Not Silent, Not Alone

Amy Daumit suffered in an abusive relationship for nearly 20 years. Today she works to help people find a different way.

The Forget Me Not flower is a small, unassuming blue bloom, named for the mission not to forget the suffering, the poor and the needy. This flower and its heavy meaning is embedded in a Fort Lauderdale woman’s mission to educate her community about domestic violence.

Amy Daumit, 40, works at Expresso Coffee. She’s in a happy relationship, has earned multiple degrees, and her laugh is infectious. You’d never know that eight years ago, she left an abusive relationship that lasted nearly 20 years. Because of her experience, she formed the Forget Me Not Advocacy Group for domestic violence prevention.

“Abuse still sadly hides in the shadow,” she says. “It’s easier to ignore the screaming going on next door than to intervene or help, because ‘It’s not my business.’ But people don’t realize it is your business.”

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HRC Releases Ultimate Guide to Raising Trans Children

The Human Rights Campaign teamed up with two national pediatrics groups to produce a comprehensive guide on transgender children to help family, friends, and physicians.

The 24-page guide, Supporting and Caring for Transgender Children, was produced with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP). It goes over basic definitions of gender, the benefits of affirming a child’s gender identity, debunks myths, and provides support and tips for those who care for transgender children.

“As we’ve made more and more progress with transgender rights and our society is getting a deeper understanding of what it means to be transgender, more and more people are comfortable in coming out at younger ages,” said Sarah McBride, the national press secretary at HRC.

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The Boys of Bangladesh

In April, two men were hacked to death in Bangladesh putting a spotlight on a hidden population in the small Southwest Asian country: LGBT people.

Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of an LGBT magazine, and Mahbub Tonoy were killed in the Bangladeshi capital by six attackers, leaving a third man seriously injured.

“It’s a really painful thing for us,” said Mir Abeureyad, the acting general secretary and a volunteer at Boys of Bangladesh (BoysOfBangladesh.org). “We can’t express ourselves as an LGBT person in Bangladesh. So it’s really tough for us.”

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For Ben Brafman, Becoming A Leader In Mental Health And Addiction Meant Overcoming His Own Obstacles

It was supposed to be a normal day for one of Ben Brafman’s clients. But a simple trip to a meeting ended with the client in jail. The client, who was battling a mental illness, began acting out, which prompted a bystander to call the police. Brafman assured the officers that he just needed a few minutes to calm his client down and they would be on their way.

“They ended up arresting him for being loud and boisterous,” Brafman remembers. “As soon as they tried to handcuff him, he got aggressive, agitated.”

Brafman, 47, founder and CEO of Guardian Behavioral Health Foundation, says this incident and others aren’t uncommon in the arena of mental illness and addiction.

“We have a tendency to minimize things in society and not really put a lot of stock in it. We’re asking for trouble,” the Parkland resident says. “We need to crack some stereotypes and stigmas.”

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Glitz & Glam

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Photo by Emily Harris

Harken back to the glamour of the swinging ’60s with the newly opened ELV venue and reception space in Miami Beach. Originally designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus in 1966, who was also the mastermind behind the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels, the building recently underwent a $2 million renovation to restore the property to its former glory. Features include a first-floor cocktail reception room, an expansive ballroom with original chandeliers and a 4,000-square-foot commissary for in-house catering by chef Yung Ngo-Hong, formerly of Nobu. Located in South Beach near the Fillmore and New World Symphony, the venue is a hidden gem, that can now be enjoyed by couples who appreciate chic architecture and the city’s illustrious history. Venue rental from $8,000, 1723 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305.407.2266, elvmiamibeach.com

Originally published in Modern Luxury Weddings South Florida and the Caribbean

My 305 Style: Lexing Zhang

The owner of Art Lexing Gallery in Miami describes her personal style and art preferences as “experimental and bold.” She believes that the more unique and irreplaceable, the better.

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THE DANCE “Miami City Ballet is a real gem. They have dancers from Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, scholarship programs, freelance dancers from all over the country, and I think it’s a true reflection of how diverse Miami is.” Miami City Ballet, 2200 Liberty Avenue, Miami Beach; 305-929-7010; miamicityballet.org.

 

 

 

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THE TOWEL “I use them every time I go to the beach, and people always ask me where I got them. They’re a round shape with beautiful tassels on the edge. This takes beach towels to another level.” $148, The Bazaar Project, 4308 Northesst Second Avenue, Miami; 786-703-6153; thebazaarprojectshop.com.

 

 

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THE ART “Typoe is one of my favorite local artists. Not only is this piece beautiful, it also has a very powerful social message.” typoe.com.

 

 

 

 

Making a Scene

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Music on Main Street (Photo by Kelly Coulson)

“Hip” and “trendy” have never been words that dripped off the tongue when discussing Oakland Park. But a mixture of ambitious plans from city hall, comparatively low rents and a handful of pioneering businesses are changing the place’s look and feel.

In one of the hottest brewery taprooms in the area, the game is on the TV sets, bartenders pull from Buddha beer tap handles, friends challenge each other to rounds of cornhole in the game room, and a crash of giant Jenga pieces crumbles to the floor.

Next door, Alberte’s Restaurant serves up authentic Caribbean cuisine. Across the street, hipsters wait their turn to play the favorite video games from their childhoods at video game bar Tenth Level Tavern. A couple blocks down the road, a server presents a plate of fried chicken at Kelvin 3200.

After a week of work, this crowd has chosen to spend their night in Oakland Park. Not Himmarshee, not Las Olas, not Beach Place.

“A couple of years ago, I was getting a lot of phone calls from different people who wanted to do stories, whether it be print or otherwise,” says Kathleen Margoles, Oakland Park’s community and economic development director. “I remember this one guy said to me, ‘When I was a kid, my dad used to take me out there on the weekends to buy hardware and parts in the warehouse in Oakland Park, and now I go and drink beer in one of the coolest places.’ To me, that really exemplified the change and it has been fast.”

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Lori Royce, Of Boynton Beach, Merges Art With Fashion With Wearable Creations

If the sun is rising, odds are that Lori Royce is wide-awake, taking in all the details of the colors, textures and shades as the sky transitions from dark to bright.

“I love seeing the colors change,” she says of her favorite time of day. “I love the darks turning to light, I love the lights turning to dark, I love movement. … I love the sunlight, how it sparkles like diamonds on the water. So I try and capture that.”

Working with pastels, oil and acrylic paints, Royce recreates scenes of sunrises, the ocean, palm trees and more onto each canvas. Now, she’s also transferring her creations into wearable pieces of art.

“You can literally take one of my canvases, wrap it around you, and you’ll look beautiful,” she says.

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Fighting With Fruit: Anita Bryant’s Long-Lasting Legacy

A banana cream pie was a part of one of the most iconic moments in the gay liberation movement.

Anita Bryant, a chart-topping songstress who used her fame to fight “homosexual militants,” was speaking at a press conference in Des Moines, Iowa in 1977 when an activist, Tom Higgins, threw the pie in her face.

“Well, at least it’s a fruit pie,” she scoffed.

Her husband, Bob Green, then encouraged his wife to pray for Higgins. She prayed for him and his “deviant” lifestyle as she wiped away cream from her face, crying.

Lee Lawson, an Iowa native who was in Des Moines protesting Bryant’s visit that day, didn’t witness the incident in person, but word spread quickly.

“Some of us were excited and some of us were embarrassed,” he said of the bold move, one some felt was too bold. “One of the things you had to be aware of is there was a large anti-war movement and we were trying to keep ourselves separate from that. They were a lot bigger and a lot more active than we were. We were trying to do our own thing.”

No matter the reason, Bryant was a huge roadblock in the fight for LGBT rights.

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The Forgotten Tragedy: Before Pulse, there was the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans

In New Orleans’ French Quarter, countless people walk the intersection of Iberville Street and Chartres Street, perhaps to grab a drink at The Jimani, a bite at the Backspace Bar & Kitchen, or breakfast at Daisy Dukes.

But look down, and a bronze plaque is embedded in the brick sidewalk, one with a flame and the names of 32 perished souls. Beneath a neon sign reading Dixie Divas, it sits at the feet of a burgundy door that houses the story of the UpStairs Lounge.

It was June 24, 1973 — nearly four years to the day of the infamous raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, when a gathering of LGBT people and their allies were laughing over drinks. By the end of the night, 29 were dead and another three would later die from their injuries.

The next day, The Times-Picayune devoted its front page to the fire, headlined “29 KILLED IN QUARTER BLAZE” and printed a photo of onlookers in front of the charred building, as well as a portrait of a man in horror as he took in the damage.

“I was 11 years old and I saw the front page of the newspaper,” remembers Johnny Townsend.  “There was that picture of Rusty Quinton on the front cover looking up in horror at the bar. The expression on his face really struck me deeply.”

To this day, no one has been arrested for the fire, and until recently, the tragedy disappeared into history.

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