William Kapfer with dancers from LeBoy and LIT. Chef Daphney (center)

Out with Dr. Bill: Advocacy (and Fun) in Florida; and Speaking Out Against Yemen

Dr. William Kapfer READ TIME: 9 MIN.

In the past few weeks, Eric and I have been caught up in a whirlwind of activities, traveling from one end of the country to the other. While I'm eager to share our coast-to-coast adventures in the next edition of 'Out with Dr. Bill,' this week I want to focus on our experiences along the East Coast.

From the warm, inviting beaches and lively bars of Fort Lauderdale to the fervent, politically engaged gay community in our beloved New York City, we've been part of some truly inspiring moments of community, advocacy, and solidarity.

From Cold to Gold: Supporting LGBT Causes with Gamma Mu in Fort Lauderdale

Eric and I traded the chilly New York weather for the warmth of Fort Lauderdale to support the Gamma Mu Foundation, an organization we've been intimately part of for over two decades.

Established in 1988, this 501(c)(3) foundation dedicates itself to providing financial assistance to nonprofit organizations that cater to clients and communities in rural and/or underserved areas across the United States.

The foundation offers direct financial grants for HIV/AIDS services, community services, research, and public education benefiting the LGBT community.

Additionally, the Foundation extends financial support through academic scholarships to LGBT community members who show financial need and the ambition to further their education, whether academically or through vocational training.

Chef Nate

The three-day event in South Florida, "Celebration 2024," was a perfect blend of fundraising and socializing. It was organized by our Gamma Mu brothers David Andrews, John Ellis, and Frank Maguire and offered a variety of activities, starting with a lively opening night party.

This event followed a successful formula for entertaining gay men of all ages, featuring a drag show with Joe Posa as Joan Rivers, go-go boys from businessman Charles Horton's clubs, LeBoy and LIT, and exceptional food, including Caribbean-inspired dishes by Chef Daphney Catering.

A personal highlight was the Sunday Brunch at Chef Nate's, hosted by the legendary Chef Nate himself. With 40 years in the culinary industry, Chef Nate has owned and operated Tropics Restaurant and Piano Bar for two decades, in addition to renowned establishments like Le Dome of the Four Seasons and Primavera.

After the Gamma Mu opening night party at The Manor House in Richardson Historic Park & Nature Preserve, Eric and I, along with our Gamma Mu fellows, ventured off for a few drinks at some of our favorite hotspots on Wilton Drive, including DrYnkBar & Lounge.

Kristine W. and William Kapfer

Pride Pair-Up: POTD and Gamma Mu's Harmonious Weekend

Coincidentally, our Gamma Mu festivities overlapped with the "Pride on the Drive" (POTD) weekend, now in its second year.

Rumor has it that POTD, produced by the Wilton Manors Business Association in collaboration with Pride Fort Lauderdale (PFL) and Hunters Nightclub, emerged as a vibrant celebration initiated a couple of years earlier when PFL didn't organize any Pride events for Friday night along the beach.

The highlight of the POTD weekend was a sold-out concert held in the parking lots of Hunters and Alibi, situated directly across the street from DrYnk.

The event featured the special guest Kristine W, the acclaimed American singer and dance music icon celebrated for her powerful vocals and numerous chart-topping hits in the dance club genre.

DrYnk: A Cozy Escape in the Heart of Wilton Manors

Nestled in the heart of vibrant Wilton Manors in Fort Lauderdale, DrYnk Bar & Lounge always feels like a cozy escape to us, a must-visit when we are in Fort Lauderdale. That night, the bar provided a peaceful retreat from the frenzy happening across the street in Hunter's parking area, which had been converted into a concert venue. It featured a massive stage, extensive lighting, speakers as large as a bus, and standing-room-only crowds.

As soon as we entered DrYnk, we were welcomed with smiles and warmth, transforming our night out into something much more personal. The friendly atmosphere was further enriched by our local friends' familiarity with the bar staff, enhancing the cozy vibe along with their generous pours.

Every corner of the place radiates a warm ambiance, from its stylish interior to the usually tranquil outdoor patio. That night, however, the music from across Wilton Street filled the air, making the patio anything but tranquil. The staff's friendliness made our visit memorable and made us feel right at home.

Jose Petersen and Willilam Kapfer

For us, DrYnk isn't just a place to unwind; it's a sanctuary for enjoying good company and relaxed evenings. When we asked our friends in Fort Lauderdale why they always chose to meet at DrYnk, they shared that it's because the bar offers a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

Whether you're stopping by alone after work, catching up with friends, or simply enjoying a drink under the stars on the back patio, the employees ensure it feels like your own personal Cheers.

I might be dating myself with the reference to Cheers, but it perfectly captures the sense of belonging and warmth we experience at DrYnk.

From Silence to Solidarity: Speaking Out for Yemen's Gay Community

Back on February 6th, 2024, we all felt a cold wave of shock in the LGBTQ+ community. Word got out that thirteen gay men in Yemen were facing public execution, sentenced by the Houthis–a group that has a terrifying reputation for terrorism.

Since that chilling news broke, it's been eerily quiet; no updates, no news, nothing about what happened to those men. It's like a haunting silence that just won't lift.

Amid this unsettling silence, I got a phone call that sparked a powerful act of solidarity. It was Daniel-Ryan Spaulding on the other end–a longtime friend, comedian, writer, actor, and a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. He invited us to come together and stand in unwavering support of the condemned men.

Daniel's initiative was heartfelt and personal: he planned a photo shoot with thirteen gay men to silently yet forcefully draw the world's attention to the cruel sentencing, highlighting the stark reality with the phrase, 'Houthis Kill Us.

Daniel's resolve was firm: in today's world, the idea that a gay man could face execution or imprisonment solely due to their identity is egregious and unacceptable.

With this visual protest, we sought to elevate our voices against such heinous acts, advocating for change and justice for the silenced.

For the shoot, Daniel chose the Pink Triangle, a symbol poignantly associated with gay men in Nazi concentration camps. Between 5,000 and 15,000 gay men were detained, subjected to brutal treatment, and many were executed during the Holocaust. The war's end did not herald freedom for all, as homosexuality continued to be illegal in West Germany, a harsh reality that Daniel confronted during his five-year stay there.

These experiences inspired his YouTube series "It's Berlin!", where he shares his life and stories, endearing himself as a beloved figure.

Daniel's heartfelt performances continue to captivate audiences globally, and "It's Berlin!" is available for viewing on YouTube.

Daniel brought in Limore Garfinkle for the photoshoot. She's not only an experienced commercial photographer, but also the creative force behind the Comedians Photo Series.

Limore is known for her commitment to advocacy in the entertainment circle. She's got a knack for rallying everyone from makeup artists to set designers to volunteer their time. Together, they support charities that make a difference for kids dealing with ADHD, anxiety, and learning disorders.

Unity in Action: Empowering the LGBTQ+ Community Through Empathy and Advocacy

In a world marked by division, including the profound political divides present in the US today, I am dedicated to crafting short pieces that serve as a source of inspiration.

Alongside celebrating the vibrancy and resilience of New York's gay community, my 'Out with Dr. Bill' series aims to underscore the vital importance of community, empathy, and proactive engagement.

Whether it's through local initiatives to support the LGBTQ+ community or international movements advocating for solidarity against injustice, my goal is to demonstrate how each act of kindness and unity strengthens our collective humanity.

I firmly believe that by standing together, we possess the strength to overcome challenges, celebrate our diverse identities, and build a more inclusive world for everyone.

by Dr. William Kapfer

Read These Next