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It takes a lifetime to accomplish everything Norm Kent has done. From fighting the early battles for LGBT rights to holding power accountable to telling stories even when he knew it would cost him money, Kent has been a loud and relentless advocate for South Florida’s LGBT community.

That’s why on Jan. 26, the Wilton Manors Business Association (WMBA) honored him with their lifetime achievement award.

“Anyone in government today, anyone in power holding office, that thinks they can question the rigor, resolve and responsibility of gay men in Wilton Manors, let them come to Wilton Manors today,” Kent said during his acceptance speech. “You have won in proving yourself righteous. They forget the resolve and strength and incredible awesome ability to stand against adversity.”

WMBA President Gary Van Horn said, “It was great to see Kent at the awards ceremony. His dedication to our community was definitely inspiring and we are proud as an organization to recognize his great work!”

Kent, an attorney by trade and activist by nature, has fought for the community since the post-Stonewall days. He was a loud voice shouting down Anita Bryant’s vicious attacks to repeal Dade County’s very basic LGBT protection law in the 1970s, and countless other battles that needed to be fought to bring the community where it is today.

Howard Marr, his longtime friend and fellow activist, introduced Kent. “Norm plays a vital role in shaping and developing our community that he loves so much.”

Going forward, WMBA will call the honor the Norm Kent Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kent has faced serious health issues over the past couple of years. While his speech is slower and more deliberate, his mind and message remain clear and determined.

“We will question any foe who places our survival or validity in jeopardy. Like [Harvey] Milk in 1978 taking bullets in the head to stand up for our civil rights.”

In addition to being a force in the legal community, Kent took his message to the media. He hosted a longtime radio program, as well as publishing The Express News starting in 1999 and eventually SFGN in 2009.

His legal mind remains sharp and ready for new challenges. He plans on suing Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida in a fight to protect drag entertainment. Kent reiterated his determination during his speech.

“No governor today is going to take away the right of Electra to dance at a club. If it takes suing in 2023 to prove you were right in 1983 then that’s what we’re going to do.”