Fort Lauderdale Mayor Talks Future & LGBTQ Community

Photo via Mayor Dean Trantalis, Facebook.

From water and sewage to pickleball and Pride, as the city of Fort Lauderdale goes, so goes the rest of Broward County. Mayor Dean Trantalis has had a challenging term in office, seeing the city through floods, protests, and a development and tourism surge.

Trantalis, who has said he plans on running for re-election, sat down with OutSFL to talk about tackling challenges and his vision for the area’s future.

Out & Proud

Trantalis, who is a gay man who’s lived in South Florida since the 1980s, has been a vocal opponent of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislative attacks on Florida’s LGBTQ community. From the constitutionality of the laws to the impracticality of enforcement, he believes the governor and his Republican fascist enablers have bitten off more than they can chew.

“Being the only gay mayor of the city, I want to be a leader by being the face of the community as well as a spokesperson of the community. When those issues come up, I’m here to support equality and the importance of not accepting the discriminatory practices being perpetrated by Tallahassee.”

That attitude is a message he works to perpetuate to all citizens.

“I want people to feel that their leaders got their back. Their leaders will never bend to idle threats in culture wars.”

He was among the first to call for Pride event organizers to ignore the law designating drag entertainment as “adult,” calling it unenforceable. A prescient take, given that the law has been put on hold by a federal judge.

If anything, he believes the focus on Florida’s civil rights is bringing the LGBTQ community closer together.

“I’ve never seen this community more connected in all the years that I’ve been here. Since the 1980s when we were fighting against each other. Those were the growing pains, trying to figure out who we were. We know who we are now. We have an identity.”

‘We’re All Linked Together’

Fort Lauderdale, like much of South Florida, has a love-hate relationship with water. As the “Venice of America,” people love it when they’re going for a boat ride or spending a day at the beach. When it’s overflowing into the streets and homes, people hate it.

The city is working on improving its water and sewage facilities, which will also be used by surrounding municipalities, including Wilton Manors. The massive, so-called “thousand-year flood” in April proves there is much work to do.

“What we discovered is we’re still not a resilient city. The irony is that we were already engaged in installing storm water systems in the neighborhoods that were most impacted. We got caught in the middle of the project. We need to become more resilient and focus on how we can resist the impact of storms.”

He credits the city commission for joining him to finally undertake improvements that, Trantalis says, should have been started years ago. He also believes the flood is a sign of climate change.

“While they call this a thousand-year rainfall, we’re seeing the intensity of weather systems increase year after year.”

Looking Ahead

Trantalis feels good about the city’s growth during his term.

“We have accomplished quite a bit since I became mayor. We’ve seen a lot of new sporting facilities, an aquatics center, a soccer stadium, and ice skating rinks being built. A lot of family oriented activities that allow people to feel good about themselves.”

From tournament-class pickleball facilities to better beaches, he and his staff continue to look for ways to make Fort Lauderdale attractive to new visitors and residents.

“We want to maintain the integrity of the beach in terms of infrastructure and life. If we’re going to accept these new populations that are coming to our city, we have to be able to accommodate the new residents.”


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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