Ladyfingers: The season for tricks and treats

By : Sabrina Ambra
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Alas, we find ourselves once again knuckle-deep in the fall season!

For those of us in Florida, our fall season is mostly just lying to ourselves until December. We live in the delusion that our season is just like our pals to the north just because we add Pumpkin Spice to everything we come in contact with. We will see every one of their cool breezes and color-changing leaves and raise them two armfuls of B.O.G.O. gourds from Publix. Suck it, Catskill Mountains, and taste our sweet, pumpkin-flavored self-deception. Mmmmmm.

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High Fidelity: Meet the Parents

By : Miguel Fuller
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Can we have a really serious conversation? Like, for real for real?

I am scared.

I am nervous.

I actually have no words.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – When there’s a will there’s a gay

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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Once upon a time I was a young 20-something twinkie gayling; working, playing and having a pretty fun and carefree life. I had a good job (actually using my degree!), lived in a cute one-bedroom apartment in downtown Orlando and was a little social butterfly most evenings out and about.

SIDE NOTE: How did many of us function as a 20-something going out about five days a week? Anyway, the last thing on my mind during this phase of my life was planning for the future, thinking about retirement and what to do with my possessions should I meet my demise.

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Positive Living: Gay Days at the Polling Booth

By : Greg Stemm
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It occurred to me that in order to get more gay people to the polling booth, whose votes matter immensely, perhaps we should create a whole “gay day” theme like we do at Disney World. If we can take over the land of enchantment, why shouldn’t we take over this important day too? Why not have some funs while we send the politicians in Washington packing for home?

The celebration would of course begin weeks in advance, so honey, you are already behind. You’d better drop everything and get started right now.  

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The Tender activist: Whatever gets you through the day

By : Scottie Campbell
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Perhaps it’s just in my circle of friends and acquaintances, but I have been struck lately by the casualness and accompanying entitlement of theophobia.

Theophobia is not a well-reasoned discussion about religion, it’s not someone stating their belief with supporting evidence, instead it’s someone stating things in such a way that implies the stupidity of anyone believing in religion or perhaps certain religions.

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Keeping It Real: Schools, safety and Swiss cheese

By : Nathan Bruemmer
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School’s back! Teachers and students all across the country are settling into their new routines. For our LGBTQ+ youth, school can be one of the most influential communities alongside family and/or a faith-based community. That influence can be positive or it can be negative. 

 

In my position as an executive director of an LGBTQ+ youth organization, I applaud all the families who accept and celebrate the beautiful identities of our next generation. But I continue to worry about our youth who are in less accepting circumstances – either at home, in their faith-based community and especially at school. I worry because I know the statistics far too well. I have witnessed the statistics happen. 

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The Other Side of Life: Strange Bedfellows

By : Jason Leclerc
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The excessive spectacle surrounding our recently-passed statesman and war martyr, Senator John McCain, came as little surprise. To the disinterested observer, that the vast and broad anti-McCain rhetoric questioned his status as a hero and his credentials as a statesman was nothing if not predictable. To an observer who’d lived on a planet outside of our galaxy since 2016, the epithets and animus coming from McCain’s own party might have been shocking.

For the rest of us who’ve observed the takeover of that party by an unprincipled impostor—a POW belittler and recent Democrat himself—nothing remains that can shock us. The most visceral post-mortem disdain was shoveled out from a hole deeper than the Everglades-are-wide by folks who’ve overtaken a Grand Old Party that once nominated McCain for the presidency. Liberal institutionalists came to his defense alongside institutional Reagan-Bush conservatives. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

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Mama Bearings: Why I am here

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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“Why are you guys even here?” This was the very direct and rude question my husband was asked in March during this year’s Tampa Pride. We were sitting at a crowded table shared with friends, old and new, at Hamburger Mary’s Ybor. Our eight-year-old son Jake was with us.

My husband, being the kind and patient human being he is, answered in great detail. He explained to his interrogator that we were attending Tampa Pride in support of our youngest child, who identifies as transgender. Jake was even on a float and gave out beads in the parade. It was an important and magical day for us as parents seeing our little dude being himself. Celebrating diversity is one of my fondest memories with Jake so far.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Like a shiny unicorn, the gay mafia does exist! (and other homo business advice)

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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I have a secret to tell you: The “gay mafia” is real. I know because I met them a few weeks ago.

In early August, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) held its annual conference in Philadelphia. Targeted at both LGBTQ+ owned businesses as well as the purchasing professionals for many Fortune 500 companies, the event was a combination of educational sessions to run your business better to focusing on how to more effectively engage with minority vendors. The conference was strongly attended by many members of Central Florida’s Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), our local LBGTQ+ Chamber of Commerce (who awesomely won Chamber of the Year in 2017).

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Florida heat and summer schools

By : Michael Wanzie
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michael wanzie atheist

Why is it when a svelte, smooth-chested, swimmer-type guy goes jogging shirtless on a scorching Orlando summer day, it is said of him that his luscious perspiration, glistening in the sunlight, gleefully beckons adoring tongues to lap up his liquid masculinity from a bronzed canvas of sensual, sun-drenched flesh, but when a big boned (read: fat) guy like me does the same thing the only thought it brings to anyone’s mind is, “Christ that tub of lard sweats like a fucking pig!?”

Never mind your snarky answers. It was a rhetorical question to which I already know the answer all too well—and thus Summer is in full stride in Central Florida. Thus continues my annual stint of carefully navigating my way into various pools at various parties with my shirt still on because I have body issues regarding my man boobs. Too much information? OK then, we’ll move on.

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Fit for Print: Stop weaponizing religion

By : Steve Blanchard
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From a very young age it was drummed into me that there was a right way to act and a wrong way to act. I’m talking, of course, about my days in church.

Fortunately, the church I attended wasn’t a fire and brimstone kind of place. There were plenty of messages about kindness, doing unto others and helping those who are less fortunate. But every message had the same footnote: “By the way, stay on the straight and narrow and avoid an eternity in the fiery pits of hell. Do what you’re told to do and the big man in the sky who spends all of his time spying on you won’t have a reason to punish you forever.”

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Trans of Thought: May I ‘Pose’ a question?

By : Maia Monet
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“Pose” on the FX channel recently completed its inaugural season run and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Every week we were treated to the largest cast of transgender women ever assembled in one show, strutting across our screens with their improvised catwalks, to the beat of glorious 80s music.

We dove into the lives of their characters and saw their struggles with poverty, family, the men who fetishize them, sex work and living with HIV. We felt their hurt at yet another rejection and relished their triumphs in the face of adversity. In a way not too often seen on television, we were centered in the story and humanized.

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