Page 1

content 06 09 10 12 16 20 23 26 30

Why Christians Should Embrace Same-Sex By Michelle Brooks

Family Building For HIV+ Individuals By Jennifer Davis

Alicia & Julia’s Family Building Story By Michelle Drummond

Supreme Court Cake Baker Case By Jason Miller

Publisher/Executive Editor: David Vandygriff Editor In Chief: Harvey Carr Creative Designer: Jason Smith Sales Department: Adam Plante, Esq. cityXtra Magazine is published by cityXtra Inc . 2941 Plum Street Jacksonville, FL 32205 (904) 300-3320 Like us on Facebook/cityxtra Twitter/cityxtra

Drag Queen Culture By Michael Wells

LGBT Inclusive Businesses By David Vandygriff

Florida’s Gilchrist Blue Springs

Contributing Writers

By David Vandygriff

Laura Riggs, Dr. Harvey Carr, Meredith O’Malley Johnson, Tina Vaughn, Jake Moore, Joey Amato Tyler Curry Editor HIV Equal Online, Sebastian Fortino, David Vandygriff, Jesse Childers, Rachel Davis, Samantha Allen, Dr. Dan Bowers, Debi Perry

1st Transgender Elected In Virginia By William Johnson

When Art Is Queer By Barbara King

night life JACKSONVILLE Boot Rack: 4751 Lenox Blvd. (904) 384-7090 Club Jax: 1939 Hendricks Ave. (904) 398-7451

ORLANDO Parliament House: 410 Orange Blossom Trail (407) 425-7571 ST. PETERSBURG

Hamburger Mary’s: 3333-1 Beach Blvd. (904) 551-2048

Flamingo Resort: 4601 34th St. S (727) 321-5000

Incahoots: 711 Edison Ave. (904) 353-6316

Sporters Bar: 187 Dr. MLK St. N (9th St.) (727) 821-1920

Park Place: 931 King St. (904) 389-6616 Metro: 859 Willow Branch Ave. (904) 388-7192

TAMPA (Ybor) Bradley’s on 7th: 1510 E 7th Ave (813) 241-2723 Liquid Tampa: 1502 E 7th (813) 248-6104 3

that all males and all females need to end up with opposite sex partners? When talking about "what's natural," in the beginning, the The biblical passages typically first humans did not wear used to "condemn" LGB prescription glasses to see, use relationships are NOT talking wheelchairs to get around, or about LGB relationships: attach prosthetic limbs to While I'm not trying to sound like enhance mobility. Are all of a Biblical scholar or know-it-all, it those aspects of humanity irks me how blind so many "unnatural"? Christians are to the historical Many translations say that God context of the stories from the makes Adam a “suitable helper/ Hebrew Scriptures (Old companion.” While Adam Testament) and Christian S already had all the animals of the criptures (New Testament) which world under his dominion, God are typically used to condemn saw that Adam was alone and gay people and the fact of being he needed a “suitable” helper, gay. who just so happened to be first

Why Christians Should Embrace Same-Sex Relationships

Below are the some facts about the Biblical time periods, in which the "Clobber Passages" were written. These texts are typically interpreted as saying: "The Bible clearly states that being gay is a sin." Take note, as you might learn something new about Biblical ambiguities in the Scripture.

lady Eve.

Relating this to our own lives, so many of us are surrounded by many “helpers” and “companions,” but, only a few, maybe one, are truly suitable to aid and comfort a person throughout his or her life. People who are gay or lesbian maybe surrounded by heterosexual Why do I call these passages mates who are perfectly “ridiculously-used”? Check out “adequate” helpers, but the these passages : “suitable helper and companion” that God has made for them is Genesis 2: 19-25 “Adam and not a person of the opposite sex. Eve:” Plus, if gay people are not meant “In the beginning, God made to be with their “suitable helper/ Adam and EVE, not Adam and companions,” are they meant to Steve, nor Eve and Jane.” be alone, without a helper? I Anti-gay Christian ministers have believe God would say “no,” used this as a crux to propagate according to Genesis 2:18. the myth that homosexuality is Genesis 19: 1-13 “Sodom and "unnatural." Gomorrah's destruction:” While the Bible in Genesis tells The story of Sodom and us that God made “male and Gomorrah. Basically, God says female,” does this really mean that He's going to destroy cities 06

of Sodom and Gomorrah, if two angels cannot find any good people within the towns. Once the angels arrive, a kind man named Lot invites these angels into his home and entertains them. This angers the cities' men, and the men rallied outside of Lot's home, wishing to do "perverse actions" to these male angels. Moments later, the two cities are destroyed by fiery rain. Many anti-gay Christian ministers use this passage to say that this is an example of God’s wrath against if the men of Sodom were all gay, and all trying to "be gay with" these male angels. Historians and sociologists tell us that gang rape was a very common form of brutal humiliation of the subjects, in the ancient Western world. The Sodomite men did not come to Lot’s house to have monogamous, committed, loving relationships with the male angels residing there. They came to rape these angels. Also, MULTIPLE parts of the Bible (Luke 10: 10-13; Isaiah 19: 13-14; Jeremiah 23: 14; Ezekiel 16: 49; Zephaniah 2: 8-11) refer to Sodom and Gomorrah. They clearly tell us that God despised the greed and wickedness of the people in the cities toward outsiders. Their sin was not that men wanted to “have sex” with men. THEN…there’s Leviticus 18:22 “Mosaic Law Prohibitions” and Leviticus 20:13 “Mosaic Punishments for Violating Mosaic Law:” The ridiculousness of using Leviticus to condemn

ANYTHING is simply in looking at what in the world the Book of Leviticus condemns.

of Unrighteous People”

Taking a look at the first passage, the most oft quoted Rules in the Bible were always tied to some sort of reasoning. In one from anti-gay Christian the case of this gay sex prohibi- ministers, many people forget tion, a consistent thread in early that the word “natural” has two definitions: Judeo-Christian understanding was that semen alone was “Scientifically meant to happen, considered unclean, because or following nature’s course,” sex was ONLY meant to be and procreative. “Normal, expected, or common.”

cannot think that just because something is “uncommon” that it is “evil.”

Next, the words that Paul uses in almost all translations in the place of “relations” and “lusts” (“passions,” “affections,” “desires,” “sex”) really denote that what’s really talking about are not loving, committed relationships between members of the same-sex, but just selfish Check out what God does to How do we know which definition sexually-gratifying lusts. Any man of God wouldn’t stand for Onan when he ejaculates Paul is using here? Later on in outside of a woman in Genesis the Book of Romans, Paul writes God’s people “rocking out with their cocks out” just for the hell of 38. that God acted “contrary to it, and that’s who the subjects of nature,” and what he means isn’t In the same passages where gay God’s disdain were, not people sex is condemned and punished, that God acted “immorally or seeking love in same-sex against nature’s course,” but so is eating shrimp, crop relationships. rather that God acted co-mingling, eating rabbit, “unexpectedly.” While newer translations used wearing linen and wool at the same time, and eating raw meat. Understanding this, and the fact the word “homosexual,” what it comes down to is a tragic loss of So if you’re going to be a Biblical that no one could truly know literalist, you might as well start whether Paul really knows what translation of two key Greek sewing your own clothes and is scientifically innate and what is words, “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi.” If most Biblical becoming a vegetarian. not, Paul calls these relationships “uncustomary” and interpreters weren’t pacifists, Three passages from the there’d be all-out war between “uncommon.” Christian Scriptures (New them on the meanings of these Testament): Jesus did many “uncommon” words. The explanation that I things in his time. One of which prefer comes from Biblical Romans 1: 26-27 “Paul speaks was initiating a conversation with scholar D. B. Martin, that of God's disdain” a Samaritan woman, which was “arsenokoitai,” due to its context 1 Corinthians 6: 9 “People who “uncommon,” because Jews clues, has something to do with will not Inherit the Kingdom of never spoke to Samaritans, and sexual exploitation, like Heaven” Jews never spoke to other prostitution, not sexual people’s women. Surely, we 1 Timothy 1: 9-10 “Paul speaks orientation, like homosexuality. 7 2677 Forbes St Jacksonville FL (904) 387-1400

specimens that test positive for the virus. Men Family Building For HIV+ Individuals Dr. Jennifer Davis whose sperm The Special Program of tests negative for the virus can Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) have their sample frozen and is the only program in the world shipped to RMA of CT for later that uses highly sensitive PCR use with assisted reproductive tests for HIV in semen to minitechnologies. mize the risk of transmitting the Although there have not been infection to the child or any cases of infection by gestational surrogate during utilizing this technology, we will assisted reproduction. Testing thoroughly counsel your the semen sample directly is gestational carrier at the time of advocated as it has been her consult of the theoretical shown that the amount of HIV risk and assure that she has the virus in a blood sample is not information necessary to make representative of the presence an informed decision to proceed of the virus in the semen with the cycle. Should she desample. cide to proceed, the current Data collected by this team of researchers has found that approximately two-thirds of semen specimens produced by healthy, HIV infected men have an undetectable amount of HIV virus. Sperm from such specimens are safer for use in assisted reproduction than “washed sperm� from untested specimens, or from

Harvard Medical School Faculty, is the Director of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. After spending twenty-seven years at Harvard Medical School faculty, she has decided to devote her full attention to the initiatives of the foundation, including stem cell research and semen transmission of HIV. Once you are a participant in the program she will also speak to your gestational carrier. It is our experience that her involvement helps gestational carriers feel comfortable moving forward in the family building journey with HIV+ men. Working with this leading scientist in the field adds an additional measure of safeguarding the health of the gestational carrier and fetus.

SPAR protocol is for her to be tested for HIV antibodies at 3 weeks, 3 months and 6 months following each cycle. Support For Your Journey Participation requires that you speak to Dr. Ann A. Kiessling in regards to the science and technique of Bedford SPAR. Dr. Kiessling, a member of the 09

“We had a great relationship with all of the doctors at RMACT. We were able to work with all of them and got Alicia & Julia’s Family Building Story very By Michelle Drummond comfortable Alicia and Julia’s story began as with them all,” Julie notes. a classic representation of love Julie and Alicia worked with Dr. at first sight. It all happened Leondires using a procedure organically and eventually came called Intrauterine Insemination together as strangers turned into (IUI). Julie admitted to initially friends and then ultimately being very nervous, but after soulmates. talking to Dr. Leondires about Julie was always certain she wanted to have children, even when she was just a child herself. Growing up she was very close with her brothers and sisters and knew that having a family of her own would be a very crucial part of her adult life.

her favorite TV show “Chopped” her previous fears has been bemused and began to subside.

them through every part of their journey.

There were many factors that Julie and Alicia took into consideration when choosing a sperm donor. They both wanted someone who had a healthy medical background and found that many websites had an mpressive and helpful display of information on family medical history. Another decisive factor, as Alicia explained, was choosing a donor that shared her physical features as well as parts of her own ethnicity. Together they could match what she looked like since she wasn’t biologically involved in the process.

“We felt that he was just so There were many challenging professional and made us feel so questions to answer from comfortable,” Julie shared. friends, family and others asking Alicia and Julie both agreed that about their process, especially what made the overall pertaining to the donor. Both Similarly, Alicia knew that having experience all the more Alicia and Julie , fortunately, had kids was “always in the cards” rewarding was working with researched many of those for her. While she never had any patient advocate Lisa Rosenthal. questions beforehand and were major interest in carrying a child well-versed in defending their “She was someone we could through pregnancy herself, she family story and the journey that text, someone we could call, knew that a big family was got them there. someone we could talk to, something she wanted in her someone we could cry to or “He doesn’t have a father. He’s future. Growing up with with a laugh with,” Alicia shared. This got us and he’s got a lot of strong bond among three direct friendship really guided brothers Alicia understood how important family was to her and as an adult she wanted to instil those same family values as she starts a life of her own. At first Julie and Alicia felt discouraged by all of the information out there pertaining to how two women have a baby. They started researching with a book and from there they went to the internet, searched and found information through Gay Parents to Be ® which then introduced them to Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut. 10

uncles. He’s definitely going to have a lot of male role models in his life but that’s just the reality of our situation.” In this case, the DNA received came from a donor. And, oftentimes the question is asked: “Who is the father”?

verb “mother” is to raise (a child) with care and affection, that too applies to “father”—and in this case, there is no father to raise the child with care and affection. So, what it comes down to is interpretation of the meaning of the word.

[NOTE FROM GAY PARENTS TO BE: When asked the question of ‘who is the mother, or ‘who is the father’, sometimes the word “father” or “mother” is used as a noun and sometimes more as a verb. A sperm donor could be considered a father because his genetic material was used. But in the other sense, which is how this couple intended it’s use in the video, he isn’t playing the role of father. Just like the

We hope we all can agree that the most important word surrounding any family is LOVE.] Through the struggles and hardships that came with the process, Alicia and Julie used each other as each other’s rock that guided them to their ultimate success; being pregnant with their baby boy, Hudson.

2677 Forbes St Jacksonville FL (904) 387-1400

wedding, he said, "I'm sorry, guys, I can't do that."

The lower courts, however, say a reasonable person would assume that the cake expressed the message of the couple, not What followed, the baker. And the ACLU, representing Mullins and Craig, Mullins says, says they never discussed with Supreme Court Cake Baker Case "was this By Jason Miller Phillips what kind of design, if horrible pregnant pause any, they wanted on their cake, A Colorado baker says requiring while what was happening sunk diminishing his claim that his him to make a cake for a gay freedom of expression was at in, and we were mortified." wedding would violate his stake. After the couple filed a formal freedom of expression. But the "He simply turned us away just complaint, the Colorado courts couple he turned down says because of who we are instead refusing to serve gay customers ruled that the state's public accommodation law, which bans of what we asked for," Craig is illegal discrimination. said. discrimination by companies On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme offering their services to the The case is about much more Court will consider who's right in public, did not allow Phillips to than disapproval for same-sex one of the most closely watched refuse the gay couple's request. weddings, says the ACLU. If cases of the term, one that pits So he appealed. Phillips prevails, "bakeries could freedom of religion and refuse to provide cakes for an Phillips runs his cake business expression against marriage guided by religious principles — interracial or interfaith couple's equality and protection from closing on Sunday and refusing wedding, a Jewish boy's bar discrimination. mitzvah, an African-American to make cakes containing alcoWhile a recent Gallup survey child's birthday, or a woman's hol or celebrating Halloween. showed that nearly two-thirds of Requiring him to make a business school graduation Americans support the Supreme wedding cake for a same-sex party." Court's 2015 decision legalizing couple, he says, would violate The ACLU's James Esseks same-sex marriage, gay and his First Amendment rights by added, "The core question is lesbian rights advocates fear a requiring him to express a view, whether the freedom of speech loss in this case would mark through his cakes, that is counter or religion guarantees same-sex couples as to his religious beliefs. businesses that are open to the undeserving of full legal "I don't want to be forced to public a constitutional right to protections. create art, any of the things I do turn customers away because of Some religious organizations, on for an event, that goes against who they are. It's about the very the other hand, say a loss on my faith," he said. viability of the nation's civil rights their side would force dissenters laws." One question for the court is to support marriages they find whether baking a cake amounts The case has attracted an objectionable. to artistic expression, like unusually high number of friendThe incident that brought the painting a picture. of-court briefs, offering dueling case to the nation's highest court versions of who's right. lasted only a few minutes on the "Jack is an artist," insisted his lawyer, Kristen Waggoner, and "There is far more at stake in this day David Mullins and Charlie his cakes proclaim that a case than simply whether Jack Craig of Denver walked into marriage has occurred and Phillips must bake a cake. It is Masterpiece Cakeshop in should be celebrated. "The about the freedom to live Lakewood, Colorado, outside of government can no more force according to one's religious Denver. Phillips to speak those beliefs in daily life," wrote the When the owner, Jack Phillips, messages with his lips than to Conference of Catholic Bishops. found out they wanted a cake for express them through his art." But other religious groups join a reception to celebrate their 12

artists. Their work "requires artistic exertion with an expressive endeavor to generate works of art." No, says a group of celebrity chefs and bakers, including JosĂŠ AndrĂŠs and Anthony Bourdain. "Even when prepared by celebrated chefs, food retains a clear purpose apart from its Americans United for Separation expressive component: it is of Church and State in saying made to be eaten," the wrote. public accommodation laws like Colorado's "ensure that a Muslim Florists, bakers, photographers, and other businesses have cited cannot be refused a meal by a religious and free-speech Protestant restaurateur, a Catholic cannot be evicted by a objections in refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers in the Jewish landlord, and a Sikh wake of the Supreme Court's cannot be fired by a Baptist 2015 same-sex marriage supervisor for adhering to the decision. But those claims have 'wrong' faith." generally not fared well in the Bakers even disagree about nation's courts. whether what they do amounts The justices will decide the case to protected expression. by late June. Yes, says a group of cake 13 1522 King St Jacksonville, FL (904) 738-7182

also be mistakenly labeled transsexual or as a transvestite, an older term Drag Queen Culture that's By Micheal Wells dropped By one estimate cited in the out of favor today because of its seminal book on early drag past association with homosexqueen culture, "Mother Camp," uality and cross-dressing as the United States was home to mental pathologies. That said, about 500 regularly performing transgender and transsexual drag queens by July 1966 people who present on and off[source: Newton]. That was also stage as different genders or the same year stage legend Jim biological sexes may perform Bailey first wowed audiences drag as well. with his spot-on embodiment of Cross-dressing and drag Judy Garland, but Bailey would performances existed as an balk at being lumped in with a underground culture for much of drag queen headcount [source: the 20th century, and the Petrucelli]. Although Bailey atvisibility of drag queens intracted an impressive following creased alongside that of LGBT for his spot-on imitations of communities in the late 1960s. female Hollywood icons for When the infamous Stonewall more than 40 years, his riots occurred in 1969 at New preference for being labeled an York's Mafia-run Stonewall Inn, illusionist and not a drag queen one of the city's only gay bars at speaks to the nuances of the time, homosexual acts were cross-dressing terminology. illegal in every state but Illinois The term "drag queen" comes from a mash-up of "drag," which has existed in theater parlance for centuries to refer to men dressing in women's clothing, and "queen," an anti-slang word for an effeminate gay man. And while drag queens today are associated with gay populations, not all men who have performed drag are gay; often, these are entertainers like Bailey who prefer phrasing like "female impersonator" or "illusionist" to describe their craft. Drag queens who wear female clothing and makeup only during performances but identify as male offstage may 16

[source: American Experience]. On June 28, New York City police officers raided the bar seeking to arrest homosexual patrons en flagrante, and when the crowd decided to fight back instead of capitulate, high heel-wearing drag queens and transsexuals were on the frontlines of the six-day skirmish that officially signaled the start of the gay rights movement in the United States.

Even in the face of legal repression and social ostracism, drag queen communities began to organize more formally in the mid-1960s. In response to the police shutting down a string of gay bars, JosĂŠ Julio Sarria, San

Francisco's first openly gay political candidate and local performer, founded the Imperial Court System that united the drag queen and gay community at large for annual drag balls and other events [source: Imperial Court System]. Chapters now exist in cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico and largely serve as philanthropic organizations that help support HIV and AIDS prevention and research. Drag balls also have become cornerstone fĂŞtes within African-American drag queen communities. Similar to a fraternity system, up-andcoming drag queens can join up with local houses headed by older, experienced house "mothers" or "fathers," who help groom young members in their drag pursuits and offer moral and social support along with shelter if they've been kicked out of their homes. Periodically, drag queens and kings from various houses will face off at balls that feature walk-offs between contestants competing in categories such as Femme Queen Impersonation and Male Face [source: Trebay]. Jenny Livingston famously captured Harlem's African-American ball culture in her 1990 documentary "Paris Is Burning," which also offered an intimate glimpse into what it takes to transform into a drag queen for a night.

LGBT-inclusive companies attract and retain top talent. It’s really no surprise that LGBT employees Funding Your Gay Business want to work By David Vandygriff for a company that allows For the first time in the history of them to bring their authentic Davos, LGBT rights made the selves to work, but the appeal of official agenda at the World LGBT inclusivity goes far beyond Economic Forum. Business LGBT employees. We find that leaders including Beth the vast majority of allies — nonBrooke-Marciniak, the global LGBT individuals who support vice chair for public policy at EY, and advocate for LGBT and Shamina Singh, the individuals in the wider executive director of the community — prefer to work for Mastercard Center for Inclusive inclusive companies: a stunning Growth, spoke at length about 72% of ally respondents say the unparalleled opportunity that, all else being equal, they businesses have to make a are more likely to accept a job at difference in the lives of LGBT a company that is supportive of individuals around the world. LGBT employees than one that “Multinational companies have is not supportive. Inclusive enormous economies and policies for LGBT individuals employ millions of people,” said send a friendliness cue that Brooke-Marciniak. “This gives resonates with other employees, them the ability to influence even when they are not active change on this issue in a unique allies. and powerful way.” Not only are inclusive

environment for all employees to reach their full potential. At BNY Mellon, for example, allies get the support and feedback they need to stand up to prejudice through the company’s Ally Campaign. “The idea is to give people a safe place to share their story as an LGBT ally,” says Lane Cigna, associate director of corporate communications at BNY Mellon. “Through our Ally Campaign, we were introduced to colleagues who want to be allies because their LGBT or transgender children and relatives have been bullied. They were straight allies who’d lost gay siblings and friends.” Oftentimes, Cigna says, allies need encouragement and support just as much as LGBT employees to reach their full potential in the workplace.

LGBT-inclusive companies win the business and loyalty of discerning consumers. Seventy-one percent of LGBT respondents and 82% of allies across our multimarket sample say they are more likely to purchase from a company that supports LGBT equality — LGBT inclusion is top of mind for workplaces more attractive to critical majorities, given that the business community — and potential talent, but they also global LGBT buying power is not just because it’s the right ensure that current employees estimated at $3.7 trillion. The thing to do. The Center for stay committed and engaged. global ally market has yet to be Talent Innovation’s newest LGBT and ally employees at properly quantified, but with report, “Out in the World: inclusive companies are close to three-quarters of CTI Securing LGBT Rights in the significantly more likely to say survey respondents in the U.S. Global Marketplace,” they are proud to work for their self-identifying as LGBT allies, demonstrates that countering employer (84% versus 68%) and it’s bound to be a consumer LGBT discrimination makes a more likely to “go the extra mile” segment that companies can ill corporation competitive on three for company success (84% afford to overlook. fronts. Fostering an LGBTversus 73%) than those at Some companies, like American inclusive workplace helps a companies that have a negative Express, are already tapping company attract and retain top attitude toward LGBT these segments. In 2012, the talent, woo and win critical employees. company’s PRIDE network consumer segments, and Another benefit that does not go launched a Shop Small innovate for underserved unnoticed by top talent: inclusive marketing initiative in markets. companies provide a positive Provincetown, a popular LGBT

destination, to entice LGBT and ally cardholders to spend more at local small businesses. The campaign was a runaway success: card spending grew by double digits. American Express has since extended Shop Small to 10 locations in the U.S., and plans are in the works for an LGBT Shop Small campaign in Brighton, United Kingdom, as well. LGBT-inclusive companies harness the insight of LGBT employees to drive market innovation. CTI research shows that teams with members whose sexual orientation matches the target consumer’s are much more likely to understand the market.

in $24 million in 24 months. Over on the jurisdictions in which they the next four years, his team are located — for example, brought in $1.4 billion. adopting an “Embassy” stance in one locale that is legally So what can global companies welcoming, but culturally hostile, do to become more LGBT inclusive? The “Out in the World” to LGBT individuals, while simultaneously pushing more report provides three models publicly for LGBT rights in tailored to different legal and another location where the law cultural environments: the lags behind cultural acceptance. “When in Rome” model; the

The market success of Out Leadership founder Todd Sears illustrates just how valuable that end-user insight can be. While at Merrill Lynch, Sears worked to secure the firm’s presence in the LGBT community by crafting seminars that addressed the estate-planning challenges faced by LGBT clients. Within a year, his marketing team grew to 10 financial advisors in six cities; internally, his team educated more than 250 Merrill Lynch financial advisors to better serve LGBT clients around the globe. Sears’s initial target was to bring

One company can utilize all three models at once depending

“Embassy” model; and the “Advocate” model. As the name suggests, when employing the “When in Rome” model companies adhere to the norms and local laws of the jurisdiction. The “Embassy” model, on the other hand, allows companies to enforce pro-LGBT policies within their own walls, but does not push for change in the wider community. Finally, companies adopting the “Advocate” model actively seek to effect change even outside the office.

Corporate leaders around the globe are beginning to recognize that when they stand up for LGBT people — including their own employees, clients, customers, and consumers — they promote justice while also serving their bottom line. As Brooke-Marciniak so eloquently put it, “If the private sector is leading inclusive cultures within the walls of their companies, they can lead the cultural change to create a more inclusive society.” 21

park. (High Springs is about 20 miles from Gainesville.)

Florida’s Gilchrist Blue Springs By David Vandygriff

One of our state’s greatest assets is its high number of wild, beautiful, and well preserved state parks. In fact, Florida’s park service has received three National Gold Medals for Excellence, more than any other state. Earlier this month, the Florida Park Service officially announced the opening of its 175th state park. If you’re as excited as we are, then please join us now in taking a look:

Welcome to Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park in High Springs, Florida’s newest state

The 407-acre property was purchased for $5.2 million using Florida Forever funding. Its status as a state park will help ensure that the park is preserved and continues to be enjoyed by visitors long into the future.

This scenic park along the Santa Fe River The park will continue to offer is home to six concessions and rentals for guests, such as snacks, beverages, and equipment for paddle boarding and tubing.

If you think it's too chilly for water recreation, you should still consider a visit. This is a popular hangout for our beloved manatees, especially during the winter months. Like other Florida state parks, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown and the entrance fee is $6 per vehicle up to eight passengers.

natural springs, including a second magnitude spring called Gilchrist Blue Spring that pumps out an average of 44 million Address: 7450 NE 60th St, High gallons of gorgeous, crystal-clear Springs, FL 32643 Phone: water a day. (386) 454-1369 Its state park status might be new, but this property has been open for recreational use as a private park going all the way back to 1958. It will continue to offer lots of recreational opportunities, including hiking, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and paddling. 23

the country, outraising Marshall 3-to-1 and focusing her campaign on traffic issues.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In October 2017, she was endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden.

In October 2017, Roem's campaign received reports that residents of her district were Roem's win is receiving anti-transgender 1st Transgender Elected In Virginia one of dozens robocalls. Roem said the calls By William Johnson across in the were being made by the state on American Principles Project, Danica Roem beat Republican Tuesday in which Democrats which has circulated a petition to incumbent Del. Robert Marshall upset Republican incumbents. "Stop Transgender Medical in race for the Virginia House of Experimentation on Children". Delegates and is set to become Roem declared her candidacy in Also in October 2017, the the first openly transgender state January 2017. She received Republican Party of Virginia endorsements from the Victory legislator in the country. mailed campaign fliers attacking Fund and the Progressive Marshall, Virginia's comments Roem made during a Change Campaign Committee. self-described "chief homo[15] Between April 1 and June 1, September radio interview. phobe," refused to debate Roem Roem received 1064 donations Although the fliers, approved by and referred to her with male of under $100, the highest of any Roem's opponent, used male pronouns. pronouns to refer to Roem, the delegate candidate in the state party's executive director Danica Roem became the first other than Chris Hurst. Roem's openly transgender state platform was based on economic dismissed the idea that they were attacking Roem's gender legislator in the country — and and transportation issues,[17] Virginia's first transgender [18] centered on a promise to fix identity. elected official — when she beat Virginia State Route 28. Over the course of the 13-term Republican incumbent In July 2017, following President campaign, she out-raised Del. Robert Marshall on TuesDonald Trump's announcement Marshall by a 5 to 1 margin, day. collecting over $370,000, of a unilateral ban on including over 4,100 small-dollar The contest between Roem, a transgender people serving in 33-year-old former newspaper the U.S. military, Roem received donations from Progressive Change Campaign Committee reporter, and Marshall, a 73-year a $50,000 donation from members. -old social conservative, exMilwaukee posed a stark cultural divide within the state. The Prince William County legislator refused to debate Roem and released campaign ads in that referred to her with male pronouns. Marshall, Virginia's self-described "chief homophobe," introduced a bill that would have required Virginians to use public restrooms that correspond with their gender at birth. Roem gathered support from LGBT groups and other progressive advocates across 26

County Executive Chris Abele. Abele happened to be in the East Room of the White House the day Trump made the announcement on Twitter. In August 2017, Roem received endorsement from the

STD & Oral HIV Testing Every Second Tuesday of Each Month By The AIDS Healthcare Foundation

An answer came to me in the exhibit notes, provided in a pamphlet handed out by the museum staff, and in the artworks themselves.

drive and the absurdity of gay pride slogans." A visitor's attention is arrested here!

My favorite piece in the show was Melanie Braverman's Queer, By Barbara King a patch quilt crafted with cotton "All of the thread and silk ribbon. I was first I visited a small public space in featured artists are LGBTQdrawn to the soft pink-and-white New York City, the Leslieidentified," writes curator Chaich colors, seeing a thing of beauty Lohman Museum of Gay & in the notes. "But not all of the and comfort. But then I saw the Lesbian Art. I went there to see content explicitly is — and that's ugly words on the quilt: fairy, an exhibit called Queer Threads: perfectly queer in this poofter and even nastier Crafting Identity & Community context. ... Queerness embraces epithets. I felt destabilized and and to seek an answer to a diversity and even discrepancy." soon realized that that was question I'd pondered ever since Braverman's intent. The text Sheila Pepe's "Your Granny's first hearing of the museum the accompanying the work said: Not Square," made from week before: shoelaces, yarn and hanging "The harshness of the words Is there such a thing as gay and hardware, struck me as an contrasts against the softness of lesbian art? excellent illustration of Chaich's the fabric, disrupting the At the museum, I wandered the point about the show sometimes perceived comfort of the quilt just exhibit, curated by artist John veering away from an explicit as bullying disrupts the daily Chaich. Queer Threads is small focus on gayness. I learned that social comfort of a queer enough for a visitor to take in Pepe's grandfather had been a person." each piece fully and think about shoemaker and her grandmother In the end, for me the primary the accompanying texts. and mother crafters. Even as guiding principle for recognizing Representing the works of 24 Pepe honors her past, though, this art as gay — even more artists from around the world, the she subverts it: The traditional important than analysis of the focus is on crochet, embroidery, granny square becomes, in her knitting, macramé and sewing. hands, something quite novel, a works' meaning — turned out to be the artists' self-identification. beautiful, airy purple-and-green The threads in these crafts, the It's the same principle at work as web that allows light to shoot introductory panel explains, in art museums dedicated to through it. "[parallel] the potential for gender, such as Washington, connectivity in our lives as same- Chaich himself, however, does D.C.'s National Museum of gender-loving and gender-nonsee explicit gayness in this Women in the Arts, or to conforming peoples. Our work's "crevices and shadows." ethnicity, such as the Museum of commonalities may be as thick With art, what I love most is that Latin American Art in Long as a knot or as thin as a string. there is no right (or wrong) Beach, Calif. As individuals we are strands; as interpretation. In the Leslie-Lohman museum, I communities we are interwoven. Some pieces in Queer Threads felt it in the air a bracing sense Both can be broken or braided." are in-your-face sexual. The that I was a visitor to a proud I like that sensibility, yet explanatory text with a piece by queer space. It's a space meant wondered: Doesn't it parallel the Sonny Schneider proclaims that to celebrate gay creativity and, potential for connectivity in all the artist "uses bold humor and yes, connectivity, in the way all our lives, regardless of sexual vibrant color to address the art celebrates connectivity in our identities? urgency of the gay male sex human community. 30

When Art Is Queer


South's MOST Read LGBT Publication


South's MOST Read LGBT Publication