Norm Kent

  • Op-Ed: Have Pride in the Pride Center

    In Broward County, we have been fortunate to have able and credible leadership steer not only our Pride Center at Equality Park but a host of our nonprofits, all working vigilantly to gain and keep our public trust.

  • Op-Ed: Henry Vidal’s Death Lives Again 

    It has been three and a half years since 32-year-old Henry Vidal, a local bartender, was found dead in his Northeast 20th street apartment, overlooking the Dairy Queen on Wilton Drive.

  • Op-Ed: HIV Not a ‘Tragic’ Diagnosis Anymore

     This week we commemorate those people that have lost their lives to HIV, and those still living with the disease. 

  • Op-Ed: How the Lauderdale Bars Remained Open

    Last Friday night, while enjoying dinner at The Grille, Paul Hugo’s spectacular new restaurant in Wilton Manors, a gentleman approached me and thanked me for my law firm’s victory in persuading the city of Fort Lauderdale to rescind its “homophobic” decision to close gay bars earlier.

  • Op-Ed: Hyping Hate Instead Of Hope

    There is a sign on the door of the South Florida Gay News.

    It reads, “Due to recent security concerns, the front door of our office may be locked. Please knock for entry.”

  • Op-Ed: MARIJUANA IS A MEDICINE, NOT A MENACE

    I am delighted to report that more and more government officials are promoting sanity in pot laws. Cannabis crosses political parties and generational lines. 

  • Op-Ed: More Ruminations, Rants and Rules of the Road 

    Some young congresswoman has caused a national firestorm by stating on her first day in office that she wanted to impeach Donald Trump, calling the bastard president a ‘mother fucker.’ Imagine that. 

  • Op-Ed: Parkland – One Year Later 

    It has been a year since our community was struck down in Parkland. Coming on the heels of Pulse, it shook our foundations, shocked our souls.

  • Op-Ed: Planners StrikeOut at the Plaza 

    If Brenda Snipes can be removed from her constitutionally elected office for incompetence, then the persons responsible for planning the construction on Wilton Drive can be tarred and feathered.

  • Op-Ed: Reflections on the History of South Florida Pride 

    On a personal note, I am proud to deliver to you today the largest weekly paper in gay America.  At the same time, as I have told you before, never cook bacon naked.


    SFGN’s Place at Your Table 

    As we begin our tenth year, the amazing size of SFGN is a tribute to the economic strength of our own LGBT community, and that is not even counting the number of Long Island Iced Teas the Alibi will sell this Thursday night during Pride Week.

    Just like our bi monthly magazine, The Mirror, which touched down at 128 pages last month with our Arts and Entertainment issue, the LGBT community of greater Fort Lauderdale is making a statement. To steal a line from “Le Mis,”we are now the mayors of this town.

    In South Florida, LGBT residents are the makers and shakers of our communities; the movers and doers. We are the leaders who shape our lives, run our businesses, and dominate our politics, though since we are talking about gay stuff, I will go easy on the dominatrix thing.

    SFGN is proud to be your voice. It’s not all about me.  We are a group project. The paper stands tall because our content is credible, our reporting factual, our advertisers genuine, and our opinions independent.

    Advertisers spend their money with us because they recognize that they get bang for their buck. Businesses realize an advertisement in our paper today can deliver them customers and consumers tomorrow. It makes sense. We reach 400 venues in three counties with distribution points in over a dozen cities.

    Our online editions with breaking news stories are as much of an enterprise as printing the paper and the magazine. We offer immediate news updates and instant gratification for media junkies. From Italy to Alaska, people read SFGNonline. 

    Publishing and distributing our digital and print editions costs a small fortune, though. 

    We pay for our content. Our staff, insurance, cars and even freelancers cost money. But good work ain’t cheap, and cheap work ain’t good. 

    Your support and advertising dollars make this endeavor and labor of love possible. So I thank you today, individually and collectively, for helping make our journey continue.

    South Florida’s Gay Press 

    Having a free and forceful gay free press matters in America. We have come a long way, but we have always had something worth fighting for — our rights to equality. A gay press has been the forum for your voice. 

    For decades, Fort Lauderdale’s gay magazines and bar guides have also sponsored pride rallies and hosted fundraisers for charitable causes. They provide editorial space for organizations and columnists to illuminate causes that count. Their media sponsorships have been additional spark-plugs that furthered our community’s economic growth and vitality.

    Along those lines, SFGN has illuminated our lives and our loves; our victories and our losses. We have lobbied for domestic unions and gay soldiers. Today, we now demand equal participation and protection for our transgender community. We won’t ever let up. Nor should you, not as long as you have a breath in your body.

    In this issue, SFGN provides a forum for Equality Florida to articulate its stance on a controversial LGBT bill before the state legislature. On other pages, our columnists discuss health and aging and arts and entertainment. Whether you are rich and retired, a runaway or homeless, we will be your advocates; our pages your voice.

    A gay free press matters, whether it is uncomfortable for a politician in office or a pride director caught with his finger in the pie. Our duty, however, is to always be honest and thorough. If we don’t live up to that, your duty is to hold us accountable. We are not beyond criticism. Heck, you can find something wrong with me everyday. My mother did. 

    South Florida’s Gay Pride History

    The first ever Pride Fort Lauderdale parade on our beach begins this Saturday at 5:30 p.m., near Sebastian Street, not far from what was once the famous and very homosexual Marlin Beach Hotel. You may know it as the home of the movie “Where the Boys Are,” starring Connie Francis. This weekend, expect a few more boys. 

    It was in the basement of the Marlin Beach, in 1984, that a small group of eight concerned gay Fort Lauderdale residents met to form an advocacy group to call attention to an emerging health crisis impacting gay men.  America came to call it “AIDS.” Back then, it was also known as 
    “G.R.I.D.;” a Gay Related Immune Deficiency. 

    It was in South Florida that the issue of gay rights took on national prominence. In January of 1977, a group of conservatives — led by entertainer and Florida orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant — packed Miami-Dade County’s commission chambers to protest the potential passage of a gay rights ordinance. It passed anyway.

    The results shook the planet. 

    The very first day after Miami Dade became the first major urban area in the country to pass legislation protecting gays, it snowed in Miami for the first time ever.  It was also the first and only time snow fell upon the city, at least until gays showed up at the White Party in Vizcaya. 

    This crazed juice queen Anita would lead a repeal fight and get the ordinance reversed.

    It took more than 20 years for Miami-Dade to revive and pass the law. Rights deferred are rights denied. What takes forever to build you can lose in a minute. 

    A year later, something called the Briggs Initiative in California would seek to ban gays and lesbians from working in public schools. The first openly gay legislator in the country, Harvey Milk, a San Francisco city supervisor, would be assassinated in his office.

    When I moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1977, radio talk shows were still debating whether the American Psychiatric Association had wrongly declassified homosexuality as a “mental illness” in 1973. There were no pride parades. 

    If you are old enough to remember, 50 years ago, in 1968, a tobacco company launched a liberating, self-affirming feminist marketing campaign for Virginia Slims cigarettes. Somewhat condescending, but universally popular, it was capsulized as “We have come a long way, baby.”

    South Florida has now become one of the safest and most livable places for LGBT Americans to reside, play, and work. Gay men and women have enhanced this corner of our country. It’s not only tropical; it’s tolerant.

    We have come a long way, but we are not babies.Like women, minorities, and immigrants, American institutions for too long historically and unjustifiably disgraced LGBT populations. Today’s parade therefore can’t just be a party of rainbows and beads. We can’t forget a past tarnished by unacceptable indignities.

    This week we must also shine a light on history. This is the very year we celebrate the 50thanniversary of the Stonewall Bar riots in New York City. Many who helped pave the road for us are not here today to walk upon it. Remember them.

    Yes, today, along the same Fort Lauderdale beach where we were once censured for looking at each other the wrong way, we smile unabashedly, parade unapologetically, and hug and kiss enthusiastically.  

    We have indeed come a long way. Enjoy the moment.

     SFGN Norm Image2 Pride 2 20 19

    (Photo Credit, Pride Fort Lauderdale)

     

     

     

     

  • Op-Ed: The Continuing Ruminations from Chairman Norm

    The Roger Stone arrest by the FBI has dominated local and national news blocks the past week. There are three issues that should trouble you about this case.

  • Op-Ed: The Disaster Waiting to Happen on NE 24th

    A friend of mine built the Metropolitan, and it is as nice a residential apartment project as has ever been constructed in Wilton Manors. Just east of the railroad tracks on NE 24th Street, its residents are modern, fit and urbane, and the buildings aesthetic and eye pleasing.

  • Op-Ed: The Manors and Marlins Hit a Home Run

    On June 29, the Miami Marlins will again partner with representatives of the LGBT community and host another Pride Night at the Ballpark. Good for them and nice for us.

  • Op-Ed: The Sun Is Rising On Gay America

    The LGBT community in America has much to be thankful for in 2018. As an example, be sure you take a moment and look at the article by Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade in this week’s paper. 

  • Op-Ed: THE SUPREME COURT GOT IT WRONG

    The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war. The President, however, is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. 

  • Op-Ed:SFGN’s Senior Edition Was A Hit

    You gotta laugh. Someone complained last week’s senior edition did not appeal to “young people.” Like they read?

  • OpEd: ‘Advocate’ Exposes Anti-Gay Cabinet of President Trump

    Today is the 7th anniversary of the debut of SFGN. We were going to do a celebratory cover. But it dawned upon me that there is nothing to celebrate this January. 

  • OpEd: ‘Turning the Other Cheek – The Wrong Way’

    Last summer, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation presented the greater Fort Lauderdale community with a bold initiative to address the low-income housing crisis in the city. 

  • OpEd: #MSDStrong - The Pain of the Parents

    There is a side of this tragedy no one has been covering, and it’s a wound no band-aid can patch.

  • OpEd: 20 Things You Won’t Ever See in Hillary’s Emails

    As the campaign for the Presidency of the United States winds down, and when the next issue of SFGN is published one day later than usual, we will know whether or not our nation has elected its first female president.