Transgender New Yorkers Have New Health Insurance Protection

By : Wire Report
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Transgender individuals in New York state have new protections when it comes to health insurance coverage.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says health insurers can’t deny coverage based on gender identity. A state Department of Financial Services letter Wednesday tells health insurers to take reasonable steps to determine if the insured is eligible for services before denying a claim.

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St. Pete Pride Executive Director Resigns

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Pete Pride announced this week that the organization’s Executive Director, Eric Skains, has resigned to “pursue new opportunities.”

In a press release, Skains said that his five years with the organization“have been extremely fulfilling and always challenging,” noting that “retooling and strengthening [the] organization tested [him] in ways [he] never expected.”

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Orlando Youth Alliance gives $14,000 in scholarships

By : Anna M. Johnson
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The Audubon Park Exchange community room, hidden above East End Market, buzzed with conversations ranging from the political climate of Central Florida to the effectiveness of the lighting in a production of Les Miserables. The students leading those talks wouldn’t be able to study politics or theatre without the help of local LGBT group Orlando Youth Alliance.

OYA serves LGBTQ children and adults between the ages of 13 and 24 in their three Central Florida locations. OYA specifically focuses on offering a community with safe spaces for self-expression. They hosted their reception for their six scholarship winners on Wednesday night.

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Prison doctor sues state alleging LGBTQ discrimination

By : Wire Report
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SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (AP) – A psychologist at a California prison facility has alleged she was twice locked in a room with a dangerous inmate in retaliation for reporting mistreatment of LGBTQ inmates.

Lori Jespersen sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Monday for violations of civil rights and whistleblower protection laws, as well as the Prison Rape Elimination Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. Jespersen is an employee of the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, which provides health care for incarcerated men. Her lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court’s Eastern Division of California, also names several corrections employees as defendants.

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Savoy Orlando’s Starlite Room gets into the theater game

By : Jeremy Williams
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Savoy has been the LGBTQ bar with a small town feel for more than a decade. In fact, it celebrates 13 years as Orlando’s small town gay bar this month.

In the last few years Savoy has undergone renovations and upgrades to its interior, and while the main bar has maintained its success with cool drinks and hot dancers, the other half has struggled to find its identity. Enter Orlando’s theater god Michael Wanzie.

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Tampa Bay’s soulful singer Jennifer Real is ready to go global

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Watch out, J.Lo: Tampa Bay has a Jennifer of its own, and she knows a thing or two about being “Real.”

Jennifer Real’s commitment to her craft has ensured that her career has flourished in the St. Petersburg community. The sultry singer won last year’s “Favorite Local Performer – Musician” WAVE Award and performs regularly throughout Tampa Bay, including last year’s WAVE Award celebration and (you may have heard of it), St. Pete Pride.

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Central Florida and Tampa Bay softball leagues celebrate milestone anniversaries this season

By : Steve Blanchard
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For more than two decades, LGBTQs in Central Florida have enjoyed friendship and sportsmanship on the softball field. The area’s two largest leagues are celebrating milestones this fall season.

The Suncoast Softball League in Tampa celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and the Central Florida Softball League will mark its 20th year when the first pitches are thrown out this fall. Besides their incredible growth over the years, both leagues have plenty of reasons to celebrate their respective milestone anniversaries in 2017.

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Pakistan bills offer unprecedented protections for transgender people

By : Helen Parshall of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Two groundbreaking bills have been introduced in Pakistan that would provide expansive legal protections to the country’s transgender community.

The Transgenders Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill and The Transgenders Persons (Protection of Rights) Criminal Law Amendment Bill would provide nondiscrimination protections for the trans community and criminalize acts of violence and discrimination.

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Appeals court reviews Louisiana governor’s LGBT-rights order

By : Wire Report
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Lawyers for Louisiana’s Democratic governor and Republican attorney general went back to court Tuesday to argue the constitutionality of an order aimed at protecting LGBT rights in state government.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is hoping an appeals court will reinstate his executive order banning discrimination in government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Edwards says a lower court judge erred in deciding he overstepped his legal authority.

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AFL-CIO president resigns from Trump manufacturing council

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Tuesday resigned from President Trump’s manufacturing council.

Trumka in a statement said he and AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee, who was also a member of the council, “cannot sit on a council for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism.

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Texas anti-transgender bathroom bill dies

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Texas House of Representatives adjourned on Tuesday without voting a bill that would limit transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 3 would have prohibited schools from allowing trans students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity. Critics also pointed out SB 3 would have undermined trans-inclusive nondiscrimination measures as they relate to access to bathrooms, locker rooms and athletic activities.

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Libya LGBT activist receives asylum in Germany

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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An LGBT rights activist from the Libyan city of Benghazi has received asylum in Germany.

The activist, who asked the Washington Blade not to publish his name, on Monday said during an exclusive interview from Berlin that he arrived in Germany in May.

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