British man John Crawford was arrested, at age 19 and over 50 years ago, for buggery, a crime that is no longer, in fact, a crime — and yet he must still tell potential employers about his criminal record. Now there’s Ray Fetcho, who performs in drag as Tiny Tina. He is 61, has spent the last forty years as a registered nurse, and just lost his job because in 1976 he was arrested for the promotion of a lewd act. It was a wet underwear contest.
This isn’t just ridiculous. It is unjust.
Unfortunately, in 1976, while hosting a ‘Wet Jockey Shorts Night’ at the Copa, he was busted for promoting a lewd act. Today, that incident has come back to haunt him. The state has told him he can no longer be a nurse because of the conviction.
For the past 15 years, Fetcho has been an acclaimed and honored employee at Victoria Villa, an assisted living facility in Davie, recognized for his “compassionate service to the elderly.”
On March 31, 1976, Fetcho, performing as ‘Tiny Tina’ at the Copa in Dania Beach, was charged and convicted of promoting ‘lewd and lascivious’ behavior by throwing small buckets of water on boys’ briefs while hosting the irreverent ‘Wet Jockey Shorts’ contest.
Last month, that dated conviction from his past became a nightmare. Last week, Ray Fetcho was summarily fired from the job he has loved and cherished. A state licensing agency, the Agency for Health Care Administration, doing a routine screening inspection of nursing home employees, told him he would be ineligible to remain on the job at his facility “because of the lewd act conviction” from thirty plus years ago.
This wasn’t a prostitution ring. It wasn’t some naked go-go boy racket. It was the sort of thing we’ve all been spectators of at some point.
30 years ago, John Castelli, and his partner, the late Bill Bastiansen, were the owners of the Copa, which hosted renowned drag queens like Tiny Tina, Nikki Adams, and the late Dana Manchester.
Today, Castelli is a respected broker of Castelli and Associates in Wilton Manors. After being told of Fetcho’s plight Saturday morning, Castelli commented: “Oh my God! What century are we living in? It was such an innocent situation. The boys always wore briefs. No one was exposed. That was during the Anita Bryant era, a lifetime ago.” Castelli even remembered the incident, noting he and his partner had to bond Fetcho out of jail.
The world really has gone mad. There aren’t enough good quality nurses as it is and they’re firing someone who was incredibly good at his job for something that upset no-one but the police.
Guaranteed they knew this info for years, he was most likely soon to retire and begin recieving benefits. Jet him from the job and someone doesn’t have to pay his benefits………real scumbags……..
That’s a good point that I hadn’t thought of.
Having worked in Human Resources, I get the thing about disclosing the criminal record.
Florida is hideous toward gays and lesbians. I think taht there needs to be a short list of “states not to spend your vacation money in”, including Florida, Virginia, where else??
I smell a lawsuit….
it shouldn’t be illegal to wear women’s clothes..that was the law then…
Yes, he could sue but on what grounds?
Florida does not have a statewide ENDA, there may be an applicable local ordinance.
The crux of the matter may be whether or whether not he actually disclosed the conviction or, as Terrwill states, whether they knew about the conviction.
This is outrageous, yes, but such is the state of the laws in places where they have no GLBT protections.
Poor guy… it sounds like he helped turn Victoria Villa into “Victor Victoria” Villa. 🙂
I worked as a RN in FL for 8 years and was questioned repeatedly by the RN board over my conviction for swimming in the nude in Palm Beach. It was not a felony conviction so I was able to keep my RN, but it always smelled of GLBTQ discrimination.
For this and many other anti GLBTQ FL laws I finally left for good and don’t regret leaving one bit. I would have to say that FL is as ass backwards today as it was during Anita Bryant’s reign and even more so. I don’t understand why the GLBTQ community does not demand more equality? For me, there are just too many places in the world to live and to visit that treat GLBTQ people with the equality and respect that we all deserve than to accept second class citizenship or treatment in such a bigoted place as FL.
This case illustrates how LGBT priorities are out-of-whack. As much as I’d like gay marriage, Federal protection from employment discrimination is far more important.
As someone wrote earlier – this world needs quality nurses. Also, Fort Lauderdale/Wilton Manors has a huge and strong gay community. Maybe they can help this guy out.
It is so petty and ridiculous it is beyond words.
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