pro forma vote, this is the point in the political process when a previous version of the LGBT policy was tabled by the school board. Since February, the debate about an LGBT policy in Brevard Public Schools has been heated and emotional on both sides.
The slightly unhinged guy I mentioned earlier is Dean Paterakis (pictured above in his mugshot, and thanks to Florida’s Sunshine Law, you can see his arrest details here). He seems to be against having a hearing on the non-discrimination hearing. He brought up some story about a teacher who supposedly showed his students a picture of his erect penis. I assume it was an attempt to show the sexual nightmare the schools would become if we suddenly treated LGBT people with the same dignity as heterosexuals.
More from Florida Today:
Critics of the policy have said that they believe an LGBT policy would legislate social values they disagree with on religious and moral grounds, and that it would threaten public safety and they have repeatedly emphasized the idea of majority rule. However, supporters of the policy say that it would give LGBT students and staff an official recognition of their dignity which would help ensure that they are treated with respect.
Paterakis was released on a $750 bond before midnight Tuesday on two misdemeanor charges.
The story does have a promising ending: the board voted 3 – 2 in favor of holding the hearing on an LGBT non-discrimination policy. Let’s hope it’s enacted — mostly for the sake of human rights, decency, and the LGBT students in Brevard County, and just a little bit for more opportunities to see Paterakis completely lose it at a board meeting.