Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 011018 Contents 28 • 1.10.2018
2017 sfgn acHieveMents in excellence award:
fort lauderdale city coMMissioner dean trantalis
It is the beginning of January, and once
again SFGN will be distributing its annual
‘Achievements in Excellence’ awards.
You are all invited to the ceremonies we
will be hosting this year on Thursday evening,
January 25, at Hunter’s newly renovated
nightclub in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors.
There are three recipients this year, and
one of our winners is Fort Lauderdale mayoral
candidate Dean Trantalis.
The awards SFGN distributes go beyond
a political race in a singular year. They are
given to nominees whose careers are marked
by dedication and devotion to the LGBT
In naming Anderson Cooper the SFGN 2017
‘Person of the Year’ last week, we went out of
our way to point out that we were not looking to
glamorize one achievement, but rather trying
to reward character and accomplishment over
“Excellence,” we wrote, quoting Aristotle,
“is not a single act. It is a habit.”
For the South Florida LGBT
community, Dean Trantalis
represents one the most
conscientious and credentialed
voices for decades. He has been
a leader and spokesperson in
the forefront of human rights
issues since opening his law
practice in Fort Lauderdale 36
years ago, in 1982.
Born and raised in Norwich,
Connecticut, Dean graduated
Boston University in 1975. It
was early in 1990 when Broward
County first started to deal
with human rights ordinances
protecting homosexuals. Dean
would become a focal point
in that debate, volunteering, organizing and
strategizing for the future.
In 1993, he became chair of Broward United
Against Discrimination, a local chapter of a
state-wide effort to defeat the petition drive
launched by the American Family Association
to enact a law that would have prevented any
city or county from enacting gay-rights laws.
This effort was also defeated in the Courts,
when the Florida Supreme Court found the
Two years later, in 1995, the LGBT
community faced another challenge as
opponents of equality sought to overturn the
passage of Broward County’s Human Rights
Ordinance. The law extended to persons, based
on their sexual orientation, protection from
discrimination in housing, in employment,
and in public accommodations. Broward was
the first county in the state to have such a law.
In 1995, Dean served as co-chair of
Americans For Equality. They not only
advocated for the law, they had to rise to the
challenge of a subsequent petition drive to
defeat its repeal. Dean would not be deterred
by the challenges. He has spent a career rising
to them, organizing, mobilizing and becoming
a force for change.
In 1997, Dean helped to coordinate the effort
to hold back the passage of the law which
banned same-sex marriages here in Florida. He
went on to serve on the Board of the Dolphin
Democrats and as its president.
Five years later, he was elected
to represent District 2 as Fort
Lauderdale’s first openly gay
city commissioner. He has
been tested by the thread of
time, and held up well.
Over the years, Dean has also
served the LGBT community
supervisory and voluntary
roles with numerous AIDS
agencies, review boards, and
chambers of commerce. He
has won awards of distinction
and recognition from a host
of groups and organizations,
locally and even nationally.
SFGN’s honor this year simply
adds another marker to a distinguished career.
This year, however, Dean’s candidacy for
mayor of Fort Lauderdale makes that marker
very special. As we have said many times,
SFGN is published in four counties from Key
West to North Palm Beach, delivered to scores
of cities and hundreds of drop off points,
extending far beyond the Fort Lauderdale or
the limited parameters of the district Dean has
represented. Still, home plate IS home plate.
Whether it has been the Express Gay News
or South Florida Gay News recording the
history of the gay and lesbian community for
the last 19 years, the epicenter of that news
operation has been greater Fort Lauderdale
and Wilton Manors, the very same-sex centric
community where Trantalis has maintained
his boutique law practice for years.
Yes, our newspaper reaches many cities in
multiple counties but few play as prominent
a place in LGBT life in South Florida as Fort
Lauderdale. According to the 2012 census,
Fort Lauderdale has the highest concentration
of same-sex households in the nation. The
voice of its mayor matters.
Thegreater FortLauderdaleLGBT community
has also become known worldwide, not only
for its nightlife and hospitality industry, but its
international appeal for tourists, its increasing
investments for real estates, and its emerging
opportunities for business professionals.
In June of 2014, Dean led the drive for city
of Fort Lauderdale commissioners to support
a resolution backing same-sex marriage.
The sitting mayor opposed it. Imagine a new
scenario where the mayor of a major southern
city was a proponent of your freedoms instead.
The possibility reasonably exists the voice
of that mayor can now become that of a gay
man, one of our own, who has advocated
for our lives for decades. That matters too,
despite having decent opponents- Charlotte
Rodstrom and Bruce Roberts- who have been
gay supportive in their own careers as well.
Accordingly, Dean’s work is worthy of your
acknowledgement and SFGN’s recognition,
regardless of whether you agree with him on
the city’s infrastructure or position regarding
sea turtles. We are celebrating a community
voice, not a singular vote.
Dean wins this recognition for a life well
lived as a spokesperson for human and LGBT
rights. Win or lose this run for mayor, we
salute the commitment Dean has brought to
the table over many yesterdays.
Straight or gay, having a mayor whose
advocacy promotes human rights, tolerance
and diversity enhances the lives of every
resident driving from the beach to I-95. We all
If Dean prevails in his race for mayor, the
city will be represented by him with dignity
and decency, not defamatory remarks or
demeaning posts. That is how he has served
the LGBT community in the past and you can
expect that is how he will represent all of Fort
Lauderdale in the future.
Local elections can be biting and bitter, and
already this past week a little flyer purportedly
about sewage goes into the gutter about Dean’s
candidacy. It features him with red lipstick.
Nonsense, if he wins, he would never wear
anything but a pink blush.
When and if he does, hopefully on his desk
will be a nice trophy and plaque from SFGN
noting him as the winner of our ‘Achievements
in Excellence’ Award for the calendar year
2017. He has been earning it for 35 years.
For the South
one the most
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