Pride @ Work Convention hits Orlando

By : Staff Report
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PrideAtWorkConventionLogoLGBT union members from across the U.S. are convening in Orlando for the 2015 Pride @ Work Convention.

Pride @ Work is a non-profit organization and a constituency group of the AFL-CIO that represents LGBT union members. The group “organizes mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community to further social and economic justice,” according to the Pride @ Work website. 

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Poe to show?: Politico reports that former state Democratic chair Bob Poe is considering a congressional run

By : Billy Manes
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29dd5d2Because political season is officially upon us, we shouldn’t feel surprised when politicos we know start popping up in news feeds as newborn contenders. Bob Poe, former chairman of the Florida Democratic Party and (more recently) fundraising friend of former Gov. Charlie Crist, is the latest to stick his wet finger in the wind to see if he’s going to throw his hat in the 10th Congressional District ring, according to Politico. We reached out to Poe, and he said that the notion of his candidacy is “premature,” though we all know that’s code for “independent polling.” A longtime champion of LGBT rights (along with husband Kenneth), Poe would clearly make some noise in a crowding field. He would also smile a lot. Poe likes to smile. From Marc Caputo at Politico:

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Bondi files motion stating marriage fight is moot

By : Staff Report
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The parties involved are tying up some loose ends in Florida’s fight for marriage equality.

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a document in U.S. District Court stating that the marriage ban is moot and no longer needs a judge’s attention:

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Transgender inmate claims prison guard raped her

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) — A transgender inmate transitioning into a woman claims she was repeatedly raped by a Rikers Island corrections officer and jail officials turned a blind eye.

The New York Daily News reports a suit filed in Manhattan federal court states an inmate identified only as “M.T.” was assaulted by a guard on Dec. 2, 2012 at the Robert N. Davoren Complex following months of harassment.

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Kentucky clerk still refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples

By : Wire Report
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MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky clerk’s office on Aug. 27 again refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country two months ago.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses, citing her Christian faith and constitutional right to religious freedom, since the landmark decision in June.

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President George A. Kalogridis and the quiet evolution of LGBT culture at Walt Disney World

By : Kirk Hartlage
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This summer’s historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality was indeed a watershed moment for the LGBT community. Before the last piece of celebratory confetti had hit the ground, civil rights leaders were quick to point out that the fight for complete equality is not yet over. While gays and lesbians can now legally wed in all 50 states – well, with the exception of that one Kentucky county where the local clerk is dragging her heels in a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – there are still 31 states that lack protections for LGBT workers. Indeed, it’s possible that a Florida lesbian can marry her wife on Saturday, have it announced in Sunday’s newspaper, and be fired on the basis of sexual orientation at work on Monday.

That, most likely, appears to be the movement’s next big fight: securing non-discrimination protections in the workplace throughout the entire country instead of less than half of it.

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Watermark Exclusive! Bonus material from our interview with WDW President George A. Kalogridis

By : Kirk Hartlage
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Whether you’re a gay bartender, a lesbian veterinary technician, a bisexual electronics engineer, or a transgender guest services manager, did you know Mickey Mouse is quietly helping to make your workplace a safe environment for being out and equal? A place where you can bring your true authentic self to work every day?

Last month Walt Disney World sponsored and hosted an LGBT workplace equality conference in conjunction with Out & Equal, the two-decade-old non-profit devoted to just such issues. The Out & Equal Equality Institute, held at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort in July, brought over 650 business men and women from 300 different organizations together to share strategies and build networks in the efforts to achieve workplace equality. For Disney, the day-long symposium was a dry run for the 2016 Out & Equal Summit, a similarly-themed four-day convention set for October 2016 at several WDW resorts with an expected attendance of nearly 4000.

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Mormon church will continue to work with Boy Scouts

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church announced Oct. 26 it will maintain its longtime affiliation with the Boy Scouts despite the organization’s decision to allow gay troop leaders — preventing what would have been a thundering blow to the national association.

The decision from senior leaders of the Mormon church — the nation’s largest sponsor of Boy Scout units — came as somewhat of a surprise. The church said it was deeply troubled and considering other options when the Boy Scouts announced on July 28 that it would lift its ban on gay adult leaders, while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to continue excluding gay adults.

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Oregon Catholic school changes policy on gay hiring after backlash

By : Wire Report
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Roman Catholic school in Portland has changed its policy on hiring gay employees following the uproar over its decision to withdraw a job offer to a lesbian.

The St. Mary’s Academy board voted for the change Aug. 26. In an email to parents, school president Christina Friedhoff said St. Mary’s is a diverse community that welcomes gay and lesbian students and faculty.

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Virginia gunman claims shootings are payback for gay, racist discrimination

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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MONETA, Va. (AP) — Vester Flanagan, the Virginia gunman who killed two co-workers on live television, said he did so because he allegedly had been discriminated against both for being gay and black.

In a 23-page letter sent by fax Aug. 26 to ABC News shortly after the shooting, Flanagan described several instances where he had been harassed. He also wrote “I’ve been a human powder keg for a while, just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”

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Sean Hayes stars in “An Act of God”

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Sean Hayes will play God Almighty in the City of Angels next year.

Producers of the “An Act of God” said Oct. 26 that the Emmy Award-winning former “Will and Grace” star will step into the big role starting Jan. 30 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. The divine part was filled this summer by Jim Parsons on Broadway.

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Editor’s Desk 8.27.15

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Beyond all of the “It’s a Small World” and “Be Our Guest” tropes of Walt Disney World and the screaming children behind them, a stronger tide of inclusion has washed over Central Florida’s largest employer, one that threatens to make a believer out of even this cynic. That’s why it’s a Magic Kingdom, right? Shut up, turkey leg.

This week, it’s all about the shifting culture of acceptance and celebration of diversity at the park of all parks, thanks in no small part to WDW President George Kalogridis, our cover model. Kalogridis was kind enough to offer up his personage in order to discuss the park’s expanding acceptance of LGBT individuals; he is one.

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