Hallmark media CEO leaves, month after same-sex ad backlash

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Bill Abbott, photo via Twitter.

NEW YORK (AP) | The head of Hallmark’s media business is leaving the company after 11 years, just a month after its flagship Hallmark Channel faced an outcry over a decision to pull an ad with a lesbian couple kissing.

No reason was given for Bill Abbott’s departure, and no replacement was immediately named.

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The Tender Activist: Tips for surviving the political season

By : Scottie Campbell
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I’ll admit it. There are still people who I look at to this day and have a flashback to the 2016 election cycle and have to talk myself through not thinking of them as an idiot. Maybe you can relate: the choice seemed quite clear to me and I was repeatedly flummoxed by my friends and family not being able to see it. And here we are and it’s thanks to these idiots. Alright, they’re not idiots, but I have to talk myself through it.

I’ve shared in these pages how I cautiously approached this election, because the tender in my column’s name is no joke. I’m a fighter, don’t get me wrong, but my heart usually wins in the postmortem: Was that worth it? I truly am not sure. I tried last time around to engage and share and discuss. I worked harder to promote my candidate than ever before; I believed strongly. My behavior wasn’t always the best, I remember one inglorious exchange that ended with me telling the person to go fuck themselves. I’m not sure if they actually took my advice because they don’t talk to me anymore. As my marketing and public relations colleagues would say: It wasn’t a good look.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bell: Kevin Ligad and Nate Rohenkohl

By : Lora Korpar
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Kevin Ligad proposed to husband Nate Rohenkohl in front of the Eiffel Tower using the magic of numbers.

Nate said that though the couple were in one of the most romantic cities in the world, he never expected Kevin to get down on his knee right as the tower lit up and say “It’s been 1,830 days since we met, 1,700 days since we started dating and 1,550 days since I first told you I loved you – and now I want to spend every single day of the rest of my life with you.”

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01.23.2020 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I went to a small, Southern Baptist college in Mars Hill, North Carolina. It was definitely a culture shock. I considered myself a religion-wary, big city boy from Central Florida. Is that even an accurate statement for Orlando in 1993? There were still orange groves everywhere I walked and the East-West Expressway was just two lanes each way, with 25 cent tolls. Although, we had Blockbuster which was more than Mars Hill could boast. Mars Hill was a two-stoplight kind of town.

I didn’t hate it though, in retrospect I loved it. College is where I gained my passion for musical theater. I had the opportunity to stage manage a musical called “American Beauty.” It was a spoof on beauty pageants, but it made my sappy, young, gay heart melt.

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The Last Page: Samantha Ponzillo, photographer / filmmaker

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Last Page is dedicated to individuals who are making a positive impact on the LGBTQ community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

This issue, we check in with Samantha Ponzillo Media owner and #HashtagLunchbag Sarasota co-organizer Samantha Ponzillo. Keep an eye on this space to learn more about the movers and shakers of your community.

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Central Florida native Michael James Scott heads back to Agrabah (and Orlando) to play the Genie in ‘Disney’s Aladdin’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Michael James Scott has run the gamut when it comes to appearing on Broadway. He has been in “Mamma Mia!,” “Hair,” “Elf,” “Something Rotten!” and “The Book of Mormon” to name a few, but there is one role above all that he is most associated with — “Aladdin’s” Genie.

“I call it my ‘Genie journey,’” Scott says. “I never expected it to be a part of my life for this length of time and for it to literally take me all around the world.”

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Taylor Swift explains why she got political in new Netflix doc

By : Jeremy Williams
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(Screenshot from YouTube)

“I need to be on the right side of history,” pop icon Taylor Swift says about her jump into the political arena in the trailer to a new documentary film coming to Netflix Jan. 31. “Miss Americana,” directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Lana Wilson, follows Swift throughout the making of her album “Lover” and as she finds her political voice over the last few years.

Prior to the 2018 mid-term elections, Swift had been quiet publicly on matters of politics until she came out in an Instagram post endorsing two Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee in October 2018. Less than a year later, Swift encouraged her fans to support The Equality Act — legislation designed to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination on the basis of  sexual orientation and gender identity — in the music video for her single “You Need To Calm Down,” which featured dozens of LGBTQ entertainers.

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Mormon school to allow same-sex partners in ballroom event

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Brigham Young University (BYU) will allow same-sex couples to compete in a national ballroom dance competition hosted by the school, a move that goes against the institution’s code against gay relationships, officials said.

BYU was required to lift its ban on same-sex couples competing in the U.S. National Amateur DanceSport Championships, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

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Sundance to include LGBTQ panels by Outfest

By : John Paul King of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Film Inquiry)

LA’s Outfest has been hosting a famous Queer Brunch at the Sundance Film Festival for years, but this year the organization has announced plans to expand its presence there for the first time in more than a decade.

The world-renowned LGBTQ Film Festival announced Jan. 20 that it was launching the Outfest House @ Sundance, an afternoon of celebration and education for festival alumni, community and fans of cinema celebrating the LGBTQ films at Sundance. Taking place in the heart of the festival at Kimball Terrace, it will offer a program of panels and discussions with industry professionals, exploring the history, politics and purpose of queer cinema.

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Anti-LGBTQ sermon delivered at church Pence attended for MLK Day

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Above: Vice President Mike Pence (Photo by Michael Key of the Washington Blade)

Vice President Mike Pence spent his Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend attending an anti-LGBTQ sermon at a church in Memphis, Tenn., where a minister said a “demonic spirit” was responsible for same-sex relationships.

Delivering the sermon on Sunday was Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor, the pastor of the Holy City Church of God in Christ, whose remarks along with Pence’s address were live-streamed on the White House website.

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N.J. becomes ninth state to ban ‘gay panic’ defense

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Tuesday legislation that would prohibit the use of gay or trans panic as a defense in state court, making the Garden State in the ninth in the United States to enact such a law.

“We will always stand with our LGBTQ+ community and promote full equality for all our residents,” Murphy said in a statement. “Gay and trans panic defenses are rooted in homophobia and abhorrent excuses that should never be used to justify violence against vulnerable populations. With this new law, we are enacting critical measures to protect our friends and neighbors in the LGBTQ+ community.”

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Va. Senate passes four LGBTQ rights bills

By : Philip Van Slooten of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: The Virginia State Capital (Photo by Michael Key of the Washington Blade)

The Virginia Senate on Jan. 21 approved four LGBTQ rights bills.

Senate Bill 245, which state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County) introduced, would prohibit any health care provider or counselor in Virginia from practicing so-called conversion therapy. The measure passed by a 20-18 vote margin.

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