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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Historic Downtown Kissimmee points the way to the LGBT+ Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida opened its second location in Kissimmee over the summer and while the reception at its ribbon cutting on Aug. 15 was overwhelmingly positive, many were curious how a more conservative city would respond to having an LGBT+ Center.

Well to steal a phrase from The LGBT+ Center’s Executive Director George Wallace, “Kissimmee has welcomed The Center with open arms.”

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Se7enBites owner announces new restaurant in downtown Orlando

By : Jeremy Williams
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You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in Orlando who didn’t have local eatery Se7enBites at or near the top of their list for the best place to eat in town.

The comfort foods and delicious baked goods make it THE place for breakfast, brunch and lunch; but alas we have been on our own for dinnertime … until now. Well, until next year.

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Central Florida Overheard: A Powerful Community

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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

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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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06.28.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Growing up there were a lot of things I wanted to do with my life. I remember my mom telling me stories about when I was a kid telling her I was going to be the President of the United States. Well that didn’t happen, and at this point I don’t think I would want that office.

I developed a passion for writing not long after that. When I was a young teen that passion for writing turned into a passion for journalism after I saw the movie “All The President’s Men” on HBO. If I couldn’t be President, maybe I could be one of the guys who brought one down.

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Central Florida Overheard: Who run the world?

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ABOVE: President of the Barber Fund and owner of The Venue, Blue Star.

Orlando Magazine has named its Women of the Year in Central Florida and a couple of familiar names popped up on that list. “They are educators, mentors, counselors, fund-raisers, business owners and managers of organizations that help those in need. But most of all they are leaders, who step forward to help keep our community strong,” says Orlando Magazine of its 23 individual selections.

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Central Florida Overheard: Quilt of memories

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The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a massive quilt started in the 1980s by LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones to bring awareness to how bad the AIDS pandemic really was. Each panel was personalized for someone who lost their battle with the disease. It is meant to honor the dead and bring healing to the person’s loved ones.

This year, the Orlando VA Medical Center is raising awareness for HIV/AIDS and letting the community know the fight is still not over by creating a local quilt to be displayed later this year. “We are going to unveil the quilt on Worlds AIDS Day,” says Freda Johnson, a social worker with the VA’s Infectious Disease Team. “Then it will be displayed at the various VA locations around Central Florida.”

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06.14.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As you are reading this it has been a few days since the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, but because of how deadlines and press days fall, I am writing this the day before the June 12 date.

June 12 carries a weird energy with me now. For those who don’t know, I share my birthday with the same day that a disturbed individual decided to take 49 lives at Pulse. Last year at the one-year mark, while attending memorials and vigils, I was receiving notifications of Happy Birthday and messages wishing me a fun and happy day all while grieving with my community and consoling friends.

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Central Florida Overheard: Fringe Forever

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The Orlando International Fringe Festival wrapped another hugely successful year with an awards celebration and party on the Fringe lawn at Loch Haven Park this past Memorial Day.

Fringe had well over 100 sold out performances during the course of the 13-day festival, they announced. Then Watermark took the stage to present our readers’ choice 2018 Splash Awards. The big winner of the night was AJ Prats’ “PeeVira’s ScareVan Singalong: Disney Addicktion” which won both Favorite LGBTQ Show and Favorite LGBTQ Lead Performer for Prats.

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Central Florida Overheard: $2 million for the arts

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For the ninth consecutive year, United Arts of Central Florida’s 2018 Collaborative Campaign for the Arts exceeded their fundraising goal, raising more than $2.07 million for local arts, science and history organizations.

Over the course of three months, United Arts and 14 other organizations local to Central Florida received donations from patrons, most of which saw their gifts matched by 15 percent by United Arts. This announcement comes after statewide budget cuts to the arts heavily impacted local cultural organizations. The donations from this fundraiser will help bring 2.7 million cultural experiences, including 970,000 K-12 student experiences.

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Central Florida Overheard: The Minx says goodbye

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About six years ago a pair of talented drag queens, along with an entire bunch of local performers, came to the Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando on a Sunday to entertain diners during a quiet brunch. Those queens were Ginger Minj and The Minx. They, along with their Broadway Brunch Bunch, have gone back every Sunday performing a send-up to live theater and making Hamburger Mary’s Broadway Brunch one of the most successful and beloved brunches across the country.

Ginger Minj left Broadway Brunch after appearing on season seven of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and now the announcement has come that the other half of Broadway Brunch’s original dynamic duo is leaving as well. In a Facebook post, Hamburger Mary’s owner wrote “I am sad that we will be losing one of the most talented, and more importantly one of the nicest people I have ever met.”

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