Derek Shaye shares his story, advocates for Zebra Coalition ahead of the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Derek Shaye performs on stage in CFC Arts’ production of “Bye Bye Birdie” this past summer. (Photo courtesy of Derek Shaye)

Six years ago, Derek Shaye ran away from home. After years of struggles — including homelessness and trafficking — Shaye found help with the Central Florida LGBTQ youth organization Zebra Coalition. Now, 23-year-old Shaye is ready to tell his story.

Shaye grew up in Washington with a very religious family. He referred to his home as “unstable and abusive,” especially as an LGBTQ person.

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GLAAD partners with UN on Spirit Day campaign

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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GLAAD has partnered with the U.N. to fight bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and its Free and Equal campaign worked with GLAAD to create a “Purple the World” video that is available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese. The video debuted on Wednesday, a day before GLAAD’s Spirit Day that has taken place on the third Thursday of October since 2010.

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The Last Page: Ben Johansen

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Last Page is dedicated to individuals who are making a positive impact on the LGBTQ community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

This issue, we check in with Embellish FX co-owner Ben Johansen from Central Florida. Keep an eye on this space to learn more about the movers and shakers of your community.

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Murder, arson convictions upheld in death of Army veteran

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Garry Joseph Gupton. (Photo from Guilford County jail)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) | A North Carolina court has upheld a man’s first-degree murder and arson convictions in the death of an Army veteran set on fire in a hotel room.

The state Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 rejected arguments by Garry Joseph Gupton, now serving life in prison for Steven White’s 2014 death. Gupton’s lawyer failed to persuade the judges that prosecutors didn’t prove it was arson and that prosecutors failed to show Gupton was sane when the crime occurred.

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Senate Dems buckle on trans service in defense talks: source

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), second from right, joins transgender service members in the Capitol Rotunda before the State of the Union Address on Feb. 5, 2019. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In a rare display of intraparty fighting over LGBT rights, a senior Democratic aide is accusing Senate Democrats of buckling in efforts to overturn the transgender military ban as part of closed-door negotiations for major defense spending legislation.

Amid negotiations for the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill, the senior Democratic aide late Oct. 15 faulted Senate Democrats for failing to push for inclusion of the “Harry Truman” amendment introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and approved by the U.S. House as part of the legislation.

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1 trans woman stabbed, another carjacked after dating app meeting in DC

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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D.C. police are seeking help from the public in identifying a male suspect who allegedly met two transgender women through a dating app known as Tagged and forced one of them to turn over her car at knifepoint and stabbed and robbed the other victim.

Police reports for the two incidents say the perpetrator, believed to be the same person, met the first victim through the Tagged app and arranged to have her pick him up on Oct. 7 at approximately 4:45 a.m. in a parking lot at an apartment building.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Tish Dhumrongyud and Natassia Wekarski

By : Marianella Falbo
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“I was feeling lucky that day and drove to Tampa to play some poker. Little did I know, I hit a jackpot and found the love of my life,” says Tish Dhumrongyud.

Tish and her wife Natassia Wekarski had met at Southern Nights Orlando in 2014, then reconnected at the Hard Rock Casino on Feb. 13.

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Analysis: Most states lack laws protecting LGBTQ workers

By : wire report
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Rumors started circulating around the fire station in Byron, Georgia, within a year after the medical treatments began. The fire chief’s once-crewcut hair was growing longer, and other physical changes were becoming noticeable. Keeping quiet was no longer an option.

The chief said that once members of the tiny Fire Department were told, word spread “faster than a nuclear explosion” through Byron—a city of about 4,500 in a farming region outside Macon known for growing Georgia’s famous peaches.

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Detroit suburb bans so-called gay conversion therapy

By : wire report
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FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) | A Detroit suburb has banned so-called conversion therapy, a scientifically discredited practice to change a gay person’s sexual orientation or someone’s gender identity.

Ferndale council member Julia Music says the ban is an effort to build a “safe and inclusive space” for all people. The Detroit News says the vote was unanimous Monday.

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Waitress refuses to serve couple over transgender comments

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Brittany Rossio-Spencer, screenshot via TMJ4 News.

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) | A Fond du Lac woman says she was fired from a restaurant for refusing to serve a couple who were making disparaging comments about a transgender woman sitting at the bar.

Brittany Rossio-Spencer worked as a server at Fat Joe’s Bar & Grill in Fond du Lac. Spencer says she went to her manager last Saturday night to ask if someone else could serve the couple because she felt that ignoring their hateful comments was just as bad as saying disparaging things.

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France OKs bill legalizing IVF for lesbians, single women

By : wire report
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ABOVE: French President Emmanuel Macron, photo via Facebook.

PARIS (AP) | France’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bill that aims to give single women and lesbian couples legal access to in vitro fertilization, egg freezing and fertility medication.

The assisted reproduction measures are part of a broader bioethics bill voted by the National Assembly, the lower house, where French President Emmanuel Macron’s government has a majority. The bill passed 359-114. It must still go to the Senate for debate.

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Buttigieg delivers forceful performance on debate stage

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: (L-R) Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang and Beto O’Rourke, photo via CNN.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivered a forceful performance during the Democratic debate Tuesday night, demonstrating a rare knack for both rising above the fray and engaging in it.

The contradictory—but effective—approach from the gay candidate during the debate in Westerville, Ohio, was seen in particular toward the end when Joseph Biden and Elizabeth Warren were quarreling.

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