Beginning this week, SFGN commences the daunting task of selecting individuals who have distinguished themselves in our community, commencing with this week’s choice of Wilton Manors City Commissioner Chris Caputo as our Person of the Year.
Chris may have been our easiest selection. He has simply become our city’s Energizer Bunny, a hands-down, slam-dunk choice, seemingly always everywhere and anywhere working for you to make Wilton Manors a better place to live.
The article outlining Caputo’s achievements and accomplishments is authored by Steve Rothaus, a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist’s Association, and a Miami Herald veteran.
It’s a great read, capturing the respect and tenure Chris Caputo has gained as a young entrepreneur, Pride Center spokesperson, city commission candidate, and now officeholder, along with being an established activist for HIV causes.
I think you learn from the piece that Chris exudes enthusiasm and energy, practicality and professionalism. He does so by listening to what you have to say, not telling you what or how to think. He understands he is your voice at city hall. He hears. He listens. He learns. And then he leads.
Congratulations, Mr. Caputo, it is an award well-deserved and earned. You have been and continue to be a source of pride and strength for the gay community.
Next week, SFGN illuminates our lives in photographs with our annual year-end picture issue, “A Day in the life of Gay South Florida,” from Key West to Palm Beach.
The issue showcases our lives at work and at play, from stylists cutting hair to you walking your dogs. Most all, this issue depicts our community as we are, normal people living normal lives. It demonstrates again one of my favorite axioms: “We are a part of our community, not apart from it.” Now, we are even the mayors of our towns, police chiefs in our cities, and judges in our courtroom. We are no more the outcasts we once were.
You see, we have never asked for special rights. We have rightfully demanded equal rights. It’s a struggle that will continue anew with a Supreme Court now more conservative than a half-century ago. Your battle may be starting all over.
Finding yourself as a gay man or woman in a straight world has never been an easy course. For many, growing up was living a series of cover-ups, mixing messages and changing directions. You lived a lot of white lies and secret truths.
Today, because of your courage yesterday, coming out of the closet can be as simple as pushing aside a curtain. You helped build a newer world. You have not only blossomed to become who you are, you have made it so much easier for others to do so as well.
This is not so everywhere and every place. You may be barefoot in the sun on the welcoming shores and sands of South Florida, but there are still gay Americans facing discrimination from Tallahassee to parts unknown.
So, do your duty. We are sometimes powerless against injustice, but we are never powerless to oppose it. As Pericles wrote, “If Athens shall appear great to you, consider that its glories were won daily by good men doing their daily deeds well.”
Beginning with our January 6, 2022, issue, SFGN will be announcing a number of other awards of excellence and distinction, honoring those whose deeds deserve recognition. These will be presented at our 12th-anniversary party on February 17, 2022, at Grieco Ford of Fort Lauderdale. The 12th-anniversary gala will benefit Our Fund.
This is the first for us. We don’t normally throw parties. We publish papers. That’s how we survive, by delivering you the news, good and bad, to your doorstep every week.
With few speeches and live entertainment, you are invited to greet the recipients of SFGN’s Public Official of the Year, Activist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Trans Person of the Year, and Professional of the Year.
We have our work cut out. People to choose, then stories to write. We have over five years of “OUT50” selections. We heard our readers’ voices in your “BestOf” selections in September. But here is your chance to be heard again.
[Editor's Note: The anniversary party was postponed.]