Candidates running for Student Body vice president and treasurer for a new UF Student Government party all resigned within hours of each other after an audio clip some deemed as transphobic was leaked on Facebook.
The 38-minute audio –– posted on the Facebook page of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at UF –– is a conversation between Alfredo Ortiz, Progressive Party’s Student Body presidential candidate and Nikolas Bindi, Progressive Party’s former vice-presidential candidate. In the recording, Ortiz said that “gender dysphoria is a psychological illness, and therefore it is bad.”
In the recording, Ortiz continued, “There is a difference between wanting to appear to be a woman for aesthetic purposes versus believing you are a woman when you’re not. That is my only right-wing position.”
Both Ortiz and Bindi admitted to The Alligator that they were in the recording, said that it was taken out of context and said it was recorded without their knowledge. Ortiz told The Alligator in a phone interview Thursday evening that he intends to announce his resignation in the future as a “peaceful transition of power.”
“Even if this is completely out of context, it is 100 percent illegal...it’s still comments that hurt individuals, and there probably should be an apology from him [Ortiz], due to those comments,” Bindi said in a phone interview to The Alligator Thursday evening. “It might not make the situation right, but it will be the first step.”
“The misinformation is that I’m transphobic,” Ortiz said. “Because I’m not transphobic...I’m saying that there is transphobic language in the audio and the transcript, but there is a reason for it. What I was doing at that time was role-playing, playing Devil’s advocate, so that we could come up with better arguments against people who would be using transphobic language against our campaign.”
Progressive released their platform Jan. 24, advocating for the LGBTQ+ and multicultural organizations. Some of the party’s platform points included establishing training for university health care professionals to ensure they are well-versed in LGBTQ+ issues; combating class, race and gender inequality; and adding unisex bathrooms with menstrual hygiene products and contraceptives.
About 20 students were supposed to have run with Progressive as senators representing the university’s colleges in the Spring election, scheduled to take place Feb. 18 and 19. Along with the executive candidates, almost all of the Senate candidates decided to withdraw, said Branden Reis, who was supposed to run as a Progressive candidate for the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Ortiz announced his intention to start Progressive –– the third party vying for a win in these Spring elections –– in a December SG Senate meeting. The campaign season officially started Jan. 21.
Ortiz was a leader in advocating for blue lights on UF’s Fraternity Drive. Bindi is the former deputy minority party leader for Inspire Party.
Contact Chasity Maynard at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @chasitymaynard0.