Never again, but why now?

By : Jamie Hyman
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In the weeks since a shooter killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., survivors have been featured in a town hall on national television, visited the Florida Legislature and led a march of more than a million protesters nationwide, demanding sensible gun control.

In the weeks following the shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016, the levels of advocacy and response were far more muted, which is forcing members of the LGBTQ community to wonder why, after a mass shooting that at the time was the deadliest in U.S. history, government officials, the media and the Pulse survivors with the volume and intensity that are leading millions to take action today.

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The LGBT+ Center Orlando to open second location in Kissimmee

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc.’s board of directors announced April 6 that they will be expanding into Osceola County with an LGBT+ Center in Kissimmee.

The new expansion is a result of a donation from the Contigo Fund, an initiative of Our Fund Foundation that emerged from the Pulse massacre. Program Director Marco Antonio Quiroga said, in a press release, that the Contigo Fund recognizes the road to recovery for the survivors continues, and will continue for years to come.

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Pulse shooting survivors sue Google, Facebook, Twitter for ‘providing support and resources to ISIS’

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Sixteen survivors from the June 12, 2016 massacre at Pulse Orlando filed a federal lawsuit in the Middle District Court of Florida April 4 against Google, Facebook and Twitter asserting the online media titans provided “material support” to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly referred to as ISIS.

The 122-page lawsuit states the plaintiffs are seeking damages against the three companies “for aiding, abetting, and knowingly providing support and resources to ISIS, the notorious designated foreign terrorist organization that carried out the June 12, 2016 terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 innocent civilians and wounded some 53 others.” The lawsuit goes on to list the 16 plaintiffs.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: William and Ziggy Shockley

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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A whirlwind romance ends with an Eiffel Tower proposal on a surprise trip to the City of Light.

“I know it’s very cliché,” says William Shockley, “but we actually met at our local bar. I remember eyeballing this very attractive man standing against the wall.” William and Ziggy ended up chatting throughout the night. “He made my knees weak!” says William. He watched Ziggy leave and was filled with regret when he realized they hadn’t exchanged numbers. William ran outside and caught Ziggy before he got into his car. “Not only did we exchange numbers, but we kissed right then and there. It was totally unexpected, but absolutely lovely.”

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Community leaders take to social media to remember the victims after Pulse gunman’s wife found not guilty

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Noor Salmon, the wife of the Pulse gunman, was acquitted March 30 of charges that linked her to the nightclub shooting.

Salmon was charged with obstruction of justice and providing material support to a foreign terrorism organization.

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Come Out With Pride announces new board president

By : Jeremy Williams
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New Come Out With Pride board president Jeff Prystajko.

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced the appointment of Jeff Prystajko as the board’s new president March 19 after Brian Riha completed his two-year term in the same position.

Prystajko has been with COWP for several years, most recently serving as director of marketing and communications. He has also held leadership positions with both the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA Orlando) and the Human Rights Campaign in Orlando.

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The Enzian Theater brings a plethora of LGBTQ movies to the 27th Annual Florida Film Festival

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Enzian Theater is Central Florida’s only full-time, nonprofit alternative cinema. Along with first-run independent features, Enzian offers a variety of special events including the nationally recognized Florida Film Festival which has been a staple in the area for more than a quarter century.

“The Tiedtke family started the Enzian Theater in 1985 championing the belief that ‘Film Is Art,’” says Valerie Cisneros, Enzian Theater’s marketing manager. “In the early ‘90s they decided to start a film festival, the Florida Film Festival, and it has been hosted at the Enzian since its inception 27 years ago.”

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PHOTOS: Protest at Pulse after trial verdict

By : Maia Monet
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After Noor Salman was found not guilty on all charges today, protesters made their feelings on the verdict known at Pulse. As cars passed by honking their support, the protesters stood stoically and silently carrying signs that read “We will not let hate win.”

More photos after the jump below.

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Widow of Pulse gunman acquitted

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A jury on Friday acquitted Noor Salman of charges that she helped her husband carry out the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Federal prosecutors charged Salman with obstruction of justice and providing material support to a foreign terrorism organization in connection with the June 12, 2016, shooting that left 49 people dead and 53 others injured. Salman’s trial began earlier this month at a federal courthouse in downtown Orlando that is roughly two miles from the Pulse nightclub.

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Prosecutors: Pulse Nightclub shooter intended to attack Disney Springs

By : wire report
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando nightclub shooter intended to attack Disney World’s shopping and entertainment complex by hiding a gun in a stroller but became spooked by police and instead chose the gay club as his target, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Prosecutors revealed those details during their closing arguments in the trial of Noor Salman, the widow of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. Salman, 31, is accused of helping her husband in the attack that killed 49 people in 2016. She is charged with obstruction and providing material support to a terrorist organization and faces up to life in prison if convicted.

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Babes in Bonnets sets record in fundraising for OYA

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Babes in Bonnets, The Parliament House’s annual Easter fixture, set a fundraising record bringing in $32,171 for the Orlando Youth Alliance March 26.

The previous record was set last year when Babes in Bonnets brought in $28,000 for OYA.

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Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith recognized by The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation

By : Jeremy Williams
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WASHINGTON | Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) was awarded the Legislative Leadership Award at The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation’s AIDSWatch in D.C., according to a press release issued March 27.

Smith was selected for his HIV advocacy and, more specifically, for his part in helping to convince Publix Supermarkets to cover the HIV preventative drug known as PrEP for their employees.

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