The Wonderful World of Wanzie: What I learned from 2018

By : Michael Wanzie
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With the New Year upon us the impulse to write some sort of “Year in Review” column is, of course, pressing upon me, but to do so would only result in me exceeding my allotted word count a fraction of the way through my list of ways in which President tRump has screwed the American people and diminished our standing as a world leader while aiding the interests of enemy nations in 2018.

I want to greet 2019 with hope and optimism. The only way to do that is to hold fast to the promise of Robert Mueller’s investigation — even though I have no doubt that if the report were to say tRump murdered someone, let alone that he conspired with the Russians regarding election interference, every imaginable step and challenge will be enacted in an effort to suppress the findings.



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Fit to Print: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By : Steve Blanchard
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Christmastime is my second favorite time of the year. My favorite holiday has always been Halloween, but all of the cliches during “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” put me in the jolly spirit every November and December.

I enjoy shopping for gifts (which may be in large part to the miracle that is online retailers), spending time with those closest to me and I am always proud to have one of the brightest homes on the block. I feel like I’m finally the adult that I always wanted to be.

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The Other Side of Life: More Effs

By : Jason Leclerc
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Last month, I walked into the temple and called out the Republican Sadducees. I toppled tables and scattered thousands of years of ill-gotten treasure.

I called for a bottom-up revolt against ingrained patriarchy and traditional oppressive masculinity. Bordering on a lamentation, my essay may have been interpreted (especially among my more generally optimistic readers) as a dire representation of history in light of the present. For column-inch purposes, I edited out the obvious ironies inherent in Christian America’s normalization of the effers who’ve gamed the system in their own favor and in direct conflict with Jesus’s own abstention from the (physical, sexual) act of effing.

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Mama Bearings: “Erasing My Son”

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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One month ago, I was walking on the treadmill at the gym facing the rows of televisions and remember having my breath taken away. I was walking, not even building up to a jog, so this was not a part of my cardio. The news was breaking my heart.

It announced that the president could move to define gender based solely off of an individual’s biological sex. To be blunt, a person would be only considered a “male” or “female” based on their genitalia at birth

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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Imagine: you’re sitting down to that Thanksgiving meal with the extended family, yet you’re not fully out to everyone; you’re not able to be your true, authentic self. How does that make you feel?

I know for me it was awkward. Since understanding my authentic self around the wee ol’ age of 24, I’ve been out to all of my family, with the exception of my grandparents. Back in the day (circa 1999), my Mom asked that I not share my sexual orientation with my grandparents (especially my Grandmom, or “Mommom” as we called her), as she would worry and not really get it. While this bothered me, at the time I honored my Mom’s request (I mean, she birthed me, right?).

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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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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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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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