PHOTOS: Enchant Christmas captivates Tampa Bay

By : Danny Garcia
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ST. PETERSBURG | Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, has been taken over by the holiday spirit with Enchant Christmas.

Packed with 90,000 square feet of holiday cheer, this event features more than two million holiday lights within “The Great Search” maze, its anchor attraction. As the story goes, a mischievous elf has accidently released Santa’s reindeer inside and it’s up to you to find them all.

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Queerly Beloved: When “No” is the Greatest Gift

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
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It’s a painful reality that “the most wonderful time of the year” is often quite brutal. We get invited to events and parties and told to leave the essence of ourselves behind. Nothing says “happy holidays” like the reification of gender norms. Heteronormativity appears to be at the center of our holiday celebrations, whether of the religious or secular variety. Just because something is expected to be a certain way, does not mean it is right.

There is nothing sacred or holy that sets heterosexuality and gender normativity above queerness. We have been taught so many lies about ourselves, eventually we start to believe them. This is the time of year when self-doubt can run wild. Somewhere between the cheerful music and the shopping we can easily lose our resolve.

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Same-sex kiss in Australian underwear ad sparks uproar

By : John Paul King of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Bonds’ ad via Facebook.

Australian fashion brand Bonds has generated buzz and controversy on social media with its Christmas advertising campaign.

The brand specializes in underwear and socks – which means that much of its campaign imagery features people in their skivvies. The current Christmas campaign features different couples sharing romantic and intimate moments. It includes an image of two men – reportedly a couple in real life – sharing a tender kiss over breakfast, with the caption, “It’s the little moments that make the Christmas season so special.”

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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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St. Pete Pride’s Red & Green Party raises more than $18,000 for local LGBTQ non-profits

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Pete Pride’s annual Red & Green Party was a hit even before the first string of tinsel was hung from a tree or the first guest showed up dressed in their best holiday garb Dec. 3.

The event, held at the Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, sold out long before Saturday as more than 400 of the community’s “closet friends” gathered to celebrate the holidays with light bites, open bar and some of the best entertainment this side of the North Pole.

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LGBT-themed holiday shows are all over the state in December

By : Staff Report
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The holidays are square upon us, which means it’s time to get in the mood through theatrical performances put on by our fellow LGBTs. Here is a quick roundup of other holiday-themed shows you won’t want to miss this season. Of course, times are subject to change without notice, so check websites or call ahead beforehand.

See the full list after the jump: 

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Out saxophonist Dave Koz returns to Florida for the holidays

By : Erik R. Caban
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Dave Koz’s uplifting, high-energy cool jazz has possibly played beneath a romantic moment or two in your life. Over his 20 plus year career, Koz has established himself as an award-winning recording artist, nationally syndicated radio host, vintner – whose wine line Koz Wine recently became available at California Pizza Kitchen restaurants nationwide – and philanthropist. Profits from his wine benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Koz is also a confident out gay man.

Koz, now 50, brings his Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour filled with fresh, lively arrangements of seasonal favorites back to Florida with stops at Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Nov. 23, Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall on Nov. 24 and Melbourne’s King Center for Performing Arts Nov. 27.

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Ritz Ybor celebrates the season with Miracle on 7th

By : Steve Blanchard
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Tampa | For the fourth year in a row, The Ritz Ybor will usher in the holidays with a free event for the entire community. And this year, it will run in conjunction with Ybor City’s tree lighting ceremony.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, The Ritz Ybor will once again host Miracle on 7th. The party begins immediately after the Historic Spirit Holiday tree lighting ceremony in Centro Ybor at 6 p.m. While The Ritz Ybor is home to many LGBT employees and LGBT-friendly acts, the holiday party is not limited to any one community.

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