Here are SFGN's "Best of 2019" winners in the Groups category in Broward County.
1480 SW 9th Ave.
God is good. And where better to form a connection with him than at Sunshine Cathedral, SFGN’s winner for Best Spiritual Center.
Welcoming is the overwhelming vibe one gets at the Sunshine Cathedral. This church is known for spreading love, acceptance, peace, and joy. That must be they’ve been voted 7 times as Best Spiritual Center.
Affiliated with Metropolitan Community Churches, Sunshine Cathedral is known for embracing diversity. Its primary constituency consists of same-gender loving and gender non-conforming people and their allies.
Durrell Watkins and his husband, Dr. Robert Griffin, lead Sunshine Cathedral’s ministry. Griffin, a U.S. Navy veteran, serves as executive minister. As noted in Watkins’ biography by SFGN in one of it’s Out 50 issue’s, Sunshine Cathedral is a “vibrant, thriving, progressive congregation that features blended worship, liberal theology, biblical exposition (likely in new ways that many aren’t used to) and a lot of unapologetic fun.”
Sunday worship services are at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
2157 Wilton Drive,
Thurs-Fri-Sat 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
For the third year in a row, SFGN readers chose the Stonewall National Museum and Archives the Best Museum in Broward County, one that promotes “understanding through preserving and sharing the proud culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their significant role in American society.”
According to Hunter O’Hanian, Stonewall’s newly-appointed Executive Director, “as the gay community has matured and found its voice over the past 50 or so years, people realize the importance of what they and others have endured. Of course, we all know that the struggle is not over. But people like that fact that our history is being preserved to prove we were here and help guide future generations.”
“Over the past year, the SNMA has mounted some amazing exhibitions in Wilton Manors; they have lent objects to some significant LGBTQ themed exhibitions in other cities; run a very successful educational program aimed at helping queer kids nationwide; and enhanced our library and archival holdings.”
The Museum’s most recent exhibit, “PULP: Erotic Paperbacks in Gay Male Culture,” celebrated gay male pulp fiction, “a key element in the evolution of a diverse gay male identity and self-expression in the United States.”
Like physique magazines, gay pulps played an important role in LGBT culture of the 20th Century.
What are the Stonewall Museum’s plans for the future? To O’Hanian, “we need to secure our organizational operations and broaden our reach in South Florida. We are one of the major cultural organizations here and we need to do a better job engaging residents and visitors. We need to be sure everyone feels welcome. I will be spending at lot of time getting our house in order, raising resources, diversity and inclusion and letting people know we are here. It seems like a lot of work, but it is all doable.”
If you weren’t there, why weren’t you? Our readers said it was the top option.
More than 30,000 people descended on Wilton Drive this Halloween for Wicked Manors – voted best Annual Event.
Roger Roa of the host Pride Center said it was the largest weekday event attendance so far.
“The event was a resounding success, and our community was able to gather for a safe, inclusive evening that was filled with celebration and incredible costumes,” he said.
More than 120 Pride Center volunteers, board members, staff, community organizations and sponsors pitched in to pull it off.
Attendees loved the entertainment stages and more costume eye candy than a brain can process.
Readers say this event is top notch for variety, diversity, safety and fun.
“Wicked Manors 2020 will be another for the record books — a full moon and a Saturday night will align for a Halloween celebration like no other,” Roa said.
The true story of ‘Queer As Folks’ Liberty Ride may have been taken from this year’s best fundraiser.
Glen Weinzimer was inspired to create a fundraiser that truly gave back 100 percent of it’s proceeds back to Florida, after seeing a similar fundraising bike ride put most of its proceeds to “expenses.”
The Smart Ride gives 100 percent of what it makes back to Florida’s HIV community. Weinzimer explained that they do this by working with their community partners, and having amazing sponsors such as Gilead, CAN Community Health, and Merck.
Every dollar raised, goes back to Florida!
Smart Ride’s annual, two day, 165 mile, Miami-Key West Ride is now in it’s 16th year and has raised over $11 million to assist HIV related non-profits.
Weinzimer’s favorite part of making this happen is seeing everyone come together as a community, with no judgment in order to support one another. Doing this helps the community and keeps alive the memories of friends who have died of AIDS related complications.
Wilton Manors Central
This is SFGN’s first time offering up Best Neighborhood, which goes to Central Wilton Manors. It makes sense since this area includes the Drive so who wouldn’t want to live in the heart of the gayborhood?
And we presume it will only get hotter once Wilton Drive has been narrowed.
“The Central Area Neighborhood Association has it all! Not only delicious restaurants and lively bars, but 3 parks (Hagen, Island City, and Richardson) along with a museum, art galleries, and intimate theaters,” said Adrienne Foland, a local real estate agent and Vice President of the Wilton Manors Historical Society. “Plus you can walk everywhere! I have lived here for 16 years and loved every weekend of it.”
South Florida Armature Athletic Association
South Florida Armature Athletic Association (SFAAA) is one of the best ways to be out, meet new and not be in a bar.
This is the 5th year in a row that SFAAA has won Best Sports League. There are many reasons for their success is including….
These factors have made SFAAA a huge part of our community since 1994.
Riptide has been more of a tsunami than a wave as they have won both the spring and fall seasons with perfect records. They also went to the Gay World Series in Kansas City to tie for 13th place out of 72 teams in the D Division.
This may be why SFGN’s Best Sports Team is The Pub’s Riptide!
Rob Gallagher has been its coach for 7 of the 8 years they have been around. He said that the best part of being a part of SFAAA and coaching is building friendships, being able to do recreational activities, and enjoying the competition.
Riptide plans on playing in the 2019 SFAAA Hurricane Showdown on Thanksgiving weekend, and hopes to defend their spring 2020 SFAAA title.
Non-Profit & Support Group
2040 North Dixie Hwy
For the eighth year in a row, SFGN readers chose the Pride Center at Equality Park to be Broward County’s Best Non-profit organization. Led by Chief Executive Officer Robert Boo and a fine staff of professionals and volunteers, the Pride Center continues to fulfill its mission: to “provide a welcoming, safe space – an inclusive home that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBTQ communities and our friends and neighbors in South Florida.”
In 2019 the Pride Center made headlines as the site of the Residences at Equality Park, now under construction. Boo describes the Residences as “the first senior affordable and supportive housing with culturally proficient support programs for the LGBTQ+ community. This has been a seven year long process to get to this point.”
The Residences, along with the Center’s senior programs, “will give residents a permanent, safe space to live and support services they need to age in place.” The Residences are part of a trend of senior housing communities built in conjunction with LGBTQ centers, including those in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago and Philadelphia.
But there’s more to the Pride Center than senior housing, of course.
According to Boo, “we continue to look for gaps in service to our community. We strive not to duplicate a program or service that is already being provided by culturally proficient sister organizations. As the needs of the community change, the Pride Center’s programs and services will evolve. We continuously hear from the community, and it was also identified in our Master Plan process with the community, that they are looking for cultural, entertainment and educational activities with the Pride Center. We are planning for the future to meet that request and provide those opportunities on our campus.”
Besides taking home the top prize for non-profit the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the Pride Center won for Best Support Group.
The success of those meetings can no doubt lend itself to the Pride Center’s open and diverse environment. Meetings are held regularly. Call the Center for times.
Pride Center has also been recognised in SFGN's Best Groups
Seven Florida counties recently received $490,000 in funding for HIV/AIDS prevention services. But one organization in Fort Lauderdale has been aiding the community long before that: Broward House.
Broward House offers case management, testing and educational events surrounding HIV. The organization also partners with CAN Community Health, a nonprofit clinic group that has over 30 locations around Florida.
South Florida has some of the highest HIV rates in the country, SFGN has previously reported — including Broward County. The organization participates in events all throughout the year to fundraise and spread awareness. They participate in these, and more:
Broward House originated as a housing organization that provided medicine, food and mental health services for those who need it — and they still offer housing services with all those benefits. But now, they’ve expanded to provide extensive HIV services with the help of CAN Community Health. Those services include case management, peer support and on-site pharmacies. They also include PrEP, STI and Hep C testing.
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