City of Orlando to host 3rd annual Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Adam Manno
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Orlando – For the third year in a row, community mentors will team up to empower Orlando’s LGBT youth at the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit Feb. 6.

The City of Orlando, in partnership with the Orlando Youth Alliance, GLSEN, Darden Restaurants and other local organizations, will host O-YES from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Orlando City Hall first floor rotunda.

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The United Nations is using Sarasota’s National Stamp Exhibition to launch its first ever LGBT stamp series

By : Jeremy Williams
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UN Free & Equal Stamps series

UN Free & Equal Stamps series

The United Nations Postal Administration announced that they will issue a series of six stamps which commemorates the fight for LGBT rights at the Sarasota National Stamp Exhibition Feb. 5.

The stamp series is a part of the UN’s Free & Equal campaign which looks to spread global education on LGBT equality and to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, according to their website.

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Watermark Year in Review: 2015

By : Jamie Hyman, Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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We’re not sure about you, but we’ve had a hell of a year!

In the forthcoming links of literature and reflection, you’ll see some of our highs and our lows as a community, but we’d be lying if we didn’t scream “we made it!” to the tune of ABBA’s “Happy New Year” at this point. There’s a lot in here, and, sadly, some that is not (comment and tell us what we overlooked, please!)

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A year later, Leelah Alcorn’s message still resonates

By : Wire Report
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Cincinnati (AP) – The message of a transgender teenager who urged people to “fix society” before she stepped in front of a tractor-trailer in southwest Ohio still draws attention – one year later.

Leelah Alcorn, 17, of a northeastern Cincinnati suburb, walked onto Interstate 71 in the early morning hours of Dec. 28. Her death was deemed a suicide. A note on her Tumblr blog pleaded for her death “to mean something.”

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Trans-positive: Tristan Byrnes, a compassionate voice for the transgender community

By : Krista DiTucci
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Amidst the transgender community’s tragedies and struggles in 2015, local hero Tristan Byrnes has been fighting to raise awareness and celebrate the community’s victories.

Byrnes, licensed mental health counselor, provides assistance in gender issues through his private practice, New Transition Therapy. But he feels his advocacy for the transgender community should extend beyond one-on-one work in order to make a real difference.

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A remarkable advocate and teacher: Lindsay Kincaide leaves a legacy of care

By : Ciara Varone
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Lindsay Kincaide is leaving her position as director of clinical services at the Center this month after a 15-month tenure, but the body of work that she has done for Central Florida’s LGBT community remains.

“The Center was the first community-based organization in this area offering free Hepatitis C testing, which I brought in,” Kincaide says.” I’m trying to make sure that our programs here in Orlando are cutting edge, that they provide the best services possible to clients, and that was providing them with more than just HIV screenings. They needed Hep C. They needed STIs.”

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TBGLCC holds transgender panel discussion at monthly dinner meeting

By : Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA – Tampa Bay Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce held a transgender panel discussion at their November Dinner Meeting at the Barrymore Hotel in Tampa Nov. 18.

The panel, hosted by TBGLCC President Ashley Brundage and held in honor of Transgender Awareness Month, featured retired gender therapist Dr. Kathleen Farrell, METRO’s Lucas Wehle, the University of Tampa’s Caitlin Jones and Citi’s Carolina Gutierrez as special guest speakers.

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Mr. Blue Sky: Rolling in the deep

By : Eric Rollings
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Eric Rollings

Ten inches is a lot! This is one estimate on how much the sea level will rise in the next 15 years. Our coastal neighbors will be feeling brunt of this first; in fact Miami Beach and surrounding lower areas were seriously flooded this week. The summer of 2015 worldwide was the hottest ever on record and I could guess Central Florida added to this both in temperature and rainfall. Climate change is here – it’s not what is coming, it is what has arrived, and its threats have become promises.

Some years back a friend of mine asked, “Why do you care about the environment? You’re gay; it’s not like you’re going to have kids?” The fact is the LGBT community is concerned about the environment and we are having more and more couples creating families with children. The scary part is that we can’t leave it to our next generation to figure things out. We need to address the issues today, and we can do it sensibly. The LGBT community has proven itself time and again: When we come together, things change for the better. Our environment, which affects all of us, needs to be at the top of our list of goals,and here’s why. Property values: Areas that are more prone to flooding are required to carry expensive flood insurance and, as the frequency of flooding increases, it will be more difficult to sell homes in those areas. As we experienced in Tampa and Orlando this summer, you don’t have to live on the beach to feel the effects of what a more severe climate can bring to our neighborhoods. Water is life: Clean water for the LGBT community is as important as the African-American community as the Latin community – you get the point … everyone without exception.

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Headdress Ball 2015 raises $325,000 for Hope and Help

By : Jamie Hyman
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Headdress Ball 2015 is in the books.

Here’s the press release from Hope and Help: 

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us: On Being Racist, Sexist, and Having Gay Cave People’s Brains

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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Steve Yacovelli

Steve Yacovelli

I have a confession to make: I’m a racist.

For those who know me, that might come as a shock, since I’m a diversity and inclusion consultant. But yes; I’m racist. But you know what? To some extent you are, too.

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Russia to double spending on HIV care in face of epidemic

By : Wire Report
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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will double its spending on HIV care and prevention next year in the face of a growing epidemic, the country’s health minister announced on Oct. 30.

Veronika Skvortsova earlier this week raised the alarm about the HIV epidemic in Russia, saying that it would spiral out of control by the end of decade if the funding for treatment is not raised. She said that with the current funding the government can provide care for less than a quarter of HIV-positive patients in Russia.

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Kansas group plans to commemorate 50th anniversary of gay rights meeting

By : Wire Report
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City group is making plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a national gathering of LGBT activists that is credited with helping to kick off the gay rights movement.

In February of 1966, the activists gathered at a downtown Kansas City hotel. The meeting led to the “The Phoenix Society for Individual Freedom,” which opened an LGBT community center and began a publication that was distributed nationally.

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