The Wonderful World of Wanzie: The Center Orlando is NOT 40 years old

By : Michael Wanzie
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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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Two inspiring individuals prove leaving the corporate world can really pay off

By : Holly Kapherr Alejos
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When I called Victor Bokas for an interview, he was in the middle of working on a five-foot-square commissioned painting for an art collector in Spain. “I could have never done this had I stayed in the corporate world,” he said to me with an incredulous half-laugh. Since being let go from his position as a senior graphic designer at Tupperware Brands in 2015, he has devoted his full energy to his craft, and it’s made all the difference.

Mandy Keyes, owner of Community Cafe in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg, also left her corporate position as an interior designer to open a storefront on Central Avenue, the area’s main thoroughfare. When I walked into the cafe for our interview, she was in the thick of taking orders, clearing tables, fielding questions – all the things you’d expect from a small-business owner – popping up at intervals during our conversation to tend to her customers. At 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday, the place was packed. It’s working.

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3.22.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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The first person I ever came out to was a complete stranger. It was surprisingly easy. The journey to get to that moment was not easy, nor the mountains I would have to climb after; but coming out to a stranger wasn’t difficult. It was freeing and desperate.

It was the early 1990s and he was a mentor with the Delta Youth Alliance, now the Orlando Youth Alliance. At the time, it was the only resource for gay youth to meet and support each other and it remains a vital component of the community today. My involvement with the group gave me the courage to come out to my high school best friend. That was difficult because it was someone close to me. It was a bigger gamble as there was more riding on her reaction than that of the stranger.

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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WANZIE: What I did over the summer

By : Michael Wanzie
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School is back in session so as routine dictates it’s time to report – What I did over the summer:

I’m not a student, so the only thing that made me aware school was out in June was my inability to skip haphazardly though a theme park with carefree abandon – as I have been known to do from time to time. Instead I was reduced to a vigilant crawl carefully navigating and calculating every step so as not collide with another god damned stroller. Never-the-less, I thoroughly enjoyed my “Flight of Passage” on the back of a banshee in the new land of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I must admit all my pent up resentment over the fact the ride was nothing more than a cross utilization of the already existing “Soarin’” technology was quickly allayed about five seconds into this spectacular experience. It was actually worth the 90-minute wait.

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GayDayS Expo at the DoubleTree at Sea World

By : Jeremy Williams
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One of the highlights from GayDays this past week was the huge LGBTQ Expo at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Sea World June 1-4.

The GayDayS Expo, second only in size to New York’s LGBTQ Expo, had more than 150 vendors ranging from LGBTQ businesses, non-profits, services, clothing lines, pharmacies, animal shelters and more.

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Westboro at UCF

By : David Thomas Moran
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More than one hundred people showed up in front of the UCF Arena July 15 to counter-protest a visit from the Topeka-based hate group, Westboro Baptist Church.

The controversial anti-gay group made a brief stop at UCF after picketing the NAACP national convention earlier in the morning near Sea World.

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