Born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut, Dean Trantalis attended Norwich Free Academy and Boston University where he majored in political science and graduated in 1975 cum laude and with Distinction.
Dean took time off after college; working in a law office, for a Congressman, running his brother’s campaign for state office, and selling men’s clothing in a very fabulous store in Boston. He then attended Stetson University School of Law and graduated in 1979. Later, Dean attended international law courses in Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as in London. In 1980, he was admitted to the Connecticut and Florida Bars. He has practiced law in Broward County since 1982.
Dean Trantalis entered the gay and lesbian political forum in 1990 when Broward County was in the midst of a referendum to pass a human rights ordinance. Having participated in strategy sessions, recruiting volunteers, and working polls, Dean remained part of the debate following its defeat as the coalition regrouped and strategized. In 1993, he became chair of Broward United Against Discrimination, a local chapter of a state-wide effort to defeat the petition drive launched by the American Family Association to enact a law that would have prevented any city or county from enacting gay-rights laws (much like the well-known Colorado-2 amendment that was later found unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court). This effort was also defeated in the Courts, when the Florida Supreme Court found the petition unlawful.
In 1995, Dean served as co-chair of Americans For Equality, which saw the successful enactment and later the defeat of a petition drive to overturn the passage of Broward County’s Human Rights Ordinance which extends to persons, based on their sexual orientation, protection from discrimination in housing, in employment, and in public accommodations. Broward is the first county in the state to have such a law. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dolphin Democratic Club for the past 6 years, and he recently retired as its President.
In 1997, Dean helped to coordinate the effort to hold back the passage of the law which banned same-sex marriages here in Florida, and met with the Governor and others to fashion a compromise, which was ultimately defeated by the state legislature. More recently, he completed a one-year position with CenterOne (as its Director of Development) raising awareness, money, and hopes on behalf of persons affected by the HIV virus.
Dean has also chaired numerous fundraising committees, both here in Ft. Lauderdale and in Miami, from dance parties to cocktail parties! And, somewhere in between all this, he has served on the Boards of the condominium associations where he has lived over the years, including posts as President and Vice President.
As if this all of this was not enough! In January 1999, Dean co-wrote and led the successful passage of the Broward County domestic partnership law, which insures the extension of spousal-like benefits not just to county employees, but also to many citizens in Broward County. He has also served as co-chair of the South Florida Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which was formed in 1998 to extend the efforts of the national organization to the local sector and is also a member of it’s national Board of Governors.
Dean served for five years as a member of the Ft. Lauderdale Citizen Review Board, which is an appointed position by the City Commission in which complaints against police officers are reviewed by a panel of citizens and police officers. Dean also has served as City Commissioner District II for the City of Ft. Lauderdale. Currently, he is a Board member of the Oakland Park-Wilton Manors Chamber of Commerce and Board Member of Broward House, which provides housing and case management services to indigent HIV persons who suffer drug and alcohol addictions. Dean was recently named “Small Business Person of the Year” by the Chamber and is a member of the Ft. Lauderdale Riverwalk Trust.