Key Florida races for LGBTs to watch in 2016

By : Jamie Hyman, Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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Yes, the presidential primary is imminent, but there are other down-ticket races we’ll be following through the August primary and the November general election. We talked to some people; we learned some things.

Read about our races to watch (and the candidates vying for those seats):

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2.25.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

I pull my shirt off and pray.

It’s a bit of a conundrum, this political primary. Though Florida’s presidential-preference primary parade won’t hit the pavement until March 15, so-called Super Tuesday is blowing up in our faces on March 1, meaning, of course, that we have to sound our golden horns, decorate our cars and reach for the sky, or engage in something else that screams “occasion.”

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Why your vote for President matters more than ever

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – The presidential election just got real.

The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – and the immediate declaration from Republicans that the next president should nominate his replacement – adds even more weight to the decision voters will make in November’s general election.

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Oscar Predictions and Watermark’s 2016 Oscars Pool!

By : Stephen Miller
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It’s our annual Oscar column – and it’s a doozy! In the comments, you can submit you predictions. We’ll draw a prizewinner from the correct or most correct. You will win SOMETHING!

The 88th Oscar season is all about diversity…or lack thereof. This year, scads of people are viably upset that there was not a single nomination of a minority in actor or director categories.

Is Hollywood the new Great White Way?

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LGBT tech hero Carlos Carbonell hailed at Sentinel’s Central Floridian of the Year gala

By : Billy Manes
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Betwixt the rain, the rush-hour traffic and a packed concert next door, the Orlando Sentinel held its first Central Floridian of the Year event on the evening of Jan. 28 at the Pegasus Ballroom within the University of Central Florida’s student union. Hosted by everybody’s favorite “aw, shucks” political columnist Scott Maxwell, and attended by all of the mucky-mucks and the editorial board members that have crossed them at one time or another (plus Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and his entourage … oh, and the amazing philanthropist Harriet Lake, who left the house for the first time in a long time despite her illness), the catered soiree was just about what you would expect it to be. We had the stuffed chicken.

What we didn’t expect, however, was the presence of LGBT tech entrepreneur Carlos Carbonell, who was shortlisted as one of the finalists for the prestigious Sentinel award. We’ve known other winners and nominees in the past, and you’re not allowed to talk about it. What happens in the paper’s mahogany boardroom STAYS in said boardroom.

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1.28.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

Where were you while we were getting high?

By virtue of political plate tectonics and the mahogany-and-starched-shirt drudgery of a state legislative cycle in full swing during a presidential election year, you wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that the earth is actually moving under your feet right now. Nope, not vertigo. Nah, you aren’t drunk (maybe?). High? Hopefully!

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The Other Side of Life: Hold, Fold, Walk Away

By : Jason Leclerc
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Jason Leclerc

Jason Leclerc

It was only recently, quite honestly, that I restored my membership in the Grand Old Party. I had defected in the late ‘90s in favor of Libertarianism which I, in my wiser thirties, decided was too radicaland un-nuanced an answer to our nation’s ills. I’ve always considered myself a Jeffersonian and agree that his brand of liberal democracy is best suited for a small insular, wealthy, homogeneous, market-directed nation. His theories and writings, quite aside from his biting politics, form the basis for an ideal, academic thought experiment.

Alas, that is not our America; while I think this was potentially Jefferson’s America—an America made, in many ways, rich on the backs of slaves—it is an America that can’t—without a severe and painful social, economic and cultural restructuring—be recaptured. Besides the dark past of Libertarianism’s (then called Democratic-Republicans) first true experiment in America, pure modern Libertarianism, informed most famously by the objectivist theories of Ayn Rand, devolves into selfishness, arrogance and self-absorption (and awful prose).

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Screened Out – Anomalisa

By : Stephen Miller
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Voices of David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

One credit we have to give Charlie Kaufman, he makes movies that look and act like nothing else. Anomalisa is certainly different – very adult stop-action animation. Whether you enjoy this Oscar nominee depends on how much of a cinema nerd you are. Even as one myself, I had problems with the film.

Anomalisa announces it’s for mature audiences by dropping the f-bomb over and over early on. Later, nudity and even animated oral sex actually upset quite a few people; they fled the screening. What the movie lacks – even for all the art involved – is visual magic.

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Screened Out – Trumbo

By : Stephen Miller
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Bryan Craston, Alan Tudyk, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Louis C.K., Michael Stuhlbarg, David James Elliott, Robert Bart, Dean O’Gorman

Bryan Cranston got nominated Best Actor for playing Dalton Trumbo; he is better than this movie. Trumbo was the brilliant screenwriter who was blackballed in the 1950s as a Communist. Trumbo was also better than this, too. Trumbo wrote Spartacus, Papillon, Johnny Got His Gun, and the Oscar winners The Brave One and Roman Holiday.

It’s not just ironic, it’s somewhat sad that this script about a genius scriptwriter swings between good and awkward, blunt, and even boring. Only great acting raises this up.

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Words to Live by: Aging gracefully

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

By the time this article publishes, I will be 41. I’ve never been the type to dwell on age, well, not my own age. “I won’t fight aging,” I told myself. I will age gracefully. No plastic surgery, no covering up gray hair. Of course I made these promises when I had no wrinkles and my hair was a solid dark brown. Now I stare in anguish at the wrinkles near my ear and do my best to hide the variety of “Just for Men” products in my bathroom.

But aging gracefully isn’t just about your appearance; It’s about your way of life.

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1.14.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

It was about 3 a.m. when, curled in my perpetually awkward slumber that involves noise and talking for no real reason, I “heard the news today, oh boy.” My lifelong hero, my sun, my moon, the man who fell to earth and influenced every song or band or fashion to which I would cling in dreams and sleep and love and hate was dead. Tony, my husband, was doing a radio show when the update clouded the transom: David Bowie, 69, had passed from cancer just a couple of days after his birthday.

I only mention this because, well, it meant that my skull collapsed and shattered and the ground became a hole. Yes, it’s overdramatic to eulogize a celebrity or an artist in such a sadly choreographed fetal-position cramp, but that’s what I did. I cried in a ball, I pressed words together in my head the same way that Bowie did on small pieces of paper, I made nonsense make sense and I ran to my computer to relive a life I had already absorbed once before. I was an Absolute Beginner once. A Starman. A Hero. A Dead Man Walking.

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Trans-positive: Tristan Byrnes, a compassionate voice for the transgender community

By : Krista DiTucci
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Amidst the transgender community’s tragedies and struggles in 2015, local hero Tristan Byrnes has been fighting to raise awareness and celebrate the community’s victories.

Byrnes, licensed mental health counselor, provides assistance in gender issues through his private practice, New Transition Therapy. But he feels his advocacy for the transgender community should extend beyond one-on-one work in order to make a real difference.

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