PHOTOS: MBA Orlando rocks Universal’s CityWalk with its 2018 Pride Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | MBA Orlando went all out for its 2018 Pride Gala Business Awards at Universal CityWalk’s Hard Rock Live Aug. 4.

The show opened with Alina Alcantara and the Brunch Bunch performing the Academy Award-winning song “This Is Me” from the 2017 film musical “The Greatest Showman.” Emcee’s Jorge Estevez and Miss Sammy then took the stage with their always entertaining comedy back-and-forth.

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The Center Orlando and Zebra Coalition will expand partnership to new Kissimmee Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando and Zebra Coalition announced Aug. 8 that they will expand their collaborative services to the brand new LGBT Center location in Kissimmee.

The program expansion —made possible by grant support from both the Contigo Fund and Orlando Health — will include youth mental health counseling support, as well as youth and parent support groups facilitated by a Zebra Coalition mental health counselor.

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Orlando mayor announces Florida’s first multi-stall, all-user government building restroom

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Aug. 7 that City Hall will be the first government building to house a multi-stall, all-user restroom in the state of Florida.

The announcement was made during Dyer’s 2018 State of the City where he laid out “60 reasons we love Orlando and are excited about our future.” The theme is meant to coincide with the mayor’s 60th birthday.

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The Center Orlando announces opening of new Kissimmee location

By : Colton Adkins
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. | After releasing plans earlier this year to expand into Kissimmee, The Center Orlando has announced the location and opening date of its new LGBT+ Center.

The Center Kissimmee, located at 21 W. Monument Ave., will open Aug. 8 with an official grand opening and ribbon cutting scheduled for Aug. 15.

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How Central Florida’s Middle Eastern and Muslim LGBTQ community has found their voice post-Pulse

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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Recall two seminal moments from our recent history: Most—if not all—of us nearing our mid-thirties and beyond remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center fell to the ground. Similarly, thousands will never forget the morning they woke up and heard about the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

For many, these two events may share very little in common: the scope of the terror, the size of the cities in which they occurred, the generality or specificity of their victims, how removed or close-to-home the impact.

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k.d. lang takes her breakout album ‘Ingenue’ on the road 25 years after its debut

By : Gregg Shapiro
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To this day, more than 30 years since her major-label debut “Angel With a Lariat” and just over 25 years since her Grammy Award-winning commercial breakthrough album “Ingenue,” there is still no one who can compare to k.d. lang.

Her powerful and emotive voice and her distinctive performance style have yet to be matched. Whether she’s performing the country music of her early career, her pop-oriented mid-career work or her distinguished interpretations of standards, lang is a singular performer and artist of the highest order.

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Come Out With Pride announces its week-long schedule of events for Pride 2018

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its schedule of events at its 2018 Big Reveal at Tin Roof Orlando July 30. COWP will extend its official events from the traditional three-day weekend to a full week of events.

COWP’s week-long series of events will take place throughout Orlando Oct. 8-14. Several community leaders took the stage at the Big Reveal to make the announcements.

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Paintball shooting in Lake Eola linked to potential LGBTQ hate crime

By : Jeremy Brener
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ORLANDO | Police are investigating a possible hate crime at Lake Eola Park in Orlando after several LGBTQ individuals were attacked by a paintball gun being shot from a moving vehicle on July 27. The attacker also shouted homophobic slurs at the victims.

One Orlando resident, who asked not to be identified by name, was shot in the leg with paintballs while playing the popular app game “Pokemon Go” with a friend at Lake Eola Park. He also says that a lesbian couple in the park told him they were also hit with paintballs.

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07.26.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As we head into the final summer month of 2018, I have been thinking a lot about the summer season from two years ago. All eyes were turned to Orlando as we were trying to make sense of a senseless act that left 49 people dead at Pulse. It was also a time when one of my college professors, Ken Carpenter, was battling for his life after a cancer diagnoses earlier in the year.

Ken was the journalism professor at Valencia College, and as I enrolled in more and more journalism classes he became a person that I started to see every single day. He became more than just a teacher to me. He became a friend and mentor, and not just to me. I can’t think of a single student who walked through those glass doors at Valencia College’s West Campus, passing by the mannequin wearing a suit made entirely out of newspaper, into the newsroom, who didn’t feel a connection with Ken that surpassed the word teacher.

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Point Foundation to honor Barbara Poma at National Leadership Dinner

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | Point Foundation will present its Leadership Award to Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse, at its 2018 National Leadership Dinner in Lake Buena Vista on July 27.

Since the Pulse shooting, Poma has been serving as the executive director of the onePULSE Foundation. onePULSE has worked with the Central Florida community to establish a permanent Pulse memorial and to give scholarships to the LGBTQ community.

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Openly gay teacher runs for Seminole County School Board

By : Colton Adkins
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WINTER PARK, Fla. | Openly gay Lake Howell High School English teacher Bobby Agagnina is running for Seminole County School Board District 4.

Agagnina, who was born and raised in Central Florida, has been teaching at Lake Howell for nine years. After graduating from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree of English, Agagnina knew he wanted to teach where he grew up.

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MBA Orlando’s 2018 Pride in Business Gala

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | The MBA Orlando LGBT Chamber of Commerce is hosting their annual Pride in Business Gala on Aug. 4 at the Hard Rock Live Orlando. Up to 350 LGBT & Allied business, civic and community leaders will be attending to celebrate diversity and inclusion in Central Florida.

This unique event will feature a red carpet entrance, six award categories and a VIP reception. According to the Pride in Business Awards Gala social media, awards will be presented by distinguished community leaders and and business professionals during a full course dinner. The Gala will also include a silent auction where all proceeds will go toward the non-profit Come Out With Pride, who hosts the Orlando Pride Parade every October.

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