Rodney Briguglio grew up in West Hampton Beach, Long Island, “a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business,” he said.

Social pressure to conform to the heterosexual “norm” kept him closeted for many years during which time he dated women and kept up the façade. He finally came out at 30 and says it was a wonderful experience, releasing pent up anger and experiencing a lot less worry that someone would figure it out.

Briguglio moved to Florida when he was 22, taking a job as events coordinator at the Breakers. “South Florida is less seasonal than the Hamptons,” Briguglio said. “It seemed like a good move and so it was.”

He left the Breakers and became a consultant on event planning. He and a business partner created Mara, a night club on Dixie Highway in Lake Worth which was later launched as Blue Front Barbecue Restaurant where he hosted a weekly drag show. His latest project is Lilly Catering and Events.

Briguglio is a big supporter of gay events and programs including Compass and the annual Pride Festival.

He encourages people to come out and “be proud of who you are. And surround yourself with others like you.”

– DC