Uprisings: July 30 – August 12, 2015

By : Billy Manes
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Because it only makes sense and sense needs to be made in Washington, D.C., on the odd occasion, last week a veritable gaggle of elected Democrats from both the bifurcated House and Senate designer blue jeans of governance to make it clear that, erm, we’re not finished with this equality bit yet. They were flanked by representatives from various organizations that seek to make the common good seem good again, including groups that represent transgender individuals, gay people who got fired and, well, Nancy Pelosi’s hand.

None of this is to make light of the history we witnessed (via livestream) on July 23. Just when we thought we could all just nest in the comfortable little pink house of acceptance by way of marriage equality, a full coalition showed its collective face as a means of pushing new legislation – deemed “The Equality Act” – with no less than 40 co-sponsors from the U.S. Senate.

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Colorado school that blocked coming out speech didn’t discriminate, lawyer says

By : Wire Report
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LONGMONT, Colo. – A U.S. school did not discriminate by blocking a graduation speech by a top student who wanted to disclose that he is gay, according to an outside attorney hired by the school to investigate the decision.

School valedictorian Evan Young, 18, was prevented this spring from giving a graduation speech in which he planned to out himself as gay. The decision by Twin Peaks Charter Academy in Colorado state raised the ire of gay rights activists.

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Ex-Navy SEAL alleges anti-gay bullying by CIA workers

By : Wire Report
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SAN DIEGO, California — A former Navy SEAL has filed an internal complaint alleging the CIA bullied him for being gay during a work assignment in June in Afghanistan.

Brett Jones said he filed the complaint last week against the federal agency, saying he was forced to endure homophobic slurs and other inappropriate comments in Afghanistan as a group of contractors and civil servants in the CIA’s Global Response Staff watched news of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

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7.30.15 Editor’s desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Things aren’t always as they seem; in fact, usually they’re nowhere near.

Appearances and realities aside, however – placed somewhere in a curio with frayed prejudices and a few regrets – we’ve found ourselves, as a community, in the middle of an identity crisis. No, I’m not referring to the identities that are currently being thrust upon us in the wailing winds of identity politics currently waxing up your ears with fist-clenched disdain. Nor am I really referring to the glory that is marriage equality, a right that assumes that every LGBT civil right hinges on your private romantic allegiances. What I’m speaking of is the new “other,” and therefore, the new frontier.

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New film highlights struggles of gay Palestinians in Israel

By : Wire Report
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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — During last summer’s Gaza war, Khader Abu Seif was living with his then Israeli boyfriend in Tel Aviv, wondering whether Hamas rockets could reach them from the coastal strip.

He thought yet again of the dichotomy of his life as a gay Arab Israeli citizen considered an outcast by the Palestinian society for his sexuality and viewed with unease by some Israelis for his brand of nationality.

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Executive Order implements National HIV/AIDS Strategy

By : Jamie Hyman
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The United States now has a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the next five years.

President Obama signed the executive order implementing the updated strategy July 30.

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Virgin Suicides: Heathers the Musical brings the 80’s back to Orlando at the Dr. Phillips Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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Dust off your big shoulder pads, pull that teased hair back in a red scrunchie and get the Drano ready,because Heathers the Musical is coming to the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts August 13-23.

Gen Y Productions wants to take you back to the 80’s with a dark and humorous look at being popular and surviving high school, and they have brought in an Orlando flavor with O-Town’s own Kenny Howard directing, choreography by Blue Star and a cast and crew of Orlando’s theatrical finest – well, except for one Vine superstar that they have brought in to play J.D., the role made famous by Christian Slater.

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Gina Versace takes on Starwood Hotels and Resorts over trans discrimination

By : Billy Manes
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It’s an auspicious scene. Gina Versace is a few minutes late to a practice courtroom, a fake space, replete with mahogany on the 16th floor of the downtown Morgan & Morgan offices. Her designated attorney Carlos Leach – the press releases have been handled by super-attorney John Morgan’s son Matt Morgan, so heavy is the public relations lift here – is offering bottled water and apologizing.

“She lives just a few minutes away,” Leach says. “It shouldn’t be long.”

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Cuba bound

By : Intern
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At the Cuba, CUBAcabana
The U.S. and Cuba have restored diplomatic relations and reopened their embassies – thanks Obama! No really, thank Obama,because now travel to the Caribbean destination is open to Americans and you can cruise on down on a big cruise ship thanks to Al and Chuck Travel. Starting in January, Al and Chuck will take you on an eight-day cruise through the Caribbean which will include stops in Jamaica and Cuba. Get the most out of your gay cruise to Cuba and upgrade to the ALL YOU CAN DRINK adult beverage package so you can enjoy this party ship with all the cocktails you want. While in Havana, Al and Chuck Travel will also take you on a unique tour through the gay culture of Cuba called Havana Nights, Ay Dios Mio! Check out www.alandchuck.travel for more information.

There is no me in L-G-B-T
While we in the community are often lumped together in an alphabet group so the mainstream will know what to call us, within our community many do not know or understand what it is like to be like each other. That’s why Metro Health and their lead trans counselor, Tristan Byrnes, are organizing “Trans Panel: Community Discussions from a Trans Perspective.”

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Overheard in Orlando: Powerfully Gay

By : Valentina Boré
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Inside Outsider
We know we tend to get political over on our Uprisings political page in the back of the book, but this juicy nugget of political climbing has all the makings of canceled soap opera, or so we hear. A few weeks back, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, announced his bid for U.S. Sen Marco Rubio’s seat as Rubio ascends into the toxic ether of a failed presidential bid. Grayson’s aide, Susannah Randolph, obviously a Democrat, jumped in the race for Grayson’s seat, joining a smattering of reputable politicos in what looked to be a fair race. Then, out of nowhere (not really, because she’s been dropping hints all along), Grayson’s out-of-nowhere girlfriend Dr. Deena Minning hopped into the fray in late July, signaling an absurdist rendering of a catfight. Not to worry, though. Minning’s political ties don’t stretch far from Grayson (if you don’t count being a lobbyist for Big Pharma), so the race will likely go on as it was. Or will it? Inquiring minds want to know (Minning doesn’t talk to the press, hilariously).

Orlando’s 50 most Powerful
Orlando magazine released its list of Orlando’s 50 most powerful; these individuals have some major clout in the city beautiful.

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Advocates aim to protect LGBT foster kids

By : Jamie Hyman
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Tallahassee – Florida’s Department of Children and Families is considering new regulations for group homes where foster kids live, and a Florida Bar workgroup is pushing for better protections for LGBT foster children.

The LGBTQ Child Welfare Workgroup, which receives support from the Florida Bar, sent a 16-page letter to the DCF outlining their recommendations. Robert Latham is the workgroup chair and is also the supervising attorney for the Children & Youth Law Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law.  

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Parliament House celebrates 40 years

By : Jamie Hyman and Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Parliament House, Orlando’s iconic gay resort and nightclub, is marking four decades of gay inclusiveness, balcony debauchery and first-class entertainment.

A week of gaiety (pun intended)
There was a week-long celebration July 20-25 that kicked off with The Footlight Players Anniversary Reunion Show featuring more than thirty alumni. Midweek there was an employee turnabout benefiting Joy MCC Food Drive and then on July 24, Parliament House hosted a 40-themed nostalgia night with $40 rooms, 40 cent shots and 40 prizes for guests. No cover, but they did collect a 40 cent donation at the door benefiting Hope and Help of Central Florida, Inc.

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