Wilton Manors | LGBT
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As a result of the 2010 US Census, the City of Wilton Manors was named the “Second gayest City” in the United States. With a large percentage of the population identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Wilton Manors has been a progressive place to live, work and play for many years. In 2012, and again in subsequent years, Wilton Manors was named by South Florida Gay News (SFGN) as the Best City in its “Best of Competition”
Stonewall Street Festival & Parade
The City of Wilton Manors has embraced its reputation as a destination for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The City regularly partners with LGBT organizations and is home to the Pride Center at Equality Park, Broward County’s gay and lesbian community center. The City is a joint sponsor for the Stonewall Pride Wilton Manors event that takes place every June on Wilton Drive and attracts over 15,000 visitors. View the June 2016 CBS Focus on South Florida segment highlighting the 17th annual Stonewall Street Festival and Parade here.
Since 2000, people and communities from across the country join together in the City of Wilton Manors to celebrate the tireless efforts of those who helped change the tide of discrimination inflicted on the LGBT population. Thousands participate each year in this day long festival in honor of the Stonewall Riots: a series of violent demonstrations staged by New York City’s gay community on June 27, 1969, after they had grown tired of harassment from the Police Department.
Gay History is Made in Wilton Manors
There has been a strong gay presence on the City Commission since the late 1980s when the City of Wilton Manors had the distinction of electing Broward County’s first openly gay elected official in 1988. By the year 2000, the City of Wilton Manors had made history as having the second gay-majority governing body in the United States. This included a gay Mayor, Vice Mayor and Councilman. The current make-up of the City Commission continues to reflect the City’s diversity with a gay majority and the balance made up of strong and vocal LGBT allies.
Wilton Manors Celebrates Marriage Equality in Florida
Same-sex marriage became legal in Florida on January 6, 2015 and Wilton Manors, in partnership with Broward County, commemorated this milestone by hosting the "WE DO!" mass-wedding ceremony at Wilton Manors City Hall on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2015. The ceremony legally recognized the unions of 37 couples, many of whom had been in committed relationships for decades! Every member of the City Commission played a role in this historical event.
A Place to Live, Work and Play
In 1999, the City established its Domestic Partnership Ordinance extending equal benefits to City employees and their domestic partners. This was preceded in 1997 when the City passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation for any communication family operator in the City.
Additionally, the City of Wilton Manors requires every contract for or on behalf of the City to incorporate an anti-discrimination clause for sexual orientation. All vendors with the City must provide proof they do not discriminate. City Hall is a place where the LGBT community is embraced whether as a resident utilizing one of our services or as an employee.
The City of Wilton Manors Police Department conducts police training that is geared towards working with the City’s LGBT population and has gay and lesbian officers amongst its ranks.
The main business district of the City is centered around the internationally known Wilton Drive. This shopping area boasts many stores and services. Home to over 40 restaurants, lounges and nightclubs, it has become a destination for tourists and locals alike. Consistent with our pedestrian friendly designation, many people specifically look for housing options that are within walking distance to Wilton Drive. Located adjacent to Wilton Drive are a collection of LGBT-friendly bed and breakfast establishments providing visitors instant access to “The Drive” and the unique Wilton Manors hospitality.
While Wilton Drive has a large concentration of LGBT-friendly businesses, one of the most unique qualities of the City of Wilton Manors is that there is no “gay neighborhood” as found in many other LGBT friendly cities. Instead, all of the neighborhoods in this two-square mile Island City are diverse and safe for all residents. Many LGBT residents take an active role in community leadership serving on neighborhood association boards, City boards and within the many community resources.
Wilton Manors Elementary School
Wilton Manors Elementary School, the only public International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBO/PYP) School in Broward County, is home to many LGBT families.