Manatee Pride debuts, 1,500 attend

By : Steve Blanchard
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Bradenton – Jack Newton looked around Bradenton Riverwalk March 22 and was amazed. Not only by the size of the inaugural Manatee Pride, but the age range of those attending.

“I never knew there was such a community here,” Newton said as he browsed vendor booths. “I’m stunned, really. I would have never imagined all of this could happen here.”

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AIDS Walk Orlando will showcase diversity March 29

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – Since 1995, Hope and Help of Central Florida has hit the streets of Downtown Orlando to help raise money and awareness about those affected by HIV/AIDS in the region. This year the AIDS Walk Orlando returns on Saturday, March 29, where participants will walk 1.86 miles starting and ending at the Walt Disney World Amphitheatre at Lake Eola.

Chris Hessler, the events manager for the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, said one of his favorite parts of the entire day is the initial kickoff of the walk—diverse people from all over the Orlando community come together in support of the HIV/AIDS community.

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Opening Ceremonies of the Central Florida Softball League

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Get Tested! HIV testing resources are only a few miles away

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Many organizations offer confidential HIV testing and most can offer results within 15-20 minutes with the rapid test. Many are free, some charge. But there is no excuse for not knowing your status, especially with resources at your fingertips.

See a list of easy-access testing in our coverage area after the jump.

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2013 Orlando WAVE Awards Results

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Favorite local politician/activist
1. Patty Sheehan, Orlando city commissioner
2. Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor
3. Randy Ross
4. Joe Saunders, State Representative

Greatest straight ally to the local LGBT community
1. Linda Stewart, State Representative
2. Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor
3. Jack and Margo Dixon

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It’s all a masquerade for Headdress Ball 2013

By : Susan Clary
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Orlando When organizers of the outrageous, lavish black tie gala known as the Headdress Ball found out their 2013 event would be pushed to October 26, they took advantage of the delay.

In its 24th year, they are combining Halloween and Las Vegas, for the largest Masquerade Ball held in Central Florida.

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2nd Annual Black and White Gala doubles last year’s fundraising dollars

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando The numbers are still coming in, but Timothy Vargas, president of The GLBT Center of Central Florida (The Center) board of directors, said it looks like its 2nd annual Black and White Gala doubled the fundraising totals of the inaugural event.

Last year’s Gala raised about $17,000, and Vargas said he’s “extremely satisfied” and organizers worked to “dress up the event a little more than last year.”

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The Wedding Alliance’s Coming Out Party

By : Susan Clary
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There is no doubt the state of Florida is losing out on millions of dollars by refusing to legalize same sex marriage. So far, 13 states in the nation have seen economic gains by opening their doors to the LGBT community, and more are on the way.

But that hasn’t stopped Central Florida’s progressive wedding vendors from getting a head start. They have come together in support of marriage equality to form The Wedding Alliance, an organization to increase awareness of the economic and social benefits of gay marriage.

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IKEA and Zebra Coalition

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In June, a team of IKEA Orlando co-workers installed $10,000 worth of IKEA products and in-kind donations at The Zebra Coalition House, which provides a full continuum of services to the growing number of LGBT+ youth, ages 13 to 24, in Central Florida. The Zebra Coalition was named one of 38 charitable organizations across the county that was awarded $10,000 each in IKEA products, services and in-kind donations through the Life Improvement Challenge campaign.

The items included storage, seating, a grill, towels and robes and decor.

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The SCOTUS Rulings: A quantum leap forward, still work to do in Florida

By : Mary Meeks
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On June 26, 2013, our world changed forever. The highest legal authority in the nation declared that anti-gay bigotry is “obnoxious” to the Constitution, and cannot be tolerated.  The President of the United States cheered, and declared a “victory for democracy.”

I previously wrote a preview of the two huge gay rights cases being decided by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) this summer, United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.

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Orlando creates 3D mapping site for Gay Games 2018 bid

By : Staff Report
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Orlando is in the running to host the 2018 Gay Games, an Olympic-style event to promote and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Though the destination won’t be announced until 2014, the group promoting the destination, Orlando 2018, has teamed up with uOwn Real Estate, to provide a 3D map of the various sports complexes, parks and hospitality venues in Orlando for Gay Games’ decision makers. You can view the map here http://orlando2018.go3dexpansion.com/. You will need the Google Earth plugin, otherwise you will default to the regular 2D map. 

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Orlando Lawyer Barry L. Miller establishes arts foundation

By : Staff Report
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Orlando Lawyer Barry L. Miller has established a foundation to promote arts education, according to Mark Brewer, President/CEO of the Community Foundation of Central Florida.

The Barry L. Miller Foundation for Arts and Education will identify grant opportunities, provide financial support for scholarships and quality programming to individuals, artists, students, educational institutions, community groups, theatre companies and other artistic endeavors.

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