07.11.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Anyone who is involved in the LGBTQ community can tell you June is a busy month, especially this past June. Not only was it LGBTQ Pride month, which ushered in a month full of Pride festivals, parades and parties; but it also began with the inaugural Red Shirt Pride Days which gave way to the three-year mark of the Pulse tragedy and concluded with the 50th anniversary of The Stonewall Inn riots and WorldPride in New York.

I didn’t make it to WorldPride, but many LGBTQ Central Floridians did and, from what I saw on social media, they represented us all proudly. While watching parts of the all-day parade online I couldn’t help but wonder what life was like 50 years ago. With the cheers of millions of people in the streets of New York in the background, I pulled out my phone and Googled “1969.”

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07.11.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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In 1905, Sigmund Freud coined the term “childhood amnesia.” It describes the inability of adults to recall our earliest memories, a phenomenon that psychologists continue to research today.

One study found that few adults can remember anything that happened in our lives before the age of three—go on, try it—and determined that memories begin fading at age seven. Research has also shown that emotions play a role in storing our memories and that at a certain age our experiences become more meaningful to us, leading to stronger recall.

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06.13.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I was recently asked by a fellow member of the LGBTQ community if my husband is transgender because he dabbles in drag.

While I often point out jokingly that he didn’t don drag until after we were married, something I’ve mentioned here before, I have a tremendous amount of respect for his craft. It’s one thing to be handsome, which he is, but it’s just a work of art to be beautiful on top of that. Which she is.

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06.13.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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It was the late 1980s and I was hanging around the house with my brother and our friends. My brother and I are only 11 months apart so we shared everything—clothes, friends, a bedroom—I basically had nothing of my own until I was into my 20s.

We were all in the family room watching TV. The movie “Teen Wolf” was on. For those unfamiliar,“Teen Wolf” is a 1985 film where heartthrob Michael J. Fox turns into a werewolf and plays basketball really well. The movie is very 80s, right down to the nonchalant use of the word “fag.”

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05.15.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Change scares a lot of people. You get so comfortable with the way things are—whether they are ideal for you or not—and you figure why change it up? What if you make things worse? What if the payout isn’t what you thought it would be in the end?

I have always been a fan of change. I’ve rarely lived in the same place more than a few years, opting to pack up and change homes, roommates and, in some cases, entire states for a change of scenery. It’s why I always fit well in the military lifestyle, a lifestyle I would most likely still be a part of if not for that pesky “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” thing. No, I wasn’t discharged because I was gay but the hardship of hiding who I was and having to come up with inventive, new ways to explain to my commander why my “roommate” accompanied me to all work functions, family gatherings and annual vacations was more work than I wanted to put into a lie.

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05.15.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I despised many things as a child. Some were warranted—like corn, which remains my arch nemesis—but others not as much, like doing nothing on a Saturday. Of the many things that cultivated my childhood angst, however, one in particular stands out: Easter.

I didn’t hate the holiday. There wasn’t much to hate in my family because we rarely did anything for it; gatherings were reserved for “major holidays” like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I wasn’t even aware families congregated for Easter until I was in college, and I was still surprised this year when Publix was closed for the day.

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04.18.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I don’t recall exactly how the meeting came to be, especially since I hated middle school and spent as little time there as possible, but I remember staying late after school in the eighth grade to learn about our high school’s journalism class.

My freshman year was quickly approaching and student journalists had ventured over to discuss our soon-to-be high school’s news source with potential recruits. While my fellow middle schoolers and I were too busy killing Tamagotchis to draft a news source of our own, our high school had unsuccessfully dabbled in the act and would try again my freshman year.

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04.18.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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When I was younger my parents, as most parents do, would ask me and my siblings what we wanted to be when we grew up. We were a group that felt destined for greatness, so our responses reflected those dreams with future aspirations to be things like an astronaut, a world-famous actor, a global pop star or a professional wrestler, to name a few. The answers usually changed up a bit among my two brothers and sister.

When my parents would ask me my answer never faltered. “I want to be the president of the United States,” would be my reply. When they tell the story it is always in this cutesy way with an awkwardly high-pitched voice. When I look back I remember standing in a Superman pose with my balled-up fists on my hips and an American flag cape blowing in the wind.

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03.21.2019 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Getting older seems worse when you are a kid. I don’t mean getting older as in turning 16 or 18 or 21. As a kid those ages are filled with cool milestones like getting able to drive or graduate or get completely shit-faced legally. I mean like really old. Like you have one foot in the grave, eat your dinner at 4 p.m. and record every CBS show airing on primetime old. You know, like 40.

When I was younger I remember attending a 40th birthday party. I can’t remember so well if it was the birthday of an uncle or family friend, but what I do remember is the party’s theme, “Over The Hill.”

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03.21.2019 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Last month, my husband and I were heading home from his birthday dinner with a dear friend when Avril Lavigne came on the radio. This was shocking for a number of reasons.

First, because my radio was on. I tend to default to my Spotify playlist “Pimpin’ Ry Style,” an ever-expanding and eclectic collection of my favorite hits now in its second volume. Volume one, may it R.I.P., was lost when my then-boyfriend and now-husband—who still groans whenever he sees the playlist’s name—deleted it after we briefly broke up.

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02.21.2019 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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The weekend before the midterms last November, Equality Florida held its Greater Orlando Gala at the Orlando Museum of Art. I have had the privilege of attending this annual event over the last several years and it is always a who’s who of the LGBTQ community throughout the state.

This event was extra special because of a certain celebrity who was attending, recording artist and star of the series “Empire,” Jussie Smollett. I have been a huge fan since I first saw him on the show and was excited and nervous when I got the opportunity to meet and chat with him.

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02.21.2019 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Just ahead of the year 2000, while my parents frantically fought over whether or not we owned enough bottled water and canned corn to survive the impending Y2K apocalypse, I had two main concerns as I entered my freshman year of high school.

The first was “X-Men,” an upcoming film starring Patrick Stewart from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Ian McKellen from “Apt Pupil” and Hugh Jackman from … nothing, really. No one knew “Hugh” he was.

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