HRC gives a perfect score to Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg in annual ratings

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Oct. 8 that Orlando, St. Petersburg and Tampa each received a perfect score of 100 in the organization’s seventh annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI).

The report examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are for LGBTQ people who live and work in each city rated by the organization. The score is based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.

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LGBTQ groups gather in South Florida to announce Gillum for Governor endorsements

By : Jeremy Williams
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MIAMI | Three LGBTQ organizations—one local, one statewide and one national—gathered at the CIC in Miami Sept. 24 to jointly announce their support for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in his bid to become Florida’s next governor.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) joined with Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization, and SAVE, a South Florida LGBTQ advocacy group, to commit working together to secure full equality for Florida’s LGBTQ community, according to an HRC press release.

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Christina Aguilera opens comeback tour with gay proposal

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Christina Aguilera kicked off her “Liberation” tour at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla. Sept. 25, her first tour in over a decade, by helping a gay man propose to his partner.

Aguilera closed out her set with the song “Unless It’s With You” from her new album “Liberation.” The lyrics include “I don’t want to get married, unless it’s with you.” She donned a white dress for the wedding-themed song.

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Fifth black transgender woman murdered in Florida this year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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North Port, Fla. | North Port police are investigating the murder of Londonn Moore, 20, the fifth known black transgender homicide victim found in Florida this year.
Moore’s body was discovered Sept. 8, miles from her hometown of Port Charlotte in a remote area of Sarasota County’s North Port. Local outlets and law enforcement have repeatedly misgendered Moore and utilized her dead name, prompting criticism from community advocates.

Equality Florida and other national organizations released a call for urgent action Sept. 14, citing the 2018 Florida murders of Sasha Garden, Cathalina Christina James, Antash’a English and Celine Walker. Along with Moore, their deaths account for a quarter of all reported anti-transgender murders nationwide.

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Florida authorities investigate threat painted on garage

By : wire report
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NEWBERRY, Fla. (AP) | Authorities in a North Florida county are investigating a threat and slur used against transgender people that was spray painted on a home garage.

The Gainesville Sun reports Alachua County deputies discovered the vandalized garage while patrolling a neighborhood in the town of Newberry early morning on September 7. Newberry is located west of Gainesville.

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Two catholic priests arrested in Miami for performing sexual act in a car

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: Diego Berrio and Edwin Giraldo Cortez were arrested in Miami after allegedly performing sexual acts in a parked car, reports said. Photo courtesy of Miami Beach Police Department

Two Catholic priests from Chicago were arrested in Miami on Sept. 3 for allegedly performing a sexual act in a car parked on a Miami Beach Street.

“This is in broad daylight, 13th Street and Ocean Drive,”  Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez says. “There are no tints on the window.”

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Equality Florida Action PAC endorses Andrew Gillum for governor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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MIAMI | Equality Florida Action PAC, Florida’s only political committee working to end discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians, announced its endorsement ofgubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum Aug. 31.

“Andrew Gillum has been a consistent champion for LGBTQ equality, and Floridians will see the stark contrast between his record on equality and his opponent who has embraced the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies of the Trump-Pence administration,” PAC Chair Stratton Pollitzer released in a statement.

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Florida AG Pam Bondi files suit against defunct Legendary Journeys, ‘Al and Chuck’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed legal action against Legendary Journeys, Inc., owner/president Adrian L. Ferguson, Jr. and vice president Charles T. Scott Aug. 21, alleging the defunct travel agency owes consumers over $3 million.

Defendants Ferguson and Scott, commonly known as Al and Chuck, operated the LGBTQ-friendly, Sarasota-based travel agency and its statewide branches until its abrupt closure Oct. 24, 2017. According to the complaint, the duo “deceptively and unfairly collected millions of dollars from consumers for the supposed purpose of booking travel but failed to deliver on the promised trips or to issue refunds to their customers.”

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State Sen. Campbell: ‘The gay people have their rights, I have my rights’

By : Jeremy Williams
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MIAMI | Incumbent state Sen. Daphne Campbell (D-38) answered with “I have my rights” when pressed about her anti-LGBTQ record during an informal, unofficial senate debate Aug. 19. Campbell faced off with challenger Jason Pizzo on CBS Miami’s “Facing South Florida,” a local Sunday morning political show.

Host Jim DeFede, who moderated the discussion, asked Campbell about her 2015 vote, when she was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, to maintain the adoption ban for same-sex couples.

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Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial candidates

By : Samuel Johnson
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The whole of Florida politics is in flux during this primary midterm election cycle. While the Democrats are looking to flip the balance of power in the state legislature, the incumbent Republicans are trying to retain their advantage on that balance of power.

Many Floridians are keeping an eye at the top of the ballot, especially the gubernatorial race. Current Florida Governor Rick Scott has been term-limited out and has thrown his hat into the Senate race against incumbent Bill Nelson.

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LGBTQ and ally candidates talk Florida’s Aug. 28 vote

By : Samuel Johnson
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The midterm election primaries are right around the corner on Aug. 28. The LGBTQ community numbers nearly 900,000 Floridians, comprising 4.1 percent of the adult population of Florida. Of that adult LGBTQ population, more than a quarter of them are raising children. Based on these numbers, the LBGTQ vote can impact elections, especially in the primaries.

In Florida there are candidates throughout the state who are advocates for the LGBTQ community. They are vowing to protect and promote equality for LGBTQ—and all—Floridians. The midterm primaries in Florida are boasting at least eight openly gay candidates, plus a slew of advocates and allies who are running.

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Gay teen kicked out of home will pay $0 to attend Georgetown

By : wire report
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) | After raising nearly $130,000 to cover tuition, the gay Florida valedictorian who says his parents kicked him out will pay nothing to go to college this fall.

News outlets report Georgetown University adjusted 18-year-old Seth Owen’s financial aid package, reducing his expected out-of-pocket contribution from $20,000 to $0.

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