Addressing mental health concerns within the minority LGBTQ community

By : Samuel Johnson
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“Mental health is not a lack of willpower. Mental health is not being inflicted by the Devil. Mental health isn’t about not being strong enough to cope with life.” This is the opinion of psychiatrist Dr. Z. (She has requested that her name remain anonymous).

Dr. Z is a Hillsborough National Alliance on Mental Illness board member and has both clinical knowledge as well as the mental health delivery system. Untreated mental health, as she views it, is a serious public health issue; “Not in the contagious sense of the word. I can’t catch depression from someone else. I can’t catch schizophrenia from someone else. I can’t catch bipolar [disorder] from someone else. But how I’m feeling does impact others. For example, social ails like homelessness, like prison populations, where a lot of that has to do with untreated mental illness; society at large is impacted by the way we that we approach the treatment of mental health.”

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‘Daughters of the Dust’ gets 25th anniversary release

By : Brian T. Carney of the Washington Blade, courtesy of National Gay Media Association
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Timing is everything. Just ask Tim Lanza, vice president and archivist of the Cohen Film Collection. Last spring, he and his team were working on the restoration of Julie Dash’s ground-breaking 1991 film “Daughters of the Dust” for its 25th anniversary.

Then Beyoncé suddenly dropped her visual album “Lemonade,” which included many visual references to Dash’s groundbreaking film, and interest in the restoration project soared. The anticipated home video release grew into a limited theatrical release, the first since the film premiered in theaters in 1992.

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The gloves come off as the race for District 70 gets closer

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG – The candidates are upping their attacks as the Democratic primary for District 70 gets closer.

St. Petersburg business owner, and openly gay candidate, Dan Fiorini has called Tampa Bay area lawyer CJ Czaia out for hiring Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter as a campaign consultant.

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Fox’s ‘Empire’ plans to ‘blow lid off homophobia’

By : Wire Report
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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – The creator of Fox’s prime-time soap “Empire” said he wants to “blow the lid off homophobia” in the African-American community with a depiction of the show’s lead character’s hostile relationship with his gay son.

Lee Daniels, who was also behind the movies “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “Precious,” said that his own father’s hostility toward gays frightened him and he knows the same attitudes are being passed on from one generation to another in households around the world.

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Through modern and traditional media, Your Real Stories breaks social boundaries

By : Chris Muscardin
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St. Petersburg – The 2011 dramatic film The Help had quite the impact on St. Petersburg resident Lillian Dunlap. It inspired her to take a look at the stories of the real life ‘help’. What started as a small project to showcase “Decades of Day Work” has turned into a journey of stories turned into plays turned into art shows.

Now, Your Real Stories, the organization that produces the show, has announced its first official season.

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A journey of self-discovery and a gender-bending lion cap off American Stage in the Park’s The Wiz

By : Zach Caruso
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St. Petersburg – American Stage in the Park, one of St. Petersburg’s most beloved annual traditions, is back for its 29th year, and with its biggest production yet. Starting on April 11 and running through May 4, the seven-time Tony Award winning musical The Wiz will take over Demens Landing Park along the city’s waterfront.

“At its basis, it’s the story of the Wizard Of Oz, and it actually more closely resembles the original story from the books than it does necessarily that first movie,” says director Karla Hartley, one of the only lesbian directors in Tampa Bay. “This particular iteration of it is seen from a multi-cultural perspective, which we thought was valuable in this day and age. It’s told with a different sense of music, it’s got more of a soul and R&B feel to it.

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Gay activist gives 96-year-old woman the gift of home

By : Susan Clary
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Orlando – They couldn’t be more different the 96-year-old African American woman who loves sitting home, chewing tobacco and watching soap operas and the 48-year-old openly gay activist, who dotes on his beagles and loves working in his yard.

Yet, Elizabeth Smith and Randy Ross sit together on a brand new couch in her renovated Carver Shores home smiling and laughing just before Christmas. Ross led the project, which he called “24 Hours for Mrs. Smith,” to raise money and donations for Smith, who lives on $500 a month.

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