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BRANCHING OUT Tallahassee’s LGBT Community Newspaper

August 15th, 2009

Volume 13, Issue #8




Johnny’s Red Jacket... Shiny New Shoes By Patrick Patterson Branching Out Staff Writer

is published monthly by The Family Tree Community Center. Appearance in this publication makes no inference about sexual orientation or gender identity.

This week, laying out this edition, my mind kept going back to a poem that my mother used to recite to me on my first day of school every year. As much as I told her I already knew the thing by heart, she insisted on reminding me of it. This poem was the story of a boy, named Johnny, who had a new jacket and new shoes… and was leaving his mother for his first day of school. He had pigtails… which I still don’t understand (maybe it was the 80’s or something). Later this month, almost thirty-three thousand students will be returning to schools in Leon County to continue their education. These students range from pre-kindergarten all the way through graduate schools and adult education courses. The poem got me to thinking about how people feel on their first day back at school. I can imagine there would be a lot of excitement in some… and in some, possibly a little fear.

BRANCHING OUT’S mission is to be the paper of record for the LGBT community of Tallahassee, and in that capacity it seeks to inform, advocate, engage, and entertain while being a responsible representative of the LGBT community and its allies to the outside world. Contact Branching Out:

P.O. Box 38477, Tallahassee, FL 32315 (850) 222-8555

Publication Schedule - 15th of Each Month Submission Deadlines - 1st of Each Month

Contributors in this issue: Caleb Cash Schelley Cassidy Lisa Livezey-Comingore Susan Gage Diana Kampert Ivan Sondel Jim VanRiper

in this issue...

From The Team

Production Team:

Steven Hall, Andy Janecek, Margeaux Mutz, and Patrick Patterson

As you may have noticed, we’ve titled this issue “Gay In School.” Back to school, for many of us, were times when we could see friends that we hadn’t seen all summer. For some of us (the ones that liked school) it meant returning to continue our education. For some, going back to school doesn’t have the same warm and fuzzy feeling. Some students will be going back to friends while others go back to name calling and ridicule. Some will be going back to high school sweethearts and some will be going back to discrimination and bullying. As some of you look back on your days in school, keep in mind that while it may be easier to “come out” in school these days… hate still exists. This month will be a trying time for several hundred students in Leon County. Each one of them deserves to receive the best education possible: free of bullying, free of discrimination, and free of fear.

We Want To Hear From You!!! Next month’s edition of Branching Out is our “Coming Out” issue.

Local News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Do you have a coming out story that you’d like to share with us?

Feature - Gay in School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Are you a parent of an LGBT son or daughter and would like to share your experience?

Community Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Voices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Email your submissions to

a special thanks... Out & About . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

News from the Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Community/Family Tree Info . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


Thank you to those who have designed, written, and formed Branching Out over the past few months. Joe Berg has been a tremendous help in getting the paper where it is today. As he steps down as editor and the new team takes the wheel, we want to wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors. We would also like to thank Jessica Van Riper for her dedication to the design and layout of the past few editions. As Joe and Jessica move on to other things, the new editorial team would like to applaud their tireless effort and ability. Also, we would like to thank all of the contributors that have dedicated their time and energy to making this community newspaper worth reading! Without you, there would be no Branching Out. Keep those articles coming in… we want to keep hearing from you! BRANCHING OUT


AIDS Walk 2009 Puts On Running Shoes By Schelley Cassidy Special to Branching Out I never anticipated how much satisfaction I would receive from volunteering my time, energy, and creativity to Big Bend Cares, much more than my “regular, paying” job. Not that I’m not proud of my work, because I am – but realistically, what I do for a paycheck isn’t going to save anybody’s life or make it exponentially better – well, unless you’re a stressed out document management administrator and happen to read a technical manual that I wrote. See, what’s great about this volunteering is that I do know that my work there is helping make someone’s life better. And it makes me see just how blessed I am. Over three years ago, one of my friends urged me to volunteer for Big Bend Cares, this area’s only agency to care for folks living with HIV/AIDS that cannot find help anywhere else – for eight surrounding counties! Big Bend Cares also has an educational component, which helps try to curb the spreading of this awful disease. Since then, I have helped with lots of events, and I’m really looking forward to our next

one, which is AIDS Walk 2009. This year, on October 18th, the 19th annual AIDS Walk will have a new component, a 5K race. We are excited about our new partnerships, with Wal-Mart as our title sponsor, and Gulf Winds Track Club, who is helping us organize the run. Adding a run to the Walk allows us to include a new group of people who like to support agencies such as Big Bend Cares, and this allows them to exercise and train for other events, such as marathons. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved. (Even family dogs! You can bring your four-pawed best friend to AIDS Walk 2009.) AIDS Walk 2009 is extra special to me this year in particular for two reasons: back in February, I fell and broke my ankle, making walking impossible for weeks, much less running! I don’t know if my ankle will be 100% healed by October, but I sure intend on finishing the first 5K race of AIDS Walk 2009, even if it’s simply walking. The other reason? It’s my birthday that day, and by my age, I’ve realized that sometimes giving is better than receiving. So I now urge you to dig out your walking or running shoes, grab your friends, colleagues, kids, grandparents, and your canine pals, and walk or run to show your support for such a worthy cause. See you at 2: 00 p.m. at Tom Brown Park for AIDS Walk 2009! For more information, visit or call 656AIDS.

Human Relations Advisory Committee Approved By Jim Van Riper

Commissioner Bob Rackleff said creation of this committee was important to him from a personal and public policy level, because he has a gay son. Bob agreed this is just the first step.

By some measure, Tuesday, July 14th was an historic day for the LGBT community in Leon County. Leon County Commission agenda item number 50 was a discussion about forming a Human Relations Advisor Committee being proposed by County Commissioner John Dailey.

Commissioners were also quite impressed and amazed by the letter writing campaign and the level of support demonstrated for this effort. Comments were made that they could not remember any topic generating such interest and e-mail traffic. The Family Tree and Equality Florida both provided a means for In June, Commissioner Dailey, submitting your letters of support. who has spoken at Pride in past years and is an advocate for the The next step is naming commitLGBT community, asked for this tee members. Typically each comitem to be included in the July missioner is allowed to choose one meeting agenda. committee member. The deadline for applying has passed prior to the The committee was created to printing of this newspaper; however provide commissioners a mecha- keep your eye on the local news for nism for people who feel they are discussion about who is selected. It under-represented to present their will be critical that this committee is concerns. It is also expected that this appropriately represented to make committee will make recommen- progress in implementation of an dations for passing a human rights HRO in the future. Let your commisordinance (HRO) to protect citizens sioner know if you have concerns against discrimination based on with their selection. The Family Tree sexual orientation, gender iden- will also get the word out about the tity and gender expression, and to committee makeup as soon as we modify the existing fair housing or- know who they are. dinance to include gender identity and expression. However, as some Stay tuned over the next couple commissioners were quick to point months as this committee is estabout, this committee will not focus lished and the debate begins. solely on gay and lesbian concerns.

GLBTA Democrats hold membership drive By Lisa Livezey-Comingore Special to Branching Out

a representative of Organizing for America. The Caucus doubled its membership and continues to grow. The Capital City GLBTA Demo- For more information, please visit the cratic Caucus held a very successful website at membership drive at Fermentation Lounge on Saturday, July 25, 2009. Several local and state Democratic candidates attended and shared their views and provided information on becoming involved in the democratic process. Scott Maddox and Eric Draper (represented by Sheila Meehan) discussed their bids to become the next Commissioner of Agriculture. Rick Minor (represented by Jessica Lowe and Justin Ford) talked about his campaign for Florida House District 9. Scott Goodlin filled us in on his run for Jefferson County Commission and Kenneth Quinnell and Larry Simmons, both candidates for Leon County Democratic Party Chair, shared their visions for the local party. Christopher Turner also spoke about healthcare reform as VOLUME 13, ISSUE 8



GAY By Steven Hall Branching Out Staff Writer


Are you ready to go back to school? No matter what grade you’re going into, or even what year in college, few students actually look forward to going back to school. Waking up early. Dealing with new classmates and teachers. Studying. Writing papers. Grueling exams. Unfortunately, those are not the only challenges waiting for students when they return to school.

Code of Conduct also specifically notes that students have a right to “attend a school where all students and adults are treated equitably without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, perceived disability, or record of disability.” Such protections are not afforded to students in many of the surrounding counties, yet. Likewise, existing policies do not contain provisions for Harassment. Discrimination. Fear of being “outed.” Feeling unsafe. Un- gender identity, in Leon County or in the surrounding counties, yet. certainty about who to confide in. Hiding who you are and how you feel for fear of what might be said or done as a result of being true to yourself. Those Currently, only Leon High School has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). In are the things that may be waiting for many students as the new school year case you are unfamiliar with that type of organization, a GSA is a stustarts. Growing up is hard enough already. For many lesbian, gay, bisexual dent-led club, usually at the high school or middle school level, that proand transgender students, not to mention those students who just are not motes respect for all students. It can simply be a support group, or can sure who they are yet, growing up and going to school can be a serious chal- take on activist activities, provide educational opportunities (both withlenge. in the school and the community-at-large), and even be a social group to foster a sense The 2007 National School Climate Survey, reof community between LGBT students and leased in October of 2008 by the Gay, Lesbian, and their straight allies. When it is time to discuss Advocacy and legal assistance: Straight Education Network (GLSEN), reported “back to school” again next year, I hope this ACLU - Lesbian & Gay Rights Project that 31.7% of LGBT students missed a class, and has changed and GSA’s are present at | 212-549-2627 32.7% missed a day of school, during the month ous schools throughout the area. Resources preceding the survey, because of feeling unsafe. to help start a GSA abound, from assistance Student and GSA resources: The survey, of 6,209 middle and high school stuand support from The Family Tree, to the FlorGLSEN - Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network dents, found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students ida GSA Network at Equality Florida, Florida | 212-727-0135 experienced verbal harassment at school in the ACLU, GLSEN, and many more. Need some past year. There were many positive findings as encouragement? well, particularly concerning Gay-Straight Alliances, and staff and administration support withJust this month, progress has been made on in the schools, however, there has been little imthe GSA front in Nassau County. The ACLU reprovement in the overall school climate for LGBT cently settled a lawsuit with the School Board students since the first survey in 1999, according of Nassau County in which the district was to Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN Research Director. ordered to stop discriminating against GSA’s in high schools. A federal judge ordered the Given that uplifting news, you must really be school to allow the club to meet on campus, ready to go back to school now, right? allowed it to use the name GSA (rather than one that does not include the word “gay”), alThe above information doesn’t exactly inspire low the club to further its goals of advocatone to head back to school, head lifted high, with ing “for tolerance, respect and equality of gay, rainbow and HRC stickers on your car and notelesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, books, but there are plenty of silver linings here in and the school must refrain from retaliating Tallahassee, Leon County, and beyond. No, nothagainst students and faculty who participate ing is perfect or ideal and won’t be anytime soon, in the GSA. A similar lawsuit regarding GSA’s but change is happening and has been for many in middle schools in the county is proceedyears. What you experience in middle school, high ing. school and college today is vastly different from what someone would experience just ten years In July of 2008 a federal judge ruled that ago. The differences from 15, 20 and 30 years ago is nothing short of stag- school administrators in Okeechobee County, after passing a policy bangering, particularly in this area. Every year, conditions continue to change, ning clubs “based upon any kind of sexual orientation, must provide for largely due to the efforts of the students themselves, getting better for LGBT the well-being of LGBT students, and that forming a GSA was a good students. way to accomplish that goal (Gay-Straight Alliance of Okeechobee High School v. School Board of Okeechobee County). In May of 2008, a difAre you going to attend high school here? Well, the Leon County School ferent lawsuit, Heather Gillman v. Holmes County School Board, another Board revised its policies in the 1990’s to provide protections for LGBT stu- federal judge ruled that the school must stop its unconstitutional cendents. The nondiscrimination policy reads: “No person shall, on the basis of sorship of students who want to express their support for the fair and gender, marital status, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, age equal treatment of gay people. or disability, be denied receipt of services, participation in school activities, or access to programs if qualified to receive such services.” The Student In addition, the 2008 Florida Legislature passed the Jeffrey Johnston

Take Action!

Know Your Rights

You Have The Right To




FEATURE GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on our educator resources, research, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit

There is a lot going on for the LGBT community outside of our local Stand Up for All Students Act, which required local school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies by December 1, 2008. The policy adopted in Leon schools as well. Just a few weeks ago, the Leon County Commission creCounty, specifically includes gender identity, gender expression, and sexual ated a Human Relations Advisory Committee (more information on that committee and its implications in this edition of Branching Out). A South orientation. Florida circuit court granted the adoption of two children to a gay man in November of last year. That case is on appeal and the outcome unWhat about FSU? TCC? FAMU? certain, but it is momentum nonetheless. GLSEN and the Ad Council If you’re looking for the school’s inclusion of gender identity, gender ex- have a nationwide ad campaign in progress that aims to raise awareness pression, or sexual orientation, you won’t find it. At this time, no college about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavor university in Tallahassee provides for those protections in the school’s ior in schools ( HYPERLINK “” www. nondiscrimination policy or code of conduct documents. Several student The US Senate is holding hearings on “Don’t Ask, and local groups are working to have it added, most recently at FSU. Stu- Don’t Tell” for the first time since it was enacted in 1993. US Representadent momentum and support is the most important factor in adding to tive Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), ranking Republican on the House Foreign these policies, so get involved! As efforts continue, they will be featured in Affairs Committee, has indicated that should would support repealing it! The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced in Branching Out. the US Senate; a version was introduced in the US House in June. FSU and TCC both have active student groups for LGBT students. Through It is exciting when you sit back and think of all that is going on, locally the hard work and effort of numerous students in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, FSU’s Pride Student Union isn’t just a volunteer student group. It is an Ex- and beyond. There is so much that you can be a part of and truly make ecutive Agency of the Student Government, providing the LGBT students at a difference, even if it doesn’t seem all that important at the time. Help FSU a voice in student government, and affording it an annual budget that start a GSA. Join PFLAG. Take part in a campaign to amend school or loincludes funding to put on a variety of programs, a part time director and cal policies. Attend an LGBT event. And one of the most important things assistant director, and an on-campus office and meeting space, The LGBTQ you can do… volunteer. Resource Center. Check out the FSU Pride Student Union write-up in this One of my favorite quotes is as true today as the day the words were edition for more information and upcoming event information. TCC’s Pride uttered by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtgroup is just getting started again this year and hopes to have a very active year. Organizing meetings will begin soon, so be sure to check out the ful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing calendar section of Branching Out for meeting dates and location. FAMU that ever has.” There are a variety of groups and organizations in town had a student group, but it is not currently active. Are you an LGBT or allied that you can get involved with or volunteer for, to help make a difference, student at FAMU interested in starting a group? Let us know how the com- and indeed change the world. Check out the rest of this edition, and future editions, for groups, campaigns, volunteer opportunities, events and munity can help. other activities.

Key Findings of the 2007 National School Climate Survey include: A Hostile School Climate and the Effects on Academic Achievement: 86.2% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 44.1% reported being physically harassed and 22.1% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation. 73.6% heard derogatory remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school. More than half (60.8%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (38.4%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression. 31.7% of LGBT students missed a class and 32.7% missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe, compared to only 5.5% and 4.5%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students. The reported grade point average of students who were more frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression was almost half a grade lower than for students who were less often harassed (2.8 versus 2.4).

Positive Interventions and Support: Students in schools with a Gay-Straight Alliance reported hearing fewer homophobic remarks, experienced less harassment and assault because of their sexual orientation and gender expression, were more likely to report incidents of harassment and assault to school staff, were less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation or gender expression, were less likely to miss school because of safety concerns and reported a greater sense of belonging to their school community. The presence of supportive staff contributed to a range of positive indicators including fewer reports of missing school, greater academic achievement, higher educational aspirations and a greater sense of belonging to their school community. Students from a school with a safe school policy that included protections based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression heard fewer homophobic remarks, experienced lower levels of victimization related to their sexual orientation, were more likely to report that staff intervened when hearing homophobic remarks and were more likely to report incidents of harassment and assault to school staff. VOLUME 13, ISSUE 8



A New Chapter By Caleb Cash FSU Graduate Student Special to Branching Out When first starting your life in college there are lots of different questions you might be asking. Where to eat? Who should I hang out with? How do I find my classes? How do I handle this transition? What is there to do in this town? Most transferring and first time college students question all these things, but with some help from the right people you can find the answers right for you. The best way for a new student to discover the answers to the questions above and others is to attend the university activities planned for the first week. Most colleges and universities have many events planned that are geared for

the students to meet others. Who knows, while you are out doing something fun you could meet “the one.” Of course if you don’t meet “the one” you can still make new friends who share some of the same interests as you. So you have met your new friends and need something fun to do in Tallahassee. The best advice anyone can give is just to go out driving and get lost. Yes, I said get lost. While driving around the city trying to find your way back you will definitely run across some things you didn’t know were in this city. Whether you find a place to eat, shop, or just chill, you just conquered one of your fears about the transition to college-learning a new town. Now that you are more com-

fortable with this town you can begin to get accustom to the campus. Getting up one morning and going for a jog won’t just help you shape up but also learn something about campus. Yes, I know not everyone runs, and if you don’t run then take a walk. Walk around with your schedule and determine where everything is located. Coming from a nonrunner, a walk might just do the trick and calm your nerves about the first day jitters. Ok, you have made new friends, found your way around the city and the campus, and gotten rid of your first day jitters, now what? Easy! Get involved. Every campus has an activity center where you can sign up for clubs and organizations to be a part of and plan many activi-

ties around campus. (A little secret is that if an organization doesn’t exist you can create it as long as you have enough people to join you.) Just be sure that when you decide to get involved you don’t get overly involved and can’t keep up in your classes. Finally the best piece of advice anyone can give is to take time for yourself. Be sure that you find the time to do homework, talk to the parentals, and just think. You will feel better when the day is over if you have relaxed and had personal time. Remember all events that happen in your collegiate career are going to be memories, so enjoy them, reflect and be sure to make some great memories. Good luck with your studies!

Community Groups Need something to do in your free time? There are a number of community groups and clubs in the area for you to get involved with. Below is a small snapshot of what’s out there. Check future editions for more listings!

FSU Pride Student Union The Pride Student Union is an executive agency of the Florida State University that works to provide services and programs to address the special needs of LGBTQ students. The Pride Student Union works to provide a safe college environment for students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, to learn and have the best college experience they can have. We put on many events during the year, which are open to all students. The Pride Student Union maintains an LGBTQ Student Resource Center on the second floor of the white building across from Starbucks on Woodward Ave. The Resource Center is a safe place for anyone to go and have fun, watch movies, do homework, make friends, etc while not being judged for being themselves. The Resource Center is open weekdays from 10AM - 7PM and is staffed entirely by volunteers. The Resource Center’s address is 118 N. Woodward Ave. 2nd Floor 32306. You can reach at (850) 644-8804 or through Facebook by searching “Pride Student Union” or by emailing us at Join us for our Fall Drag Show in Club Downunder (in FSU’s Oglesby Student Union) on Friday, August 28. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Show starts at 9:30. Get there EARLY to get your place in line!

Leon High School GSA The Leon GSA is a humanitarian club open to all students of all backgrounds to promote and protect the rights of all students and citizens regardless of race, age, sex, religion, and orientation. We strive to educate students about human rights and to fight against prejudice, stereotypes and bigotry. We are currently the only GSA in Leon County, and its surrounding counties. The GSA has been at Leon for the last five years. We meet every other week after school at Leon High School. Our goal is to create an environment in which we aren’t the “gay friends” and “straight friends” but an environment where we are all just simply friends. The newly elected officers of GSA are already beginning to plan for an exciting year filled with activities and volunteer opportunities. Last year we donated $200 to breast cancer and $300 to the AIDS foundation. This year we plan to increase both of those by 50%! We also participated in Tallahassee PRIDEFEST 2009, AIDS Walk 2008, and Rally in Tally 2009. Last year we created a “Stamp Out Hate Week” where students could purchase baked goods for a paper heart. Students then wrote a peaceful message on the heart, which were then hung in the main lobby of the school. Every year GSA has a “Mix-it-up” day when GSA gives pizza to any students who want to come up and meet new people. It has been very successful the last four years. GSA booths can frequently be found at First Friday at Railroad Square. All profits go to the charity that we are raising money for at that time. We are also beginning to brainstorm ideas for a potential community GSA, which would involve any high school student who is interested. We look forward to an amazing year! Please visit our website at Leon’s GSA is sponsored by Mr. Scott Brown.

Mickee Faust Club Orlando may lay claim to Mickey Mouse and the Magic Kingdom, but there is nothing that beats the humor and biting wit of a woman dressed as a giant cigar-chomping rat leading a bunch of adults in balloon rat ears. Tallahassee’s very own Mickee Faust Club is marking 22-years of writing original skits and songs that take on everything from puffed-up politicians to precious works of literature. In recent years, the company has added both a radio show and video productions to its list of credits as they quest after “World Media Domination”. Mickee Faust, the character played by performer and author Terry Galloway (“Mean Little deaf Queer”) is the leader of the company that Galloway and partner in life and art, Dr. Donna Marie Nudd, founded with some friends back in 1987. The cast can range in size from 15 to 50, and stages shows in a warehouse in the Railroad Square Art Park. The group has been working on expanding its performance digs while hosting a gay-themed festival this summer, which included a residency by internationally-acclaimed performance artist, Tim Miller. The troupe is planning a new “Queer As Faust” radio show to air on Tallahassee’s WVFS-FM 89.7 (V-89) during the Fifth of Comedy hour on Wednesday, September 30th. And there are plans in the works for a fall cabaret show in late October as well as the incredibly silly, if not messy, annual Pumpkin Chuckin’ contest the first Sunday after Halloween. To keep up with the Faustkateers, check in on their website: 6




PFLAG-Tallahassee (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is coming along, and moving in the direction of becoming a chapter. Chapter status will aid in our effort to make PFLAG a more visible presence in our community. Our purpose is to give parents, families, and friends a place to gather and share information and offer support to one another. Some of us are activists; some of us are struggling. ALL of us are welcome to be at the meeting! The meetings are a safe space in which families and friends can share their concerns and ask questions in a non-judgmental environment. PFLAG is also a resource for straight and fair-minded allies who want to join the fight for equality for all. Some LGBT people do join, but PFLAG’s main function is to serve as a bridge between the straight and gay worlds. OUR MONTHLY MEETINGS ARE MOVING TO THURSDAYS! Next meeting will be September 10th at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Enter through the doors on Calhoun Street, and follow the signs to the Cobb Library room. BUSINESS meeting is from 6-6:30pm. The GENERAL meeting is from 6:45 until just before 8pm. People are welcome to come to both. For more information, please contact Susan Gage at (850) 597-2374 or

Omicron Epsilon Pi Omicron Epsilon Pi Sorority, Incorporated is the nation’s first STRICTLY Lesbian community based, community service sorority, founded in Tallahassee on February 7, 2000. OEP prides itself in being an organization that accepts women of the highest integrity, moral standards and mental ability. We have committed ourselves to admitting women from all walks of life. Though most sororities require that its applicants have a college education, OEP doesn’t necessitate that its aspirants are enrolled in a four-year institution of higher learning. OEP has realized that college is not for everyone and that is why we have a community-based line of operations when it comes to membership. OEP prides itself in developing programs and resources for the LGBT community such as Project E.M.P.O.W.E.R. our national philanthropy which focuses our community service endeavors on five areas identified as problematic within our communities. These five areas are the awareness and prevention of domestic violence, homelessness, and suicide; political and emotional support of LGBT parents and families; and alleviating and eradicating the discrimination faced by the LGBT community. Nationally, all chapters within the organization volunteer with agencies that work in these specific areas. We are currently looking for lesbian women who would like to change the way that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people are being viewed today. We are working to continue growing in a positive manner by not only offering friendships, but a lifelong family of sisters. We look for quality lesbian women who welcome the challenges of starting a new journey, who value and strive for overall excellence, leadership opportunities, service to the community, and lifetime friendships. We are interested in women who not only desire success, but who are willing to work for it in everything that they do. All lesbian women are welcomed to join us in our quest! If you are interested in learning more about P please visit our national website at or you can contact us locally at

Capital City GLBTA Democratic Caucus An official chapter of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, the Capital City chapter strives to foster good will between gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied members of the Democratic Party and the community at large. A primary goal of the organization is to stimulate active interest and participation in political and government affairs. We meet on the first Monday of every month and hold special events throughout the year. As the meetings alternate between business and social, the location varies. Visit us at or find us on Facebook for information on upcoming meetings and events!

Elder Law Mary L. Wakeman Esquire

Providing services in the areas of

Wills & Trusts Living Wills Probate & Health Care Directives For information, please call or visit us. 1709 Hermitage Boulevard Suite 200 Tallahassee, Florida 32308 Phone 850.222.8121 Fax 850.222.4359

w w w. m c c o n n a u g h h a y . c o m VOLUME 13, ISSUE 8




Community Stories, Opinions, Happenings, and Ideas.

News, Cues, & Reviews By Ivan Sondel Branching Out Contributor

Book Review: I’m off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling (Free Press). I first read about this book a few months ago in Out Magazine [they named it, along with Terry Galloway’s Mean Little deaf Queer, as a book to look forward to] and promptly forgot about it until my friend Austin brought a copy to book group thinking I’d enjoy it. What can I say? Austin knows me pretty well; I loved it! Each year tens of thousands of people make the pilgrimage from St Jean Pied de Port to the Santiago de Compestela (The Way of St James) in Northern Spain; this is one man’s story. Never preachy or sanctimonious, I’m off Then is immediately engaging and compelling throughout. Hape Kerkeling is an internationally known German comedian, and he relates the experiences of his spiritual trek in a brisk and congenial manner. The whole is nothing more than a series of vignettes, each relating the day’s events, the places and people encountered on the road. The author conveys no great epiphany, and yet the reader is moved to accept that the journey did have a profound and lasting effect on him. I suppose the highest praise I could give is that I enjoyed travelling vicariously with Hape and his friends; I felt a part of, and would have been more than content to continue along with them a while longer.

Coming Soon: DVD: 9/1: the acclaimed documentary Outraged; Books: 9/1: The Private World of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge by Robert Murphy; Mapping the Territory: Selected Nonfiction by Christopher Bram; City Boy: My Life in New York During 1960s and ‘70s by Edmund White; Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay Jewish Congressman by Stuart Weisburg.

Emmy Award nominations: Grey Gardens, the HBO drama based on the acclaimed documentary, scored a ridiculous 17 Emmy nominations, including nods for out filmmakers Michael Sucsy and Patricia Rozema. Sigourney Weaver is nominated for Prayers for Bobby, which is in competition with Gardens for Best Made for TV Movie. Out stars Sir Ian McKellen (King Lear), Cherry Jones (24) and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) are among those nominated; Harris will host the show September 20th.

Passages: E. Lynn Harris, the openly gay author of eleven best-selling novels and a memoir, died suddenly on July 23, he was 54 years old. Harris was on a book tour promoting his most recent novel Basketball Jones. Unable to find a publisher for his first novel Invisible Life, Harris chose to self-publish the work; the rest, as they say, is history. Within two years the volume had become a bestselling paperback. Most of the novels that Harris produced involved African-American athletes or celebrities on the downlow. He wrote in an easy to read, conversational style which earned him a large and loyal following. His books were entertainments and never confused with high-brow literature. However, he did receive numerous prizes, including a James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence. His novels include If This World Were Mine, Abide with Me, Not a Day Goes By, Anyway the Wind Blows and I Say a Little Prayer. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted was a memoir and New York Times bestseller. Harris’ next novel Mama Dearest is scheduled for an October release. 8

Kennedy Center Honors: Every September since 1978 the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. has announced a list of at least five (never more than seven) honorees for lifetime achievement in the performing arts. These honorees represent the worlds of theatre, dance, classical music, popular music, film and television. Of the 163 recipients, 16 have been out (or outed) gay men: 1979: composer Aaron Copeland and playwright Tennessee Williams; 1980: composer Leonard Bernstein; 1981: director/choreographer Jerome Robbins; 1983: composer Virgil Thomson; 1984: composer Gian Carlo Menotti; 1985: choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer Frederick Loewe; 1986: choreographer Antony Tudor; 1987: choreographer Alwin Nikolais; 1988: choreographer Alvin Ailey; 1992: choreographer Paul Taylor; 1993: composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim; 1996: playwright Edward Albee; 2001: pianist Van Cliburn; 2004: rock star/composer Elton John. Here is a list of LGBT artists I think have an actual shot and being honored this year (or certainly before the end of the world in 2012): playwright/director Arthur Laurents (91), film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli (86), film director James Ivory* (81), composer/lyricist Jerry Herman (78), playwright Lanford Wilson (72), playwright Terrence McNally (70), actor Ian McKellen (70), choreographer/director/actor Tommy Tune (70), conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (65). My personal belief is that people under 65 have no business being considered for life achievement awards (unless those giving the award know something awful that we don’t). As deserving as the aforementioned are, the five artists I’d choose for 2009 are: dramatist/actor Alan Bennett (75), pop singer and icon Johnny Mathis (73), composer John Corigliano (71), the first lesbian recipient EVER – actress/comedienne Lily Tomlin (70) and choreographer Lar Lubovitch (66). The Center has been known to blunder, ignoring the likes of actor John Gielgud and film producer Ismail Merchant [*consider the missed opportunity of having Merchant and Ivory, an openly gay couple, honored together in the same way as Paul Newman and Joanne Woodard or Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee – oh, that would have been so inspiring]. One gives them a pass on film director George Cukor and composer Samuel Barber, who died early in the Center’s gift giving history; and pop singer Dusty Springfield (59), dancer Rudolf Nureyev (54), and choreographers Robert Joffrey (57) and Michael Bennett (44), as they died young and/or unexpectedly [although, the Center did honor Stevie Wonder at 49 and Mikhail Baryshnikov at 52]. Who do I think could really land on this year’s list? If I were a betting man, I’d put all my money on the lady: Lily Tomlin. Passage: 7/27/09: Legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham died at the age of 90. A recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor and the National Medal for the Arts, Cunningham, along with his longtime companion and collaborator composer John Cage, created a number of modern dance works acclaimed around the world. I know too little about his work to try to elaborate on the man’s influence and impact on the world dance community, other than to express my awe at his tenacity and longevity and my admiration for the few works I’ve seen on television.



Genderscope By Margeaux Mutz Branching Out Staff Writer Ramblings… I don’t often go to bars. When I do, I try like hell not to make eye contact with men or give them any indication that I might be interested (it’s really not hard since I rarely am). The reason being that a MTF (male-female) preop transsexual can be in danger with men whether straight or gay if they feel tricked after some interest has been shown. Even if you explain yourself before going too far or are post-op, things can go awry. Just ask my post-op friend in Houston who told her suitor immediately about herself and was still beaten in the parking lot. On the other side of the coin, I don’t feel threatened in bars by females but maybe I should after a recent Sunday night at Finnegan’s Wake. A friend of mine and I were just trying to catch a few beers after a hard night of disc golf. As we innocently talked at the bar I was approached by a drunken female who proceeded to stick her face within inches of mine and tell me that I really had it all together. Sounded innocent enough and I like to be complemented so I complemented her back. She proceeded to tell me that nobody at the bar would f… her. I looked behind her and the guy she came in with was pretty cute so I told her that he would f… her. She then asked me what was really up and I started to get the feeling there wasn’t going to be an easy end to the conversation. I asked her what she meant and she said I knew what she meant. I tried to play dumb which usually doesn’t require me to play but she kept prodding. Finally I asked her if she really wanted to know. She said yes so I told her. . She told me she didn’t mind that I was transsexual. To be exact she said “Oh that’s ok with me I’m a lawyer.” At this point my friend is about ready to bust a gut. She then reaches over and grabs my tits, I guess to make sure they were mine, and decides to ask me whether I have some kind of vagina. When she let loose of me she got very excited when I told her that “No I do not have a vagina.” “You mean you have a penis!” she said. I promptly told her that though I had a penis it would not work to her satisfaction. Now my friend is practically falling out of his barstool. At this point, because she is so sensitive and I guess because she was no longer interested, she calls us assholes and walks away. Ah life, it is never boring!

On a completely unrelated subject, a transgender friend of mine told me the story of a friend of hers that spent a recent night in the Tallahassee jail. Seems her friend who is a cross dresser decided to take a spin around town in her girlie attire. Unfortunately she didn’t realize that the tag light on her car was out. She also didn’t realize that she was wanted for a speeding ticket she neglected to pay over a year ago in another state. Needless to say her wife was not pleased and I imagine a few hours in men’s lockup in her frilliest didn’t feel too good either. For myself, who lives full time as a woman and has changed her name, the thought of such an occurrence with an incongruent gender marker and body part to match, is frightening. Speaking of wives, did any of you see the Primetime 20/20 special about the MTF, her wife and their 2 kids as they attempt to keep their family together? Oh my god! Did that throw me back. Once I told my exwife who I was, our marriage was affectively over. We stayed together, if you call it that, for the next 8 years or so. Our daughter had already left for college so I don’t really know why we did it. For the family in question, I understand their commitment to family but even the kids sensed their parent’s unhappiness and said so when interviewed. It’s really an untenable position when one wants the other to be who they were, rather than who they are. Good luck with that! Before I take my leave, I want to touch on the word acceptance or by definition approval and the need for such. It comes to mind because on a recent trip to see some of my biological family it came up in a conversation with my brother. Because my brother is open minded and professes to not care what anyone thinks of him he has trouble understanding the need that some feel for acceptance. I too have been there, in my more cynical days when I was part of the majority. Now as a member of a community that struggles for acceptance in the workplace, churches, on the streets and even public restrooms, I work for acceptance for all because not all have it. When all don’t have it, inequities, derision and scorn follow, usually for no good reason. To be continued… when the spirit moves me

Ask Margeaux... Send your questions to What is Southern Comfort? Southern Comfort is a fruit, spice and whiskey flavored neutral grain spirit-based liqueur produced since 1874. Oh! You meant the other Southern Comfort! Well why didn’t you say so? Southern Comfort is a 4-day symposium that covers the full spectrum of the transgender community. I have only been once but it very beneficial for those who seek further knowledge of the transgender community. It is held in Atlanta, Ga. with this being its 19th year. The dates are Sept. 22-27 and is hosted by the Crowne Ravinia Hotel. For more info go to




Faith By Susan Gage Special to Branching Out

For LGBT Episcopalians, the winter of our discontent was made glorious summer by the actions of our General Convention in Anaheim, California, in July! Our triennial convention, which is the governing structure of The Episcopal Church USA, includes a legislative structure of a House of Deputies made up of laity and clergy and a House of Bishops. Each group, as well as Dioceses in states or regions, can introduce resolutions for debate. And the overwhelming votes on some of the more widelyreported resolutions was amazing. The Episcopal Church approved a process for the exploration of same-gender blessings in dioceses where it is allowed by law; have opened the possibility of another “gay bishopâ€?; have affirmed that people who are transgender deserve the same respect and dignity of every human being as we state so boldly in our Baptismal Covenant; and passed resolutions as prophets to call on Congress to adopt ENDA, and allow immigration for the partners of LGBT Americans. With each resolution, I kept wondering if someone was going to pinch me and tell me, “You’re dreaming again!â€? But it all happened. And then I read the pastoral letter from Bishop John Howard on the Diocese of Florida website. It says in part: I and the majority of our Florida deputation did not vote in favor of the resolution, fearing that it would be given undue attention, fearing that it could be the occasion for further division in an already divided and hurting Church, and fearing, too, that it would be misinterpreted as saying things that it did not. I am already reading some who are saying that it has ended the resolution of Convention in 2006 when we said that we would exercise restraint in consenting to the consecration of bishops whose manner of life would be unacceptable to our Anglican Communion partners. This resolution does not end that resolve. We Florida Episcopalians live under some rules regarding these matters: We will love, respect and care for all of God’s people...we will respect the traditional Christian norms and understandings of human sexuality which call us to chastity or to monogamous Christian marriage in ordained ministry and in the blessing of sexual relationships. We will deal with all of these important matters prayerfully, with love, with dignity and in the way in which Jesus Christ has called us: Loving the Lord our God with all that we are and all that we possess and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The Archbishop of Canterbury has also joined in the effort to zap the joy out of our actions in Anaheim especially as the figurehead of the Anglican Communion continues to try to hold together a mish-mash of churches and provinces that, in some cases, are in countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. Unfortunately, all of the Archbishop efforts appear to hinge on the adoption of an Anglican Covenant which continues to include language that seemingly punishes those Churches and Provinces that celebrate the inclusion of LGBT people. Opponents of the resolutions adopted at General Convention are always talking about being afraid of what will happen to the Communion if we allow generosity toward LGBT people. But there is hope yet. The Sunday following the end of General Convention, Rev. Lin Walton at St. John’s Episcopal Church preached a sermon in which he dissipated the fear factor with a message of faith and hope. “There is no crisis in the Anglican Communion,â€? he said because “Christ is still head of the Church, God the Father Almighty is still sovereign, and the Spirit blows where it wills – and not always where we humans think it should‌ a church which prays for peace, a church which pursues justice and practices love at all costs, and a church which embraces divergence will never be popular. A church which grapples with ambiguity and resists the lust for certainty will never ever be popular.â€? As any student of the Bible knows, Jesus Christ wasn’t about being popular. And if the apostles had wanted popularity, they would have shut up about Jesus as Messiah and there would have been no book of Acts or any letters of Paul! In all of this I had to ask for advice on “How do I pray for my Bishop?â€? My mentor suggested I imagine one of my worst fears... such as being told that I will be tossed into a deep lake... because that’s where everybody else is going. In other words, put myself in his place... real or imagined as it might be... but just know that this is where he is. I tried it on in my body. And I real10

ized an important factor in how I venture into “deep lakes�. I don’t go in alone. I always make sure the people with me know that I am, at best, a crappy swimmer. I am careful, and usually go in slowly, but eventually I will be in the water, and may even dip my head under the water quickly. And while I may never fully relax in the water, I am enjoying it and have support in case I should get into trouble. For the nay-sayers of Anaheim, the answer may lie in the need for all of us who are the more experienced and skilled swimmers in these particular waters, to assure the ones who are deathly afraid of drowning that we will be in the lake with them. We will watch out for them. The water feels good, and once you’ve been in it, your body temperature will adjust and it won’t feel so cold. In other words, those of us who have felt “unheard� for so long know that place of hurt and fear. And even when we were in that place, we still stayed in that particular lake, swimming as best we could under the circumstances. God calms and controls the waters of chaos. And God is alive and well and working God’s purpose out with what has happened in Anaheim. We all, at one time or another, will face that feeling that we’re in a place of weakness when we’re in the minority. But, speaking as one of those made strong by the resolutions in Anaheim, I will support the weak with my offer to not let you drown. Just dip a toe into the water. I am with you. So is God.

For a profile of all of the open and affirming congregations in the Tallahassee area, visit

STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE The Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee The Rev. Robin Gray, Minister The Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee (UUCT) affirms the worth and dignity of every person, and covenants to promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Furthermore, UUCT holds that committed love between two men, two women, or one man and one woman creates deep and caring family relationships for couples and their children. Thus, the UUCT supports civil and legal equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The UUCT is a congregation which is fully, explicitly and actively welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, ministry and congregational life.

PRINCIPLES OF THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION • The inherent worth and dignity of every person; • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning; • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; • The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all; • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Worship where you are welcome!

Unitarian-Universalist Church of Tallahassee .-ERIDIAN2OADs BRANCHING OUT


Tasting Tallahassee By Andy Janecek Branching Out Staff Writer Savannah’s Country Buffet Tallahassee is known for canopy roads, award-winning academic institu437 West Gaines Street tions, government offices, historical landmarks and a southern charm that never fades. If you’re a new student in town, or even a native that prefers Tallahassee’s hospitality industry offers enough happy hour specials not to stray too far from home, you should know that Tallahassee is also to satisfy any taste – from cocktails and draft brews to fine wine and aphome to many eateries and lounges that are sure to please your palate. petizers. For a taste of the gulf coast, stop by Harry’s at 301 South BroYou’ve always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the nough Street in Klemen Plaza downtown. Harry’s, themed to make you day, and Maribella CafĂŠ, located in Northampton Plaza at 2915 Kerry For- feel as if you’ve walked into the French Quarter in New Orleans, offers est Parkway, knows exactly how to jump-start your day. From traditional a weekday happy hour from 4pm to 7pm. The two-for-one drinks and breakfasts with bacon and eggs to delicate crepes folded around chocolate affordable appetizers are sure to cure your workday doldrums. Try the chips and fresh bananas, Maribella offers a tasty value, with most break- crawfish fondue, a combination of melted cheese and bite-sized seafast items priced at under $8. BEST BET: On Sundays, enjoy all-you-can-eat food delights. Be sure to order extra bread for dipping! BEST BET: On Mondays, Harry’s offers your favorite bottles of wine for half price. buttermilk pancakes, bottomless coffee and your choice of milk or juice for under $6. OTHER HAPPY HOUR FAVORITES: 101 Restaurant OTHER BREAKFAST FAVORITES: 215 West College Avenue Another Broken Egg CafĂŠ 3500 Kinhega Drive Miller’s Tallahassee Ale House 722 Apalachee Parkway Jenny’s Lunchbox 295 North Magnolia Drive & 625 West TennesPocket’s Pool and Sports Pub see Street 2810 Sharer Road, #7 The Bada Bean As the sun sets on Tallahassee, local chefs pre2500-B Apalachee Parkway pare to indulge you with dinner menus full of local favorites. Carl’s on the Parkway – dubbed “TallahasAfter you’ve recovered from breakfast and see’s Chop Houseâ€? and located at 6497 Apalachee are ready to find lunch, try Wells Brothers Bar & Parkway – is one of the newest contenders on the Grill at 1710 West Tharpe Street, directly across block, offering slow roasted prime rib, southern the street from Godby High School. Starting at under $8, Wells Brothers, formerly Monk’s, allows you to “build your own shrimp and grits, marinated quail and other fine offerings. Executive burgerâ€? piled high with toppings of your choice. Try the Holy Cow, topped Chef David Morton, the former chef of Nino’s, is sure to please with his with sliced roast beef, fresh mozzarella cheese, sautĂŠed mushrooms and creative twist on southern staples. BEST BET: For an extra buck, substionions, or show your team spirit with The Seminole, a juicy, grilled chicken tute one of your side dishes for Carl’s blue crab bisque. breast topped with bacon slices, melted provolone cheese, romaine lettuce, OTHER DINNER FAVORITES: tomato and honey mustard on a toasted baguette. BEST BET: Check the Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant specials board in the back of the restaurant. You’re likely to find a featured 4175 Apalachee Parkway dish that will satisfy your belly – and your wallet. OTHER LUNCH FAVORITES: Fat Sandwich 825 Railroad Avenue &500 S. Bronough Street The Mockingbird CafĂŠ 211 Northwest 1st Street, Havana

Osaka Japanese Steakhouse 1690 Raymond Diehl Road, #A8 Ray’s Steel City Saloon 515 John Knox Road For an interactive map, website links and more information about the local businesses featured here, visit

Serving Our Community Insurance and Financial Services

2-1-1 Big Bend is Looking for Volunteer Hotline Counselors No Experience Necessary Free Training For more information contact:

A United Way Agency

Coordinator of Volunteers 617-6309

Orientation and Interviews (you only need to attend one)

Tues, Sep. 1 - 6:00 pm - Leon County Public Library, 200 W Park Ave. Thurs, Sep. 3 - 1:00 pm - TCC, Student Union, 2nd Floor, Student Success Center Tues, Sep. 8 - 7:00 pm - FAMU, Student Union, Embassy Room Thurs, Sep. 10 - 7:00 pm - FSU, New Psychology Building, W Call St, Room A204


Insert photo here (optional)

! $! !%"#" Greta Langley, Prudential Agent # &!%##! The Prudential Insurance Company of $!  !$# "$!& America !! $! 3301 Thomasville Road "$!! $! Tallahassee, Florida 32308 #!#!""# Office: 850-386-1860, Ext. 6025 #& "##'# Cell: 850-491-2605

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Tallahassee 222-8090 Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack Serving the finest oysters from Appalachicola. If it happens that you don’t enjoy oysters, there are also burgers, grouper and chicken to satisfy your appetite. Also beer, wine and liquor can accompany your meal. Entertainment Fermentation Lounge Featuring a wide selection of draft and bottled beers and fine wines. throughout the week includes live music, open mic, karaoke, and trivia. 113 All Saints Street 325 N Bronough St Tallahassee Tallahassee 878-4140 222-1075 B Sharp’s Jazz Café Tallahassee’s only traditional jazz club. A small club in the tradition of other great jazz clubs, seats 54. A great selection of wines, or bring your own for a $20 corking fee. 648 West Brevard Street 681-2400

Finnegan’s Wake Get your Irish eyes smiling! Finnegan’s Wake, an Irish/soccer bar is open and ready for your business. An authentic Irish Pub atmosphere for you to enjoy with friends and family. Guinness, Harp, etc., plus a large selection of Irish Whiskeys. Celtic bands and jam sessions too! 1122 Thomasville Road Tallahassee 222-4225

Café Cabernet Cafe Cabernet offers a variety of live musical entertainment. Four nights each Fusion Café/Tantra Lounge week, area musicians perform jazz, rhythm & blues, pop hits and rock music. An innovative restaurant that offers a creative array of its own custombuilt meals, desserts and specialty drinks that will please any palate. 1019 N. Monroe St. 1225 N. Monroe Street Tallahassee 222-4956 224-1175 Carl’s On The Parkway Whether you are looking for a nice happy hour, romantic dinner, family celebration or just sharing a great meal and a few drinks with friends, Carl’s want your experience to be memorable. Featuring a daily Happy Hour in the lounge and hand cut steaks in the restaurant, Tuesday through Sunday. 6497 Apalachee Parkway 878-8141 Club Rayn Club Rayn is Tallahassee’s new adult playground. No matter what your taste, Rayn will satisfy by offering a different musical genre and distinctively unique atmosphere each night. Don’t miss Metro night on Friday. Weekly Shows, Happy Hour and no cover before 10. Contact Shane Allan Vann for VIP rentals, bottle service requests and additional information, HYPERLINK “mailto:shane.vann@” Sunday Happy Hour featuring a different movie every week! 1660 North Monroe Street

Gill’s Tavern Casual dining atmosphere. Bring your family and friends to our neighborhood restaurant and bar. Gill’s Tavern is family-owned, so you know you’ll get personal service– just like you were family. 2545 N. Monroe Street Tallahassee 553-4455 The Mockingbird Cafe Havana’s unique dining experience, featuring a new menu every week. Lunch, Wednesday – Sunday. Live music Friday and Saturday evenings and for Sunday brunch/ lunch. 211 Northwest 1st Street Havana Call 539-2212 for more details Monks Bar and Grill – See Wells Brothers

Ray’s Steel City Saloon A fun, welcoming family environment, with plenty of sports and action on the big screens. Full bar alongside a massive collection of liquors, fine Clusters and Hops A gourmet cheese and wine retail shop designed to bring you artisan prod- wines (including Kosher), and over 110 varieties of beers! All food on ucts that are hard to find from around the world. A restaurant by night, with the diverse menu is prepared on-site with nothing pre-packaged. That’s nightly specials, using all of our products, bringing European and American right: everything is “homemade,” hand cut, and healthy for you and your family. cuisine together. 515 John Knox Road 707 N. Monroe Street Tallahassee 222-2669 386-2984 The Comedy Zone Wells Brothers Bar and Grill (Formerly Monks) 401 East Tennessee Street Wells Brothers offers casual and affordable food for just about every Tallahassee taste. Burgers are a house favorite, and the buzz is that building your own is fun. Rumor also has it that the wings are out of this world. Herbivores won’t go hungry either. Look for the veggie symbol on the menu. Lee’s Wine Bar 1710 W. Tharpe Street 1700 North Monroe Street, Suite 19 942-6665 (Publix at Lake Ella Shopping Center) A casual, chill wine bar offering OVER 50 wines by the glass and bottle, as well as draft and bottled beer. Come enjoy the outdoor garden patio, live music on the weekends, and rotating local art inside. Check us out on Facebook! Or call 692-3404. The Engine Room (Formerly Beta Bar) Tallahassee’s alternative music scene. Featuring a wide selection of craft and microbrew beers. 809 Railroad Avenue 12

For a list of recurring events around Tallahassee and the surrounding area, visit



from theCenter

MOVING ONWARD JIm Van Riper, Co-Chair

As the dog days of summer are upon us, I am reflecting on The Family Tree, the LGBT movement and my own involvement in both. I also hear others who are volunteers and activists in our community asking themselves why they do it. Why do they stay involved? What difference does it make? We all have regular jobs, so why spend our free time sitting behind a lonely desk keeping the doors open on a community center or roaming the halls of the capitol trying to convince our legislators to support legislation to help the LGBT community. Often I question my own commitment and ask myself why I stay involved. Sometimes this work can be downright tiring and with the pace of change sometimes it seems like nothing ever changes. I look back on my own experiences and remember why it all matters. I remember the pain of “coming out” and the emotional roller coaster my life was on at the time. Then I remember those who were there to help. I remember the library where I felt safe to explore and learn that I was really a functional and productive member of society and not the looser I had convinced myself I was. I remember the chat groups where I found people just like me, when I thought I was the only person in the world who felt the way I did. I remember the social outlet that the little community center back in Colorado Springs provided where I could meet and do things with people like me. I remember my first date with someone I met there. My own personal growth led me into becoming an activist of sorts. I wanted to make a difference for others who might end up where I had been. I found myself wanting to do little things like make sure I spent my money with people and businesses that didn’t discriminate against people like me. I wanted to change things so people didn’t have to live the double life I did for so long. This growth led me to trying to make a difference in the “system.” I remember how terrifying it was the first time I spoke to a legislator about gay issues and self identified as a gay man to the big scary Senator. Others may share my experiences and yet I realize all of us have come to where we are on our own path. Fortunately our movement has progressed to a point where “coming out” isn’t even a process anymore for some people, particularly the younger among us. Unfortunately, it still is for others, so our work is not done. Our work is definitely not done on the political realm either. With that said, I guess this is the reason I still do it. Sometimes, however, it is time to move on or to re-focus our own personal priorities which is something we all respect. I always hate to see a board member or a volunteer resign but life does change and it is different for everyone.

Family Tree Board Co-Chairs Jim Van Riper and Greta Langley

This month, The Tree will see the loss of Pawan Kumar, he has been a reliable and hard working volunteer for several years. I doubt he is leaving forever, but he now must focus on his PHD work. We thank Pawan for all he has done. We also are losing a board member. Lisa Livezey Comingore has been our legal eagle at The Family Tree but has decided she needs to re-focus and prioritize her time commitments. Lisa won’t be far though as she is very involved in the LGBT Democratic Caucus, undoubtedly our paths will cross. Thank you Lisa for all your help and professional assistance, it is greatly appreciated. If you find yourself wanting to get involved, I encourage you to do so. It can be quite rewarding. We are always looking for volunteers at the Tree. Do you have a few hours a week you would like to commit to a good cause? Do you have that inner calling to try to make a difference? Give us a call, it can be a life changing opportunity.

Tallahassee Prime Timer’s A social group for mature men, featuring gatherings, house parties, monthly dinners and weekly happy hours

Inclusive…Engaging…Informal 9am Contemporary Worship 10am Adult Education 11am Traditional Worship (Children’s Sunday School during services) 5th Sundays are a combined service at 10am 1834 Mahan Dr. 850-878-7385 check our website for information regarding special services We are an “Open and Affirming” congregation deeply committed to the inclusion of GLBT members Come share your faith with friends in a community filled with a diverse collection of beliefs, politics, and backgrounds committed to social action Come as you are… dressed up or in jeans…with joys or concerns…Or Both! VOLUME 13, ISSUE 8



Community Resource Directory Community Organizations •

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Pride Student Union PSU—FSU’s Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual/Transgender Student Union 850-644-8804, FAMU Rainbow Coalition FAMU’s GLBT/Straight Student Alliance 850-915-5017,, Youth Group A group for youth/teens 850-222-8555 facilitator Jennifer Martinez: Prime Timers A club for mature men over 21 850-877-4479, PANTRA Crossdresser/Transgender Support Group Tallahassee Area Lesbian Moms SPECTRUM A community building project for Young Gay and Bisexual men ages 18-29 850-510-2211, Big Bend Cares Support Group For HIV-positive members Mondays, 7-8 Diversity of the Spirit AA Meeting (Alcoholics Anonymous), Contact 850-2228555 Healthline 211 (Telephone Counseling and Referral Service) Crisis intervention and referrals 24 hours a day, 850-224-NEED (850-224-6333) Refuge House Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center, www.refugehouse.

com, e-mail, 24 Hr Hotline: 850-681-2111, LGBT Program: 850-395-7631 Safe Zone Tallahassee, A program designed to identify people who consider themselves to be open to and knowledgeable about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered issues, 850-644-2003 Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), 850-422-3211 North Florida Lesbians Listserve:

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Religious Support All Saints Catholic Community...........................................................................656-3777 Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church ..................................878-3001 Nichiren Buddhism (contact Carol)...................................................................878-8467 Quaker Meeting......................................................................................................878-3620 St. Catherine of Siena (Catholic).........................................................................421-0447 Unitarian Universalist Church.............................................................................385-5115 St. Stephen Lutheran Church..............................................................................385-2728 United Church .........................................................................................................878-7385

Submit your organization for the resource directory! Email or call (850) 222-8555

Dozens of groups and thousands of people come through the doors at The Family Tree each year, and thousands more call for resources or referrals. Even more learn about the lgbt community through outreach efforts of The Family Tree, such as Tallahassee Pridefest or our speaker’s bureau. We exist to support the well-being of our community’s members, to eliminate causes of homophobia, and to provide a place where everyone is welcome. Have you found your center lately?

Contact Us: Physical address: 310 Blount St., Suite 204, Zip 32301 Mailing address: P.O. Box 38477, Zip 32315 Phone: (850) 222-8555 Email:

Programs and groups LGBT Business Partners Diversity of Spirit AA Gender Chat Support and Social Group Youth Group Women’s Chat Group Men’s group

Services Producer of Tallahassee Pridefest Community meeting space Support and social programs Branching Out Newspaper Resource library Switchboard/referral support Community advocacy and outreach LGBT Speaker’s bureau Free Wireless internet

Mission Statement A lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community center is to provide services which promote the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, to work to eliminate the conditions in society which allow homophobia to exist, and to be a place where everyone is welcome.

SPACE USAGE The Center’s space is here for you to use, and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. If your group is open to others and does not charge money, the space is free. There are charges for private parties or closed, charge-to-attend meetings. Call (850) 222-8555 to reserve space or for information.

Conference room for 8

Lounge for 15

Conference Room for 20


JOIN THE MAILING LIST Branching Out is mailed free every month to nearly 1,000 recipients. We do not share or sell your information with anyone, and we value your privacy. Please sign up by sending us this form, or update your address information. Mail to P.O. Box 38477, Zip 32315, or call (850) 222-8555 Full Name Street Address/P.O. Box City, State, Zip Code




Recurring Events Coee Talk Hosted by The Family Tree Wednesdays - 7:00 pm Brew & Bean Coee Company Corner of Chapel Drive and W. Pensacola Street, across from Mellow Mushroom

Weekly Bible Study Every Wed. at 7p.m. at Gentle Shepherd MCC at 4738 Thomasville Road. (850) 8783001.

Prime Timer’s Happy Hour 6pm+, Wednesdays Ming Tree Restaurant, 1435 East Lafayette Street Dinner Potluck and Service Last Sunday of every month, a potluck at 5:30p.m. and then religious service. Gentle Shepherd MCC. 4738 Thomasville Road. (850) 878- 3001. Noon Potluck and Service First Sunday of every month, a religious service at 10:45a.m. and potluck at 12p.m. Gentle Shepherd MCC. 4738 Thomasville Road. (850) 878- 3001. LGBT Business Partners First Thursdays, 12:30p.m. luncheon Third Thirsdays, 6:30p.m. social. Locations and times vary. Contact for information about upcoming meetings.

Co-Chair Greta Langley, Treasurer Steven Hall, Secretary MargeauxMutz, Member-at-large Patrick Patterson,

Member-at-large Paul Anway, Member-at-large/Webmaster Andy Janecek, Member-at-large VACANT POSITION

Lesbian Spiritual Group Every other Monday, 7-9pm. Marcy or Rebecca, (850) 878-8997 Family Tree Board Meeting First Tuesday of every month, 5:30 At The Family Tree. 310 Blount Street, suite 205. Gender Chat Second Tuesdays. 7:30p.m. at The Family Tree. 310 Blount Street, suite 205.

Dance The Night Away September 25th @ American Legion Hall Mark Your Calendars and visit for the latest updates!!!

tree Women’s Chat Second and Fourth Wednesdays, 7-8:30p.m. At The Family Tree.


Co-Chair Jim VanRiper,

Member-at-large Kay Casey,

Diversity of Spirit AA Every Friday evening, 7p.m. A welcoming lgbt group of Alcoholics Anonymous. At The Family Tree. 310 Blount Street, suite 205. Tony 681-1891

"%#/-%! &2)%.$/&4(%42%% 4/$!9 For a donation of  we will send you - a discount card for dozens of locations throughout Tallahassee - a Family Tree car magnet and - a Family Tree T-Shirt

(OWDOESYOURDONATIONHELPTHECOMMUNITY - provides funding for programs that educate members of the community - provides support for the youth of our community that are struggling with coming-out and other issues - provides funding for a safe space for people to visit, hang-out and relax - provides support for the publication of Branching Out, Tallahassee’s LGBT Community Newspaper - provides support for the production of Tallahassee PRIDEFEST and many other events all year long h)NTHEEND WEWILLREMEMBERNOTTHEWORDSOFOURENEMIES BUTTHESILENCEOFOURFRIENDSv $R-ARTIN,UTHER+ING*R 4OlNDOUTMORE VISITWWWFAMILYTREECENTERORG

HAVE A FUN “DINNER WITH FAMILY� AND HELP SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY CENTER! Dinner With Family is a fun and easy way to support the Family Tree. Simply think up a theme for a dinner or event at your home, invite your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. and request a donation that will go to the Family Tree LGBT Community Center. We have made it extra easy for you by preparing a host kit that has sign-in sheets, brochures about the Family Tree and helpful tips for a great party for a great cause. To register your event and get a host kit sent to you, please go to our website, All participants in “Dinner With Family� are invited to dance on September 25, at the American Legion Hall to celebrate our success. The dinner that raises the most funds will be given a special award. Polish up that genuine imitation Liberace Candelabra for a candlelight supper Fire up the Grill for a barbeque Break out that vintage box of wine you’ve been saving for a wine tasting

Plan your “Dinner With Family� event today! VOLUME 13, ISSUE 8


Tallahassee Little Theatre Presents: MEL BROOKS’ MUSICAL COMEDY


PRODUCERS Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks Musical Direction by Jeff Hoh Choreography by Ryan Hendricks Directed by Naomi Rose-Mock

A Performance to Benefit

September 17th, 2009

8pm Tallahassee Little Theatre 1861 Thomasville Road at Betton Road

$20 To purchase tickets, visit or call 850-222-8555

August, 2009  

FEATURE: Gay in School