Letter to the Editor: Homophobia is Wrong, But So Is Hypocrisy

Gilbert Montalvo. Photo via Facebook.

Last week, Gilbert Montalvo from the Broward Log Cabin Republicans went to the media to report on a highly inappropriate Facebook comment made by Captain Ira Goldberg. Goldberg heads up the community outreach team for the Broward Sheriff’s Office where he and his staff must work hard if they genuinely want to engage residents from all communities of people and walks of life to gain trust in one of the largest fully accredited Sheriff's offices in the United States at a time when we continually hear of stories around the nation when law enforcement has violated the rights and trust of minority communities.

Goldberg wrote: “Gilbert, it’s truly sad that you have to hire people to come help you protest. I hope you offered them money instead of sexual favors. Those men deserve better.”

Montalvo publicly self identifies as a Christian, conservative, Republican, and gay man.

While the Facebook comment does contain an element of homophobia, I find the comment more inappropriate than homophobic, especially given Goldberg’s position. And to make matters worse, Goldberg doubled down on his remark and never attempted to apologize to acknowledge his failing. In cases such as these, I do believe that counseling and education can help someone, but given Goldberg’s job at BSO, he should be immediately reassigned and whatever other corrective action the agency takes against him is up to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. But that’s where I part ways with Montalvo.

For more than a decade, I’ve been an incredibly vocal activist to call out bigotry, homophobia, and transphobia when I see it oppress others. I’ve gone against the popular grain and held the feet to the fire for Democrats, Republicans, party leaders, candidates, elected, and public officials. As for the current BSO administration, as a Democratic, I’ve had my share of moments to push for policy change that weren’t always pleasant.

While I agree Goldberg crossed the line, I can't not ignore Montalvo's shameless exploitation and hypocrisy at a time when we have a White House Administration enabling extremists who pose as Christians and are working to inflict tremendous harm on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

We have a Republican Governor in Florida who still ignores the need for non-discrimination protections against LGBT people in Florida, and he can’t even begin to articulate the impact of the massacre at Pulse nightclub had on Florida’s LGBT community.

Many of the advancements to help the lives of LGBT people are at risk and in the hands of a political party which you identify and support, and I ask Montalvo, where is your outrage?

I know what it was like to be a gay Republican, I was one many years back in New Jersey when I served as a legislative aide to a state senator. I know first-hand of the alienation prompted by homophobia when I was diagnosed as HIV-positive and my name quickly disappeared from the invite lists to social events organized by the senator’s wife.

Gilbert, how can you ignore the homophobia that rages among Republican leadership yet only selectively speak out when you are working on GOP efforts to remove and unseat a sheriff who is a Democrat. Captain Goldberg was wrong in his actions, but you lack integrity in how you are exploiting the matter only for political gain while you support the election of anti-LGBT politicians looking to harm LGBT people far worse. If Montalvo is truly outraged, I suggest he go to Puerto Rico to get a roll of paper towels his President Trump tossed to the people of Puerto Rico following the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Montalvo’s outrage is void of integrity – he doth protest too much, methinks.

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