Job of­fer re­tracted af­ter so­cial-me­dia post

One Florida can­di­date im­plied Ala. gov­er­nor gay

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Kate San­tich

The One Or­lando Al­liance has re­tracted its of­fer to make Pa­tri­cia Todd, Alabama's only openly gay state leg­is­la­tor, its new ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor af­ter Todd posted com­ments on so­cial me­dia im­ply­ing that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is gay. Todd was to be­gin her new role on June 1.

“The Board af­firms that Ms. Todd’s re­cent com­ments are not aligned with the val­ues of One Or­lando Al­liance,” said Jennifer Fos­ter, chair of the al­liance’s board of di­rec­tors, which voted unan­i­mously Thurs­day to with­draw its em­ploy­ment con­tract to Todd. “We strongly be­lieve that com­ing out is a per­sonal choice, and we do not sup­port in­vol­un­tar­ily out­ing.”

Todd, who is not seek­ing re-elec­tion, had posted her com­ments on Face­book and Twit­ter Tues­day night, writ­ing that she was “sick of clos­eted elected of­fi­cials.” In early May, she wrote that she had been hired for the One Or­lando post and said she was sell­ing her Alabama home.

She could com­ment.

Fos­ter called the sit­u­a­tion “chal­leng­ing.” not be reached for

“While Ms. Todd has a well-es­tab­lished record of out­stand­ing ser­vice to the com­mu­nity, her lapse in judg­ment has led us to end our re­la­tion­ship with her,” Fos­ter said. “We ad­mire her many decades of ex­em­plary ser­vice and be­lieve that, with the right op­por­tu­nity, Ms. Todd will con­tinue to use her many tal­ents to make sig­nif­i­cant progress ad­vo­cat­ing for jus­tice and equal­ity.”

Ivey’s campaign la­beled Todd’s com­ments “a dis­gust­ing lie” — and Todd has since re­moved them from pub­lic view.

Christo­pher J. Cuevas of QLat­inx, a One Or­lando Al­liance mem­ber or­ga­ni­za­tion, said Todd’s com­ments were “a vi­o­la­tion of the sa­cred rite that we as queer peo­ple un­dergo in our jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery.” “It is a form of psy­chic and emo­tional vi­o­lence; a vi­o­lence that robs one of their abil­ity to self-ac­tu­al­ize and man­i­fest their truth; a vi­o­lence that hin­ders the fos­ter­ing of fel­low­ship and com­mu­nity,” he said. “When our hu­man­ity is vi­o­lated in this way, how can we find space to be­gin heal­ing ... and to pro­mote the heal­ing and growth of oth­ers?”

The One Or­lando Al­liance, formed af­ter the mass shoot­ing at Pulse night­club in 2016, is a non­profit coali­tion of over 30 LGBTQ groups and ally or­ga­ni­za­tions in Cen­tral Floirda. Its mis­sion is to “cre­ate a safe, wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive com­mu­nity for all LGBTQ+ peo­ple.”

Fos­ter said the board of di­rec­tors has re­opened its search for a new leader but did not set an ex­pected time­line. “I think we have to take as long as it takes,” she said. “We want the right per­son.”

The ini­tial search, be­gun last Septem­ber, drew nearly 90 ap­pli­cants. Fos­ter de­clined to say how much the po­si­tion pays.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion, which has been build­ing slowly since its launch, has been led since last June by an in­terim di­rec­tor, Jus­tine Thomp­son Cowan, a con­sul­tant for non­prof­its. She will con­tinue that role until a new ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor is cho­sen.

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