Celine Walker becomes fourth reported transgender homicide victim in 2018

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | Celine Walker became the fourth reported transgender homicide victim this year on Feb. 4, though news of her death was delayed after local police reportedly misgendered her and utilized her birth name in official reports.

Walker, a 36-year-old transgender woman of color, was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound at an Extended Stay America hotel near the St. Johns Town Center. According to transgender advocate Monica Roberts of the TransGriot blog, “the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is claiming they have a policy that does not refer to victims as transgender.”

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Parkland shooting inspires new calls for gun reform. Will it be enough?

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gay candidates are seizing upon the energy for gun control after the Parkland shooting. Screen capture courtesy of ABC News YouTube.

In the aftermath of America’s most recent mass shooting — a tragedy at a high school in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead — gun control has emerged as a defining issue ahead of the congressional mid-term elections and LGBT candidates are among those bringing it the forefront.

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Florida judge deliberating transgender teen bathroom lawsuit

By : wire report
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed by a transgender teen against the St. Johns County school district over the right to use the boys bathroom is being deliberated by a judge.

The Times-Union reports that in his freshman year, Drew came out as a transgender boy. He changed his clothes and his hair, he underwent surgery and began hormone treatment, and for about six weeks, he used the boys bathroom. But the district told him he would have to start using a gender-neutral bathroom or the girls room.

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LGBT groups condemn Fla. high school shooting

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT advocacy groups on Wednesday condemned the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., that left at least 17 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.

The Pride Center in Wilton Manors, which is located roughly 20 miles southeast of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Wednesday said in a Facebook post that “at least 17 families and countless loved ones face unspeakable tragedy tonight in Broward County.”

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Church says gay teacher fired by Miami Catholic school

By : wire report
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MIAMI (AP) – Church officials say a gay schoolteacher has been fired by a Miami Catholic school after marrying her same-sex partner in an apparent violation of church rules.

Archdiocese of Miami officials confirmed to the Miami Herald that first-grade teacher Jocelyn Morffi lost her job at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School on Thursday, the day after she returned from her Florida Keys wedding.

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Jacksonville city attorney: challenge to gay rights law ‘defective’

By : wire report
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The city attorney in Jacksonville says an initiative intended to challenge a new gay rights law cannot be legally placed on the November ballot.

The Florida Times-Union reports that city general counsel Jason Gabriel said in a memo this week that the initiative is “defective” because it would grant local voters a power they do not have. Gabriel says only the Jacksonville city council has legislative authority.

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UPDATE: Publix to begin covering HIV preventative drug PrEP for employees

By : Jeremy Williams
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UPDATE:

After meeting with state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Publix announced they would begin allowing PrEP to be covered for their employees under their prescription benefits.

The company took to Twitter saying:

Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers. We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families.

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‘Storm Chasers’ star Joel Taylor found dead on board gay cruise

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Joel Taylor, star of the Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers,” was found dead of a suspected overdose on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship on Tuesday. He was 38.

The ship, Harmony of the Seas, was being chartered for Atlantis Events’ all-gay cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale, Fl. on Jan. 20 with planned stops to St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee.

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Adult film star Matthew Rush enters drug program after third arrest

By : Staff Report
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WILTON MANORS, Fla. | Gay adult film star Matthew Rush was arrested and booked by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Wilton Manors on Jan. 17, the third time he’s been arrested in South Florida since September, according to the gay porn blog Str8UpGayPorn.

Rush, whose real name is Gregory Andrew Grove, was initially arrested Sept. 19 and charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Florida man robbed at gunpoint in Grindr app setup

By : wire report
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Florida police say a man thought he was going on a date set through an app, but instead was attacked and robbed at gunpoint.

Police say a 21-year-old Taborice Lee Foster lured his target using Grindr, a dating app for gay men. When the victim arrived to his home in Panama City, Foster and another man attacked him, pointing a gun from behind while searching the date’s pockets and stealing his wallet.

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Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance threatened on the federal level by new bill

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | Jacksonville’s City Council approved an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting the LGBTQ community less than a year ago, but those protections are already in danger at the state level.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jay Fant has introduced House Bill 871. It would allow businesses to set their policies in accordance to their religious beliefs—something Jacksonville attorney and LGBT activist Jimmy Midyette calls “insidious.”

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Richardson raises more than $1 million in his run for Congress, earns national endorsement

By : Jeremy Williams
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Democratic State Rep. David Richardson raised more than $500,000 in the final three months of 2017 for his run to become the next U.S. Congressman in Florida’s 27th District, according to FloridaPolitics.com.

Adding in what he raised earlier in the year brings his total to $1 million since announcing his run this past summer.

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