Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor sworn in

By : Wire Report
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Salt Lake City (AP) – Jackie Biskupski was sworn in Dec. 4 as Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor, a landmark the former state lawmaker acknowledged shortly after taking the oath of office.

Biskupski, 49, said the historic moment should not be taken lightly, and noted great strides have been made for LGBT people in the state.

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Bono launches all-star AIDS campaign

By : Wire Report
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New York (AP) — Would you like to spend quality time with George Clooney as he showers you with compliments?

How about walk a red carpet with Meryl Streep or visit the set of “Game of Thrones”?

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Arrest made in NY attack on West Point gay couple

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Police say a New York City man has been arrested in connection with a bias attack in lower Manhattan against the first gay couple to be married at West Point.

Thomas Clabough of Queens was arrested Aug. 13 and charged with assault and attempted assault as a hate crime.

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Mark’s List founder killed after first leg of SMARTride charity event

By : Staff Report
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Marathon – Gay activist and founder of the gay travel and entertainment website JumpOnMarksList.com, Mark Haines, of Fort Lauderdale died Nov. 14 after he was struck by a pickup truck and two other vehicles on U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys near Marathon. He was 54.

Haines had just completed the first leg of the SMART Ride, a two-day, 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West that raises money for organizations working with those affected by HIV/AIDS.

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Guest Column: A ‘Smart’ Ride for good

By : Chris Rudisill
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Chris Rudisill

In 2010, I was still relatively new to Florida. My first year in St. Petersburg was spent getting immersed in the LGBT community, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and beginning to find joy in the immense cycling opportunities throughout our area.

In doing so, I heard other riders and new friends talk about this SMART Ride event—a two-day, 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West. Having never been to Key West before, my partner and I started to train for the 7th Annual SMART Ride, or Southern-Most AIDS Ride Twenty-ten.

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Seattle cyclist killed was attorney who fought DADT policy

By : Wire Report
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SEATTLE (AP) – The bicyclist who died in a collision with a truck in downtown Seattle was identified as a well-respected attorney who was part of the American Civil Liberties Union legal team that successfully challenged the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gay service members.

The King County Medical Examiner’s office identified the bicyclist as Sher Kung, 31, who had been working for the firm Perkins Coie.

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Guest Column: Beyond the ice bucket challenge

By : José Cofiño
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Jose Cofino

My partner of 16 years, Ben Trust, and I figured we would live a long life together. We were both healthy, regulars at the gym, and also loved to hike. We ate the right things and used sunscreen. As with many in the gay community, the way we looked was important. Then, slowly, I began to have cramping in my legs and abs, and twitching in my arms and legs. I thought nothing of it until after two days of hiking and bike riding, I collapsed when I got off my bike.

Several visits to neurologists, including two visits to the Mayo clinic, revealed the truth we were dreading – I was diagnosed with ALS. Ben and I were devastated. In an instant everything changed and little made sense. We didn’t know much about the disease, just as most people prior to the phenomenon of social media ice bucket challenges didn’t. Quickly, we learned it leads to death, on average, in three to five years.

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Orlando Outfest mixes July 4 with America’s modern families

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Converge Orlando and the Family Equality Council are heating up the Fourth of July weekend in Orlando with the first ever Family Outfest, a four-day, family-focused festival of events for the LGBT community and their allies July 2-5.

“We have observed that LGBTQ families are growing,” said Tatiana Quiroga, Family Equality Council’s southern regional manager. “More and more people are following their dreams of becoming parents and creating families and having this event we are showing our support.”

What can families expect from Outfest?

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The biggest changes are on the way, but there’s still plenty of new in the theme parks this Gay Days

By : Kirk Hartlage
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Every few years our area’s theme parks go through a phase where they each launch new shows, rides and attractions. Whether the ultimate goal is to provide guests with additional unique experiences and memories…or if it’s a bottom line-based attempt to capture as much market share of tourism dollars as possible is debatable. But hey: if it means fun and exciting new thrills for us, we’re good. And while you might think that the theme park engineers and designers would have their newest offerings all ready to go by Gay Days—because, seriously, who’s better at creating buzz around anything new than we are?—try as they might, sometimes they just can’t get everything running correctly, and safely, until later in the summer.

No worries, though. Even if you hit all of the area’s theme parks last year, there’s still plenty new to be found this year.

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2013 SMART Ride brings $130K to Metro

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – In November 2013, cyclists from across the country along with crew and volunteers traveled more than 165 miles by bike from Miami to Key West in the 10th annual SMART Ride. The event benefits charitable HIV agencies state-wide, including Metro Wellness & Community Centers.

This year, a record breaking $1,070,101.41 and 100% was guaranteed to direct services for those living with HIV in the state. Metro received $131,309.47.

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Super Joy Riders

By : Jake Stevens
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The Super Joy Riders met on July 28 for the first of many monthly bike rides. These “super heroes” travel around downtown Orlando battling litter, pessimism and spreading good cheer.

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Prickly Pear on the move

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Two food favorites moving to I-Drive
If you’ve driven past the South Eola location of the Prickly Pear or Nick’s Italian Kitchen, you may have noticed that both restaurants are now closed.

But we have good news: both will relocate to I-Drive. Owners Eddie Nickell and Nicholas Olivieri created the FMI Restaurant Group and the popular Banana’s Modern American Diner on Mills Ave. The exact location of the new restaurants hasn’t been announced, but FMI already operates the successful Funky Monkey Wine Company @ The Pointe. As far as the old locations are concerned, the Orlando Sentinel speculated that new eateries will soon fill the vacant spaces on the first floor of The Sanctuary.

Rethinking Urban Rethink
Urban Rethink has undergone some changes this summer, thanks to new ops manager Shaina Anderson and programming coordinator Brendan O’Connor. The creative and collaborative hub in Thornton Park is known for unexpected events. Now Anderson and O’Connor, the openly gay artist responsible for chairs chained to bus stops, are tearing up the schedule. New offerings include a superhero bike ride, rooftop drive-in movies, and a total makeover of the co-working/event space by the end of the year. But first up is a “Central Florida Office Hour Day,” which will coax executives and professionals to host young entrepreneurs for an hour on Friday, June 28.

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