Cities can put on airs of being LGBT friendly, its Convention & Visitors' Bureau (CVB) can market toward our community, invite us to come see their city, and the public works can raise the Rainbow or any other flag they feel would make us flock there. But to really know a city is accepting you, our community, you need to visit and feel it. I've visited many places and experienced many different levels of feeling accepted, but one place I feel the most accepted is when I come home to Fort Lauderdale. Here's two great examples why.
Last February I attended the LEAD Professional Development Day at Broward College. BC is the 4th largest community college in the nation, the 23rd largest higher education institution in the United States with over 67,000 students. Leading Educational Achievement through Development (LEAD) is held every year with a variety of topics. One of the topics addressed at this institutional training day was:
Thinking Outside the Binary: Transgender 101
This session will provide faculty with a more inclusive perspective of transgender individuals. Faculty will learn about the gender spectrum, gender identity, as well as the history and life experiences of transgender individuals. Faculty will also learn how to serve the population more effectively by gaining an understanding of the transgender community. This session will provide participants the skills on how to better relate with LGBTQI coworkers and students.
This two hour seminar, broken into two 1-hour sessions and was facilitated by Misty Eyez. Her twitter bio states she is an:
Entertainer/ showgirl/ BBW model / diva-I'm humble enough to know I'm not better than anyone but wise enough to know that I'm different from the rest
Her Facebook – About shares this info:
Misty Eyez aka "The Eyez of Florida" & "The South Florida Sweetheart" is always glamorous and sexy but is also known for her over the top club kid persona & is an audience favorite most often caught performing comedic & shocking thought provoking numbers.
As a member of the LGBT community, I still need to learn more about our non LGB members. With so many letters joining the Queer community, yep, I said and Misty said Queer, it is hard to keep up with all the additions and definitions.
The 2-hour seminar was energetic, enlightening, and I and others were clearly learning with every sentence. I'm no slouch on the LGBTQ+ stuff, but yes, it was clear that there was even more to learn when Misty was done with us. To have one of the largest higher education institution in the nation give its employees the chance to better themselves and try to gain a more inclusive perspective of transgender individuals and the rest of the Queer community, we must say BRAVO! I just wish the space was larger for more to learn. I felt bad that many people were turned away due to limited seating and I did feel a little guilty about taking one of the seats, but I clearly had many things to learn. Thank you Misty.
Misty Eyez recently did an interview recently where she shared her opinions about Fort Lauderdale.
South Florida is just very welcoming and very accepting. When you’re in the checkout line in the grocery store, the person behind you, in front of you, the checker, and everyone are almost always of a different race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, even disability — a different, unique, and diverse person. This makes everyone so warm and accepting. I’ve just felt so comfortable here. The diversity here is so amazing. Fort Lauderdale has always been welcoming for LGBT+ people in general, yes, but I do feel that globally the T is often forgotten about, and the ignored letter from this abbreviation. We have grown so much already, and clearly ahead of the times now. I cannot wait to see how warm and loving we will be in the next decade. – GayCities
Remember that thing I said at the beginning about raising a flag and expecting people to come? I'm cautious when I visit cities and am asked to show how LGBT friendly cities are. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB raises all the flags and they have good reason to.
In Greater Fort Lauderdale, we welcome everyone who shares our spirit of inclusion. As the LGBT+ capital of Florida, we’re equal parts fun, safety and acceptance. We’re also the proud hosts of the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference, featuring keynote speaker and reality television star, Gia Gunn.
Join us for three days of education and community under the warm embrace of the Fort Lauderdale sun, September 6-8, at the historic Riverside Hotel on world-famous Las Olas Boulevard.
I am a cis gay white male, not that much of a special unicorn in the Rainbow family, but still gay. I'm very very comfortable living in Fort Lauderdale, working in this city, as well as going out all over FTL and in Wilton Manors. Friends visit because it is very welcoming, it's paradise during the winter, and men are everywhere. The five years I've lived here, I think I like this past weekend as one of the best weekends of all.
It's going to sound corny, but it's when I see more of our "family" here. Unfortunately last year in 2017 the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference (SCTC) was cancelled due to hurricane Irma.
It attracts people from all over the United States, offering the opportunity for social and other interaction.From the conference's founding in 1991 until 2014, the conference was held in Atlanta, GA.
At the conclusion of the 2014 Southern Comfort Conference, the board of directors announced that SCC would move to Ft Lauderdale Florida where the conference can continue the education and community it started with while adding an element of vacation to the conference.
We would love you to join us for education, community and fun-in-the-sun with your trans family.
Yep, it's going to sound corny again, but why I love Fort Lauderdale is that The L, the G, the B, and the T are welcome and can be seen being active members of the community. This weekend on the calendar, just so happens that there are more Ts present and it is evident. The fact that the community is there for them to enjoy as much as the LGBs, the fact that Transgender visitors and locals feel welcome to participate in our community, it makes me happy to be who I am and happy to live where I do.
Fort Lauderdale is a major city that can be taken at face value. That face value has LGBT acceptance all over it.
Learn more at sunny.org/lgbt. Follow The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB on social media @VisitLauderdale