Ed Smart calls coming out as gay the 2nd miracle of his life

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Edward Smart. (Photo from Smart’s Facebook page)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Ed Smart says the first miracle on his life happened when his teenage daughter returned home after being kidnapped from the family’s house in Salt Lake City in June 2002.

He says the second miracle was being warmly accepted by his neighbors, friends and family after he came out as a gay man earlier this year at age 64.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride celebrates Red & Green 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | More than 650 festive St Pete Pride supporters filled Sunken Gardens Dec. 7 for the organization’s annual Red & Green Party.

Sunken Gardens is St. Petersburg’s 100-year-old living museum, housing some of the region’s oldest botanical treasures amongst its more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. Attendees of the 10th annual holiday party explored its growing collection while enjoying a silent auction, appetizers, an open bar and a four-queen drag competition hosted by Tampa Bay entertainer Adriana Sparkle.

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PHOTOS: Parliament House’s courtyard gets lit for the holiday season

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Parliament House Orlando rang in the season with holiday cheer during its annual Light Up the Courtyard festivities Dec. 7.

After a lively dance number from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” stars Jack Skellington and Sally, Parliament House Entertainment Director Ms. Darcel Stevens called for all the trees in the courtyard to be lit up. Then attendees watched as Santa Claus, Mitzvah Moose, Krampus and other various holiday characters paraded down the courtyard with local LGBTQ organizations including the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Color Guard, Bliss Cares and the Orlando Youth Alliance.

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VIDEO: Lena Waithe drops trailer for new BET series, ‘Twenties’

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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Lena Waithe, the out lesbian woman of color who has been among those at the forefront in the struggle to bring more visibility and representation to the entertainment industry, is on a roll as 2019 comes to a close.

On the heels of an impressive opening weekend for her debut feature film, “Queen and Slim,” the Emmy-winner dropped the trailer for her upcoming television project on BET. Titled “Twenties,” it’s the first series in the network’s history to be centered on an LGBTQ character.

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NIAID Director to Congress: Help us implement plan to end HIV

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Dr. Anthony Fauci said that scientific advances have made it possible to end the HIV epidemic in the United States within the next decade if not much sooner. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told an audience of mostly legislative aides to members of Congress at a Dec. 5 congressional briefing on Capitol Hill that scientific advances have made it possible to end the HIV epidemic in the United States within the next decade if not much sooner.

In an impassioned description of what he calls “implementation science,” Fauci said he and his colleagues at the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal, state, and local health agencies are hopeful that a newly launched federal plan to end HIV will be able to overcome socio-economic barriers that have prevented the scientific advances from reaching those who could most benefit from them.

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Boston man charged with assault, hate crime after attacking gay man with shovel, box cutter

By : Wire Report
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BOSTON (AP) | A Massachusetts man accused of striking another man with a shovel, attacking him with a box cutter and calling him anti-gay slurs has been arrested on charges of assault and committing a hate crime, Boston police said.

Boston police officers responded to reports of an assault around noon on Dec. 3 and found a man bleeding from the head.

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Homophobic graffiti found on Palm Bay business windows

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: The partly illegible graffiti was spray-painted on Tizmal’s Treats.

PALM BAY, Florida | LGBTQ-owned shop Tizmal’s Treats was defaced earlier this month with homophobic graffiti.

Though the graffiti is partly unintelligible and riddled with misspellings, it is clear that homophobic slurs were spray-painted on the business’ window and front door.

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Federal court considers bathroom use by transgender student

By : wire report
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ATLANTA (AP) | A student has the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, a lawyer told a federal court Thursday, arguing that the issue is about the right of transgender students to “equal dignity.”

But the Florida school district that’s appealing a lower court order in favor of the transgender boy told three judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they should overturn the ruling and let the school district restrict students to the bathroom matching their at-birth sex to protect the privacy of other students.

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St Pete Pride and executive director part ways

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: St Pete Pride’s 2018 parade. Photo by Nick Cardello.

ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride confirmed Dec. 6 that Luke Blankenship will no longer serve as the organization’s executive director.

“Luke Blankenship is no longer employed by St Pete Pride,” St Pete Pride President Chrys Bundy shared with Watermark.  “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

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Philippines president appoints transgender woman to government

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, first row, third from left, with Dindi Tan, first row, fourth from left. Photo courtesy of Dindi Tan.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed a transgender woman to his government.

Dindi Tan, a long-time LGBTQ activist in the Philippines, is director of the country’s Department of Agrarian Reform. Tan had previously been the department’s assistant program manager.

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Watermark Giveaway: Tickets to see ‘A Drag Queen Christmas’ hosted by Nina West

By : Watermark Staff
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It’s the holidays and Watermark wants to gift you a pair of tickets to see some the most popular queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” this season!

“A Drag Queen Christmas” — hosted by Nina West and featuring Latrice Royal, Shuga Cain, Shea Coulee, William, Thorgy Thor, Lady Bunny and more singing seasonal classics and bringing that naughty holiday spirit — will be at The Plaza Live in Orlando Dec. 27 and the Straz Center in Tampa Dec. 29.

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Joseph Caldwell’s memoir ‘In the Shadow of the Bridge’ revisits 1980s New York, AIDS epidemic

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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New York was a different place in 1950, which is exactly why Joseph Caldwell loved it. The Milwaukee native, fresh from the Air Force and then 21, was finally ready to live openly as the young gay man he was. The city gave him that opportunity.

He found the home any New York-bound aspiring writer would want. It was an apartment “In the Shadow of the Bridge,” now the title of his memoir – which he saw published at age 91 this year.

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