Rise Of Orlando: Florida’s Global LGBT Mecca

May 22nd, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE — In my mind right or wrong, Orlando has always been known for two things – oranges and theme parks, especially Walt Disney World, which kicked it all off in 1965 and changed the course of the entire region’s future forever. Without Mickey Mouse, I’m sure the central Florida city would not be attracting as much attention and the 62 million tourists in 2014 that it does now.

Recently, I’ve been learning some interesting facts about the City Beautiful: It has the largest Puerto Rican population in the state, much like South Florida can say it houses the most Cubans. It’s home to the largest restaurant operator in the world, Darden Restaurants. And it’s a major industrial and high-tech center as well, with a diverse collection of defense, entertainment and technology companies.

But none of these industries come close to tourism. Nothing has shaped Orlando’s development more than the leisure business, and specifically LGBT leisure.

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Cuba Becomes Cultural Catalyst For LGBT Progress

May 17th, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE — In just a few short months, there has been a sea change 90 miles off the coast of Florida’s Key West.

Cuba is red hot.

The communist island-nation is engaging the world community on a new level thanks to U.S. President Barack Obama, who decided that his administration would begin normalizing relations with the Castro government despite some heavy opposition from Republicans and their anti-communist supporters in South Florida and elsewhere.

It hasn’t taken long for the floodgates to open. Cuba is hardly communist any longer. The regime has been passing reforms for years now. The island is now housing rental service Airbnb’s fastest growing market. The president of France has called for an end to the U.S. embargo after paying a historic visit to Havana on May 10. The first ferry service in decades between the U.S. and Cuba will likely start operations soon as the country drops off the official U.S. list of terrorist countries. All things Cuban, from athletes and entertainers to vaccines and cuisine, are becoming more visible across America’s cultural landscape.

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ICANN To Decide On New Gay Domain

December 18th, 2014

FORT LAUDERDALE — Throughout history, politically powerful human beings carved up the physical world into nation-states. Almost everybody was assigned citizenship under a particular form of government or constitution.

Now, as history repeats itself in the virtual world with online domains like .com, .net, .org and .edu, not everybody is content to play by the same rules of the past.

One of these rebels is John Tanzella, president and chief executive officer of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) based in Fort Lauderdale, yet operating in more than 80 countries. From its perch in Broward County, the 32-year-old IGLTA promotes all of the businesses with a stake in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leisure, tourism and commerce. This segment of the industry is estimated to be a $70 billion market domestically.

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Instagram As OS For Modern Society

November 10th, 2014

The Emily Post of the Internet Age: How Instagram has become an operating system for culture itself.

FORT LAUDERDALE — When I log in into Instagram (IG), a stream of picture posts begins to flow from a customized list of followers whose relevance to my reality is determined by me. Not only can I read or scan their posts vertically or through a grid, but my “likes” and those of the profile accounts I follow are accessible under a tab called “following”, giving everybody a tool for mining what makes me tick. My daily “news” feed is a running tab of the profiles that enter and exit my virtual territory: opting in, opting out, or announced via Facebook, IG’s parent.

What this all means is that I am systematically organizing the world I want to operate in socially, and establishing a new standard of interaction with a global community of IG subscribers, many of whom reveal themselves through a series of choices with which I am able to engage, or judge actively or passively.

In this way, IG has become a universal way of communicating and operating socially through a series of 1000-word pictures all of us with eyesight can understand: a new language that determines how much we express ourselves to others, but yet is not completely controllable, which allows for the values of freedom and association to coexist without the peer pressure of following back.

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Q&A: Deconstructing LGBTQ

October 20th, 2014

Aiden Powell is program coordinator at Purdue University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Center. He received his B.A. in history and anthropology from Texas A&M University in 2012 and is currently completing his M.S. in anthropology with a focus on LGBTQ student health.

Q: What is the “Q” in LGBTQ?

A: The “Q” stands for either “queer” or “questioning”. It is meant to broaden the umbrella and create a more inclusive environment for those who don’t self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), or may be in a process of discovering their own gender or sexual orientation. “Queer” is actually an architectural term for angles that were different from what was expected in design blueprints. Over time, however, it became a derogatory slur to describe LGBT people.

Q: When did people adopt the “Q”?

A: People began to reclaim the term “queer” during a process of awakening or empowerment in the 1990s when you saw groups like Act Up demonstrate publicly against the high cost of HIV drugs and multiple LGBT marches on Washington, D.C., as well as pressure to expand the LGBT acronym to include more identities. “Queer” covered people who fell outside a non-binary definition of sexuality and gender.

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When Universities Become Diploma Mills

September 27th, 2014

When institutions of higher learning do not provide ongoing job and career placement services to their graduates, the industry fails to optimize the same alumni relations they seek to tap for fundraising activities.

When each of my alma maters sends me letters in the mail asking for money, I generally ask myself: what have you done for me lately? In other words, why do the schools from which I graduated expect me to supply a stream annual dividends on their investment in me when the reality is I paid these institutions handsomely for four years of education?

I’m not that gift that keeps on giving. In fact, universities give their opponents a huge opportunity to claim that college degrees these days aren’t worth the paper their written on when the importance of lifetime learning becomes more evident during times of long-term joblessness nationally.

Redefining Human Resources To Include Labor

September 16th, 2014

Why the human resources “profession” has become one of the most overlooked drags on the national economy. Let’s combine commerce, labor and education into one U.S. department.

We read time after time about what to do or what not to say on a job application or during an employment interview. Pages of advice have been written offering explanations as to why people fail to obtain jobs at big American companies. Nine times out of 10, these articles are written from the perspective of what employers want. But in the 21st Century, employers have become multinational conglomerates using information technology and bureaucratic personnel to keep their corporate machines running.

Rarely is the competence of human resource professionals or the efficiency of HR departments critiqued for reasons why the corporate job market has been so painfully sluggish when it comes to identifying and hiring talent. By partnering with postsecondary schools, HR can climb out of a void created by an outdated model of management versus labor.

People As Assets Not Liabilities

March 30th, 2014

How people are called “assets” to a company, but that claim is not supported in the going concern’s financial statements to investors, regulators and the public.

In a BusinessWeek article dated March 28, 2014, the former chairman, president and CEO of IBM, Samuel Palmisano, writing about a new era of global enterprise, describes the importance of managing and deploying human capital internationally “as one global asset.”

In the post, Palmisano perpetuates the same myth many other C-suite executives have for many years: The idea that people are assets in a company. While this may sound good, the reality of simple accounting rules is very different. And if accounting is the language of business, then misunderstanding these rules will lead to a breakdown in communication and thus convey false knowledge about the nature of modern commerce, ownership and power relationships in micro economic units.

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Integrated Reporting

March 4th, 2014

A recent Harvard study looked at the evolution of integrated reporting, or the corporate practice of combining and communicating financial and non-financial (sustainability) performance in a single set of statements.

Here are some highlights:

*France and the European Union will require ESG (environmental, social, and governance) reporting of all publicly-traded companies within the next year, a significant step toward mandated integrated reporting. South Africa, one of the so-called BRIC nations, already requires it.

*Danish bio-industrial products company, Novozymes, became the first company in the world to issue an integrated report almost 10 years ago, followed by Natura Cosméticos, a Brazilian cosmetics and fragrances company and the Danish diabetes care company Novo Nordisk in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

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Economics v. Finance

March 4th, 2014

The mainstream press promotes economic illiteracy by putting financial services on equal footing with the health of the whole U.S. economy, instead of making it clear that banking is merely a sector meant to serve it.

The latest headlines concerning central bank action (or inaction as the case may be) in Europe and the United States raise a defining characteristic of corporate media, which has become overly concentrated in the cities of New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

That characteristic are the countless stories that have been written about monetary policy as if interest rates and money creation have some kind of immediate impact on the U.S. economy. They don’t. What does have an impact, however, is a very key economic sector, namely banking, which has been consolidated in the axis of London-NYC-Washington, D.C. So while the flow of money is at the heart of business transactions large and small, the problem is the financial press disseminates ‘news’ about monetary policy as if the banking sector and the general economy are the same thing, or that economics and finance are equivalent or that numbers and math have a direct impact on job growth.

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