Waymon Hudson

So Hard to Say Goodbye: From Florida to Chicago

Filed By Waymon Hudson | April 08, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Anthony Niedwiecki, Chicago, Florida, Oakland Park, Waymon Hudson

There's big news to share with my Bilerico Family!

I am happy and excited to report that my husband, Anthony, has been offered and accepted a high level administrative and faculty law professor position at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. 1.jpgHis position will put him in charge of one of the best legal skills program in the nation, as it was recently ranked number 4 by US News and World Report. Anthony is very fortunate to have received what is considered one of the best jobs in his field so early in his career.

For Anthony, for me, and our professional growth, we had no choice but to accept this great opportunity. This provides Anthony with the necessary security and growth that he didn't have with his current job at Nova Southeastern University and it provides me with many exciting opportunities for my work as an LGBT rights activist, blogger, political consultant, and all around trouble-maker.

Other than the cold winters, this is a perfect fit for us!

2.JPGThe obvious sad part of this is that Anthony will have to leave one of the greatest jobs he has ever had--working as a city commissioner & Vice Mayor here in Oakland Park, Florida. Since being elected, Anthony has accomplished so much with all of your support and I know that this city and our community will continue to move forward and be a leader in Equality.

We never could have accomplished any of this without all of you, our online family.

I am very proud that Anthony was able to continue to fight for equality for all as a city commissioner. We are so proud of the Oakland Park commission for making numerous statements supporting the equality & diversity in this community, including reaching out to those underrepresented communities during our census count, celebrating gay pride in our city, expanding protections for our transgender brothers and sisters, asking the president and Congress to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell, pushing to overturn the ban on adoptions by gay and lesbian individuals, and expanding the definition of family in laws and ordinances to include our LGBT families.

dumpnaugle.jpgWe are also thankful and proud of all we have been able to be a part of and accomplish in our 7 years in South Florida. From the early days of the anti-gay announcement over the intercom at Fort Lauderdale airport (that darn Leviticus Verse!), to the fight against Fort Lauderdale Mayor Naugle's hateful anti-gay rhetoric, to taking our foster son to Tallahassee to speak out against the adoption ban, and all of the campaigns and issues we have worked on together, we are blessed to have been a part of this vibrant LGBT community and fight beside all of you!

Although we are leaving South Florida for Chicago, we will continue the fight for full equality and continue to do whatever we can to make changes in Florida, in our new home state, and across the country.

CIMG1585.JPGAnd of course I'll still be here on my soapbox at Bilerico and around the web!

Words can't express the impact you all have had on our lives and how your guidance, support, and, most importantly, friendship have changed us and pushed us to fight harder for our entire community. Our time in South Florida and with the community here and online have shaped the activists we are today.

This isn't an ending, but another beginning to a new and exciting chapter in our lives!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Now where is that parka...

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Congratulations on your new position, Anthony. What a kudo! Waymon, good luck in the new place!

Thanks, Jillian! We are so excited and I am so proud of Anthony with this amazing new position!

Congratulations on your new position, Anthony. What a kudo! Waymon, good luck in the new place!

Congratulations! You must feel breathless with all the new and exciting challenges ahead. I guarantee you'll be breathless when you step out into subzero winds—but we're glad you're here! Welcome to the Midwest!

The cold will be a huge adjustment, but living in a beautiful city like Chicago will make it worth it!

Congratulations! I am so excited for you both. It will be great that you are moving closer. I expect lots of glitter on the housewarming invitations!


I plan on leaving a trail of glitter across the USA as we move! You'll be able to find your way easier! LOL

Chitown Kev | April 8, 2010 7:39 PM

Waymon, it IS April, so I don't think you and Anthony will need your parkas.

At least I don't think so (well, this is Chicago).

Welcome to the Windy City.

That's why we made sure to move June 1st- so we could take advantage of the great summer weather before the chilling cold! :)

Thanks for the warm welcome!

You're both nauseatingly adorable together and the new job sounds incredible! Mazel tov! Being in Chicago will be amazing (mmm, ethnic food a-plenty) and I have a feeling Waymon, you're going to be pretty damn cute in that parka! Best of luck in your new hometown. :-)

LOL- sorry to be nauseating. :)

And I can work a parka like none other, I'm sure! But don't get me started on the great food in Chicago- I'm going to need an supersized parka by the time winter gets here!

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | April 8, 2010 8:57 PM

Happy for you both!

Chicago has a long and deep history of fighting for LGBT equality.


As you probably know, the very first gay rights organization in the US, the Society for Human Rights, albeit quickly crushed by authorities, started there in 1924.

While my sojourn there was too brief, it brought memories I still treasure. And some I still laugh at, such as the time a snowbank formed on my shoulder while I waited for the "L."

Gentle journey.

Keeping a copy of this! ... But Chicago is closer to Indiana...so we expect lots from you.
Good time of year to move. We lived in Springfield for 6 1/2 years. I commuted home weekends from med school...yep even with blizzrds.. Buy a car that already doesn't have a bottom. ... and
I recommend following the Cubs...but your choice.
Good luck to you all. (Doggies will need sweaters.)

We are already looking for doggie sweaters. LOL

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 8, 2010 9:20 PM

You know that I have told you that this is the perfect American large city. All opportunities to progress in any field, reasonable rents and a tax rate that is not confiscatory compared to either coast.

Your biggest adjustment will not be the winter, It will be the constant competition/energy to do better from people, just like you, who live passionately in a city that strives for excellence. I loved my thirty years in Chicago. I loved growing up an hour's train ride from the loop too!

Take it in steps, the pool is deep, work hard or freeze in place.

Good advice! I look forward to a community that is engaged and competitive!

Congrats to you both. What a very exciting opportunity. I'm sure you'll get used to the Chicago winters............ maybe...... :)

Congratulations Anthony. I wish you and Waymon the best in Chicago. I LOVE Chicago and suspect you will too - despite the cold winters.

Thanks, Michael! We already love Chicago and can't wait to live there!

Enjoy your new home.

Regan DuCasse | April 9, 2010 1:11 AM

You have even bigger shoulders than the new city you're moving to.
Best of everything, I LOVE you guys!

Thank you so much, Regan! We love you too!

Congratulations to Anthony and to you. What a huge cultural change that will be, but Chicago is an exciting city...enjoy, thrive and continue to catalyze change!


I'm really excited about moving to Chicago, with it's energy and vastly different culture than South Florida. Anthony and I both enjoy big cities and the energy they have, so I'm sure we sill hit the ground running!

Lads; After 10 yrs in Ft. Lauderdale, I just completed my first full winter back here in - Cleveland! (Same weather as in Chicago - it just arrives a day later here.) The cold is survivable if only because long johns are sexy, flannel shirts are comfy, and scarfs are so fun and colorful :) There's always a fireplace somewhere nearby? And the deep chill is worth watching all the flora and fauna come alive again in the Spring. I suspect you'll do quite fine with it all, and best of luck in your new clime...

Yes! I'll have to get Anthony some long johns!!

And I agree, the change of seasons is something that we've both missed here in SOFL.

We love you both, and you will do will in the frozen Mid West. And, if you have to drive up I-75 through Atlanta, I would be hurt if you didn't stop in and say "Hello" to Darlene and me.

Thanks, Monica! We will be sure to stop by and say hi if we drive through the ATL! :)

diddlygrl | April 9, 2010 9:40 AM

A big congratulations to Anthony. I look forward to seeing you blossom.
The cold isn't so bad, it just gives you even more incentive to cuddle.

I like the way you think, Diddlygrl! :)

More cuddling! Woo-hoo!

Jesse Monteagudo | April 9, 2010 9:56 AM

All I can say is: I'm gonna miss you guys. Keep up the good work, and come down and visit us sometime.

We'll miss you too, Jesse!

And don't worry- you can't get rid of us that easily! We'll be back for visits often! especially in the winter!

I'm so happy you're going to be closer - within visiting reach!

And I did such a good job of keeping your secret! :)

LOL- you are the fort Knox of secrets, Bil!

Waymon, honey! Mazel tov to you and to Anthony. You are moving to the greatest city in the U.S., utterly under-rated by many coastal creatures. I love me some Chicago! As a native Illinoisan from way down state, I tried to get to Chi as often as I could: food, culture, WOMEN, fashion, art, and fun. You'll love it. And, bonus points, you'll be so much closer to the other cold place, Minneapolis, for CC11! C U there!

Thanks so much, Sue! I agree- Chicago is one of the best cities in the US!

And you know I'll be at CC11! I can't wait!

Timothy Heim | April 9, 2010 12:15 PM

We will welcome you with open arms in Chicago.

Paige Listerud | April 9, 2010 4:30 PM

Congratulations to you both! Transitions are always daring and unnerving, even the extraordinarily fortunate kind. The very best move to your household!

As a soon-to-be fellow Chicagoan, welcome. Welcome to the theater capitol of the United States. We have incredible theater experiences for you and Anthony to partake in. If you need a break from unpacking boxes, think about seeing a show together. I write for chicagotheaterblog.com, but there are many worthy resources from which to make your entertainment selections.

I'm quite sure another fellow Chicagoan and Bilerican, Yasmin Nair, would be excited to know you're coming. And I could introduce you to Andy Thayer, an organizer of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network. We could all have tea together!

That sounds great, Paige! I really look forward to the theater scene in Chicago and the great new people and organizations there!

And I'd love to do tea with you, Andy, and Yasmin! Thanks for the warm welcome!

Juston Thouron Juston Thouron | April 9, 2010 4:43 PM

Waymon, I just wanted to say that I wish you and Anthony more happiness than either of you have wished for. Wouldn't that be wonderful? If we all had to adapt, not to a dearth of happiness, but an overabundance of it? That is what I wish for you both.

BTW, I wanted to suggest that you write TBP columns about your move, what it's like to settle into a new community (both straight and LGBT), the differences between your local community in FL and your new one in IL. Lots of writing subjects in the air for you I think.

Thanks for the kind words, Juston! :)

And I like the idea of writing about the experience of moving to another community! Looks like another installment of "Gay across the USA"!

Is there a going away Party?! Best of luck with everything!

We might have two meet-up/tweet-ups. One as a goodbye to SoFl and one as a welcome to Chicago! :) I'll be sure to let everyone know!

Marc Paige | April 9, 2010 11:10 PM

Waymon and Anthony: We will miss you in South Florida. It was great fighting the good fight with you against that Fort Lauderdale embarrassment, Jim Naugle. Chicago is very lucky. Wishing you both much happiness and success with this next chapter!

Thank so much, Marc! I've learned so much fighting beside you during our time in Florida!

Florida is losing two of its best & brightest. But I'm trusting Waymon will continue to ride herd on Florida issues and call out the bigotry as he spots it, even from Chicago. Best of everything in your new locale.

Thanks so much, Tom! I will continue to write, advocate, and work on LGBT issues in Florida, so now worries there!

Thanks again!