Watermark 25: Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Watermark began covering Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community in 1995, not long after its 1994 founding in Orlando.

It was more than a decade before I would move to Florida and more than two before I would be fortunate enough to become Watermark’s Tampa Bay Bureau Chief, but it’s a decision I’m very thankful that our founder Tom Dyer made just the same.

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#LoveHandlin: Family

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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Everywhere I’ve been in my life—every memory filled with laughter, companionship and solidarity—has been defined by family. From my own family in Puerto Rico, to the families that have cared for me in D.C., Mexico City and now Orlando, to the co-workers I spend so much time with; they have shown me the true magic that two or more people loving each other can create.

It is an insuperable feeling when in hard times, sickness or peril someone from your family circle comes to the rescue, calls you or even texts you. It is our innate response to always be available to others, especially those we have grown up with, shared a life-changing moment with, those we have decided to marry or those who are brought to this earth as our children. I am sure that as your read these lines, many people come to mind, along with flashbacks of those milestones that have defined your relationships to them.

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Trans woman shot to death near Washington DC

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Police in Fairmount Heights, Md., a small town in Prince George’s County just across the border from D.C., are appealing to the public for information about the murder of a 27-year-old transgender woman who was found shot to death on a street about 6:30 a.m. on March 30.

Neither Fairmount Heights police nor P.G. County police, who have taken over the investigation of the murder, had released the woman’s name or identified a possible motive for the killing as of March 31. But friends who knew her informed D.C. transgender activist Earline Budd that the woman’s name is Ashanti Carmon, a D.C. resident.

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Court rules Trump admin ‘incorrect’ in moving forward with trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In a development that could complicate the implementation of the transgender military ban, a federal judge in D.C. ruled the Trump administration is “incorrect” in determining no legal impediment remains in place barring enforcement of the policy.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton appointee, issued a notice on March 19 asserting her injunction remains in place for the time being despite an order from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacating the decision.

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LGBT employees among D.C. workers targeted by hackers

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT D.C. government employees were among possibly thousands of city workers targeted by foreign and domestic hackers last week through a barrage of suspicious emails, according to employees and an official with the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO).

“The District of Columbia government received multiple and perhaps coordinated email phishing attacks from overseas and domestic sources on Tuesday, July 24,” said Barry Krucoff, OCTO’s Interim Chief Technology Officer in a statement to the Washington Blade.

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Hawaii governor signs bill banning conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Friday signed into law a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors.

“Sexual orientation is not an illness to be ‘cured’ — we accept you just the way you are,” said Ige in a tweet that included a picture of him signing the bill.

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Charges lowered, men sentenced in 2016 Md. trans murder

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVEKeyonna Blakeney, 22, was stabbed to death in 2016. Photo courtesy Facebook.

In a little-noticed development, prosecutors in Montgomery County last year dropped first-degree murder and armed robbery charges against two D.C. men arrested for the April 16, 2016 murder of transgender woman Keyonna Blakeney, 22, in her room at the Red Roof Inn in Rockville, Md.

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NGLCC changes name to National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The NGLCC on Friday announced it has changed its name to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

The organization made the announcement at the end of its National Dinner that took place at the National Building Museum in downtown D.C. Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell co-founded what was then called the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in 2002.

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Judge blocks Trump from enforcing transgender military ban

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A federal judge in D.C. has blocked President Trump’s ban on transgender military service as litigation against it moves through the judiciary, allowing transgender troops currently serving in the armed forces to breath a sigh of relief.

In a 76-page decision, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton appointee, restores the military policy on transgender troops before Trump’s directive under the likely assumption his action violates the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment.

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HRC official killed in D.C. motor scooter crash

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Cassidy Karakorn, the Director of Consumer Marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, was killed Saturday night, Aug. 26, when the motor scooter she was driving on Florida Avenue, N.E. crashed into a Volkswagen SUV after the driver of the SUV attempted to make a U-turn from the wrong lane, according to a statement released by D.C. police.

“The HRC family is mourning the loss of our beloved colleague and friend, Cassidy Karakorn,” HRC said in its own statement on Tuesday.

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ACLU sues Metro to reinstate ads for Milo, others

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday charging that the D.C.-area Metro transit system’s decision to ban advertisements for a book written by gay conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos and “message” ads from three other groups, including the ACLU itself, violates the First Amendment.

Noting that Metro initially accepted the ads for Yiannopoulos’ book before abruptly taking them down last month, ACLU lawyers filed a motion asking for “immediate relief” from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for reinstatement of the ads to avoid further loss of revenue from book sales.

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Trial begins for man charged in D.C. murder of trans woman

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A D.C. Superior Court trial began on Wednesday for a District man charged with first-degree murder while armed for the February 2012 stabbing death of transgender woman Deoni JaParker Jones, 23, at a bus stop in Northeast Washington.

Police and prosecutors charged Gary N. Montgomery, who was 55 at the time of the incident, with stabbing Jones in the head as she stood at a bus stop near her home at East Capitol Street and Sycamore Road, N.E. on the evening of Feb. 2, 2012.

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