Pro-LGBT mural in Jacksonville vandalized


A construction worker vandalized a prominent pro-LGBT mural in Jacksonville’s 5 Points neighborhood Thursday, and was dismissed. Both the “before” and “after” pictures of the mural are being widely shared on North Florida social media.

The sign, which fronted the old Peterson’s 5 & Dime store, reads “You’ve been sharing bathrooms with transgender people your whole life.” It also includes the #jaxhro hashtag in support of updating the city’s human rights ordinance to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination in the areas of jobs, housing, and public accommodations.

The mural was painted by local artists Nicole Holderbaum and Martin Torres.

The artwork “was appreciated by the LGBT community and the building’s owner, Steve Williams,” says Jimmy Midyette of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality.

“Sadly, one of the workers of the construction company was seen defacing and vandalizing the sign.  Steve had the foreman dismiss the worker at once. I believe the recent stories from North Carolina, about Target, and our own HRO make this very relevant in Jacksonville.  Transgender people should be free to use the restroom of their choice and not be subjected to harassment,” Midyette tells Florida Politics.

The HRO issue remains a pain point in Jacksonville, the largest American city yet to update its ordinance to cover LGBT residents.

Video courtesy Calli Marie/Facebook.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected].


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