Amid uproar over her comment "black women that look like me don't engage in [lesbian relationships]," Florida's Democratic Party has demanded an apology from Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll.
"Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll has embarrassed our state with her public comments insulting the gay and lesbian community," wrote party chairman Rod Smith. "Her generalities about what Black lesbians 'look like' were ignorant, irrelevant and unnecessarily hostile."
Outraged Facebook users, meanwhile, have flooded the Republican's official Facebook page with their own demands for an apology (and one, memorably, with photos reposted from a page called "HOT Chocolate Lesbians over 30 UNCENSORED").
"It is disappointing that a successful Black female politician can be so woefully ignorant of Black history and how many LGBT people fought alongside their hetero family for the rights we enjoy today," wrote one commenter. "For you to say that a black woman who loves another woman can't be beautiful is to perpetuate the same kind of misogyny that the slave masters uses to strip our foremothers of our femininity."
"We lesbians don't look like you? What's that supposed to mean? Are you calling us ugly?" asked another, adding, "Get a clue woman... You need to apologize!!"
Carroll's now-infamous comment was made during a Mitt Romney campaign office opening in central Florida, when a reporter from Tampa 10 asked the Lt. Governor to respond to a former staffer's claim she was fired after catching Carroll in a "compromising position" with a female aide in Carroll's capitol office.
"The problem is that when you have these accusations that come out, it's not just a one person you're attacking," Carroll replied on-camera. "It's an entire family. My husband doesn't want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am. And my kids know the type of woman I am."
Carroll then giggled as she added: "For 29 years, I'm the one that's married for 29 years. The accuser is the one that's been single for a long time. So, usually, black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that."
That accuser, 49-year-old African Methodist Episcopal minister Carletha Cole, has reportedly passed a polygraph test about the claims, though such tests are not admissible in court. Cole was arrested last year and is currently facing charges for leaking taped conversations with Carroll's chief of staff to a newspaper reporter in Jacksonville. She denies making the tapes and claims she was fired for catching Carroll and travel aide Beatriz Ramos in a "sexual escapade."
But no matter how the case against Cole unfolds -- prosecutors may expand charges, according to the Miami Herald -- Florida democrats are demanding Carroll issue an apology for her comments. The full statement:
"Time will tell whether the allegations that the Lt. Governor has misused her position and harassed a subordinate are true, but there is one thing we know right now: Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll has embarrassed our state with her public comments insulting the gay and lesbian community.
"Her generalities about what Black lesbians 'look like' were ignorant, irrelevant and unnecessarily hostile. The LGBT community is a valued part of the rich diversity that is Florida. It is sad to see an elected leader relying on unfair stereotypes to deflect criticism.
"Attitudes like those expressed by Jennifer Carroll are why the Florida Democratic Party continues to support the enactment of protections for LGBT Floridians. In the past, black women have been the victims of hurtful stereotypes. The Lt. Governor should know better than to say what she said, and apologize for her ill considered and degrading remarks."
Carroll, meanwhile, has remained silent since her controversial comments. But in response to her words, HuffPost Gay Voices tweeted a call for lesbian women to post pictures of themselves on Twitter with the hashtag #ThisIsWhatALesbianLooksLike -- to show, as one respondent put it, that lesbians come in "all colors, all sizes, all hairstyles!"
Check out the slideshow of responses below:
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