OUT Mayor of Fort Lauderdale faced intimidation & slurs from Trump supporter

OUT Mayor of Fort Lauderdale faced intimidation & slurs from Trump supporters. His campaign manager and life partner faced horrendous homophophic attacks that caused him to fear for his safety. Dean Trantalis was still reelected

Mayor Dean Trantalis had pink flags left around his home and slurs hurled at him. He's not alone in being targeted.

When Q News Tonight Anchor Aaron Darr started 2020 as host of the world's first daily LGBTQ LIVE News digital television show he had no idea where the story would lead. After all, the show has made a well known joke that while broadcasting from Ft Lauderdale & Wilton Manors, Florida, the news is being broadcast from the ‘Gayest Place On Planet Earth’. That news came full circle this week as the news show reported that the city's OUT Mayor, Dean Trantalis (endorsed by the Happening Out Network Television Shows) faced intimidation, bullying and public homophobia in his attempt to win a second term as mayor of the city.  Queer News Tonight anchor, Aaron Darr reported the attacks and homophobic slurs that were aimed at him during the election because he was Trantalis campaign manager and life partner.

“What’s going on in South Florida?  This is not Montgomery, Alabama” said It’s Happening Out moderator Al Ferguson said last night on Queer News Tonight live.  The comments marked a week of demonstrations and attacks that have occurred in Wilton Manors, Florida by Trump Supporters aimed at the intimidation of the LGBTQ community, including the city's mayor and his news anchor partner.

Dean Trantalis, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, revealed to local media that he was facing intimidation when attempting to visit several early voting locations. “I encountered a number of people who were there on behalf of the Trump campaign who immediately accosted me,” Mayor Trantalis told CBS Miami, “calling me pedophile, started calling me a f**got and thought it was fun.”Trantalis explained that he was first targeted when he was at an early voting poll location at nearby Coral Ridge Mall. “They had a blow horn and they were just announcing it all over the place,” he said.

Reports indicate that this appears to be a pattern that occurred throughout Election Week where LGBTQ people may have been targeted. A man in the area who asked not to be identified also told CBS Miami in a separate report that he was attacked. He and a friend were targeted by pro-Trump gatherers outside gay bars on October 30. The man alleges he was shot – with what turned out to be a paintball gun. “When I got hit multiple times I thought I was being shot with a real gun because I saw the gun pointing at me,” he recalls. “And when I felt myself get hit and it was just one after another after another, I thought I was being shot.”

Al Ferguson said “the homophobic attacks on Mayor Trantalis and Aaron Darr remind me of the historic first LGBTQ presentiall election bid from Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Chasten. Imagine how difficult it is to be an Out candidate where a partner is actively involved in the campaign? Except in this situation it’s  not very Red Indiana, this is very Blue Broward county.”  President Trump carried Indiana easily while President-elect Biden carried Ft Lauderdale and Broward County by one of the largest margins of any county in Florida (65% to 35%) 

Trump supporters have raised a significant presence in the South Florida area both before and following Election Day, which had the highest turnout in American history and led to Donald Trump’s pending defeat. On Election Day, the crowd was recorded chanting homophobic language as they gathered outside nearby Wilton Manors. A man, instead of arguing or escalating the situation, simply played violin over their rhetoric.

The Trump supporters continue popping up in the area in large groups, protesting the continuous counting of votes by certain states.

Mayor Trantalis was first harassed last weekend. After that, he visited another polling place closer to his home. He alleges he was targeted there, too – and again, at his residence. He provided images of his campaign yard signs with pink flags attached, and his name also written on them, within “two blocks” from his home. “Almost to say, ‘We’re watching you, we’re around your house.’ They wanted to intimidate me,” he concludes.

Trantalis has been a landmark name for LGBTQ civil rights for the city.  He helped initiate the human rights ordinance for Ft Lauderdale and became the first mayor to receive a 100% rating from the HRC for the city.  He was fundamental in assistance to the founding of the World Aids Museum and the Stonewall National Museum & Achieves.

Darr recounted what occurred when early voting began.  He stated “I have never heard the word F**got more in my life than I have in recent weeks since early voting began.”  Darr discussed what it was like to be an openily gay campaign manager of a major American city mayoral election and be the mayor’s partner. “Slurs were made about our relationship”.  Darr outlined the Trump supporters attacks that included fear for his own safety and many of the shocking homophobic words that were used.

Trantalis has served as mayor since 2018, being the first out person to hold that office. He was previously the first out county commissioner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida history. He has served as vice-mayor twice, from 2005 to 2006 and 2016 to 2017.

The 67 year-old was unharmed, and he was still able to win reelection, meaning he will begin his second term this March. Trantalis contends these incidents don’t represent the Republican Party, although the culprits felt it did. “I know it’s not the Republican Party. I know it’s just a lot of rabble rousers that are fringe elements of the Trump organization that felt they could come into our city,” he said. He also added that “several” of them were not from Fort Lauderdale, but elsewhere within the state or region, saying “they admitted they came from other parts of the state.”

The events that have faced Mayor Trantalis and Darr seem to be not unique in the weeks leading up to the historic election.  In a separate incident, CBS Miami reports a paint ball attack on LGBTQ individuals by Trump supporters.  Wilton Manors officials have reported more than a dozen incidents of trucks and caravans coming to Wilton Shoppes and Wilton Drive with Trump 2020 flags, horns and shouting racist and homophobic slurs at residents and people dining at local restaurants. Local musician Steven Neil held a Facebook Live of one encounter on Wilton Drive with the Trump protestors. As they started chanting what he described as “hate speech” he played his electric violin to drown out their chanting.  Interestingly he began by playing “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman.

“We watched one of the Trump rallies ourselves on the night before the election on Wilton Drive.  It was shocking what we watched” said local personality Fay Tatiana Carmona – Albernas who is an anchor at Queer News Tonight.  She reports that on Tuesday, November 2 that three show anchors including local drag personality Athena Dion, Ferguson, and Carmona – Albernas were at The Pub on Wilton Drive and watched the Trump 2020 protests, chants and honking. An anonymous man deduced that “it’s definitely people terrorizing the neighborhood, the community. It’s clear that they were looking for someone to be able to target and attack.”  The Trump supporters protests continue as we wait on the Presidential election results to be finalized. Compiled from Live Show of Q News Tonight, numerous partners including LGBTQnation and CBS Miami.