Florida lawmaker Frank Artiles, whose name has become synonymous with transphobia, resigned Friday in the aftermath of a racist misogynistic bar room rant on Monday. As regrettable as this is, these turn of events comes as no surprise.
The LGBT community has learned that bigotry, as exhibited by Frank Artiles, is an invasive malady, not exclusive to race, sexual orientation, or gender expression. When we see people take pulpits or podiums encouraging criminalization of our law-abiding segment of society, as they do when promoting anti-LGBT legislation, we recognize this demonization as symptomatic of a deeply rooted systematic bigotry.
Mediaite reports that the racial incident took place when Artiles went to the Governors Club in Tallahassee on Monday, and he spoke to state senators Audrey Gibson (D) and Perry Thurston (D) over drinks. The conversation grew increasingly tense over the course of the evening, and Artiles reportedly topped it all off by saying “six n*ggers” helped Senate President Joe Negron (R) get elected.
Frank Artiles was also quoted calling Negron a “pussy” while referring to his black colleagues as a “f*cking asshole,” a “bitch,” and a “girl.” Artiles offered an apology earlier this week, though it clearly failed to stem the backlash.
Don’t allow it to be a crime for Jazz to use the bathroom. Please sign:https://t.co/GTJoic7r6s
— Jeanette Jennings (@MomofJazz) February 9, 2015
Artiles had already earned a place in infamy as the author of one of the first of what we have come to know now as a ‘bathroom bill’. Our community had not previously seen anything as transphobic as HB583 which encouraged citizens to report those who they suspected were transgender and subject them to criminal persecution.
Fred Grimm at the Miami Herald connects the dots in an editorial asking Was Frank Artiles a bigot? Or just a very stupid bully boy?
Asked if such a law would create problems for transgender women required to use the men’s room, Artiles told BuzzFeed News in 2015,
“People are not forced to go the restroom. They choose to go to the restroom.”
“While I understand there are transgender people who want to use bathrooms however they want to feel, that is irrelevant to me,” Artiles explained. He said gender identity was “subjective” and the birth sex of a transgender person is the only factor that should dictate which restroom they use.
Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican, responded quickly to Artiles resignation while visiting brush fires threatening Golden Gate Estates neighborhood in Naples, Fla.
“If he worked for me, I would have fired him,” Scott said of Artiles. “It’s disgusting. If somebody does that stuff, you fire him immediately.”
Frank Artiles resigned without offering so much as an apology to transgender people. Ours will truly become an enlighted society when we come to hold people equally accountable for hate speech in the form of legislation seeking to drive us into unemployment, homelessness, and suicide.
“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State” said Artiles. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.”
Good riddance fascist.