OpEd: Proud of Who We Are

The jerk that is Donald Trump may not approve of homosexual marriage as he begins his fourteenth straight one, but nothing about the gay and lesbian community needs his sanction or approval.

Trump ought to spend a few months in South Florida to see how its LGBT citizens are thriving. Maybe he can walk down East Las Olas Boulevard holding hands with Jack Seiler, the Fort Lauderdale mayor who voted against marriage equality while his city commission, thankfully, did not.

Last week the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, led by its gay liaison, a known sodomite, Richard Gray showcased a cocktail party at the Marriott Harbor Beach for nearly a thousand representatives of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The rumor is many of them were homosexual as well.

The sparkling event last Wednesday was just a precursor to a phenomenal four-day diversity and business conference that commenced with a cocktail party at stunning Gallery of Amazing Things in Dania Beach, the evening before.  The local chapter of the national chamber of commerce, run by Keith Blackburn, also known to many as a homosexual, hosted that marvelous event.

Greater Fort Lauderdale is proud to be home to hundreds of LGBT owned and operated businesses, including hotelsbars, clubs, shops, restaurants, and attractions. The city offers the widest range of LGBT welcoming accommodations that meet the needs of LGBT travelers from around the world. No one else can offer more gay businesses, including accommodations than Greater Fort Lauderdale! In fact we are so gay, I think we might have a rainbow asterisk on the Family Research Council’s website map.

Gay.com has named us America’s “Favorite Gay Resort Town.” We offer 23 miles of sandy beaches and tropical blue-wave beaches.  You’ll also find miles of navigable inland waterways, the Everglades, gaming, designer outlet shopping, world-class cuisine, exclusive shops, vibrant nightlife, a spectacular cultural and social calendar, and at least one gay city commissioner, Dean Trantalis.

Nearby Wilton Manors, the home of a score of LGBT businesses, and SFGN’s home at Five Points, is one of the most populous same-sex centric communities in the nation. Our consumers and constituents are gay and plentiful, lesbian and proud. We are home to the Stonewall Library, the World Aids Museum, and the Pride Center at Equality Park. We host an Out of the Closet thrift store and Poverello Food Bank.

We reach out and care, and we are gay, gay, and gayer. No one in our community needs the approval of Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz or the host of Neanderthals running and ruining the Republican nomination for the presidency.

We have done a pretty good job of generating a professional community capable of defending our streets and helping our neighbors, from bowling tournaments to raising funds for HIV patients, to protesting unsafe road conditions on the drive. Our Pride Center at Equality Park is one of the ten largest in the nation, with hosts of services and programs touching all ages and ranges within our community.

Maybe a host of people running for President may not recognize the sophistication and culture of South Florida, but the rest of the world does.

In July, we hosted a Stonewall Celebration on the Drive in Wilton Manors, and with the help of community volunteers like Jeff Sterling, who runs an accounting firm here, and with donations from a score of local businessmen, many of whom share same-sex relationships in the privacy of their bedrooms, we filled the street with fantasy and fun.

August may have filled the Marriott with business and commerce, but in September Greater Fort Lauderdale will be hosting the unique and illuminating Southern Comfort Transgender Conference. The hotel will be populated by individuals advocating the next tipping point for civil rights in the LGBT movement, and it will happen right here in South Florida.

October is not just for Halloween and Wicked Manors, yet another festival on Wilton Drive. The ‘Fort Fabulous’ Pride week from October 5-11 will showcase Pride Fort Lauderdale in Holiday Park, with an opening party partnered with the MiFo Film Festival at the Museum of Art on October 9.

Warning, many homosexuals will be seen there, dressed elegantly, wearing nice clothes, and looking suspiciously like heterosexuals. The closing event will celebrate Sun Serve in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Himmarrshee Street, and their may even be a youth pageant as part of the event. 

Hang on, because in November LGBT softball players from all over the country will again show up for the annual Hurricane Showdown Softball Tournament at Mills Pond Park, in a tournament where gay men and women in shorts and sneakers will be running recklessly and randomly all over our fields. We promise to wash them down and hose them off afterwards, so we don’t leave any homosexual sweat on the turf or clay.

That’s not all. The national LGBT marketing group, CMI, is hosting its annual conference in December right on the beach, where homosexual business persons from all over the country will have to again interact with heterosexual tourists.

Sorry, folks, it does not get any better in 2016 or 2017. South Florida and Fort Lauderdale will be hosting the National Gay Pilots Association in May- oh my god, yes, there are gay pilots as well as, I heard, some gay airline attendants too. Then the National Minority Aids Conference is next September, and those of you who still believe in the Confederate Flag might want to start planning your Labor Day for next year right now. 

Amazingly, the World Gay Games are coming to Miami in 2017, and I am betting homosexuals will have a better time there then they will in Qatar a few years later where they are going to play the World Cup. We also will be hosting the International Gay Bowling Organization in May of 2017. 

The bottom line, the reality, the truth, well it was spoken by Harvey Milk many years ago, ‘ we are here. We are queer. We are everywhere.’ And we are good decent people, who don’t need Donald Trump’s approval or Ted Cruz’s acceptance. If they want to live the rest of their lives on the dark side of history, America gives them the freedom to be whom they want to be- just as it does us. If they choose ignorance and fear, stupidity and foolishness, so be it.

In the meantime, we can be sure of this. We have a right to be proud today of who we are, what we are, and what we do. Let no one standing say otherwise.

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