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SPECIAL ISSUE # 01 | 02.21.19 DISPLAY UNTIL 03.05.19 OFFICIAL GUIDE

WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL EVENTS

DJS JOE PACHECO & SHARON O LOVE WPF IGNITE AND HEAT PARTIES

EQUALITY FLORIDA

SECURING FULL LGBTQ EQUALITY

26TH EDITION WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL

PARTY "WITH OPEN ARMS"


TABLE OF CONTENTS: 8. COVER STORY: WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL 2019

The 26th edition Winter Party Festival returns to Miami with the theme "With Open Arms," focusing on its dedication to making the Festival a welcoming celebration for all.

Check out our interviews of DJs Joe Pacheco and Sharon O Love to preview the Ignite and Heat parties, where they discuss their backgrounds and how they got started with music.

16. COVER STORY: WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL EVENTS

& PARTIES GUIDE

Wire Magazine provides you with the guide to all the official events and parties of the 26th edition Winter Party Festival, so you can make the most of your Festival experience.

20. FEATURE: EQUALITY FLORIDA

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for our LGBTQ community in Florida, so Wire Magazine looks at its mission and objectives.

WIREMAG.COM: GOING OUT

Visit wiremag.com/goingout to plan your nightlife, dining, and cultural events outings!

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12. COVER STORY: WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL DJS


Publisher/Editor in Chief Rafa Carvajal Associate Publisher/Editor Michael Bustamante Design & Production True Ink Designs L.L.C. | trueinkdesigns.com Columnists Joey Amato Alfredo Barrios Alyn Darnay Anthony Reyes Michael W. Sasser Jesse Walker Official Photography Studio Photo Studio Miami Staff Photographer J.R. Davis Local Advertising advertising@wiremag.com National Advertising Rep. Rivendell Media | 212.242.6863 Contact Information Tel: 305.520.WIRE Email: info@wiremag.com 1541 Brickell Avenue, #2004, Miami, FL 33129 Wire Magazine is published, produced, and owned by Wire Media Group L.L.C. All Rights Reserved. Distributed in print in Miami, The Beaches, and Fort Lauderdale, and digitally worldwide through wiremag.com The views, opinions or positions expressed by contributors to and interview subjects of Wire Magazine are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Wire Magazine, its staff or publisher. Cover photo by Jorge Freire @jorgino29 photostudiomiami.com Model: Quinn Biddle Swimwear by @mertailormen


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PUBLISHER'S CORNER THE 26TH WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL WELCOMES YOU "WITH OPEN ARMS" Welcome to our first special issue of Wire Magazine for 2019. This issue previews the 26th edition Winter Party Festival (WPF) returning to Miami with the theme "With Open Arms" – focusing on its dedication to making the Festival a welcoming celebration for all. Our WPF special issue will be included in all the Festival gift bags, distributed in print throughout South Florida and in digital format to our subscribers around the world. You can also read our articles online at wiremag.com, on social media and in our email newsletter to Wire Magazine's digital issue subscribers. Visit wiremag.com/free to get your FREE subscription to Wire Magazine. We sat down with Festival Chair Rene Wolfensberger to learn more about this year's Winter Party Festival. Rene shared with us that WPF is ringing in a new era with new events, venues and rising star DJs. He believes "the most exciting change will be the Under One Sun - Evolution party, as we will be at a quintessential South Beach landmark and luxury oceanfront beach club, Nikki Beach Club." The 2019 theme "With Open Arms," is meant to promote inclusiveness and love and to bring together both old and new friends in an environment where everyone can feel safe to be themselves. Rene also reminds us that "Winter Party is a fundraiser produced by, and in support of, the National LGBTQ Task Force, which is committed to forward-thinking progressive change, both locally and nationally. The Task Force is a non-profit organization that is working on building a future where everyone is free to be themselves in every aspect of their lives. A significant portion of the proceeds raised goes to like-minded community advocacy groups in South Florida through a grant-making process administered by the LGBTQ Community Fund of The Miami Foundation." With some many great WPF parties and DJs, we decided to interview DJs Joe Pacheco and Sharon O Love to preview the Ignite and Heat parties, and learn more about their backgrounds and musical styles. Our conversations and their backgrounds are very interesting, so I highly recommend reading our chat with both of them. This special issue also includes our annual Winter Party Festival Events & Parties Guide with all the official events and parties of the 26th edition Winter Party Festival, so you can make the most of your festival experience. Last but not least, Wire Magazine sat down with Equality Florida Miami Development Officer Jonathan Barrio to discuss Equality Florida's advocacy efforts and how they are improving our everyday lives. Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for our LGBTQ community in Florida. To date, it has defeated or neutralized every piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation filed in Tallahassee since its founding. See you at Winter Party! Cheers, Rafa Carvajal Publisher & Editor in Chief rafa@wiremag.com

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6 WIREMAG.COM | SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019


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PARTY AT WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL 2019

"WITH OPEN ARMS" By Michael Bustamante

This year's theme, "With Open Arms," focuses on the organization's dedication and efforts to make WPF a welcoming environment for all. According to WPF Festival Chair Rene Wolfensberger, "Winter Party Festival has always been friendly and inclusive." "This year, we wanted to turn it up a notch and encourage everyone, volunteers, committee members, sta and guests to welcome each other with open arms. It's an international gesture of inclusion and ties very well into our vision statement: Bringing the world

PHOTO PROVIDED BY WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL

inter Party Festival (WPF), one of the world's largest and best-loved LGBTQ celebrations, returns to Miami February 27 to March 5, 2019, "Helping the LGBTQ Community One Fabulous Party at a Time." Founded in 1994, the Festival has evolved from just one event to a weeklong series of events in Miami. Proceeds from Winter Party Festival support the National LGBTQ Task Force as it improves the lives of the LGBTQ community, as well as local service organizations through a grant-making process administered by the Miami Foundation. The Task Force has donated $215,000 to the LGBTQ Community Fund at the Miami Foundation, totaling nearly $3 million since the Task Force began producing Winter Party and the National LGBTQ Task Force Gala back in 2005.

together to create change while celebrating you," Rene added. Many venues are also being added to accommodate the ever growing Festival, according to Vice Chair Sergio Orlando, "This year as we bring in a new era for Winter Party Festival, one thing that I am extremely excited about is our all new Nikki Beach Club venue for our Under One Sun: Evolution, presented by Impulse Group." For a full lineup of events and to purchase tickets, visit winterparty.com. Wire Magazine sat down with Festival Chair Rene Wolfensberger to learn more about this year's Winter Party Festival. Michael Bustamante: Tell our readers about your role with Winter Party Festival and how you got involved. Rene Wolfensberger: My journey with Winter Party started in 2000 when I first attended as a guest. One year later, I had my first volunteer experience and have continued to volunteer ever since. In years past, I used to be the Director of the Welcome Center where I ensured that every guest was welcomed, and that they were able to pick up their passes and gift bags. This year, I was asked to step up to become the Festival Chair. As Festival Chair, I am the main liaison between the volunteer Festival committee and the National LGBTQ Task Force. I am humbled and privileged to be working alongside such amazing people who give so much to make Winter Party Festival unforgettable.

8 WIREMAG.COM | SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019


MB: What should attendees expect at this year's Winter Party Festival? RW: Attendees can experience a week full of music and dance as well as many social events where we continue to strive to be the friendliest festival. We welcome all new and returning guests with open arms!

"WINTER PARTY IS A FUNDRAISER PRODUCED BY, AND IN SUPPORT OF, THE NATIONAL LGBTQ TASK FORCE, WHICH IS COMMITTED TO FORWARDTHINKING PROGRESSIVE CHANGE, BOTH LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY." - RENE WOLFENSBERGER

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL

MB: How will this year's Festival be different from years past? RW: We are ringing in a new era with new events, venues and rising star DJs. I believe the most exciting change will be the Under One Sun - Evolution party, as we will be at a quintessential South Beach landmark and luxury oceanfront beach club, Nikki Beach Club. MB: What is the significance of Winter Party Festival for the Task Force and LGBTQ community? RW: Our underlying purpose is much larger than the Festival itself, which brings friends and strangers together to escape winter and celebrate life. Winter Party is a fundraiser produced by, and in support of, the National LGBTQ Task Force, which is committed to forward-thinking progressive change, both locally and nationally. The Task Force is a non-profit organization that is working on building a future where everyone is free to be themselves in every aspect of their lives. In addition to the proceeds going to the National LGBTQ Task Force, a significant portion of the proceeds raised goes to like-minded community advocacy groups in South Florida through a grant-making process administered by the LGBTQ Community Fund of The Miami Foundation. MB: Are there any new parties being added to this year's lineup? RW: Yes, Paradise: Deja-Vu! on Wednesday night at the Riviera Live is brand new. Localize isn't a party, but it's a new fun event at the Hôtel Gaythering to socialize. Our VIP Cocktail Reception is going to be bigger, better and much more VIP. Also, our Saturday Under One Sun - Evolution party is at an amazing new location.

thing new while getting away from the icy cold winter. Soak up the sun, breathe the ocean air, and give back. All proceeds go back to the National LGBTQ Task Force, as well as a large portion stays right in South Florida. To date, nearly $3 million dollars have been donated to the Miami Foundation. MB: What do you think sets WPF apart from other community events? RW: Winter Party Festival is the country's largest multi-day non-profit LGBTQ festival with all proceeds going back to the community. Another exciting difference is the diversity – local and nationwide attendees from all over the U.S. and several countries from around the globe attend for an experience unlike any other. MB: How much money was raised at last year's Winter Party Festival and how were the funds distributed to help our community? RW: We have been able to raise $1.5 Million at last year's festival. The National LGBTQ Task Force then makes a donation to the Miami Foundation. Visit miamifoundation.org/2018-lgbtq-community-fund-recipients for the breakdown of the donations. MB: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers? RW: Winter Party Festival is one of the most exciting LGBTQ festivals around, and we invite returning and new guests to come and experience it with us. Welcome to Winter Party Festival and Miami Beach!

MB: What do you want Festivalgoers to take away from WPF 2019? RW: This year's theme is "With Open Arms," which is meant to promote inclusiveness and love and to bring old friends together as well as strangers where we live free. Don't be afraid of who you are, let loose and kick up your heels in our safe haven. Play hard, go out, experience and meet someone or someSPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019 | WIREMAG.COM 9


W I N T E R PA R T Y F E ST I VA L : DJS JOE PACHECO AND SHARON O LOVE WILL IGNITE AND HEAT UP THE PARTIES By Rafa Carvajal

J Joe Pacheco will set fire to the stage at Winter Party Festival's Ignite party presented by Scruff with his unique blend of sounds. The party – taking place on Thursday, February 28, at 10 p.m. – promises to get your blood pumping and wigs turning at an all-new venue for WPF, Mr. Jones. DJ Sharon O Love will also be making temperatures rise during her U.S. debut at this year's Winter Party Festival's Heat party on Friday, March 1 at 10 p.m. with her uplifting vocals, alongside DJ Renato Cecin, and DJ Dawson at Club Space Miami, in association with Hilton Wolman Events.

Photo provided by Winter Party Festival

Wire Magazine sat down with DJ Joe Pacheco and DJ Sharon O Loveto to preview the two parties, and learn about their background and how they got started with music. Photo by Anthony Humphreys. Provided by DJ Joe Pacheco

DJ JOE PACHECO Rafa Carvajal: Tell our readers about yourself and how you got started with music. DJ Joe Pacheco: It all started as a trip to Miami for my best friend's birthday during Labor Day weekend in 2015. It was my first time in Miami altogether, so it was an incredible experience to see how nightlife differed so much from the New York scene. We decided to go to Urge Miami that Sunday night with Paulo and Jackinsky playing, and I was just blown away by the experience of both DJs at Mansion. The moment I walked out the venue, I told my best friends that when we got back to New York, I was going to figure out how to put a set together, and the rest is history. RC: Describe yourself in three words. DJJP: Curious, extra and fantastic. RC: How did you become involved with Winter Party Festival? DJJP: It's always been a dream of mine to spin for Winter Party, and I was lucky enough to have been approached by the Task Force to be part of this year's lineup. Needless to say, I accepted the opportunity without hesitation.

12 WIREMAG.COM | SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019


RC: Describe your personal sound while DJing. DJJP: I like to consider my sound to be both high-energy and unpredictable. The world is full of such amazing music, so I make it a point to feature a diversity of soundtracks featuring Cardi B, Dua Lipa, Pabllo Vittar, or Sarit Hadad all in one night. I'm also a sucker for throwback tracks with a modern take. I think it's safe to say that we all live for nostalgia on the dance floor, so I love to play music that takes us back to those special moments that may have been 10 plus years ago.

RC: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers? DJJP: Like clockwork, every time I DJ, people ask me, "Don't you get hot in that suit?" To that, I always say, "Of course I do, but at least I look good!" What people don't always know, is why I do it. Besides the fact that it is a point of difference among my colleagues in the industry, I wear a suit and do the dorkiest things in the booth because I want patrons to understand that on my dance floor, it's about living your best life. I know many of us who go out for a number of reasons, whether to celebrate a special occasion, blow off steam, or just to have a feel-good moment. I also know we've all experienced insecurity on some level, and it can be such a mood killer. I resort to some unconventional things to show that my dance floors are a safe space. Music is supposed to be fun, and I'm the DJ – it's my duty to ensure that.

RC: Give us a preview of the Ignite party at this year's Winter Party Festival. DJJP: I know that the Winter Party and Scruff teams are hard at work to make this night an incredible experience, and I'll be sure to bring the beats the best way I know how. Just make sure to put on your best cha-cha shoes because we're going to have fun!

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL

RC: What types of sets do you plan to spin at the Ignite party? DJJP: The one word I want anyone to take away from my music is unpredictable. I feel that to be at the top of your game, innovation is key. I always want to push my limits with my music and feature music that is always fresh, engaging, and exciting. There's no greater sin than boredom on a dance floor, so I do what I can to keep the energy going from start to finish. RC: What does Winter Party mean to you? DJJP: Keeping a close eye on it these past few years, I admire the strong sense of community that Winter Party provides. Not only is it a safe haven for people to enjoy the camaraderie and music, but I also love that it works tirelessly to give back to the community. With such uncertain times in the country, I feel a sense of comfort knowing that there are unspoken heroes fighting to strengthen our community as a whole, and I'm humbled to be joining such a rich history.

"I RESORT TO SOME UNCONVENTIONAL THINGS TO SHOW THAT MY DANCE FLOORS ARE A SAFE SPACE. MUSIC IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, AND I'M THE DJ – IT'S MY DUTY TO ENSURE THAT." - DJ JOE PACHECO

SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019 | WIREMAG.COM 13


"LIKE MANY DJS, MY RELATIONSHIP WITH DJING STARTED IN THE BEDROOM. THE PERFECT THREESOME – ME AND TWO DECKS." - DJ SHARON O LOVE Photo provided by Winter Party Festival

Photo courtesy of Saul Morgan

DJ SHARON O LOVE Rafa Carvajal: Tell our readers about yourself and how you got started with music. DJ Sharon O Love: Like many DJs, my relationship with DJing started in the bedroom. The perfect threesome – me and two decks. I started on good old vinyl and spent many hours perfecting live mash-ups. I've always loved entertaining. My first degree was in drama and film. Music is everything and anything you want it to be, it's been such a great long standing friend to me – it's my therapy. DJs are blessed to be given the opportunity to engage the whole floor in a journey of sound, to reach out and connect with others. I love performing live, producing in the studio, and seeing the pleasure my beats bring to the floor.

RC: Describe your personal sound while DJing. DJSOL: My sound reflects my personality. It is euphoric, progressive, creative, energetic, cheeky and colorful. I rely on projecting a visual journey rather than being quirky with RC: How did you become involved with the Winter Party Festival? special effects. I make a lot of my own mash-ups that allow DJSOL: I've always wanted to play in the U.S. There is so much me to experiment with different genres, I guess these betalent for promoters to choose from globally, so I actually thought come very much signature tunes within my live sets. I would never get to play in the U.S. For years, I've had a virtual friendship with Hilton Wolman. He has always been so responsive RC: Give us a preview of the Heat party at this year's Winto me when I have contacted him, always offering feedback on my ter Party Festival. music and he did say this to me a few years ago: "One day you will DJSOL: Hot, hot and hotter. play in the U.S., we will know when the time is right." I guess this year the time is right. I am really happy and grateful that Hilton and RC: What types of sets do you plan to spin at the Heat Winter Party Festival are giving me the ultimate U.S. debut at Heat party? DJSOL: It's essential I connect with the floor from the start. in Club Space. It's quite an honor. So, it's always difficult to say what I will play. My set comes from the floor, but I can guarantee I will be serving hi-enerPhoto provided by Winter Party Festival gy realness, the heat will be turned up to the max. RC: Describe yourself in three words. DJSOL: I am me.

RC: What does the Winter Party Festival mean to you? DJSOL: As a European DJ, WPF has always been seen as a magical gathering of music and party addicts. It's always been at the top of my playlist, and I'm super excited to be part of WPF 2019. RC: Is there anything else you would like to share with Wire Magazine readers? DJSOL: Thanks to Wire Magazine profiling me. What a pleasure. Thanks in advance to everyone who will join us at Heat on March 1 at Space. It's time to burn! 14 WIREMAG.COM | SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019


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Official Parties & Events Guide WINTER PARTY FESTIVAL 26 EDITION TH

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2019

WELCOME CENTER GRAND OPENING 7-10 p.m. Shelborne South Beach Hotel 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

PARADISE: DEJAVU 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. Riviera Live 3138 Coral Way, Miami Featuring: DJ Paulo Fragoso, DJ Eli Seda, DJ Andre Queiroz Winter Party Festival with Spazio Entertainment present an all-new Wednesday night event, Paradise: DejaVu. Don't miss an all-star lineup featuring Miami's own DJ Paulo Fragoso, Puerto Rico's DJ Eli Seda, and Brazil's DJ Andre Queiroz. This event is included on the VIP and Festival passes. #OpenArmsAtWPF GENERAL ADMISSION: $25

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28. 2019 LOCALIZE 7-10 p.m. Hôtel Gaythering 1409 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach Go to Hôtel Gaythering for Localize, that perfect space where Miamians can put into practice one of Winter Party Festival's core values, "Radical Welcome," greeting all the amazing people that flock to Miami from all over the world to Live Free, Play Hard and Give Back. IGNITE 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. Mr. Jones 320 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach Featuring: DJ Joe Pacheco, DJ Anne Louise Ignite returns, presented by Scruff, for an electrifying Thursday night dance party delivering hot new DJs at Mr. Jones. NYC's DJ Joe Pacheco will get your blood pumping and wigs turning with his red-hot beats. After, tighten your cha-cha heels for Brazil's DJ Anne Louise. This is one dynamic duo you don't want to miss. GENERAL ADMISSION: $45 16 WIREMAG.COM | SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019

Photos by Jorge Freire @jorgino29 photostudiomiami.com Model: Quinn Biddle Swimwear by @mertailormen


SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2019

FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2019 VAGABUNDOS POOL PARTY 12-6 p.m. Gates Hotel South Beach 2360 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach Featuring: DJ Hannah, DJ AJ Reddy, and DJ MDMATIAS Work on your tan while dancing with lots of hot men at the Vagabundos Pool Party – Winter Party Edition. SUNNY SIDE UP BRUNCH 12-4 p.m. Palace Bar 1052 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach No trip to South Beach is complete without brunch at the iconic Palace Bar. Enjoy this special Friday edition of this popular, raucous Miami tradition, hosted by Tiffany Fantasia. VIP COCKTAIL RECEPTION 7:30-11 p.m. The Carlton Hotel at The Betsy South Beach 1433 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach Presented by The Art of Shaving, join in for the VIP Cocktail Reception. Mingle with locals, visitors, WPF partners and special guests to celebrate the 26th Edition Winter Party Festival. ADMISSION: $100 HEAT 10 p.m. - 7 a.m. Club Space 34 NE 11th St., Miami Featuring: DJ Renato Cecin, DJ Sharon O Love, DJ Dawson Miami's legendary Club Space will host Heat. NYC favorite DJ Dawson takes over downstairs at The Ground. DJ Sharon O Love makes her U.S. debut upstairs on the world-famous Terrace. All followed by the Winter Party debut of international superstar DJ Renato Cecin. This trio will keep things hot all night long! GENERAL ADMISSION: $95, VIP $130

UNDER ONE SUN EVOLUTION 12-6 p.m. Nikki Beach Club 1 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach Featuring: DJ Brett Henrichsen, DJ Dan Slater Winter Party Festival is making its signature Saturday afternoon event, the Under One Sun - Evolution party, hotter than ever by hosting it at famed Nikki Beach Club in South Beach; presented by Impulse Group. GENERAL ADMISSION: $85, VIP $125 ILLUMINATE T-DANCE 5-11 p.m. Palace Bar 1052 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach After Under One Sun: Evolution, you can head over to Palace Bar for Illuminate T-Dance with DJs Carlos Rojas and Ed Wood. THEATER SOIRÉE 7:30 p.m. Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami Enjoy Winter Party's theatre night with the South Florida premiere of Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan – in partnership with Zoetic Stage and the Adrienne Arsht Center. 15% of your ticket price will be donated to the National LGBTQ Task Force. SWEAT 9 p.m. - 3 a.m. Hunters Nightclub 2232 Wilton Drive, Fort Lauderdale Let your inhibitions run wild at leather and fetish event Sweat, featuring DJ Barry Harris. MASTERBEAT ODYSSEY: A NEW ERA 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. James L. Knight Center 400 SE 2nd Ave., Miami Featuring: DJ Ivan Gomez, DJ Micky Friedmann Back by popular demand, the James L. Knight Center will once again transform into a supersized nightclub for Masterbeat. The theme this year is Odyssey: A New Era. Join in as DJs Ivan Gomez and Micky Friedmann transport you to an incredible galaxy of sight and sound. GENERAL ADMISSION: $100, VIP $130

SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019 | WIREMAG.COM 17


SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2019 THE BEACH PARTY 12 p.m. Lummus Park 12th St. & Ocean Dr, Miami Beach Featuring: DJ Joe Gauthreaux, DJ Alex Acosta The Beach Party, returns with DJ Joe Gauthreaux and DJ Alex Acosta, who will be delivering irresistible beats that will keep you dancing into the night. If you choose to attend only one WPF event this year, get to this awesome beach party! GENERAL ADMISSION: $125, VIP $180, Cabana Club $225, Private Cabana $5,000 MASTERBEAT: AVALANCHE 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. James L. Knight Center 400 SE 2nd Ave., Miami Featuring: DJ Morabito, DJ Sagi Kariv Escape to a wintery wonderland as Winter Party Festival presents Masterbeat: Avalanche. DJ Morabito and DJ Sagi Kariv will melt the clothes off your body as they deliver a stunning snowstorm of fun. GENERAL ADMISSION: $100, VIP $130

MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2019 AFTERGLOW 6 a.m. - 12 p.m. The Hangar 60 NE 11th St., Miami Featuring: DJ Abel Aguilera The legendary Monday morning after hours event is back. Winter Party Festival presents Afterglow with DJ Abel. Get ready for a hot journey that will shake you to the core. ACTION! FINALE 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. Treehouse 323 23rd St., Miami Beach Featuring: DJ Danny Verde, DJ Lucas Flamefly Bring your Winter Party Festival weekend to a close at Action! Finale with beats by DJ Danny Verde and DJ Lucas Flamefly, two of WPF's favorite DJs. ADMISSION: $40 18 WIREMAG.COM | SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019

Swimwear by @azuquita_con_café


FEATURE

By Rafa Carvajal

Rafa Carvajal: Tell our readers what is the mission of Equality Florida. Jonathan Barrio: Equality Florida consists of two organizations – Equality Florida Institute, Inc., our 501(c)(3) educational charity and Equality Florida Action, Inc., our 501(c)(4) advocacy organization. Together, these organizations form the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's LGBTQ community. RC: How does Equality Florida carry out its advocacy work for the LGBTQ community? JB: Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are RC: Why is the advocacy work of Equality changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of Florida so important for the LGBTQ commu- their sexual orientation or gender identity. Equality Florida also hosts a contingent of nity? folks who go to Tallahassee for Lobby Days. Lobby Days is an experience where Florida JB: Equality Florida Institute, Inc. was formed citizens have an opportunity to lobby their legislators for all sorts of different things. For in 1997 as Governor Jeb Bush took office us, it's advocating for full LGBTQ inclusion in Florida's policies. and Florida's state government made a hard turn to the right. In an era of setbacks for RC: What are the top priorities for Equality Florida in 2019? progressive causes, Equality Florida Action, JB: We have two top priorities for Equality Florida in 2019. The first is Equality Florida Inc. was formed in 2014 and, along with its Institute's Safe and Healthy Schools Program. This program aims to create a culture of predecessor organization Equality Florida inclusion while countering the bullying, harassment, social isolation, and bigotry that Inc. (founded in 1999), has advocated for dramatically increase risk factors for LGBTQ students. Through this program, we seek to pro-LGBTQ legislation and defeated every shift the culture so that each of Florida's 67 school districts will adopt comprehensive, napiece of anti-LGBTQ legislation filed in Talla- tionally recognized best practices for meeting the needs of LGBTQ students, and in doing hassee for 16 years in a row. so build a model that can be replicated nationwide. The second is the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. This piece of legislation would update the Florida Civil Rights Act to explicitly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the 20 WIREMAG.COM | SPECIAL ISSUE #01 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED BY EQUALITY FLORIDA

quality Florida was founded in 1997 and today it is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for our LGBTQ community in Florida. To date, Equality Florida has defeated or neutralized every piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation filed in Tallahassee since its founding, including local anti-discrimination policies, repealing of all safe schools policies, expanding Florida's anti-gay adoption ban, and prohibiting domestic partnership benefits and protections. Wire Magazine sat down with Equality Florida's Miami development officer Jonathan Barrio to discuss their advocacy efforts and how they are improving our everyday lives.


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areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. This inclusive and comprehensive legislation has consistently garnered wide bipartisan support. Over 450 Florida businesses, including 14 of Florida's largest employers, have endorsed it. In fact, in the 2018 legislative session, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act was the third most co-sponsored legislation in the Florida legislature. Bipartisan momentum for this important and comprehensive legislation grows. RC: How can our readers donate funds to Equality Florida to help achieve your mission? JB: Wire Magazine readers can donate to Equality Florida by visiting eqfl.org/sponsorship, emailing me at jonathan@ equalityflorida.org, or by giving me a call at 352-283-0271. You can also visit eqfl.org to learn about volunteering. There is a myriad of ways to be an Equality investor with us, and we would love to have that conversation with you! RC: Tell our readers about this year's most important Equality Florida fundraising events. JB: This year, Equality Florida's most important event in Miami is our annual Miami Celebration on March 9, which is an opportunity for us to celebrate with our supporters the myriad of successes Equality Florida has achieved in the last year. We're very excited to announce that we will be bringing down Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased, which recently became a critically acclaimed major motion picture starring Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman. We're also bringing down Justin Utley, an award-winning singer/songwriter who has headlined major Pride festivals around the country.

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