Bittersweet Bon Voyage for Attorney and Activist
Oakland Park Vice Mayor Anthony Niedwiecki and his husband, Waymon Hudson, have announced they will be relocating to Chicago, where Niedwiecki, an attorney, has accepted a high level administrative and faculty position at the John Marshall Law School.
Over the past few years, he and Hudson have been an integral part of the gay rights movement in South Florida. “It will provide me and Waymon the opportunity to continue our activism in a big city. Chicago’s LGBT and legal communities will give me great opportunities to help our movement,” Niedwiecki told SFGN.
Niedwiecki will step down from his post at the end of May to spend the summer in Chicago preparing for his new position. “For what I teach, it is one of the best programs in the country,” he states. Niedwiecki will be supervising over 70 faculty members.
Fate brought the couple together 8 years ago. They were both in New York City to celebrate Pride when a chance encounter turned into a lifelong dream. “I was living in Philadelphia and I ran in to Waymon by sheer coincidence. We ended up talking until 6 am the following morning.” Later that week, Hudson visited Niedwiecki in Philly and the couple has been together ever since.
When Niedwiecki received an offer to become a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in 2003, the couple relocated to Sunny Isles. They later moved to Oakland Park, where they currently reside. “Oakland Park was more laid back and closer to the gayborhood, where we wanted to be,” says Hudson.
An incident at the airport in 2007 would change their lives forever. After returning from vacation, Niedwiecki and Hudson were waiting for their luggage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, when an anti-gay Bible message came over a loudspeaker.
Outraged, they left the airport. The next day they contacted airport officials, who at first apologized for the inconvenience. Deeming the response unacceptable, they contacted the county commissioner and the media.
“Having gone through such an eye-opening experience, and finding that there were really very few resources available to LGBT individuals who needed immediate help in situations like ours, we decided to fight back. This inspired us to form Fight OUT Loud,” states Hudson.
The non-profit has successfully provided immediate resources, support, and assistance for LGBT individuals facing situations of discrimination and hate. Hudson works on this project full-time and will continue to do so in Chicago.
“As we become familiar with the city, we will become active with the same type of political and community organizations that we have supported here in Florida, including the Trevor Project and Equality Illinois,” states Hudson.
The move comes with many challenges: “We might have to make some adjustments with the cold winters. The job itself is a huge undertaking, but I look forward to the opportunity. We will truly miss our friends,” Niedwiecki stated.