It is no secret that Fort Lauderdale and the Greater Fort Lauderdale area of Florida is one of the biggest, best, most accepting, inviting destinations in the nation and world for the LGBT community. We love to visit and many more love to live there. We can thank many businesses, politicians, social activists, and citizens for making Fort Lauderdale the gay capital of Florida, but one of those individuals was recently given well-deserved thanks and recognition and it was in a big way.
Visit Lauderdale’s Richard Gray, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, has been recognized as an innovator and named among the 100 most influential LGBTQ+ people in the United States by Out Magazine’s 2020 Out100. The list remains the largest annual portfolio recognizing members of the LGBTQ+ community for their ground-breaking, ripple-inducing, and culture-shifting impact nationwide. Each honoree represents not just the past but also the future.
We at Instinct Magazine have known Richard Gray just about from the start of our magazine and can only agree 1,000 percent in him receiving recognition by OUT Magazine. To see what he has done for the LGBT+ community in Florida and the world has been inspiring and we expect many more years of his dedication to make this world a better place for us all. Stacy Ritter, President and CEO of Visit Lauderdale has this to say about Gray:
“Richard is an exemplary, authentic leader in the travel industry and beyond, and he’s perfectly suited among Out100’s prestigious group of trailblazers. He embodies the welcoming and inclusive nature of our entire Greater Fort Lauderdale destination and uses his creative vision to bring unparalleled and progressive strategic thinking to our tourism efforts.”
SVP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Launches Global and Historic Celebrate You Campaign & Adds Colors to the Destination’s LGBT+ Flag
Working constantly to highlight what Greater Fort Lauderdale has to offer tourists and vacationers from around the world, Gray always has diversity, equity, and inclusion as pillars of his efforts. This summer under Gray’s direction, Visit Lauderdale launched the groundbreaking ‘Celebrate You’ campaign which is a global first. Gray believes this the best campaign to date and underscores Greater Fort Lauderdale’s diversity. Greater Fort Lauderdale is dedicated to being a destination where all people are welcomed, regardless of religion, gender, gender expression, body size, race or disability. The historic campaign includes trans, drag, lesbian, gay, non-binary, disabled, straight and minorities in a very non-resort way.
As part of this campaign, Gray added black and brown to the Pride colors to show Greater Fort Lauderdale’s commitment and belief in black and brown people. This is the first DMO (destination marketing organization) to add these colors to its flag.
This year might have brought an onslaught of challenges, but it also welcomed new opportunities to reflect about what matters to the LGBTQ+ community and what lies ahead in the fight for equality and justice.
“Now more than ever, it’s important to highlight the monumental achievements the LGBTQ+ community has made against the backdrop of a giant cultural shift and an evolving landscape of entertainment, politics, social justice, industry, and so much more. This list is critical.”
– Diane Anderson-Minshall, CEO & Editorial Director of Pride Media
If you ever get the chance to meet Richard Gray, do not hesitate. It will be hard to find someone more welcoming, attentive, and willing to listen. His dedication to the LGBT+ community and his South Florida community is palpable and contagious. There is no doubt that Gray deserves this recognition from OUT Magazine. Other notable 2020 Out100 honorees include actor Wilson Cruz, activist and BLM organizer Janaya Khan, actor and director Joe Mantello, artist and icon Janelle Monáe, journalist Rachel Maddow, fashion legend André Leon Talley, headlining musician Lizzo, comedian Wanda Sykes, actors Jeremy Pope and Cheyenne Jackson, the creators of Queer Eye, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s team Jamal Brown, Reggie Greer, and Karine Jean-Pierre. Gray is the only South Florida honoree.
“I am beyond honored and humbled to be part of Out100.
I will use this recognition to continue my endeavors to push the envelope and use my global platform to educate and better the world.
After all, I do believe we are all here to leave the world better than we found it.”
– Richard Gray, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion of Visit Lauderdale.
About Greater Fort Lauderdale
Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts an average year-round temperature of 77˚F and has 3,000+ hours of annual sunshine. Explore 4,000+ eateries, 300+ miles of navigable waterways, eight distinct beaches, a Greater Fort Lauderdale tourism industry thriving arts and culture scene, craft breweries, rooftop bars, outdoor adventure, and world-class shopping – all conveniently located in the center of South Florida. Made of up 31 municipalities, the destination boasts more than 35,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts and boutique properties reflecting a cosmopolitan vibe. Upon arrival at FLL Airport (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport), it is just five minutes to the beach, Port Everglades, the Broward County Convention Center and downtown. For trip planning inspiration, visit sunny.org and follow @VisitLauderdale.
About Visit Lauderdale
Visit Lauderdale, a.k.a. the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) is the tourism marketing organization for Broward County, Florida, where more than 13 million annual visitors support 180,000 direct and indirect tourism jobs and spend over $8 billion. The GFLCVB markets Greater Fort Lauderdale’s community of 31 municipalities to a global audience of leisure and business travelers and books conventions into the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center and area hotels and resorts. The GFLCVB produces marketing and brand campaigns to keep the destination top-of-mind with travelers and maintains relationships with and hosts site tours for travel journalists, social media influencers, meeting planners, sports event planners, tour operators and travel agents. For more information about the destination, visit sunny.org and follow @VisitLauderdale on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
All photos supplied by @VisitLauderdale