Ray Fetcho is a Licensed Practical Nurse, and has been working as a nurse for the last forty years. Ray Fetcho is, or was, also known as Tiny Tina, a drag queen who entertained the folks in and around Florida for many many years. But, in 1976, while hosting a ‘Wet Jockey Shorts Night’ he was arrested for promoting a lewd act; you know, wet undies on men. And now, that 34-year-old arrest has come back on him.
The state has told him he can no longer be a nurse because of the conviction.
Since 1995, Ray Fetcho has been a valued and honored employee at Victoria Villa, an assisted living facility in Davie, Florida,recognized for his “compassionate service to the elderly.” But last week, Ray Fetcho was fired from that job when the Agency for Health Care Administration determined he could not work as a nurse “because of the lewd act conviction” from the 1970s.
When Tiny Tina performed at The Copa, in the 70s and *0s, it was the hottest spot north of Havana, or at least in South Florida. It was an internationally known, and served as a kind of 'coming out’ venue for the local gay boys.
John Castelli, and his partner, the late Bill Bastiansen, owned the Copa, and today, he is a respected broker of Castelli and Associates in Wilton Manors. After being told of Fetcho’s predicament, Castelli said: "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 and his partner were the ones who bailed Fetcho out of jail that night.
And now, his act, as Tiny Tina, and his actions that night, might forever cost him his nurse's license, unless he petitions and receives an exemption for his past misconduct. Without that, the Department of Health can stop him from working anywhere in the state as an LPN.
For his part, Fetcho, who has retained Fort Lauderdale constitutional rights attorney Norm Kent, is upset and concerned about his future. “I love being a nurse and I love my job and I can’t believe this is coming back to haunt me 30 years later. It was stupid then. It is ridiculous now. I should be working up to my retirement in five years, not looking back at something from the past. I never mixed my two careers together. One was show business, one was real. I had the best of both possible worlds but if I have to fight today to help some other nurse tomorrow, they are going to have to fight ‘The Queen’ in her court.”
God Save The Queen.