The re-elected mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida has vowed to stand up to hatred after facing horrific homophobic abuse on the campaign trail.
Dean Trantalis, the city’s first openly gay mayor, was returned to office by voters on November 3, despite a night of mostly-difficult results for Democrats across Florida.
Fort Lauderdale mayor was subjected to vile homophobic abuse
In an interview with CBS Miami, Trantalis spoke about being subjected to targeted harassment from Trump voters while at an early voting location.
He said: “I encountered a number of people who were there on behalf of the Trump campaign who immediately accosted me, calling me paedophile, started calling me a f***ot and thought it was fun.”
Trantalis said there were several other incidents of ‘dog whistle’ homophobia during the battle.
He said: “Right around my house, people, I had yard signs for my campaign, and people attached little pink flags with my name on it within two blocks from my house, which is a dog whistle for someone who’s gay.
“Almost to say, ‘We’re watching you, we’re around your house.’ They wanted to intimidate me.”
Another man, who does not wish to be identified, alleges that a group of Trump supporters shot him with a paintball gun in the city’s Wilton Drive gayborhood on October 30, a few days before election day.
He told CBS: “When I got hit multiple times I thought I was being shot with a real gun because I saw the gun pointing at me. And when I felt myself get hit and it was just one after another after another, I thought I was being shot.”
Bigots told to ‘take your dog and pony show somewhere else’.
After his re-election, Trantalis warned bigots: “If you can’t be respectable, honourable people, you need to take your dog and pony show somewhere else. That’s not who we are.”
The mayor picked up 58 percent of the vote in the battle, attracting 48,801 votes to Republican candidate Kenneth Cooper’s 35,984.
He said in a Facebook post: “I would like to thank the voters of Fort Lauderdale for their confidence in me and returning me for a second term as your mayor. More voters cast ballots than ever before in a mayoral election proving democracy works.
“We will continue to make great strides in improving our quality of life and keeping Fort Lauderdale the great city it is. I am excited about continuing our work together for another four years.”