It is a scary time in the world right now, and not just because it is Halloween.
At the time of writing this, we do not have a Speaker of the House, there are two major wars going on in the world and it feels like there is nothing but hate around every corner, both physical and digital.
But instead of using my space here to vent my feelings, thoughts and opinions on everything happening — because frankly when it comes to most of the terrible things happening in the world, many have already made their minds up and picked their sides regardless of facts, so there is no reason for me to add on to that — I thought I would use my desk this time to talk about some things that are bringing joy to my life and some amazing things I have seen others doing recently that make me feel good about the world, and more specifically, our Central Florida community.
First thing that I am loving right now is my new Lego room. I recently moved into a new house — recently as in five months ago but I hate unpacking boxes so that took some time — and have our spare room all set up and filled with my little brick obsession. The room is technically the home office but there is more Lego building happening in the room than office stuff, but I’m fine with that. Now that it is set up I can start buying more sets to fill in what empty space I have.
And I’m glad I got everything organized by this past weekend because it left me extra time to play the new “Spider-Man 2” game, released Oct. 20 on the PS5. It’s the third game in the series, after “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” and while I have not completed the game as of yet, what I have played so far has left me as elated as I was playing the other two.
I didn’t get as much game play in as I wanted to last weekend but it was for a very good reason, as this past weekend was Come Out With Pride in downtown Orlando. Working in the community as the editor-in-chief of the LGBTQ+ newspaper can leave you tunnel focused on the current two-week cycle you’re working in, but Pride lets me step out from behind my computer and be among some of the most open, accepting and loving people Central Florida has to offer. I got the chance to catch up with people who I haven’t seen in a while but also to hear from so many people in the community who thanked Watermark for the work they do, work that is done by a small but mighty group of people that I am extremely proud of every day.
While attending the Pride festival, I had several folks stop by who I recently met through the University of Central Florida’s Journalism Internship Pursuit, and that’s a great way to transition into one of my favorite things now and always, UCF journalism interns. Twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, UCF’s journalism department holds an internship fair where myself and our publisher, Rick Todd, get to meet aspiring — and inspiring — journalism students ready to hit the streets in pursuit of the truth. With every semester it feels like UCF’s journalism students just get better and better. I met some of the brightest and most passionate kids this past week who are looking to make a difference in this world, and even knowing what the environment can be like these days for journalists, they see the power that media has in helping people and exposing the wrongs in society. I can’t wait to start working with the new batch of interns this spring and for our readers to see how amazing they really are.
Speaking of those who help people in our community and who have been doing amazing work, Orlando has elections coming up Nov. 7. This is a non-presidential election year which always means low voter turnout, so that is why it’s even more important to pay attention to who is on the ballot and what is at stake.
Everyone in Florida has seen the attacks our GOP-led state legislature and our Republican governor have lobbed at marginalized groups in this state, especially the LGBTQ+ community. While these attacks have been atrocious, they could have been much worse if not for local leaders like Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioner of District 4, and the current cover of this issue, Patty Sheehan, who stand up for what is right and who have protected all people in Orlando for many years, regardless of how they identify. We are living in a dangerous time in Florida right now and losing two of Orlando’s best fighters for equality in Central Florida would be an unwise and misguided move. So make sure to get out and vote on Nov. 7, and vote for those leaders who you know have your best interests in mind and heart.