Tom Runyan left active duty with the U.S. Navy under the Clinton-era policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The policy, he said, was “designed to keep LGBT persons in the closet.”

Not wanting to “remain hidden in society,” Runyan resigned from his commission post in Key West in 1994 and since that time has become a strong leader in the South Florida LGBT community.

When the Pulse Nightclub massacre shook the nation to its core, it was Runyan who leaped into action in Fort Lauderdale -- organizing a rally on the corner of a popular intersection. The rallies were called “Love Always Wins” and gave locals a way of coping with the terrible incident.

The movement, formed by Runyan and Derek Maingot, continued through the SMART Ride, a cycling event from Miami to Key West that raises over $1 million annually for HIV/AIDS services.

When he’s not leading the Gay & Lesbian Lawyers Network, Runyan can usually be found at a South Florida Symphony concert. He is an active supporter and the Runyan Law Firm sponsors the orchestra. Passionate about travel and exploration, Runyan has visited six of the earth’s seven continents. Africa is on his to-do list.

 

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