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'Our Broward Story' Film Remembers Broward County's Early Fight For LGBT Rights

Community Foundation of Broward
Caitie Switalski
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, center, is featured in the documentary and answered audience questions after the screening June 26, 2018.

A new short film chronicles a campaign in the 1990s to protect Broward County’s LGBTQ community from discrimination. 

The film, 'Our Broward Story,' includes longtime activists like Dean Trantalis, now the mayor of Fort Lauderdale. In the film, Trantalis recalls nightclub raids and hateful comments from the late 1980s and early 90s, when the city wasn’t as LGBTQ friendly as it is now.

“There was still a lot of fear about repression in our community, so we were there, but we tried to stay under the radar,” Trantalis said. 

In 1995, the county-wide Human Rights Ordinance was amended to include sexual orientation as a protected human right in Broward, which was a major victory for activists.

The film, which explores the journey to pass that ordinance, was first screened at The Community Foundation of Broward Tuesday morning, in honor of the foundation's newly-released Pride Report. Five grants were awarded with the intent to increase inclusivity within the county.

Read More: New LGBTQ Programs Aim To Build Inclusion In Broward

The 18-minute long documentary was directed by Andy Perrott and made with the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Wilton Manors. 

Emery Grant directs programming and education at the museum, and helped organize production. He recalled the journey to pass the ordinance. 

Broward voters initially struck down the a ballot measure to change the ordinance. So activists took their fight to the county commission.

That's "what turned the tide in inclusive legislation for Broward County,” Grant said. 

The documentary is showing at Stonewall, but Grant said people can expect a larger screening to be held in Fort Lauderdale sometime in October, during LGBTQ History Month.