As North Carolina and Mississippi push forward with anti-transgender legislation, one Florida city has proudly assumed the title of the country’s most transgender-friendly destination. Last year, after commissioning the largest-ever study on the country’s trans population, Fort Lauderdale became the only destination in the world to actively welcome transgender travelers.
A national media campaign, “Where Happy Meets Go Lucky,” emphasizes the city’s inclusion of the transgender community, and a dedicated landing page lists important local resources, such as regional advocacy groups as well as locations of gender-neutral restrooms and medical help. In a major coup, Fort Lauderdale also convinced the country’s largest transgender conference, Southern Comfort, to relocate after 24 years in Atlanta.
“This was not a one-time effort,” says Richard Gray, managing director of the LGBT Market for the Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’re in this for the long run and we want to lead the way.” To do so, Gray and his team analyzed the results of their study, in which nearly 50 percent of respondents expressed fear of physical violence or verbal abuse while on vacation.