St. Pete Pride kicks off on the roof of Hotel Zamora

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Pete Pride had their kickoff party atop the amazing Hotel Zamora at St. Pete Beach June 22.

The packed rooftop was filled with St. Pete’s most beautiful people as they drank, danced and mingled under a cloudy, yet rainbow-filled sky.

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Kriseman raises the Pride flag at City Hall and Crist recognizes Pride in House

By : Jeremy Williams
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For the fourth year in a row, St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman sent the rainbow Pride flag up the flagpole in front of City Hall June 22, bringing in start of St. Pete Pride weekend.

This is the fourth year in a row that Kriseman has acknowledged the LGBTQ community of St. Pete with this ceremony.

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5th Circuit rules for Mississippi anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ law

By : Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a court order against a “religious freedom” law in Mississippi that would enable sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination, citing a lack of standing for plaintiffs in litigation against the statute.

Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith issued a decision allowing enforcement of HB 1523, which had been blocked as a result of a lower court order.

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Schiff reintroduces bill to regulate ‘troubled teen’ industry

By : Karen Ocamb OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lost in the cacophony of the Russia investigation and the newly proposed healthcare bill is the fact that some elected U.S. representatives still care about governance. Among them is Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who on Thursday reintroduced the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act, legislation that would require residential treatment programs to enforce a set of minimum health and safety standards, specifically prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ youth and young people with mental illness.

The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act (SCARPTA), originally introduced on July 14, 2015, was built on a bill championed by former California Rep. George Miller. In 2008, Miller held hearings with painful testimony about such abuse and neglect that he ordered a Government Accountability Office report on “the troubled teen industry”—unregulated “last resort” residential treatment facilities and “boot camps” that market to desperate parents of children deemed unruly, LGBT, addicted, or acting out with some form of undiagnosed mental illness.

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Dietrich exhibit honors gender-bending film icon

By : Joey DiGuglielmo OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Interestingly it was not Marlene Dietrich’s status as an icon of early film that appealed most to Kate Lemay, curator of a new National Portrait Gallery exhibit on the star, but rather her penchant for extreme gender bending.

Lemay tells a story of Dietrich being photographed at a Paris train station in 1933. She’d been told she could be arrested for wearing pants but she wore them anyway. And not just pants — she donned a men’s tweed suit, sunglasses and beret.

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Man walks free after federal judge tosses murder conviction

By : wire report
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Set free after 36 years in prison for a murder conviction that took decades to unravel, John Floyd donned a black T-shirt bearing the word “justice” June 22 before leaving the courthouse where a federal judge formally signed off on his release.

Floyd’s path to freedom began months ago, when U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance ruled in September that no reasonable juror would find Floyd guilty of murder in the November 1980 stabbing death of Times-Picayune copy editor William Hines.

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First openly gay judge confirmed for New York’s highest court

By : wire report
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York’s highest court has a new member.

The state Senate confirmed Paul Feinman June 21 to serve on the Court of Appeals. He will be the first openly gay person to serve on the court.

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D.C. to allow gender-neutral driver’s licenses

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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At the direction of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the city’s Department of Motor Vehicles will begin allowing residents to choose a gender-neutral “X” identifier on driver’s licenses and other city identification documents on June 26.

The announcement on Tuesday by the mayor’s office of the soon to be available gender-neutral identification documents came on the same day that six members of the D.C. City Council introduced a bill that would enact the gender neutral I.D. policy proposed by the mayor administratively into city law.

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Joe Biden to LGBT gala: ‘Hold President Trump accountable’

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Former Vice President Joe Biden, warning of transgender Americans “under attack” in Republican-led states, on Wednesday challenged the nation’s LGBT community to push back against President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Hold President Trump accountable for his pledge to be your friend,” Biden declared at a private LGBT gala hosted by the Democratic National Committee in New York. “Just because you don’t have Barack and me in the White House doesn’t mean it’s time to give up, keep quiet, stay on the sidelines.”

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YMCA gets Boy George to sing ‘YMCA’ cover for organization

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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YMCA Australia has tapped Boy George to cover the iconic anthem “YMCA” by the Village People as part of its Why Not? campaign.

The campaign is meant to raise awareness for “issues young people are facing today,” including mental health and Australia’s ongoing battle for marriage equality.

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‘The Switch’ features trans actors in new comedy

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA Association
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In today’s media, transgender characters are seen on screen more than ever before. Gone are the days of small roles in “Law & Order” featuring transgender characters who have dismal storylines. Now, transgender representation in media has advanced into the world of comedy with shows like “Transparent” and “Orange is the New Black” and films like “Tangerine.”

While there are funny moments for transgender characters, there is still an underlying theme of darkness surrounding these shows as they fight for acceptance, or more often, simply fight to stay alive.

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Cardin to introduce ‘lavender scare’ bill

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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State Department personnel who were fired during the so-called “lavender scare” would be able to have their employment records expunged under a bill that U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) will introduce on Thursday.

The Lavender Offense Victim Exoneration Act of 2017 — also known as the LOVE Act — would detail the history of the “lavender scare,” which sought to purge gay men and lesbians from the State Department in the years after the Cold War began.

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