Vandalism of Orlando Equality Florida office raises questions about the new normal

By : Billy Manes
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On Thursday, when nobody was working in Equality Florida’s Orlando office, somebody threw something through (or at) a window at the front of the building, although no rock or brick was found, says Equality Florida development director Michael Thomas Farmer. Is this the new violence-against-gays licence Donald Trump seems to be trumpeting? The timing of the vandalism makes it that much more suspicious, Farmer agrees, but no investigation has yet been filed.

“EQFL staff member Michael Thomas Farmer is currently at our Orlando office after receiving a call that something had been thrown through one of our office windows,” EQFL wrote on its Facebook last night. “We are waiting for the police to arrive to receive further information. But know, if this was some kind of an attempt to scare us from doing the work that we do – it will not work. We will not be intimidated, and we will not back down from our fight to end hate and secure full equality for ALL.”

eqfldamageThere was no note left, Farmer says, nor were there any signs of what implement was used to cause the damage. The window, pictured, has since been boarded up, and somebody has anonymously come forward to fix the window free of cost. But the costs aren’t necessarily in the measure of physical damage.

“In the almost 10 years that I’ve worked here, I have not seen anything like this,” Farmer says. “Luckily, the rest of the staff was working in Tallahassee.”

But it still appears to be a direct attack, Farmer confirms. The window directly references the organization’s name and isn’t close enough to the street for it to have been a simple accident. Does he think it was an attack on the LGBTQ community?

“Yeah, I do,” Farmer says. “We’ve seen this pattern of people in the highest offices in this country advocating violence. It’s hard for me to imagine that it wouldn’t be involved in that.”

Overloaded with policy work preceding the March legislative session, Farmer hasn’t yet had a chance to pursue the matter legally.

“I’ve had to sort of reckon with myself,” he says. “I didn’t realize how much maybe I got comfortable with President Obama. These are different times.”

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