The epidemic of transgender violence in Florida and the missteps that follow

By : Gina Duncan
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ABOVE: Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality Gina Duncan speaks during the “Rally to End Hate” in 2016. Photo courtesy Equality Florida

As the State Director of Transgender Equality at Equality Florida, I have been advocating for transgender civil rights for a decade. As a white, trans woman, I have never felt personally vulnerable, afraid or concerned for my personal safety until these last two years.

Recently, I have felt the weight of fear and rapid beating of my heart as I experienced being verbally attacked, intentionally misgendered and physically threatened by hate-filled people gaslighted by our current anti-transgender national rhetoric. In 2018, more than two dozen transgender Americans were reported murdered in the United States.

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High Fidelity: Dumbledore and Decisions

By : Miguel Fuller
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There’s a scene in one of the “Harry Potter” books where the character’s mentor Professor Dumbledore spars with a bad guy, releasing magic from his powerful wand to block out evil forces. Even though I grew up in a religious household where my grandmother wanted nothing to do with the books because they were witchcraft in her eyes—and that’s the devil. I always read that scene and thought about her.

She was always a powerful but quiet force of nature who knew exactly what was going on. When she spoke, people listened. People moved. That was the grandmother I knew while growing up.

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Trans of Thought: Dying to be seen

By : Melody Maia Monet
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A few weeks ago, the very first National Trans Visibility March was held in Washington, D.C. As described in their call to action, the purpose of the march was to bring attention to “the social structures that have oppressed us and disenfranchised our communities.”

Thanks to the One Orlando Alliance and generous sponsors, about 50 transgender people, including myself and a few allies, made the road trip to our nation’s capital to participate. It was without a doubt a profound and inspiring experience for all of us who went, but perhaps not as successful in making our issues more “visible” to the cisgender, queer community.

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The Other Side of Life: Our Pumpkin Patch

By : Jason Leclerc
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For the past few years, in the time between the Epiphany and MLK Day, the pumpkins we set out in the yard after Thanksgiving finally deflate, broadcasting seeds into a corner of our yard for the next year’s patch of potential jack-o-lanterns. We watch as those vines yield breathtaking, bright orange flowers and then, lately, as the next Halloween tricks by us, wither without ever yielding pumpkins.

For two years now, our patch has been quick to tease and slow to yield. Despite the fact that male flowers and female flowers live on the same vine, they have been unable to pollinate each other. The swollen stamen remain unsatisfied by the pistils just inches away.

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Keeping It Real: Advocacy for a reason, a season or a lifetime?

By : Nathan Bruemmer
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I’ve been racking my brain lately to try and remember the first advocate I was introduced to as a child. As a good Catholic, I’m pretty sure it was St. Francis of Assisi. He was the patron saint of animals.

I was introduced to a long line of other saints in Catholic school, but in the secular world I found so many more. I learned from and was inspired by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela and so many more.

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#LoveHandlin: Health and Compassion

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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“Bless you!” it’s the first reaction people say when someone sneezes, wishing them good health, assuming something could be off. The origin of this widespread tradition is somewhat unknown, but the true wish behind it is clear: We want everybody to look and feel healthy.

The scientific community has contributed widely to our perception of health, which not only encompasses physical traits, but also mental qualities and spiritual realms. I firmly believe that, whatever the reason we choose to wish someone good health, it is because our natural, primal need is to be compassionate towards others, and that is a trait many can perceive as corny.

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Positive Living: For me, it’s Buttigieg in the primary

By : Greg Stemm
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We LGBTQ folks have an unprecedented opportunity to vote for one of our own in the upcoming 2020 election cycle. Our candidate’s name is Pete Buttigieg—he’s openly gay, married to his husband and he is seeking the nomination to become the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

I plan to vote for Buttigieg in the primary, and as members of the LGBTQ community I urge you to do the same. If he has the guts to run, we should have the fortitude to support him. Now is the time for community unity.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: What’s behind door number 3?

By : Michael Wanzie
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“Remember, if it doesn’t say Amana it’s NOT a Radar Range!”

How clearly I remember that advertising slogan from my youth. That tag line was always touted whenever the new-fangled contraption would be awarded to winning contestants on TV’s “Let’s Make A Deal” or “Truth or Consequences.”

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The Other Side Of Life: Working out Libertarianism

By : Jason LeClerc
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If you ever want to understand why Libertarianism, the political belief that weak government and strong markets best allocate resources and protect rights, doesn’t work in practice, spend an hour at a semi-public gym with Tim Tebow.

Here you’ll witness a cross section of citizens—most, far more ordinary than Tim Tebow—who expect equality. Here you’ll see members who, regardless of ideology or religion or income, represent diverse gym-communities: meatheads, moms, wandering first-timers, lean-queens, college kids and earnest elderlies.

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Sweet Divinity: The Cost of Paying Attention

By : Divine Grace
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Hello, Dolls!

Every day. Every. Single. Day. Every day and each morning brings with it some sort of fresh new Hell. Every sunrise is greeted by the orange Goblin King and some dementia-laden tweet from the First Toilet at five o’ clock in the morning. Who’s the Emperor mad at today? Bette Midler? Maybe it’s John Legend. Perhaps he’s pulling a classic from the stacks and “crooked Hillary” will reprise her role as the Disney Witch trying to demolish the castle he’s building out of a deck of cards.

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Queerly Beloved: Seriously, It’s Not Pie

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
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Back in the day, when I was just a newly-out, wee, little, baby queer, we used the code word “family” to talk about LGBTQ folks. As in, “Oh, he’s cute, is he ‘family?’”

I sometimes still hear that term, but I have noticed that it is far less common today. Back then, in my baby queer days, I longed to find that magical LGBTQ family. I thought this family would pluck me out of my mundane teenage existence and take me away to a place where I felt affirmed and loved all the time.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Positive Thinking: Not Being a ‘Glass Half-Fool’

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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I confess, I try to be a glass-half-full kinda guy. But these days it’s getting tougher to see that glass of [insert your beverage of choice] as being half-full versus half-flippin’-empty. There’s so much negativity in our world today, so much polarization, too many 24/7 news outlets needing to pull in our eyeballs and get our clicks. It gets exhausting looking at your Twitter feed, Facebook wall, your Instagram pics or tuning into the evening news and seeing or hearing so much “downer fodder.”

There’s a heap of studies out in the world that tell us that negativity—specifically negative thoughts—can greatly impact your physical and mental well-being. From lowering your immune system to impacting your ability to focus to creating severe depression, chronic negativity can be a disaster for us humans. I see this in the “resilience to change” workshops I do. Studies show time and again that those who have a more positive view of the world tend to be more resilient or “bounce back” in the face of changing times, especially negative times. Even in those more “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days”; if we force ourselves to see the good things that happened we tend to see the broader world in a more “silver lining” kind of way.

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