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Ocala

Ocala-based LBGTQ+ magazine makes successful debut over Memorial Day Weekend

Ocala-based Embrace Magazine debuted over the Memorial Day Weekend.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community of North Central Florida has a new publication to bring awareness of issues and topics of interest to the community at large.

Embrace Magazine, which is based in Ocala, premiered digitally on Saturday, May 23 and according to Publisher John Sotomayor, the launch was a huge success. In fact, Sotomayor said, according to analytics, Embrace had been read 2,627 times during the first two days in eight countries/four continents around the world, including in order of frequency: United States, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany and Ghana.

Sotomayor said the goal of the premiere issue was to “present stories of gay and straight communities coming together to live, work, play and pray.” He said the magazine “provides content that is appealing to both the LGBTQ+ and straight communities.” And he added that it was important to include “the four pillars of health: mind, body, soul and finance, as well as transgender issues.”

Sotomayor, who serves as president of Sotomayor Media Creations LLC and originally is from New York City, moved to Ocala in January 2005. He worked for various magazines and newspapers in the North Central Florida area, including the North Central Florida Business Report in Gainesville; Florida Trend Magazine in Tampa; Ocala Magazine in Ocala; and Lake and Sumter Style, Lake Healthy Living and Lake Business Magazine in Leesburg.

Embrace Magazine Publisher John Sotomayor

So far, the new magazine has drawn rave reviews. Donna Davis, a registered nurse who lives in downtown Ocala and is working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, said it’s important to her to feel represented.

“Lots of people feel alone, especially those from a deep Southern background,” she said. “It’s nice to know that you can be both. Sometimes, the support from the community is all that a person may have.”

Musician Alan Darcy agreed.

“I think the new LGBTQ magazine will impact the local community in a great way, especially with its emphasis on embracing the diversity of our community,” said the Orlando resident, who frequently performs in The Villages and the tri-county area. “I think it’s a great mirror for us to see how we are all getting along already with each other and for those who may still think there are no visible gay people in this region of the state. We are here – working, playing, paying taxes and being part of the greater community.”

Sotomayor said a limited print run for the inaugural magazine will come sometime in June. He said due to the success of the first issue and the demand for more, his team already is working on the second edition, which is scheduled to publish on Oct. 1. The third issue is expected to publish on Feb. 1, 2021 and after that, the magazine will come out three or four times a year, Sotomayor said.

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