As a resident of South Florida, Mark Silver is appreciative to live in an area that is so welcoming of LGBT individuals. As the owner of Argenti Jewelers in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, he sometimes gets customers from other areas of the country who remind him that not every place is so LGBT-friendly.

He usually meets them when they come in for marriage bands.

“They tell me they went to [their hometown jeweler] and they looked at us like we had three heads. This is how I attain a lot of my clients.”

Fortunately for Silver, he came to South Florida from another part of the country that is generally accepting of the LGBT community – at least nowadays – New York City.

“I went all through that Stonewall episode. It was that whole Fire Island and Studio 54 and that whole ‘80s thing, which was the beginning of our history. It was a lot of partying and the whole AIDS epidemic was just beginning.”

After the good and the bad of those first years as a vocal group, including the deaths of many of his friends and the friends and family members of other LGBT individuals, Silver said the LGBT community emerged stronger.

“Everybody was proud of who they were and now it’s a rule of thumb.”