The LGBT+ Center to honor community leaders at Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center of Orlando (The Center) will honor local LGBTQ leaders and businesses during the 2019 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast at Dubsdread in Orlando May 22.

The seventh annual event—named for the first openly gay elected official in California and LGBTQ icon Harvey Milk—will be hosted by the Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell, and will take place on what would have been the slain civil rights leader’s 89th birthday. The day is designated as “Harvey Milk Day” in the U.S.

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PHOTOS: The Center Kissimmee holds its grand opening and ribbon cutting

By : Jeremy Williams
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. | Politicians, media, local leaders and community members all gathered at the new LGBT+ Center in Kissimmee for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 15.

George Wallace, executive director of The Center, welcomed guests before introducing a string of political leaders — State Rep. John Cortes, Congressman Darren Soto and Osceola County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb — who all expressed gratitude for The Center coming to Kissimmee. Grieb also presented The Center with a proclamation from the county. 

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Osceola County to consider domestic partnership registry

By : Alex Storer
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Officials at Orlando Regional Medical Center — where many victims of the Pulse shooting were treated — refused to disclose medical information to the gay partners of some of those wounded in the attack, according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

The hospital cited the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, as the reason. HIPAA is a 1996 law designed to protect citizens’ rights to privacy about their medical information.

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Take action! Osceola County to consider living wage ordinance on Monday

By : Billy Manes
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Perhaps we should blame Hollywood and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for the false pretense of queer pageantry, but that tired stereotype that gays and lesbians sip cosmos and casually ponder how to spend their vast sums of disposable income masks some harsh realities.

The truth, as UCLA’s Williams Institute pointed out last year, is that more than 20 percent of LGBT adults rely on food stamps, and twice as many report being food insecure, compared to the nation as a whole. We’re not all taking long walks down far-thrown beaches waiting for our next disposable purchase. We’re talking just getting by and serving people turkey legs. In Osceola County, an MIT study concluded, the living wage for one adult with one child is $22.92 an hour. The inequities are clear.

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Grieb unseats incumbent for county commission seat

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Cheryl Grieb

During the craziness of covering Florida 2014 Midterm Elections one candidate seemed to fly under the radar in our result coverage—openly gay Democrat Cheryl Grieb who unseated Republican Frank Attkisson by only 106 votes for Osceola County Commission District 4 seat.

Grieb is a former Kissimmee city commissioner and Vice Mayor, but said this race was one of the toughest she’s ever had to face. She is currently the chairperson of Greater Osceola Partnership of Economic Prosperity and a member of the Downtown Kissimmee Area Council for the Chamber of Commerce.

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Cheryl Grieb running for Osceola County Commision

By : Staff Report
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Kissimmee vice mayor Cheryl Grieb has her sights on a new job.

Grieb, who is openly gay, has announced her campaign for Osceola County Commission, District 4. She has served on the Kissimmee City Council since Dec. 2006. The upcoming general election is Nov. 4, 2014.

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Out Kissimmee commissioner seeks re-election

By : Stephen Miller
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“I’ve tended to be a quieter commissioner,” says Cheryl Grieb, Kissimmee’s first gay elected official. “It’s tended to work well for me, because it’s like E.F. Hutton: When I do speak, people listen.”

Grieb, who has lived and worked in Osceola County for most of her life, was first elected in 2006. She is up for re-election in August.

Grieb_671490084.jpgHer post is significant to all LGBT people living in small Florida towns. Kissimmee has well over 50,000 people, but for most of its life, its population was barely over 5,000. In fact, it would’ve likely remained a small town if Walt Disney World hadn’t moved next door in 1971, about the same time a young Grieb and her family came to Central Florida from New Jersey.

“My mom was very strong. My father passed away two years earlier, and he left her with kids ranging from 10 months old to 12 years old,” Grieb said.

Grieb’s mom started doing real estate, later owning her own business. Grieb graduated from Osceola County High School, attended a semester at University of Florida, and then came back home to take a position at the front desk of her mom’s business. In 1991, Grieb bought the business. She sold it just over 12 years later.

Grieb never touts her sexual orientation, but she’s never hides it, either. Instead, she and her partner Patti Daugherty seek to improve the city’s downtown, battle rural sprawl, and help the local economy.

“I thought my being gay would come out during the election, and it did not become a big issue,” Grieb said.

There has only been a single incident, which occurred last summer. Fellow commissioner Art Otero made a motion to change the Kissimmee city logo to include the worlds “In God We Trust.” At first, Grieb was supportive, knowing they worked in an area that largely espoused spiritual and religious values.

However, at a July 28 commission meeting, Otero revealed more of his personal opinion on the matter: “This nation has been moving toward more liberal postures such as homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of marijuana.”

“I never felt that it was an attack on me personally,” Grieb says. “I know a lot of people feel that way, and it was unfortunate.”

The logo change was dropped. The official reason was the $200,000 cost to Kissimmee, which has felt the recent economic pinch. Kissimmee is the seat of Osceola County, which has the largest foreclosure rate in Central Florida.

“The economy as a whole is on everyone’s minds at the moment,” she said. “We’ve worked to have self-discipline as city employees and as citizens. We have a great city manager; we’ve done well overall with our finances.”

Grieb said, though there have been a few people laid off, the city tries to move employees around instead of putting them on unemployment. Grieb also uses her real estate knowledge to intelligently manage local growth and said she wanted to work with the city to ensure growth while maintaining some of Kissimmee’s charm.

“We basically changed an ordinance for the project saying they had to be 300 feet away from Broadway,” she said. “You can’t have those tall buildings that are going to dwarf, cover and shadow the old building. So we got the best of both worlds for that.”

It was that project that first energized her work as Commissioner.

Even though her sexual orientation hasn’t been an issue, Grieb recently asked her fellow commissioners to explore a domestic partnership benefit package. The mayor and other commissioners, even Otero, gave the nod to move forward.

“It’s not going to be just for gay partners; it’s for unmarried heterosexual partners as well,” she said. “We have a lot of elderly folks who for one reason or another cohabitate, and this will help them.”

So far, her levelheaded approach has served her well.

“I am the type of person who has to absorb information for a while, mull it around, look at pros and cons, look at consequences, and then come out with what I think and why,” Grieb says. “I feel people here appreciate that.”