High Fidelity: Out for the holidays

By : Miguel Fuller
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I told your grandma you are gay.” That statement didn’t come from my mom when I came out in high school, when I had my first boyfriend in college or when I was honored as Grand Marshal of St Pete Pride in 2016. My mom called and told me that a couple of months ago. After being open and honest in my personal and professional life since high school I was still nervous to tell grandma.

There are a couple of reasons why the timing of this statement was so important, like I was deciding if I should finally bring my longtime boyfriend to meet my family. In my 33 years of life I had never taken anyone home for the family to meet. Now I was a few months away from the holidays and I was struggling on what to do. My mom knew that I was nervous about talking to my very religious grandmother about my sexuality. To add to it, there was more stress on my shoulders because I’m African-American and my boyfriend is white. So without ever having had that conversation with my grandmother, I was about to introduce her and the rest of my family to my white boyfriend. 

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Second Chances: The LGBTQ community, addiction and the road to recovery

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Editor’s Note: At their request, the last names of three recovering addicts featured in this story have been abbreviated for their anonymity and to protect the programs utilized to maintain their sobriety.

It wasn’t drinking his own urine that forced Michael J. to make a change in his life. He’d already decided he should. That just got him high again from the crystal meth coursing through his system, his only access to the drug while strapped to a hospital bed in Central Florida.

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YouTuber Logan Paul announces plans to ‘go gay’ in March, receives backlash

By : Amanda Espinosa
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YouTuber Logan Paul is no stranger to controversy. Paul found himself in hot water last year after a video, which has since been taken down, went viral featuring Paul laughing at a suicide victim in Japan’s “suicide forest” Aokigahara.

On Jan. 9, Paul made waves once again after announcing that he would “go gay” for the month of March.

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New Kansas guv latest to sign order against anti-LGBT discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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On her first day of office, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Jan. 15 became the latest new governor to sign an executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination.

Kelly signed the directive, Executive Order No. 19-02, shortly after being sworn into office in Topeka. The order bars discrimination in state employment, services and contracts based on numerous characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Bill would void South Dakota transgender athletes policy

By : wire report
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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) | South Dakota lawmakers are set to debate a bill this session that would void an activities association policy allowing transgender students to request to play on the athletic team that matches their gender identity.

The legislation introduced Jan. 14 would require a student’s sex to be determined by their birth certificate or a South Dakota High School Activities Association physical exam form. It means years of legislative debates over transgender students in South Dakota will continue during the 2019 session.

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Sister of slain Brazilian councilwoman calls for justice

By : wire report
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) | The sister of slain Brazilian councilwoman Marielle Franco on Jan. 14 expressed concern about the conservative new governor’s commitment to solving the case.

Ten months to the day since the slaying of Franco and her driver, sister Anielle Franco said Gov. Wilson Witzel’s recent actions as a candidate were “worrisome.” During last year’s campaign, Witzel participated in a rally where two other candidates showed off a street sign honoring Franco that they had broken.

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N.Y. advances ‘ex-gay’ therapy ban, long-awaited transgender protections

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With Democrats in control of the New York Senate for the first time in a decade, lawmakers on Jan. 15 sent to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo two long-awaited pro-LGBT measures — one banning widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy, the other banning anti-transgender discrimination.

The New York Senate approved the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which amends the New York Human Rights Law to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, housing, public spaces and education, by a vote of 42-19. The Assembly later approved the legislation by a 100-40 vote.

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Civil partnerships bill sparks debate in Thailand

By : Victor Maung OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Thailand could become the first country in Asia to endorse same-sex marriage after a bill that would allow same-sex unions was approved.

The country’s Cabinet approved the civil partnership bill on Dec. 25, which has sparked debate among members of the LGBTI community. The move is seen as a milestone in efforts to improve legal rights for the estimated 6 million LGBTI people — an estimated 8 percent of the country’s total population — who live in Thailand.

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Nashville Police name 1st full-time LGBT community liaison

By : wire report
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) | The Metro Nashville Police Department has named its first liaison to the LGBTQ community.

Chief Steve Anderson announced Jan. 10 that Officer Catie Poole will serve in the new role. Poole is a five-year Nashville Police veteran who recently was a downtown bicycle officer.

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Wichita’s Winefest loses partner for excluding LGBTQ bars

By : wire report
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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) | The annual Midwest Winefest fundraiser in Wichita will have to find a new wine distributor after its partner pulled out of the event because organizers decided not to invite back certain bars and restaurants with LGBTQ clientele.

Standard Beverage’s chief financial officer, Angie Wilhelm, told The Wichita Eagle the Wichita liquor distributor will not work with the festival scheduled for April 25-27 this year.

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Ohio’s new GOP guv signs order against anti-LGBT discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Newly sworn-in Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed on Jan. 14 during his first day in office an executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination in state employment.

The directive, Executive Order 2019-05D, is one of six executive orders DeWine signed upon taking office and bars discrimination based on numerous characteristics, including race, color, religion, gender, national origin, military status, disability, age and genetic information.

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Out actor Jonathan Bennett joins ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ season two

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Gay actor and TV host Jonathan Bennet has joined season two of “Celebrity Big Brother.”

Bennett, 37, is best known for playing Aaron Samuels, Lindsay Lohan’s love interest, in the 2005 teen comedy “Mean Girls” and for hosting “Cake Wars.” He came out as gay in 2017 and is currently dating TV host James Vaughan.

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