Every news story is painfully short of facts, beyond that he was seen leaving Andrew’s Capital Grille and then a convenience store, in Tallahassee, alone. And no one is using the ‘gay word,’ which is sheer stupidity. It is the clue that could help us find him, or at the very least, give us a place to look.
Tragically, even his own father, traumatized by his son’s disappearance, won’t discuss his son’s sexuality. Three times on Tuesday, he hung up on me, stating that a discussion of this sort “won’t help anything.” Yes, it might, dad. Unfortunately, pained though you are, this lead could very well help open up hidden doors. Young gay men and women have been hiding behind them for too long.
South Florida Gay News publisher Norm Kent critical of media for not reporting missing FSU grad is gay
Aqua Foundation for Women's annual LGBTQ Family BBQ will be held noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Greynolds Park, Pavilions 4 & 5, 17530 W. Dixie Hwy. in North Miami Beach.
The barbecue is free; just pay entrance to the park.
February 11, 2014 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Food and Drink, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
How to: Come Out to Your Jewish Grandmother
Oy vey, am I right?
If you know me personally, you know that I am probably the most open person in the world. And if you don’t know me, you probably still assume that I am because I have an internet blog based solely on the fact that I am Jewish and gay. Let’s be real.
However, no matter how “out in the open” I am about my sexuality and my life in general, my grandmother has always been a touchy subject for me. She’s your average, adorable, matzah ball soup making, clothing misplacing, slightly over bearing, and even sometimes embarrassing grandma. A Holocaust survivor and someone deeply rooted in her Jewish religion, she has always inspired me to live life to the fullest and cultivate my own Jewish lifestyle and identity. But, as suspected, traditional values often combat and question the subject of homosexuality.
Naturally, I kept putting “coming out” off. I could never find the right time and place, and my family was always afraid of what she might say. But almost four years later, it felt awful keeping a huge part of myself hidden from her, and to be honest, I figured I might as well jump the gun before someone else let it slip.
February 10, 2014 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
Actress Sharon Gless, six couples in gay-marriage lawsuit to be honored March 16 by Equality Florida
Equality Florida will honor actress Sharon Gless and the six couples suing to marry in the state of Florida at the LGBT-rights organization's annual Miami gala on March 16.
Gless, co-star of Cagney & Lacey, Queer As Folk and the lesbian drama Hannah Free, is a longtime champion of LGBT rights.
"Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sharon Gless is one of the most acclaimed and recognized actresses working today," according to Equality Florida. "A vocal advocate for LGBT equality, she served as grand marshal in the Miami Beach Pride Parade, received the Gay Icon Award at Philadelphia QFest, the PFLAG Ally award in Toronto, and was honored by L.A.’s Gay & Elder Housing and by Norman Lear’s People for the American Way for her unwavering support of human rights. She is also an active participant in the ongoing struggle to prevent the overturn of Roe vs. Wade."
The South Florida couples suing to marry are Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier; Todd and Jeff Delmay; Summer Greene and Pamela Faerber; and Don Price Johnston and Jorge Isaias Diaz. Equality Florida Institute is also a plaintiff.
Gless, who lives part-time in Fisher Island, and the six couples will receive Equality Florida's Voice for Equality award.
The 2014 Equality Florida Miami Gala will be 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 16 at Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd.
February 10, 2014 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Film, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Television, Theater, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
Winter Party Festival is recruiting volunteers. Here's the news release:
From the internationally acclaimed Beach Party, to a progressive shopping night on the world-renowned Lincoln Road pedestrian mall, to electrifying events exclusively for women, the 2014 Winter Party Festival promises a six-day, non-stop lineup of events and activities.
In order to produce “The Hottest Winter in the World,” the organizers of Winter Party Festival are seeking hundreds of volunteers to help with a variety of tasks including assisting with nightclub and social events, staffing the Welcome Center, event production, finance and media relations, among others. Various shifts are available from Monday, March 3, through Monday, March 10. More than 125 shifts are available, requiring more than 500 volunteers.
Interested volunteers can apply online at http://www.winterparty.com/volunteer-winter-party-festival and follow the instructions. Volunteers will be asked to complete a simple form and let the Volunteer Relations Committee know which activities and which shifts they can work. Volunteers who sign up and successfully complete two shifts will receive a complimentary admission ticket to the Sunday Beach Party and to Ignite, the Thursday night dance event.
“What makes Winter Party Festival a ‘party with a purpose’ and distinguishes it from other events is that it has become a significant fundraiser for local LGBT grassroots charities and for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The Task Force has strived for the equal rights of the LGBT community for more than 40 years,” said Manny Gomez, Director of Volunteer Relations for Winter Party Festival.
In addition to the shifts listed online, there are Finance and Sponsorship positions available at the Welcome Center and at many of the events throughout the week. Those interested in learning more about these positions should contact Gomez at email@example.com.
Proceeds from Winter Party Festival and the Miami Recognition Dinner support the important work of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to build power, take action and create positive, lasting change for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families throughout the country. A significant portion of the proceeds also funds multiple organizations serving the LGBT community in South Florida through a grant made by the Task Force to the GLBT Community Projects Fund of The Miami Foundation.
Tickets are now on sale along with multi-event passes at www.winterparty.com/purchase.
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Winter Party is produced with the assistance of the Miami Beach Convention and Visitor’s Authority.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN TASK FORCE
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country’s premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. For more information, visit: www.thetaskforce.org.
February 10, 2014 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Fashion, Florida, Food and Drink, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Liza Minnelli, the Oscar-Tony-Emmy-Grammy-Golden Globe-winning superstar, says her greatest talent is aligning herself with other talented people.
Besides her parents, Judy Garland and Golden Age film director Vincente Minnelli, Liza has worked closely with director-choreographer Bob Fosse, French composer/entertainer Charles Aznavour, and John Kander & Fred Ebb, who wrote Cabaret, Liza With a “Z” and Theme from New York, New York.
Ebb, the lyricist who died 10 years ago, had particular influence on her performing style, says Minnelli, who’ll sing in concert Sunday at Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
“I was lucky. I had Fred Ebb my whole life,” Minnelli says. “He knew me so well. He would write like I talked. It was easy. So when he passed away, and I did things without him -- even before he went -- I thought, ‘Just say what you’re thinking: You’re in a room with however many people. The doors are shut. You’re all talking to each other. What would you say?’ Hi!'"
Minnelli, 68 on March 12, grew up in the limelight. As a small child, she played on the sets at M-G-M studios where her parents ruled the musical roost.
“They were both wonderful to me,” said Minnelli, who in 1960 gave up dreams of being a professional ice skater and realized she wanted to be a live stage performer.
Even though her mother was one of the world’s greatest concert performers of the 1950s and ‘60s, Minnelli says that as a girl she rarely paid attention to the stage.
“I grew up in Hollywood,” she says. “They were all making movies at that time. When I was growing up, I didn’t realize that performing live could be that interesting and wonderful. When I saw Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway for the first time, I thought, ‘Oooh, maybe I’d rather do that.’
“The first time I really enjoyed live performance was when I saw Broadway,” she says. “As far as people’s concerts, I was a kid. Frank Sinatra didn’t influence me much.” Many years later, she would headline with Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. in a worldwide tour called The Ultimate Event.
In 1964, 18-year-old Minnelli joined Garland for two concerts at the London Palladium. A year later, Liza won her first Tony Award starring in her first Broadway musical, Flora, the Red Menace, written by Kander & Ebb.
Not counting a cameo at age 3 in Garland’s 1949 musical, In the Good Old Summertime, Minnelli made her movie debut in 1967’s Charlie Bubbles. In 1972, she starred in the film version of Cabaret (winning the Best Actress Oscar) and Liza With a “Z”: A Concert for Television that brought her the Emmy.
Minnelli, who’s been married four times and repeatedly says never again, is recuperating from a broken wrist that nearly sidelined her last October from sister Lorna Luft’s breast cancer fundraiser in New York.
“It’s healed up, it’s great. I’ve got a few pins in there, but it’s great,” says Minnelli, who’s also publicly battled alcoholism; had several worn-out body parts (both hips, one knee) replaced; and recovered 14 years ago in Fort Lauderdale from a near-fatal bout of viral encephalitis. (“Yeah, a lot of fun.”)
These days, Minnelli says, she’s feeling “very, very good.”
She spends much of her time fundraising for breast cancer and AIDS research.
“I lost so many friends to AIDS. And my sister had breast cancer,” she says.
Minnelli says that despite a lifetime in the public eye and after all the illnesses, she won’t consider retiring from live performing.
“Because I like it. I enjoy it,” she says. “It creates, basically, a tremendous gratitude. And then what happens, in trying to connect -- and really connect, not just doing the show, but looking at people and singing to them and seeing if they were affected by any special subject -- I’m very close with the audience. Probably more than anybody else except the stand-up comic, and that I don’t do.”
Minnelli’s Sunday concert in Fort Lauderdale is dubbed, “Simply Liza.”
“In other words I’m by myself,” she says. “I have 12 musicians. I may tear it down a little bit because I want it to be really intimate. I may go with like seven or six. And of course [pianist/musical director] Billy Stritch. He’s great!”
According to Minnelli, “people are saying that I’m singing better than ever” and she’ll perform “the songs I like and the songs that people have requested.”
“I love songs that have a story. Like little movies,” she says. “I love Aznavour, you know. I’m doing two of his songs. One is You’ve Let Yourself Go, which I did way back. I started with that. It’s funny because I was only 19. He came to see me and he loved it. That’s when I went to France and said, ‘Will you teach me?’ Because I loved what he did. He acted every song.
“The other one I’m singing is a song that he sings about a drag queen -- being a drag queen. I’m a woman being a man playing a drag queen. It seems to go over quite well. He said ‘Are you sure?’ I said, ‘Let me try!’ It’s called What Makes a Man a Man. It's people’s inner feelings that I love, that interest me.” “What they think about and what they don’t talk about sometimes. So I thought this was wonderful because it was written so long ago. Way before an uprising or this or that. Anything. And it was like a terrible secret then. That’s the story of it. It has great pride in it, too.”
February 10, 2014 in Arts, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Film, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Television, Theater, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
Miami Dolphins' Jonathan Martin tweets: 'Hats off to you Michael Sam, that takes some guts #respect'
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Back when gay activists strategized during the 1970s Anita Bryant era, Joan Schaeffer usually was the only woman in the room.
“Women were not involved politically, to my recollection. One thing we had then, that we don’t have now is women’s bars. That’s where the women would go. The bars were very segregated. There were women’s bars and there were men’s bars and never the twain shall meet,” said Schaeffer, now 61, a mortgage broker and synagogue president. “I don’t remember seeing women publicly at all. There was always this question: What did women do when they discovered they were lesbians?”
More than 35 years later, South Florida’s lesbian community has come out politically and economically. Friday night, Aqua Foundation for Women, one of the region’s most-active LGBT organizations, celebrates its 10th anniversary with the annual Aqua Ally Awards, this year honoring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, and C.J. Ortuño, past executive director of gay-rights group SAVE Dade.
Aqua Foundation Executive Director Robin Schwartz, 51, recalls how her organization got its start:
“When we got together, we saw that there was this void, that most of the LGBT organizations were run by guys and funded by guys. Everything was really male-oriented. That’s not the guys’ fault, that’s the women’s fault. We weren’t stepping up to the plate,” Schwartz said. “We felt if we had an organization run by women for the issues that matter to women, that we could get more women involved.”
Aqua Foundation has provided “an opportunity to coalesce all these really awesome women in one space with a common goal,” Schwartz said. “By doing that, other women followed and we’re creating a great community for women.”
This year, Aqua Foundation’s annual operating budget reached about $500,000. The group’s biggest yearly fundraiser is Aqua Girl, a five-day women’s party in South Beach.
“We live in Miami, South Florida, where it is OK [to be out]. We don’t have so many issues,” Schwartz said. “But women come from all over the United States, all over the world. I’ve met many Russians who come here. Imagine what it’s like to be in Russia right now and be gay. They can come to Aqua Girl and at least have five days where they can socialize, be who they are, and know that it’s OK and to feel good about it.”
Aqua Foundation spends much of its money on local programs, grants and scholarships. It sponsors the LBT Health Directory, an online database of “LBT friendly” medical professionals. Last year, Aqua donated $72,000 to LGBT groups and charities, including $33,333 for a LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Initiative in Miami-Dade.
In 2013, Aqua presented 12 school scholarships valued at a total of $60,000, including a $10,000 prize sponsored by Wells Fargo.
“A lot of the women who get our scholarships are young, but not all,” Schwartz said. “A lot of them are in that process of coming out to their parents, coming out in the world. To have someone who’s already been through that and feels great about themselves as a role model and a guide is invaluable.”
Bridget Pelaez, born and raised in Miami, is one of Aqua’s recent beneficiaries.
“For me this has been a very long journey,” said Pelaez, 29, a paramedic studying to become a nurse.
“Prior to middle school I went to a very conservative Catholic school in Miami and never felt I fit in,” she said. “In middle school, I faced adversity as the only female wrestler on the team. I went home and asked my parents if I could wrestle. I come from a family that’s taught me to always want to aspire to be a bigger, better Bridget. As long as I’m not hurting anybody, I should push boundaries and not be afraid to ask why.”
In high school, Pelaez said, she thrived as an out lesbian.
“For me it was being bold enough to be myself in any environment. I feel I lived my high school dream. I went to a school that was mix of different cultures and races. I mingled with everybody. I was class president, but I wasn’t the smartest. I just wanted to be a leader and I knew that,” she said. “I was homecoming queen and I’m the last person who wants to wear a dress. I joke that they only made me homecoming queen because they wanted to see me in a dress once a year. I played five sports in high school. My focus was being a good athlete, and meeting a lot of people and being the best young leader I could be.”
Pelaez graduated from South Miami High School in 2003 and got an EMS degree at Broward College three years later. She has received three Aqua Foundation scholarships, including the 2013 Wells Fargo prize.
“I’ve had mentors that have broadened my horizons. That cliche thing, ‘the sky’s the limit,’ is something they foster at Aqua,” she said. “Being in a room around so many successful older lesbians reminded me that I could have a life I always imagined as a kid, or my parents imagined for me. It’s because of their life stories and the lessons they’ve given to me.”
Schaeffer, president of Temple Israel of Greater Miami, finds it remarkable she has seen the societal sea change.
“I live my life kind of normal, I think. I’m out. Everybody knows what my story is. Financially I’m OK. ... I’m older and the world is different, too. That helps a lot,” she said. “I feel very grateful that I have witnessed this evolution. It’s wonderful to see. I feel like my life has been very full and I’m happy about that. To actually see the world change in your lifetime so dramatically, in such a small sphere of life, is incredible.”
If you go
The Aqua Ally Awards will be presented 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Bacardi Building, 2701 Le Jeune Rd., Coral Gables. $75 Aqua Foundation members, $85 advance, $95 at door. www.aquafoundation.org.
February 06, 2014 in AIDS and Health, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Food and Drink, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
BY DAVID PICHLER
I was fortunate enough to represent the United States as a diver in the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympic Games. This week I’m going to the Olympics again. I’ll be in Sochi cheering on Team USA and supporting America’s LGBT athletes as well as the Russian LGBT community.
In June 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed a bill banning LGBT “propaganda,” which threatens the human rights of the millions of LGBT Russians. It violates their freedom of speech and, if widely enforced, could amount to de facto criminalization. It also endangers the lives of LGBT Russians. Anti-LBGT violence, often committed by neo-Nazis, is a major problem in Russia, and the “propaganda” law legitimizes the hate in hate crime.
It gets worse: President Putin is depicting LGBT people as pedophiles, and new anti-LGBT laws are surfacing. LGBT Russians — who until only a few years ago were beginning to be able to live openly — face increasing fears that their sexual identity will get them in legal or physical trouble.
As a gay American, I can’t imagine what gay Russians are going through. Although not to the same degree, I also have undergone discrimination based on my sexuality. Before the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, a former coach — in an act of vindictiveness — outed me in attempt to destroy my Olympic dream.
David Pichler was an Olympic Team Captain and diver in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Summer Games. He lives in Fort Lauderdale.
Broadway star Mandy Patinkin ('Evita,’ ‘Sunday in the Park With George’) to perform at Broward Center
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Bombastic Broadway belter Mandy Patinkin confides what he most likes to listen to at home: quiet.
“I don’t like music and noise or TVs on at home. I like the quiet,” says Patinkin, an original star of Evita (1979) and Sunday in the Park With George (1984), who sings in concert 7 p.m. Sunday at Broward Center for the Performing Arts. “I have music in my head all the time. I’m always going over these lyrics, taking hikes, going to the gym, running stuff, learning stuff. I love it more than anything. When I walk out on stage, that’s not my work. That’s my vacation. But for whatever reason, I’m not a big listener of music.”
Patinkin, 61, who won a Tony as Che in Evita and has taken home several Emmy and Golden Globe awards for film and TV shows including Yentl, Chicago Hope and Homeland, says he’s busier than ever.
“When I have a schedule like I thankfully have had, I have for the past several years, where I do this TV show Homeland and I have to say, I learn out loud. When the brain learns music, it’s easier to learn music than to learn words. It’s a different part of the brain. There’s been all kinds of studies about this,” Patinkin says. “When I have to learn text for Homeland or a movie or a play, I have to do it out loud hundreds and hundreds of times. Both to rehearse it, to find out what it is that I think of the ideas or the words or images that come to my mind, but I do it out loud and I need a rest from it.”
Patinkin says his first love is the theater. Sunday, he performs “Dress Casual,” a one-man show of old and new songs accompanied by pianist Paul Ford.
“I love being on the stage doing these concerts because to me it’s theater, even though it’s not a proper play or proper musical,” Patinkin says. “I’m in a theater with people live, in the audience, anywhere from 300 to 2,000 or 5,000 people. That immediate feeling that we’re all together, listening together, reacting to the words and music that we hear at that moment, written by geniuses — and I’m just the mailman for them. We listen together, and we infect each other, either with silence in how we listen or laughter or with the kind of energy that's in the room, but it’s contagious. We’re not alone. It affects the entire performance. It affects what songs we choose to do next.”
Patinkin says screen and TV work is more like a business for him.
“I feel much more like a good servant in terms of film or television. My job is to serve everyone else’s needs, to give them as many choices as possible so when we leave any given angle or any given scene, that the editors have as much as I could afford to give them and as much as time can afford to give them. Because it’s too expensive to go back and do it again,” he says. “In terms of reaching how many people, whether it be how many millions of people you reach by a television show vs. anywhere from 300 or a couple of thousand people in a theater, I love what the Torah says: Save one life, you save the world. Now, I don’t consider singing a song necessarily saving a life, but I use that phrase ‘to touch one life and you touch the world.’ My favorite word in life is ‘connect.’ Connect to one life, you connect to the world. It’s not about numbers. It’s about connection to me.”
Patinkin grew up in a Conservative Jewish Chicago household. He describes how he developed his interest in music and theater:
“It began in the synagogue listening to the liturgy of the cantor and choir. It somehow went from there to Broadway show tunes and popular American music. The popular American songbook,” Patinkin says. “It evolved by people I meet. My son Gideon is a musician and a performer and a writer. He introduces me to material. My friend Taylor Mac, who is wonderful writer and performer, he introduced me to material I wasn’t familiar with, like R.E.M.’s End of the World as We Know It. Paul Ford introduces me. He’s like the Library of Congress when it comes to the popular American Songbook.”
Patinkin says he’s spiritual but doesn’t attend temple on a regular basis.
“My synagogue is the theater. I go on the High Holidays, I like being there and again I like being connected to the sounds of the Hebrew songs, the prayers, the other people. The fact that other people are saying these words all over the world at a given moment in time. It just comforts me.”
Patinkin and actress-writer Kathryn Grody, married since 1980, have two sons, Issac, 31, a massage therapist in Alaska, and Gideon, 27, the musician.
Sometimes, Gideon shows up at Patinkin concerts and performs with his dad.
“He comes with me every now and then throws the old man a bone and comes on stage with me and sings a few songs which I love,” Patinkin says. “You could peel me off the ceiling anytime that happens. These days he’s busy on the road doing his own stuff. He’s writing a new show that’s gonna be done in New York at the Fringe Festival. He’s got his own life where at the moment he doesn’t have time for the old man, except to call me when he’s riding on the road in the car.”