Greater Fort Lauderdale Welcomes The Transgender Community At 26th Annual Southern Comfort Transgender Conference, September 26 To October 1
For the second year running, Greater Fort Lauderdale will host one of the largest gatherings of the transgender community in the country, the Southern Comfort Conference, fromSeptember 26 through October 1, 2016.
Now in its 26th year, the four-day conference will welcome hundreds of attendees for a series of workshops, seminars, and networking events hosted at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston, Florida. The conference activities will include legal and medical presentations as well as informative sessions on family, relationships, sexuality and much more. During the conference, participants will have the chance to experience Greater Fort Lauderdale’s stunning natural scenery, exciting nightlife and exquisite dining along the destination’s sunny shores.
“We are proud to welcome back the Southern Comfort Conference for another year,” said Richard Gray, LGBTQ managing director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Greater Fort Lauderdale continues to champion the rights and safety of the LGBTQ community, as we have done for decades. We publicly opposed the anti-LGBT laws enacted in nearby states, and have continually worked to reach the trans community through mainstream marketing and media outreach including commissioning the first-ever survey focusing on transgender travel and travelers which allowed us to improve on our strengths as an inclusive destination and address the needs of the trans community in Broward County.”
Schuyler Bailar, a Harvard swimmer who recently made headlines as the first openly transgender man to compete on a Division I athletic team, will be attending the conference with the help and support of the NCAA. Bailar was accepted to the women’s swim team at Harvard before beginning his transition, and has been open about his journey and decision to live and compete as a man in collegiate swimming, making him an inspiring public figure in the transgender community.
Additionally, Kellie Maloney, former boxing manager for British World Heavy Weight Champion Lennox Lewis, Celebrity UK Big Brother star and author of “Frankly Kellie, Becoming a Woman in a Man’s World,” will present at the conference, sharing her story as an advocate for transgender inclusivity. She is currently working in partnership with the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB to promote the destination’s transgender initiative in the UK. Maloney will be featured as a keynote speaker and will host a book signing at the Southern Comfort Conference, which returns to the destination for a third year in 2017.
The stunning Isabella Santiago will make a repeat appearance at this year’s event. The Venezuelan beauty pageant contestant attended the 25th annual Southern Comfort Conference in Greater Fort Lauderdale last year after winning in the world’s largest beauty pageant for transgender individuals in 2014.
“After a very successful 2015, we are looking forward to returning to Greater Fort Lauderdale – from the hotels to the cuisine to the nightlife, our attendees have been wowed every step of the way,” said Lexi Dee, President of Southern Comfort Conference. “Our partnership with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau continues to grow each year as we work together to support our common interests and provide invaluable resources for the transgender community.”
Greater Fort Lauderdale celebrates 20 years of dedicated support for the LGBTQ community in 2016. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has been proactively targeting and welcoming the LGBTQ market since 1996, when it became the first Convention & Visitors Bureau with a gay-centric vacation planner, and dedicated website on a CVB homepage. Since then, the destination has continued to break down barriers and facilitate essential visibility for the LGBTQ community at large.