Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle says his city has a problem with “homosexual activity” in public restrooms and he has a plan to stop it – robotic toilets that allow occupants to stay inside for only a short time before the door automatically opens.
“We’re trying to provide a family environment where people can take their children who need to use the bathroom without having to worry about a couple of men in there engaged in a sex act,” Naugle told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The $250,000 self-cleaning robo-johns have been installed in San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta and New York. The modular units play music and can be accessed for a fee or for free, depending on each city’s policies.
Fort Lauderdale police officials said male sex in public restrooms is no longer a problem, but Naugle insists the practice persists and has used recent public meetings and e-mails to constituents to raise the issue.
Public restrooms are pickup places for “homosexuals. … They’re engaging in sex, anonymous sex, illegal sex,” he said.
Naugle said the proposed location for the city’s first experimental unit is “the rainbow parking lot” at a local beach considered by some to be the area’s “gay beach.”
“The homosexual newspaper said it’s the ‘gay parking lot.’ That’s not me saying that,” Naugle told the Sun-Sentinel, “that’s what they said. I don’t use the word ‘gay.’ I use the word ‘homosexual.’ Most of them aren’t gay. They’re unhappy.”
Dean Trantalis, an openly homosexual former member of the City Commission who served with Naugle for three years, welcomes the restrooms at the beach but said the decision should not be made based on whether they will be used for sexual activity.
“I’m not an expert on public toilet sex,” said Trantalis, “but there are those who would say one minute would be enough. Or 30 seconds.”
If approved by the City Commission, the timed toilets will be paid for with property-tax funds.