Tennis Champion Honored At EQFL Broward Gala

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Photo by Robbie Mendelson

Don’t stay home and sulk.

That is the message from Equality Florida in the aftermath of an American election that has many LGBT people fearful of what is to come.

“Don’t feel alone and defeated,” said Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director for Equality Florida. “Come out and stand in solidarity with your LGBT brothers and sisters.”

The annual Equality Florida Broward Gala moves to a new venue this year. The B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale hosts the 14th annual event, Sunday, Nov. 13, with tennis champion Martina Navratilova being honored as the 2016 Voice for Equality.

Navratilova, 60, owns 18 Grand Slam tennis championships and was the world’s No. 1 ranked player for 332 consecutive weeks. She married her longtime girlfriend, Julie Lemigova, in 2014 in New York City. Lemigova is a former Russian model who was Miss U.S.S.R. in 1990. 

In a telephone conversation with SFGN Friday afternoon, Pollitzer said it has been a tough week with the election results, but adversity is nothing new for his group.

“In Florida, we’ve faced tougher times for LGBT rights,” Pollitzer said.

RELATED: Florida Moves To Protect LGBTQ Youth 

Same-sex couples currently married have nothing to fear from their government, Pollitzer said.

“Those marriages are not going to be taken away,” he said. “And the likelihood of marriage equality being reversed is very small.”

However, other sections of LGBT rights are not so secure.

“There’s definitely places where we are vulnerable,” Pollitzer said. “Most of President Obama’s executive orders protecting LGBT federal employees and contractors could be in jeopardy.”

Close to 500 people are scheduled to attend this year’s Broward Gala, including newly elected Florida representative Carlos Guillermo Smith. Smith, an Orlando Democrat, was recently honored by the Advocate Magazine in its “Year in Review” issue as one of the “Heroes of Pulse.” EQFL Chief Executive Officer Nadine Smith is expected to deliver the organization's "State of the State" address. 

The gala is from 5 to 8 p.m. and tickets are $175 and cocktail attire is suggested. For tickets or more information, visit www.eqfl.org