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Jacksonville’s LGBT Friendliness

Publisher/Executive Editor: David Vandygriff

By Jacksonville Coalition for Equality

Rejection Is So Awful By Dr. Harvey Carr

Editor In Chief: Harvey Carr

Purge: Post-Election 2016

Creative Designer: Jason Smith

By Rob Graver

Sales Department: Adam Plante, Esq.

Best LGBT Retirement Cities By Lori Thomas

5 Ways To Support HIV-Poz Partner By Alex Kopel, HIV Equal

Debate on Gun Violence By Michael Jensen

cityXtra Magazine is published by cityXtra Inc . 2941 Plum Street Jacksonville, FL 32205 (904) 300-3320 Like us on Facebook/cityxtramag Twitter/cityxtra

Contributing Writers

Happiness You Can Control By Dr. Harvey Carr

How To Get Back In The Dating Game By Michael Joshlin

Laura Riggs, Dr. Harvey Carr, Attorney Gordon Nicol, Meredith O’Malley Johnson, Tina Vaughn, Jake Moore, Tyler Curry Editor HIV Equal Online, Sebastian Fortino, David Vandygriff, Joey Amato Publisher Unite Magazine

night life JACKSONVILLE Boot Rack: 4751 Lenox Blvd. (904) 384-7090 Bo’s Club: 201 5th Ave. N. (Jax Beach) (904) 246-9874

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

Club Jax: 1939 Hendricks Ave. (904) 398-7451

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

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

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

Incahoots: 711 Edison Ave. (904) 353-6316 Park Place: 931 King St. (904) 389-6616 Metro: 859 Willow Branch Ave. (904) 388-7192 Norm’s Alibi: 2952 Roosevelt (904) 384-0029

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

Jacksonville’s LGBT Friendliness By Jacksonville Coalition for Equality

Jacksonville has climbed 23 points in the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index, earning a rating of 49 out of 100 for 2016, up from 26 in 2015. The HRC MEI reviews the laws, policies, and services of municipalities, and scores them on the basis of their inclusivity of the LGBT community. More than 400 cities are examined and rated each year. Updating Jacksonville’s existing Human Rights Ordinance to include gay and transgender people would add 30 points to Jacksonville’s score. An increased score could improve Jacksonville’s competitiveness with other Florida cities with higher scores, such as Orlando with 100 and Tampa with 86. Most of the new points awarded to Jacksonville are due to actions Mayor Lenny Curry took this year. In March 2016, Mayor Curry issued a departmental directive which protected city employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Additionally, he directed that all companies that contract with the City of Jacksonville provide the same level of protection to their LGBT employees. The Mayor’s action led to an increase of 18 points on the MEI score. 6

Last month, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, along with The Jacksonville Aviation Authority, JEA, Jacksonville Port Authority and Jacksonville Transportation Authority, followed Mayor Lenny Curry’s lead and updated their respective employment and nondiscrimination policies to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. “We applaud the progress made in Jacksonville over the last year towards full equality for LGBT residents and visitors,” said Dan Merkan, Chair of Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, “But there’s still work to be done.” Merkan continued, “HRC’s Municipal Equality Index is used by companies and sports organizations as part of their calculus to move jobs and hold major events. To make Jacksonville more competitive, the City Council must pass a fully-inclusive HRO that sends the message that Jacksonville is open for business and does not tolerate any type of discrimination.”

Rejection Is So Awful By Dr. Harvey Carr

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV) My mouth was dry. My hands a bit numb. There was a stabbing tightness in my chest. My mind blurred as my thoughts became a fragmented kaleidoscope of a million pictured hopes I thought were just around the corner for me. For us. For the “us” that was now becoming … just me again. We were only dating. But my mind had already run ahead in time and built a life with this man. In the future we had romantic picnics to take, snowball fights to laugh through, a wedding to plan, a house to build and possibly kids to name. I’m not sure these were ever real to him. But to me, they were as real as the stone-cold coffee now sitting in front of me. The one I kept stirring to have something to focus on but that I never intended to drink. Drinking coffee seemed a bit too normal when my entire inner life had just been declared a state of emergency. Because suddenly, the rest of my planned-out life was aflame. I wasn’t just losing a boyfriend today. I was losing the connection to my dreams for tomorrow that would never be. His words made their way through my ears to my heart. I felt the full impact of their harsh landing. As they skidded their way across the most-tender places inside me, their piercing weight burned and cut and ripped apart what I thought would be so very permanent. Rejection always leaves the deepest, darkest marks. I pulled out my mental journal today and tried to capture the raw essence of what makes rejection so awful. But I couldn’t capture the depth of it with finely crafted words. Instead of diving deep with y thoughts, I let them come in simple, personal phrases: 1) I like stability. 2) I don’t like getting caught off guard. 3) I like feeling known. 4) I don’t like feeling thrown away. As I wrote this list, one line finally emerged to sum up rejection better than the others: I don’t ant my normal to be snatched away. Life feels impossibly risky when 8

I’m reminded how unpredictable circumstances can shatter and forever change what I know and love about my life. And in the fallout, some pieces never fall back into place. It’s like taking a photograph containing all the people you love and suddenly, some of them purposely cut themselves out of the picture. And the gaping hole left behind in some ways is worse than death. If they’d passed away, you would grieve their loss. But when their absence is caused by rejection, you not only grieve their loss but also wrestle through the fact that they wanted this. They chose to cut themselves out. Though you’re devastated, they’re walking away feeling relieved. Or worse, they might even feel happy. And there you sit, staring at a jacked-up photograph no glue in the world can fix. Normal? Taken. Not by accident. But very much on purpose from someone you never expected could be such a thief. Rejection steals the security of all we thought was beautiful and stable and leaves us scared, fragile and more vulnerable than ever. There’s nothing we can do to eliminate the pain of rejection. Oh, how I wish there were. With every fiber of my being, I wish I could remove it from my world and yours. But I can’t. The only thing to help my heart heal from these deep wounds is the \constant pursuit of the sweetest grace of helping others. To love God is to cooperate with His grace. And since I’m so very aware of my own need for grace, I must be willing to freely give it away. Each hole left from rejection is an opportunity to create more and more space for grace in my heart. God, please help me be a person who is quick to give grace, even when it’s the last thing I want to do. Thank You for the grace. Amen. 9

Purge: Post-Election 2016 By Rob Garver

As the likelihood that Donald Trump will lose the presidential election increases, Republicans are wondering about the party’s future direction -both for the three months between now and Election Day and for the years ahead, when the focus may be on repairing the damage a divisive and inexperienced candidate has done to the party’s brand. While the outcome of the election is still uncertain, dozens of senior figures in the Republican Party are so convinced that Trump is going to lose to Democrat Hillary Clinton that they are demanding that the Republican National Committee reallocate resources away from the Trump campaign and focus instead on protecting vulnerable down-ballot candidates. The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens is among many who are arguing that the best hope for the future of the Republican Party is for Trump to lose and lose badly -- that way his supporters won’t be able to latch on to fantasies of election fraud or internal GOP disloyalty. “The only hope for a conservative restoration is a blowout Hillary Clinton victory, held in check by a Republican majority in Congress,” he writes. “If Mr. Trump loses the election narrowly, the stab-inthe-back thesis will have a patina of credibility that he might have won had it not been for the opposition of people like me. But a McGovernstyle defeat makes that argument impossible to sustain except among the most cretinous.” Assuming Trump does lose, the party would have to find a way to heal its internal divisions. Some are looking ahead to a post-Trump GOP, one in which the sins of the 2016 election will be identified and the heretics expelled. “The Republican leaders who show up to the convention and climb aboard the Trump train will be purged from whatever comes after the GOP,” John Daniel Davidson wrote at The Federalist in July. “The ones left standing will be the ones who stayed away—or, like, Sen. Ted Cruz, showed up, but not to endorse Trump.” But Fox News host and radio personality Sean 10

Hannity seems to expect the purge to move in the other direction. “If in less than 30 days Trump loses this election, I am pointing the finger directly at people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and John McCain,” Hannity said this week. “I have watched these Republicans be more harsh toward Donald Trump than they’ve ever been in standing up to Barack Obama and his radical agenda. “They did nothing, nothing — all these phony votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, show votes so they can go back and keep their power and get reelected,” Hannity continued. He promised that the people who he sees as having been insufficiently supportive of Trump will be held “accountable” if the mogul loses. Not everyone is howling for blood, though. On Friday in The National Review, former Jeb Bush national security advisor John Noonan called for a peaceful reconstitution of the GOP after the smoke clears. “Purges didn’t look good on the KGB, and they wouldn’t be a good look for the GOP (though I did laugh when political consultant Mike Murphy cheerily hoped for ‘at least a few show trials’). I don’t want to purge a soul from this stupid, silly, busted party of ours.” He continued, “Republicans will need every able -bodied voter in the coming years. That means reconciliation, reunification, and resumption of offensive operations. And we’ll have our opportunities, starting in 2018, when 25 Senate Democrats will be vulnerable and running hard from the policies of the second Clinton administration.” However, he said, it will also be a chance to shed the demands for ideological purity that have

Purge: Post-Election 2016 Continued

made real accomplishment -- and compromise -nearly impossible. “It means ignoring theatrics on the House and Senate floor, the flashy promises to defund Obama’s golf handicap and repeal the state of Vermont. You’d call for a football coach’s head if he threw a Hail Mary every down. There’s virtue in pounding the ball a few yards at a time.” At The Weekly Standard, Jay Cost takes heart at the prospect that Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO whose run for the GOP nomination never really took off, might put her name forward to succeed Reince Priebus as the chair of the Republican National Committee. “Fiorina would be perfect for this job. As the former CEO of HP, she knows how organizations are supposed to perform, and as a former GOP presidential candidate, she surely knows that the RNC is not performing well at all.” Of course, most of these post-Trump scenarios make one giant assumption: that in defeat Donald Trump will slip silently out a back door, leaving the remains of the party establishment to clean up the mess he’s left behind. However, it’s not clear that going quietly is really Trump’s style. Whatever happens after the election, there’s a very real chance that Trump, with a smaller but still committed core of followers, might still hang around, casting blame and throwing fits, which would make rebuilding the GOP an immensely more complicated challenge. 11

America's Best Cities for Gay-Friendly Retirement By Lori Thomas

Retirees from all walks of life want to settle down in a place that is fun and inviting, but also affordable and accommodating to the needs of older people. Members of the LGBT community have to be even more selective. Even in 2016 not all cities in America are particularly welcoming to those living "non-traditional" lifestyles and only a few select places have thriving social environments for LGBT residents. Using SeniorScore™, an unbiased, data-driven algorithm that determines the most accommodating places in America for seniors, we have determined the best cities in the country for retirees who identify with the LGBT community. The SeniorScore™ evaluates over 100 variables across multiple categories that are pertinent to an area's older residents, including access to healthcare, social and recreational activities, general affordability, safety, quality of environment, and more. Additionally, we analyzed the overall LGBT populations per capita for each city, the presence of gay-friendly social environments, support for gay-owned businesses, and the overall level of tolerance and legal protection of the communities. Here are the best cities in America for gay-friendly retirement: 1) Austin, TX: Everyone and their pet poodle are moving to the Texas Capital but it's not just young urban hipsters who find life here very inviting. Austin is a very progressive city where tolerance is the norm. Over 5% of the population identify as gay and there is a thriving social scene to go along with this large community. There is also a general acceptance of the LGBT community by the population at large and strong support for gay-owned businesses - there is even an Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. But beyond the abundance of gay bars and a Pride Week that rivals those in many large coastal cities, Austin is also a political hub for LGBT advocacy. 2) Fort Lauderdale, FL: When people think of LGBT-friendly South Florida cities, Miami probably ps to mind first. But Fort Lauderdale has most of 12

the same gay-friendly accommodations and nightlife in a more laid back and affordable environment. The city also has the highest concentration of gay couples of any major American city, with about 3% of all households. If you really want to go dance at Miami's numerous gay clubs with the younger crowd, you're only a 30 -minute drive away, but you can generally find all the fun you're looking for in the many gay-friendly bars and clubs around the Wilton Manors area. If that's not your scene, you can enjoy one of over 100 area golf courses and dozens of beautiful city parks and public beaches. 3) Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: The Twin Cities scored so similarly across categories we decided to include them together. Both cities have high populations of LGBT residents (just under 4%) and both offer a progressive, tolerant environment. Beyond that, they have thriving restaurant and bar scenes, with a good number of gay-friendly establishments to be found. The Advocate even went as far as to call Minneapolis "The Gayest City in America!" 4) Atlanta, GA: Atlanta is the gay capital of the South and for good reason. The city is generally tolerant and has LGBT-owned businesses scattered throughout the Midtown, Kirkwood, and Candler Park neighborhoods. They also have the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce that helps promote gay- and lesbian-owned businesses around the city. Atlanta even has one of the largest Pride Week festivals of any large city in America. 5) Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix has long been a popular destination for retirees. With 300 days of sunshine each year and all the amenities seniors generally value, there is never a shortage of fun social activities to enjoy. It's also an affordable place to live, with reasonable tax rates and

America's Best Cities for Gay-Friendly Retirement Continued

property values that have remained a bargain years after the local housing market crashed. 6) Orlando, FL: The second Florida city to make the list, Orlando has a large and vibrant gay population with considerable community support. The horrifying events at Pulse Night Club earlier this year illustrate the general threat of violence and discrimination that the LGBT community still often face, but it shouldn't be an indictment of this otherwise tolerant town. Orlando is home to the Metro Business Association, one of the largest gay chambers of commerce in the country, and there is ample support for LGBT owned businesses throughout the city. 7) Tampa, FL: Tampa and the surrounding cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Sarasota, among others, have long been top destinations for seniors looking for a comfortable place to retire. The area is widely known for its warm and sunny climate, it's beautiful sandy beaches, and its world -class golf courses. But it's also great for anyone living on a budget with its low taxes, low overall cost of living, and very affordable assisted living costs.

8) Portland, OR: Portland is a center of progressivism and tolerance and is home to the second largest per capita LGBT population in the country, behind only San Francisco. The city has long protected its gay and lesbian residents from discrimination and it has for many years been known as a warm and welcoming place for same-sex families to reside. It is also home to SAGE Metro Portland, a community group that offers education, advocacy, and outreach to older members of the local gay community. 9) Seattle, WA: Beautiful Seattle is another one of the progressive hubs of America so it's no surprise that it's also one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country. At almost 5% of the overall population, it has one of the most concentrated LGBT communities of any large city. 10) Columbus, OH: Columbus may not stand out as a place with a thriving gay scene, but it's actually one of the best places in the Midwest for members of the LGBT community to call home. The city has a large and active gay population focused largely in the vibrant Short North and German Village neighborhoods. 13

5 Ways To Support Your HIV-Poz Partner By Alex Kopel, HIV Equal

If you are in a new relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, you might not know just how to be as supportive as you would like to. Just remember that all relationships can have ups, downs, and quirks that you will have to work through together. Living with HIV definitely comes with its share of issues, but an HIV-positive diagnosis doesn’t need to strain or define your relationship. If you want to be the best supportive partner a guy or girl could ask for, here are five easy tips to help get you there.

Discuss how and when you want to tell friends or family. If you are in an open relationship, discuss how this changes how you want to approach hook-ups. Make sure you tell your partner how you’re feeling, but also be there to listen to what he or she’s going through and what your partner needs.

Don't dwell in the past. Just because your partner tested positive for HIV doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she was reckless or did something bad. We all have a past and we all have done things that have placed us at risk from time to time. Focusing on the past isn’t going to help in the present. It’s best to let go of the past and m

Show your partner unconditional love. Reassure your partner again and again that an HIV-status doesn’t change who he or she is as a person and doesn’t change the love you have together. With time, HIV will just become another detail in your lives. Through mutual understanding and support, it can even strengthen the relationship that you already have.

Educate yourself. Educating yourself about HIV will not only help calm your own fears, but it’s a great way to show your partner that you care and are on their side. Stay up to date with research, treatments and preventative measures. Use facts to help your partner stay optimistic, reassure him or her that everything is going to be okay. Go to the doctor together. Show support by going with your partner to the doctor or to pick up his or her meds. Let your partner know that you want to do this not because he or she is scared or needs your help, but because you want to be part of all aspects of each other's life. Getting blood work done is no different than any other errand he or she has to run and it can even be quite the bonding experience. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Everyone knows that good communication is a necessary part of any good relationship, but this is especially true if your partner is HIV-positive. 14 19 19

Debate on Gun Violence By Michael Jensen

UT students have been debating the now imminent campus carry implementation for over a year. Although the tone of the debate has occasionally been light-hearted or even silly, the public divide on the issue is very real. The Orlando massacre is a painful reminder that gun violence remains a deadly and serious problem. In this often ugly and divisive climate, it’s never been more important for students on both sides to make a real effort to understand each other. Virtually every American agrees that some steps should be taken to reduce gun violence, but this hasn’t translated into legislation. There are several explanations for this inaction — from a deadlocked congress to the powerful influence of special interests groups — but the vast cultural chasm between gun enthusiasts and proponents of stronger gun regulations certainly isn’t helping. For millions of American gun owners, firearms aren’t just toys or means of self-defense. In much of the so-called American heartland, gun ownership more closely resembles a family tradition or a way of life. While firearms are obviously no longer necessary for survival or making a living in a developed country like the United States, it wasn’t so long ago that they were. For many American communities and families this history is part of their identity, and it’s completely understandable that they resent having opposing values forced on them by outsiders. On the other hand, guns often represent something else entirely for the millions of Americans in more urban settings. These Americans largely lack the deeply entrenched tradition of gun ownership found in other parts of the country, and rather than being a source of pride, guns are often associated with crime, senseless violence and fear. These negative feelings aren’t unfounded. Since the beginning of 2016, Chicago alone has 16

suffered 300 gun homicides, the country as a whole has suffered 194 mass shootings and the recent Orlando massacre is officially the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. Guns are incredibly dangerous, especially in urban settings, so it’s no surprise that support for gun control is strongest in the large cities along the east and west coasts. A licensed gun owner in rural New Mexico may be well-versed in gun safety and very unlikely to harm anyone else, but that doesn’t change the horrifying reality of gun violence in a city like Chicago. The United States is home to a dizzying array of different cultures and ways of life. For the most part, it somehow works and this diversity is precisely what’s made the American project so successful. However, sometimes we willfully ignore or even dismiss the lifestyles of others, and this is where the whole thing starts to break down. Like the United States as a whole, UT is incredibly diverse, home to students from vastly different backgrounds. It’s not hard to find someone on campus who either supports or opposes stricter gun control. So next time you come across someone you strongly disagree with, try to empathize with them before dismissing whatever they have to say.

Happiness is Something You Can Control By Dr. Harvey Carr

There are many things we can’t control in our lives. We can’t pick our families, our co-workers, or have the option of deleting traumatic events. Although all these factors play a role in our daily lives and influences our peace and happiness—we do have control on how happy we can be in life. as well. When people mistreat you it comes from You can label it whatever your heart desires. It can their internal garbage. Don’t accept or make it your be called “Mission Happiness,” or “My Operation of responsibly. Send goodness, as Ling writes and be on your way. Happiness.” Regardless, author and Happiness expert Kristie Ling is fast becoming my hero during this journey when she wrote that happiness can be mastered and is like riding a bike. In Operation Happiness, Ling explores that we can make the decisions to not take it personally or external circumstances to rob your joy. For example ask yourself what are you thinking about? Is it positive or is it negative? You can catch yourself, and replace those nasty thoughts, which by the way control your emotions and take back the reins.

Make a list of what is weighing you down. Is it your friends? If so, seek people who are positive and be that positive person who attracts people of the like. Start today.

During hard times look at what is good in your life. Gratitude lifts your inner man and can allow you to be joyful and less aggressive. Try making a gratitude journal, pray or meditate. WebMD reported that gratitude is good for the heart and immune system. “Optimism also has a positive “The way we start each day essentially determines health impact on people with compromised health. what kind of day we’ll have,” Ling offered. In separate studies, patients confronting AIDS, as This train of thinking also will pay dividends down well as those preparing to undergo surgery, had the road for your health. Emotional health plays an better health outcomes when they maintained important role in our health. When we are stressed attitudes of optimism.” the hormone cortisol is released and can create Live in the moment today. “Don't postpone joy havoc on the heart leading to high blood pressure, waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stroke, or high blood pressure. We can’t control stressful. That day may never come,” wrote the how long we live, but making better decisions that Mayo Clinic. “Look for opportunities to savor the lead to happiness can only help. small pleasures of everyday life. Focus on the positives in the present moment, instead of Keep a toolbox ready when for a mental boost. This can be reviewing past achievements. Keeping dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.” affirmations like scriptures, pick-me-ups, or something you love to do. This can be yoga, observing nature, running, or painting.

Learn to let go. We can’t make people make better choices or treat us better, or make them want to be in a relationship. Learn to let them or it go and Resist the temptation to NOT take things personal. move on so you can heal. Shake it off. I remember when starting out in my career my No matter what, you can do something positive senior pastor did not like my decision on a project. today. It just takes a small step, like taking a break He counseled me regarding what was my thinking from social media, world news, and from negative process in a very unprofessional matter. It was thought patterns. With some practice you can very hurtful, but many experienced this periodically create happiness habits that will last a lifetime. 18

How To Get Back In The Dating Game By Micheal Johnson

Have you just come out of a relationship or not really had time to date recently? We understand it can be difficult to throw yourself back into the dating world, especially as the landscape seems to change almost daily. Don’t worry though, we’ve pulled together a couple of tips for letting the boys know you’re back in town!

Get back in the game: Let the gay world know you’re single and ready to mingle. Rather than hanging out in bars waiting for the right guy to approach you, get the ball rolling and sign up to an online dating site. Signing up is a great way to see other gay singles in your local area, so bite the bullet and get back in the game.

Groom appropriately: When grooming its key to know your strengths. If you can grow a beard and have luscious facial hair then a little man fur might not be a bad idea. However, if like many men you struggle to grow a magnificent mane then we’d suggest going for the clean shaven look.

Re-read their dating profile: Before you go out it might help to have another look at your date’s Don’t stick to a type: The best thing about online dating profile. Doing this will joining a dating website is that there’s lots of give you a good idea of your date’s interests – single men to choose from so don’t stick to your usual type. Sometimes it’s the guys that you least where they like to go on holiday, what they like to read, their favorite films etc. These can be used as expect to date that will win your heart. a starting pointing for conversation to avoid any Don’t give up on finding a date: When you first awkward silences. sign up to a dating site it can be really exciting. You’ve filled in your profile, are browsing other gay Enjoy yourself: So you’re looking great in some singles and sending people messages. After a few dapper clothing, you’re armed with conversation weeks however it can seem like you’re not making starters and you’re ready to head out. Our final progress and you might start to lose interest. Don’t advice is to relax and enjoy yourself. Even if they give up! Keep searching for dates. You’d be very end up not being the one, you would have met someone new and gained a bit more experience lucky to find a date in the first few weeks of signing up to a dating website and you need to put in the gay dating world. in the time to get the results you want. Tips for when you’re on a date After chatting to people for a while you’ll eventually decide to meet up and go on a date together which can be quite nerve wracking. We’ve got some top tips to keep your cool. Dress to impress: What to wear on a date can be hard to judge. Our advice would be to first think about the event – are you going to be having dinner or going out? Is the venue formal or casual? Thinking about your destination can really help guide your decisions. For more advice, read our dating advice on what not to wear on first dates. 23

CX Otober 2016 Issue