Letter to the Editor: Commissioner Rodstrom, Pick up the Flag and Carry it with Pride!
Back in 2010 when Pridefest relocated their annual Pride event to the City of Oakland Park, I honestly didn’t give it much thought until I compared the municipal ordinances of Oakland Park, Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale, and there was a sound justification to relocate the event out of Fort Lauderdale based on public policy. In 2010, the cities of Oakland Park and Wilton Manors already provided benefits to the domestic partners of city employees and they adopted a non-discrimination policy inclusive of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity.’ To Oakland Park and Wilton Manors credit, through public policy, they demonstrated how they valued LGBT people as equal counterparts in the work place.
This past September 8 the Fort Lauderdale Mayor and Commissioners quietly and sheepishly adopted an ordinance to extend benefits to the domestic partners for its work force of more than 2,300 city employees. When addressing the issues of discrimination, Fort Lauderdale’s municipal ordinances fails to have an inclusive non-discrimination policy to protect LGBT employees in the work place, nor does it require the same in contracts for vendors doing business with the city like that of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.
For several years LGBT activists have lobbied and been vocal with Fort Lauderdale’s elected officials and candidates vying for office, to recognize our needs and value us as a marginalized community of people. While officials continue to make appearances and promises at LGBT-events and functions, their promises often go unfilled and action has been cowardly and slow.
At the February 8 meeting of the Dolphin Democrats, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom sponsored the pizza social that precedes the general membership meeting. It’s a customary gesture made by various candidates vying to gain the support of gay Democratic activists. I took the opportunity to publically challenge Rodstrom on her lack of leadership in bringing forward pro-equality ordinances. I was horrified not only with her insulting response of saying she was unaware of such need, but also stating she refuses to do anything until after her colleagues are re-elected in the city’s March run-off election. Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom clearly is out of touch and unable to carry the water for our community.
In the year 2012, we must reject apologists for complacency. We need to demand bold courage and leadership of our candidates and elected officials.
Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, while you are possibly gay-friendly, you are no champion for the LGBT-community. It’s time to pick up the flag and carry it with Pride and be a champion!