There is a thriving LGBTQ+ life in Wilton Manors, which is something we are very proud to be a part of. Straight, gay, bisexual, transsexual, pansexual – it doesn’t matter what you identify as, we welcome you to an accepting community that celebrates the beauty of diversity. Hence, why we love it here so much.
As of the 2012 US Census, our cozy yet lively city was named the “Second Gayest City” in the whole United States! A large percentage of the population identifies as bisexual, gay, lesbian, or transgender.
In addition, two years later, Wilton Manors was voted the Best City by South Florida Gay News in their “Best of Competition.”
5 Reasons Wilton Manors has a Thriving LGBTQ+ Scene
There are several key reasons why our city is routinely named as one of the best cities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Including…
Stonewall Street Festival & Parade
Our city embraces its reputation as a go-to hot spot for people of all genders and preferences. In fact, our city regularly partners with LGBT+ organizations to put on a variety of festivals and street fairs, like the Stonewall Street Festival & Parade. This annual tradition takes place every June and brings in around 30,000 people from nearby, around the US, and even across the globe.
The all-day festival is held in honor of the efforts so many people put into changing and fighting against discrimination against LGBT+ populations. In particular, the festival pays tribute to the Stonewall Riots, a collection of violent demonstrations that took place on June 27, 1969 by New York City’s gay community in protest of the harassment they faced from the local Police Department. This was their way of saying, ‘we aren’t going to take this anymore and we demand respect!’
Wilton Manors is home to the Pride Center at Equality Park and the Broward County Gay Lesbian Community Center
The Pride Center at Equality Park is on a mission to offer a safe space for LGBTQ+ communities throughout South Florida. This is a place where everyone can feel included and at home, nurtured and empowered for who they are – not who anyone else expects them to be.
Gay History Was Born Here
Since the late 1980s, the gay scene has been alive and thriving in Wilton Manors. In 1988, our city had the distinct honor of electing Broward County’s first openly gay elected official. A little over 10 years later, in 2000, our city became home to the second largest gay-majority governing body in the US. We had a gay Mayor, Vice Mayor and Councilman.
In 2018, we made history yet again by becoming the first city in all of Florida to elect an all LGBT+ City Commission. We are now only second to Palm Springs, California.
When same-sex marriage become legal in Florida, we were among the first to go all out with the celebrations. We hosted the “WE DO!” mass-wedding ceremony at Wilton Manors City Hall, and of course it was held on Valentine’s Day – because what could be more perfect than that?
The event honored the marriages of 37 loving couples, some of whom had been together for decades just waiting for the opportunity to make it official.
Our Police Force is Trained to Work with LGBT+ Population
To ensure the prejudices of the past never rear their ugly head again, all of Wilton Manor’s police force undergo specialized training related to working with the City’s LGBTQ+ population. Plus, there are numerous gay and lesbian officers out in the field.
Businesses Are LGBT+ Too
While many other LGBT+ communities have a “gay neighborhood,” this is not the case in Wilton Manors. We believe inclusion should radiate throughout the entire city, not just one segregated neighborhood – and so it does!
All across our city you’ll find many gay-friendly businesses, such as a variety of gay bars and restaurants, as well as many businesses owned by members of our LGBTQ+ population.
Wilton Manors offers a safe space for people from all walks of life, genders, and sexual orientations. This is a judgement-free space where we encourage people to be themselves and let their inner soul shine for the world to love, not to judge!
Visit Wilton Manors to see what all the buzz is about, just get ready to never want to leave.