Closing in on the Mayorship, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis roused members of the LGBT community at the SFGN anniversary party Thursday night.
“It’s time we seek the pinnacle of success in this community,” said Trantalis from the stage at Hunter’s Nightclub in Wilton Manors. “And no better place does it show itself than to be at the top of government in Fort Lauderdale.”
Trantalis, one of two “Excellent in Achievement” honorees at the South Florida Gay News 8th anniversary party, said the end goal is in sight. In his acceptance speech, he noted historical accomplishments made along the way.
“We came together because our community knew we were not going to allow police officers to raid our bars,” Trantalis said. “We were not going to allow police officers to confront us without provocation. We were not going to allow our equal rights to be transgressed by other people who felt we were not good enough to be married or not good enough to live in housing projects or be hired like everybody else. We put those backward notions away and we now live in a community where everyone shares equally.”
Trantalis won the first round of the mayoral election, defeating rivals Bruce Roberts and Charlotte Rodstrom with 46 percent of the vote. With Rodstrom eliminated, Trantalis now faces Roberts, the city’s ex-police chief, one-on-one, in the March 13 election.
“Dean wins this recognition for a life well lived as a spokesperson for human and LGBT rights,” wrote SFGN publisher Norm Kent in his weekly column.
Trantalis led the effort to have Fort Lauderdale recognize same-sex marriage, a position outgoing Mayor Jack Seiler never warmed to.
“Imagine a new scenario where the mayor of a major southern city was a proponent of your freedoms instead,” Kent wrote.
Attorney George Castrataro was also honored by SFGN. Castrataro placed third in the race for Fort Lauderdale’s district two commissioner.
“This is George’s first foray into politics and his candidacy challenged a qualified, popular gay opponent, a former city commissioner, along with a young West Point graduate,” Kent wrote. “George wants to champion causes and people he thinks the city is forgetting. His past performance, ethics and advocacy makes him a worthy candidate.”
Castrataro thanked the room at Thursday night’s awards party and quickly pivoted to heap praise on Kent, who launched SFGN with his business partner Piero Guidugli eight years ago.
“It’s a privilege to stand next to Norm Kent,” Castrataro said. “Norm has done so many amazing things for us, including giving us this newspaper that we rely on so much to know what’s going on and to be familiar with our community. We are really fortunate.”
Click here to see photos from the anniversary celebration.