Orange Avenue to reopen this afternoon

By : Jamie Hyman
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PulseSWATAccording to the City of Orlando, Orange Avenue near Pulse nightclub will re-open today.

Here are the details from an announcement yesterday: 

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Michael Sam speaks out against religious exemption measure

By : Wire Report
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Jefferson City, Mo. (AP) – Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL draftee, slammed a Missouri measure that would shield some businesses that deny services for same-sex weddings, telling fellow opponents Wednesday that it is “the opposite of respect and it is the opposite of equality.”

Sam, who came out as gay before the 2014 NFL draft after starring at the University of Missouri, said the measure would make it easier than ever for people to discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

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Battle between religious and gay rights splits GOP states

By : Wire Report
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JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — Republican lawmakers upset about the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage have advanced measures in about a dozen states this year that could strengthen protections for those who refuse on religious grounds to provide services to same-sex couples.

The bills could benefit court clerks, photographers, florists, bakers, wedding-hall operators and others who say gay matrimony goes against their beliefs.

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Tampa Pride exceeds expectations for the second year in a row

By : Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA – From the early morning breakfast buffet at Hamburger Mary’s to the late night after parties at Ybor’s plethora of bars, Tampa Pride’s second year brought large crowds of people to every corner of the historic district March 26.

“What a great day,” Carrie West, Tampa Pride president, says. “People were here from all over the country. I am very happy and proud of the hard working Tampa Pride Directors and the hundreds of volunteers.”

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LGBT discrimination in North Carolina: Backlash round-up

By : Wire Report
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Across the U.S., big business is pulling out of North Carolina and state governors are banning travel to the state. This following the passage of a state law that prevents municipalities from passing measures that project LGBTs.

A round-up of the latest wave of backlash after the jump. Here’s yesterday’s round-up. 

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Dominicans see LGBT rights advancing with gay US diplomat

By : Wire Report
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Santo Domingo (AP) — Deivis Ventura is still just a candidate for the Dominican Republic’s Chamber of Deputies, but he feels like he’s already scored a victory.

The 42-year-old former private school teacher, the first openly gay person to run for his country’s Congress, is delighted his campaign has not encountered overt hostility as it likely would have in the past.

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Business leaders discuss supplier diversity at City Hall event

By : Adam Manno
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Orlando – LGBT leaders across Central Florida are now armed with valuable insight and community support after the Metropolitan Business Association’s “Synergy of Equality” at Orlando City Hall.

The MBA partnered with Out and Equal and City of Orlando to present the supplier diversity discussion which featured a keynote address by Jonathan D. Lovtiz, Vice President of External Affairs for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, followed by a panel Q & A.

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Clearwater’s Tech Data establishes LGBT employee resource group

By : Billy Manes
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tech data gay lgbt workforce inclusiveEven as we mourn the loss of a common-sense protection bill, the Competitive Workforce Act, earlier this week in the legislature, some companies are keeping up the compassion and moving forward with the shifting economic playing field. Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported on Tech Data’s new in-house initiative called Spectrum, “an employee resource group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers and allies,” the Journal reports. It is reportedly the 14th Florida business to do so,  basically because modern businesses need to court modern talent, and much of that is LGBT if not just LGBT-friendly.

Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith was in attendance as the keynote speaker for the meeting and offered her own wisdom on the issue.

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Watermark Year in Review: March 2015

By : Jamie Hyman, Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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As they celebrated their 25th year, the Orlando Gay Chorus also named James Rode as their new artistic director and conductor. Rode, who is also the vocal director for Celebration High School in Osceola, was excited and pleased to be at the helm for the OGC’s 25th year. Rode showed what he was capable of with his inaugural OGC concert One Voice at the Plaza Live which celebrated a quarter century of music in the LGBT community.

The Hope and Help Center raised funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS for the 20th year with the Orlando AIDS Walk March 28. The two-mile march around Lake Eola brought more than 1,400 walkers and raised over $120,000. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence led the walk followed by 89 registered teams and individuals.

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Indiana chamber backs statewide gay rights protections

By : Wire Report
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Less than a year after big business helped pressure Indiana Republicans to scale back their contentious new religious objections law, the state’s powerful business lobby has decided that step wasn’t enough.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the voice of the state’s business establishment, called Nov. 5 for Republican Gov. Mike Pence and the GOP-controlled Legislature to extend the state’s civil rights protections to bar discrimination against people based on their LGBT status.

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Fitting In: The LGBTQ Employee & Business Culture

By : Steve Yacovelli
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Steve Yacovelli

Steve Yacovelli

Imagine: It’s your first day on the job, and your friendly HR person gives you a pamphlet on what you should look like at work. In this “look book” it defined what your hairstyles should look like (men: short!), the amount of jewelry you can wear (women: very little!), what to do with body art you might have (cover it!), types of clothing style (no pants for women!), even the amount of cologne or perfume you can wear (very minimal!).

Now imagine you’re a transperson sitting in that HR office who is just starting to transition. What do you do? You don’t want to potentially lose the new job you fought so hard to get, but you want to be authentic to yourself and who you are as a person. Or consider you’re a cis- or gay man who doesn’t necessarily conform to the gender stereotypes of “masculinity,” or a cis- or lesbian woman who doesn’t conform to the stereotypical “femininity.” What do you do when that “look book” is shared with you, defining what your “work self” should be?

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard

By : Anonymous
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St. Pete photographer sets a hater straight

Clinton Brentwood Lee, a photographer from St. Petersburg, shoots weddings and other events for his company Brentwood Photography. Like many people on Facebook, Lee changed his profile picture for his business page to show support for marriage equality in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on June 26.

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