The Other Side of Life: Effs to Give

By : Jason Leclerc
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Quite aside from our traditional definitions of masculinity within an institutionalized top-down order, we have built our own prejudices into our supposedly diverse LGBTQ community. The striations inherent in our growing acronym are still built upon prejudices in which some of us eff while others of us get effed.

In our case, it’s literal. As a totem to the wider society, the idea of effing versus getting effed is as much an idea as it is its own reality. For the most powerful among us, simply grabbing another’s genitals or exposing one’s own is its best own display of power: simply hinting that the power gradients are so ingrained in our social order is enough to reify that order.

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Positive Living: Without oppression, who are we?

By : Greg Stemm
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When I moved to St. Petersburg in the summer of 1983 I couldn’t serve openly in the military. It was unlikely that I could be hired as a teacher. I couldn’t adopt children. There were no local and huge gay pride celebrations. Most of the bars weren’t in great areas of Tampa and marriage was a pipe dream no one ever seriously thought we’d see. Such was gay life in 1983.

Flash forward to now. Men introduce their husbands; women introduce their wives, and they may introduce you to their children. We can serve our country. St. Petersburg hosts an LGBTQ pride celebration that draws well over 200,000 people. The library in my little town of Gulfport has an LGBTQ Resource Center that has brought us national acclaim. Gay characters and role models for our young people abound on TV and in mainstream society we are mostly seen as upstanding citizens, not mentally ill patients or sexual deviants who should be pitied or shunned.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: The Center Orlando is NOT 40 years old

By : Michael Wanzie
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michael wanzie atheist

SeaWorld Orlando is 156 years old this year! Universal Studios Florida is 96 years old this year!

Orlando’s LGBT+ Community Center—THE CENTER—is 40 years old this year!

All three of the above statements are patently false, albeit based on the same flawed logic.

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11.15.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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There are a few things people tend to figure out about me rather quickly, whether they get to know me well or only casually.

The first is that I’m into politics. Voting is rad, even more so when it’s done in the name of equality and every vote is counted. Second, I have a totally normal love and appreciation for (read: obsession with) Disney, particularly “The Little Mermaid.” I mean, how many wonders can one movie hold?

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11.15.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I was sitting at my desk, drinking my coffee and chatting with some coworkers when my team leader came up to me and said that we had a meeting to attend. I didn’t know what she was talking about but in those days I was terrible at managing my schedule so forgetting about a meeting seemed like something I might do.

I was a second-level supervisor at a call center for the company Express Scripts. For those who aren’t familiar it’s a Prescription Benefits Manager. That’s just fancy talk for insurance for medications. I started working there after I discharged from the Air Force in 2007. Six years in the military, of being told where to go, when to go there and to stay in the closet left me in need of a change in my life.

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Penguin Point Productions is getting new home at Oviedo Mall

By : Jaime Donelson
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ABOVE: Artist rendering of what the Penguin Point Productions’ store front will look like. Photo courtesy James Brendlinger’s Facebook

Local theater teacher and founder of Penguin Point Productions, James Brendlinger, is raising money to expand his company through GoFundMe.

Penguin Point Productions announced a new home in Oviedo Mall and will be opening its doors on Jan. 7, 2019. Multiple storefronts in the mall are being used to create a working studio theater, costume shop and arts classrooms.

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Equality Florida’s Michael Thomas Farmer announces departure

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Michael Thomas Farmer speaks at the Equality Florida Greater Orlando Gala at the Orlando Museum of Art earlier this month. Photo by Meghan Sweeney

ORLANDO | Equality Florida is losing one of its star players. Statewide Deputy Development Director Michael Thomas Farmer announced via Facebook that he will be leaving the statewide equality organization on Nov. 30.

“When I started working at Equality Florida nearly 10 years ago, I never could have imagined where I, and we, would be today,” Farmer wrote. “It’s been the honor of my life to have been part of the leadership team at Equality Florida. Although at times the work was daunting, trying and challenging, the rewards of the work far outweighed any of the cons.”

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Fit for Print: Millennials, you’re up!

By : Steve Blanchard
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Millennials fascinate me.

Recently, my work-life has brought me within close proximity of these young adults born after 1980. Many members of this first generation to come of age in the 21st century can be loud, obnoxious, socially awkward, distracted by their phones and dismissive of older generations.

But there are many stereotypes they don’t fulfill. I’ve yet to see one eat avocado toast and have met several who own their own homes!

While they don’t fit all of those stereotypes created by online surveys, they do seem to be far more intelligent than many give them credit for. They look at life in a way that is different than those of us who came before them and now that they are in society as adults, they can be the game-changers who can have a lasting effect for years to come.

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Trans of Thought: Radically Visible

By : Maia Monet
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In Oct. 2007 I decided to shave my beard. This was a big deal considering I’d had my beard for 13 years.

However, Halloween was coming up and I’d had a brainwave for a costume that required me to be clean-shaven. You see, my wife at the time and I had been invited to an adult party thrown by married straight friends, and the husband was famous for dressing in drag at their events. My intention was to beat them at their own game by showing up in our own gender-bending outfits.

We went through a few options, including my wife as a football player and me as cheerleader, but all seemed too cliché or safe. We ultimately settled on my suggested “edgy” spin, which was to go as a matched set of lesbian cheerleaders. That I was in fact a lesbian trans woman deep in the closet, and had never gone out in “drag,” probably played a large role in my inspiration. Looking back now, I can see heaping helpings of projection in my idea, and it is more than a little embarrassing.

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St. Petersburg to hold ‘We Won’t Be Erased’ transgender support rally

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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LGBTQ community leaders and advocates will gather Nov. 4 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at St. Petersburg’s Williams Park for the area’s “We Won’t Be Erased” transgender support rally.

Nathan Bruemmer organized the rally following reports that the Trump administration may attempt to define gender as an immutable condition determined at birth. Partner organizations include Equality Florida, TransAction Florida, Metro Wellness & Community Centers, St. Pete Pride and Project No Labels.

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11.1.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I have a terrible sense of humor. I’ve written about this before and how I credit my father for just how bad it is. Dad jokes are the best, and the worse they are the harder I laugh.

Here’s an example: I have an insane love of ice cream, so much so that my trainer and my scale yell at me about it all the time. St. Pete has this wonderful little shop that sells mini-doughnuts basking in a tower of ice cream. Every time we drive by it, my partner says, “We can get mini-doughnuts.” To which I reply, “How many?” Then I laugh like I’ve never heard it before. I don’t mind laughing alone.

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AHF is bringing Out of the Closet to Mills 50

By : Jeremy Williams
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Out of the Closet, a thrift store with a twist which benefits the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is opening a new location in Orlando.

The Bungalower reports that AHF has purchased the corner lot at N. Mills Ave. and Virginia Dr. and plans to build its new 6,000 sq. ft. Out Of The Closet location where the Circle K currently sits.

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