Fort Lauderdale’s New Mayor Is An Openly Gay Man

"This is a massive victory for Broward County and the LGBT community nationwide."

Fort Lauderdale just cemented its claim as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in America with the election of Dean Trantalis, an openly gay man, as mayor.

In a special election Tuesday, the 64-year-old garnered 64% of the vote, soundly defeating Republican opponent Bruce Roberts.

Trantalis’ sexual orientation was not an issue during the campaign, except when supporters of Roberts mailed out flyers with Trantalis in a tuxedo and a ventriloquist dummy wearing makeup.

But Trantalis took the snub in stride, joking “These are outfits I would never be seen in.”

A former real-estate attorney and member of the City Commission, he helped get Broward County to pass law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. He will be sworn in March 20.

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“Mayor-Elect Trantalis has a true passion for public service and fighting for civil rights,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman (D-FL), in a tweet. “This is a massive victory for Broward County and the LGBT community nationwide.”

Florida has a checkered record on gay rights but Lauderdale has long been an LGBT oasis. Another openly gay man, Steve Glassman, won a seat on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, with 61% of the vote. And SeniorAdvice voted it the best place for gay people to retire to.

Fort Lauderdale CVB

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.