Wilton Manors mayor and lifelong LGBT activist Justin Flippen dies aged 41

Wilton Manors mayor and lifelong LGBT activist Justin Flippen

Justin Flippen, the mayor of Florida gayborhood Wilton Manors, has passed away at the age of 41.

It was announced on Wednesday that Flippen had died after a heart attack at work.

The out Democrat had previously made history as Florida’s first out gay student body president, and again in 2018 by leading a groundbreaking all-LGBT government in Wilton Manors, which is known as a hub for Florida’s LGBT+ community.

Flippen had said: “Wilton Manors is a city where whatever color under the rainbow you most identify with, you are welcomed, affirmed and respected for who you are.”

Many paid tribute to Flippen as news of his death broke, with rainbow flags flown at half mast in the city.

Leigh Ann Henderson, City Manager of Wilton Manors, said: “We are deeply saddened to share that Mayor Justin Flippen passed away earlier this evening.

“We ask that everyone respect Mayor Flippen’s memory, family members, friends, and our entire community that is mourning.”

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President Stephen Gaskill said: “Justin was a lifelong LGBTQ activist and effective leader who found his calling in public service, most recently serving as mayor of the first all-LGBTQ city commission in Florida.

Florida is mourning Wilton Manors mayor and lifelong LGBT activist Justin Flippen

Florida is mourning Wilton Manors mayor and lifelong LGBT activist Justin Flippen

“He will be missed by so many people whose lives he touched, and his legacy will live on forever.

“The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus sends our condolences to Justin’s family, his constituents and colleagues.”

Florida’s LGBT+ community mourns ‘trailblazer’

Rep. Carlos G Smith said: “I am heartbroken at news of the passing of Wilton Manors Mayor

“In 2010, Justin was the first LGBTQ candidate for public office I ever volunteered to knock on doors for. We all looked up to him as a trailblazer for our community. May he rest in power!”

Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean Trantalis said: “I am saddened tonight by the news of the sudden passing of my fellow mayor, @justinflippen of Wilton Manors.

“Justin had a passion for public service and was helping lead a new generation of LGBT leaders in the greater Fort Lauderdale community. He will be deeply missed.”

HRC said: “Tonight we mourn the tragic loss of Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen, a longstanding and beloved member of the @HRC community.”

Rep. Ted Deutch said: “Like all of us who knew him, I am devastated by the news of Justin Flippen’s passing. Justin was a fine public servant, a wonderful person, and a dear friend.

“My thoughts are with his family as we all mourn this tragic loss. May Justin rest in peace.”

Florida Democrats chair Terrie Rizzo said: “Florida lost a rising star last night. Mayor Justin Flippen was a wonderfully kind man who cared about bettering his community and our state.

“We will remember him for dedicating his life to public service and for his warmth toward others.”