07.26.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As we head into the final summer month of 2018, I have been thinking a lot about the summer season from two years ago. All eyes were turned to Orlando as we were trying to make sense of a senseless act that left 49 people dead at Pulse. It was also a time when one of my college professors, Ken Carpenter, was battling for his life after a cancer diagnoses earlier in the year.

Ken was the journalism professor at Valencia College, and as I enrolled in more and more journalism classes he became a person that I started to see every single day. He became more than just a teacher to me. He became a friend and mentor, and not just to me. I can’t think of a single student who walked through those glass doors at Valencia College’s West Campus, passing by the mannequin wearing a suit made entirely out of newspaper, into the newsroom, who didn’t feel a connection with Ken that surpassed the word teacher.

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07.26.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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There are moments in our lives that stick with us—defining who we were, who we are or who we want to be.

Among my list of essentials are a summer with my grandmother, probably my favorite person that I’ve ever known. The two of us would take turns telling one another stories we’d make up on the spot, finishing each other’s dangling plot threads well into the wee hours of the night. She also helped cement my role as a night owl.

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The Tender Activist: How gay is The Great American Read?

By : Scottie Campbell
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I recently bought someone a book as a present. I remembered them reading the genre of book, detective mystery, in the past. I had stumbled upon the book and found myself enjoying a genre I normally wouldn’t gravitate toward. I thought by gifting the book we would share something.

To my surprise, the recipient thanked me for the book then said they hadn’t read a book in a long time. There was tired weight given to the word long. What to me is a common habit was being expressed as nearly alien to them. Caught on the judgment barometer somewhere between a mindful well-that’s-okay and an arrogant what-the-fuck, I told them they didn’t need to feel obligated to read it. They said they would give it a try.

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Tampa Bay Overheard: Help Wanted

By : Anonymous
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ABOVE: King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church. Photo courtesy of King of Peace’s Facebook page.

“Pillar of St. Petersburg” Robert (Bob) Pope is seeking a few good men and women to help Tampa Bay’s elderly LGBTQ community and allies.

Pope will host a brainstorming session about the issue at the King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church, located at 3150 5th Avenue N. in St. Petersburg. The meeting will be held in the church’s music suite July 25 at 7 p.m.

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07.12.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’m not a very religious person. Actually, I’m not religious in the traditional sense at all. Organized religion and I have not seen eye to eye for some time. That’s not a secret to those who know me well, but sometimes I find it harder to admit that to people than to say that I am a gay man.

In a previous article of mine, I described in detail a story of how I felt manipulated by “the church,” which was the beginning of the end for me. I then attended a very religious college, which to a young and outspoken liberal just seemed like a propaganda machine and torture device.

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Tampa Bay Overheard: G, I Wonder…

By : Anonymous
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Tampa Bay’s social media sphere was all abuzz July 3 with a cryptic tease of “G St. Pete,” a new bar heading to St. Petersburg.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s reminiscent of Ybor’s G. Bar, which closed and reopened as Southern Nights Tampa just over three years ago. Several of the Ybor bar scene’s mainstays have also shared the tease personally, prompting further speculation about the similarities to the now-defunct Ybor hotspot.

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Central Florida Overheard: A Powerful Community

By : Anonymous
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It’s always good to have friends in high places, and based on Orlando Magazine’s 2018 list, the LGBTQ community not only has some good friends, they also have some pretty powerful ones too.

Orlando Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful of 2018” issue was released recently and it was no surprise one of the community’s best buds, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer topped the list in Government and Politics.

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Central Florida Overheard: Old School Gaymes

By : Anonymous
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ABOVE: Brandon Goode, Danny Wynn, Max Eiss and Kitana Geminion on stage for The Dating Game at Joysticks Arcade Lounge & Retro Bar’s “Gayme Nights” in Orlando July 1. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

You don’t have to look much further than TV shows like “Stranger Things” and “The Goldbergs,” movies like “Ready Player One” or any faction of pop culture to know that all things 80s and 90s have made a huge comeback.

The neon colors, the vinyl records, Throwback Thursdays; it is all about kickin’ it old school.

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Fit for Print: The warm familiarity of the rainbow flag

By : Steve Blanchard
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Recently, and for the first time in my life, I traveled to another country. My husband and I spent two weeks in Ireland, where we toured historic sites, drank plenty of Guinness and mingled with the locals in several of the country’s beautiful cities and towns. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Ireland is a welcoming country and was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote back in 2015. Knowing that marriage equality was voted into place by the citizens of the country, I knew that we would be welcomed and respected as a couple. In fact, we didn’t see or hear any negativity toward the LGBTQ community during our travels.

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The Other Side of Life: Independence Day

By : Jason Leclerc
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As holidays go, Independence Day is my favorite of the secular American celebrations. Other holidays, equally important in their own ways, like Veterans Day and Memorial Day are patriotic derivatives: without a nation, we wouldn’t have the heroes to honor.

Without that Declaration on July 4, 1776, we wouldn’t have a nation. Situated perfectly in the middle of the year, bookending Yuletides, we as a people are reminded that, like long summer days, the sun doesn’t want to set on our celebration of independence. America is not merely a “City on a hill” but, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, “shining” so: a beacon of hope to the world.

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PHOTOS: Project No Labels dances into second Prom in Wonderland

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Project No Labels (PNL) kicked off St. Pete Pride weekend June 22 by heading down the rabbit hole and into the organization’s second annual One Love Prom in Wonderland.

“Everyone deserves to experience prom and some LGBTQ+ individuals may have never had the opportunity to attend or bring the person they wanted to go with to this special occasion,” PNL shared ahead of the celebration, which featured beats by DJ Ace Vedo. 

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Judgmental (would-be) judge

By : anonymous
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Pinellas-Pasco circuit judgeship candidate Donald McBath has ramped up his public and homophobic remarks ahead of his upcoming primary election.

The 61-year-old family law attorney in Wesley Chapel first made headlines in late May when he confirmed his homophobic viewpoints to multiple outlets and reiterated them on his campaign website. Now, in “celebration” of St. Pete Pride, he’s doubled down.

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