Southwest Nature Walk & Book Talk

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Do you enjoy taking a walk and love to discuss books? Then join the Southwest Branch for a casual nature walk followed by a lively book discussion of Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Light refreshments will be provided. Meet at the trail entrance of the Dr. Phillips Community Park (Longhorn Steakhouse Loop). Enjoy the benefits of exercising your mind and body! Registration recommended. Ages 18 and up. For more information and in case of inclement weather, contact Sandy via email: or call 407.835.7323 for alternative event details.

The FHM Film Series: Paragraph 175 and Panel Discussion

By : Alex Storer
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The Florida Holocaust Museum invites the community to attend a special showing of the film Paragraph 175 followed by a panel discussion, featuring St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commissioner Tony Armer, Department Head of Film at Ringling College of Art and Design Bradley Battersby, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Tampa Dr. Christopher Boulton, and President of the Gasparilla International Film Festival Rachel Feinman.

Paragraph 175 is a documentary film released in 2000, directed by the Academy Award-winning producing/directing team Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and narrated by Rupert Everett. Between 1933 and 1945, 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code dating back to 1871. Some were imprisoned, others were sent to concentration camps. Of the latter, only about 4,000 survived.

This epic story is told through personal accounts of men and women who lived through it: the Jewish gay resistance fighter who posed as a Hitler youth member to rescue his lover from a Gestapo transfer camp; the Jewish lesbian who escaped to England with the help of an older woman she had a crush on; the photographer and loyal German citizen who was arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality, then joined the army on his release because he “wanted to be with men.”

Paragraph 175 has received numerous awards, including Best Documentary Jury Prize for Direction at Sundance 2000 and the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival.

The screening of Paragraph 175 is presented in conjunction with the traveling exhibition Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945, on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and on display at The Florida Holocaust Museum through July 2nd. Presented locally by Wells Fargo, this exhibition examines the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality, which left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.

The screening of Paragraph 175 and panel discussion is free and open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, June 21st at 6:30 p.m. at The Florida Holocaust Museum. Please RSVP by calling 727.820.0100, extension 301.

Same-Sex Couples Married in Florida Planning Panel Discussion

By : Jamie Hyman
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Topics include:
• Retirement Planning
• Estate Planning
• End-of-life Care and Planning
• Advance Directives
• Charitable and Planned Giving and Tax Advantages
• Empath Health Services

Panelists Include:
• Mark Vernick, Moderator
• Brian Ceras, Trust Officer
• Rachel Lunsford, Esq., Estate Planning Attorney
• Jodi Johnston, Financial Advisor
• Tracy Christner, Empath Choices for Care
• Karen Van De Putte, Suncoast Hospice Foundation

Coffee and dessert will be served during the panel discussion

Please feel free to bring friends, family or neighbors

Seating is limited. Please RSVP to Lynn Reed by Monday, June 27
at (727) 523-3405 or

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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Central Florida celebrates the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

By : Staff Report
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Safe sex may be an awkward conversation for some parents to have with their kids, but for those taking part in National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) on April 10, it’s a must.

The day, which targets those age 13-24, encourages getting tested, having a discussion about the virus and spreading information about how it affects the younger generation.

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2015 Youth Empowerment Summit focuses on LGBT youth issues

By : Kimberly Slichter
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Orlando – More than 50 people gathered in City Hall on Feb. 7 for the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (O-YES), an event organized to help teach the local community about LGBT youth issues.

The summit, which was sponsored by City of Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan, celebrated its second year. Although intended for younger generations, there were many older attendees hoping to learn more about the community.

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Local panel to discuss the impact of Florida’s same-sex marriage ruling

By : Staff Report
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Orlando – HRC Orlando/Central Florida is hosting a discussion panel about the impact of Florida’s same-sex marriage ruling.

The event is called “Marriage 101: A Panel Discussion on the Practical and Legal Impacts of Florida’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling” and will be held at the First Unitarian Church of Orlando on Jan. 22.

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Discussion on transgender protections moves forward in Pinellas

By : Steve Blanchard, Susan Clary
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The Pinellas County Commission on Aug. 6 voted unanimously to move forward with a discussion to include transgender citizens in protections enveloped within its human rights ordinance. The move comes five years after the commission voted to include protections based on sexual orientation, but opted to not include the terms “gender identity” within the ordinance.

The discussion will concern the replacement of the word “sex” in the current human rights ordinance with the word “gender.” That small change in language would expand protections to transgender people if they face discrimination in several forms, such as job termination, denial of housing or if they are banned from public accommodations simply because of their gender identity.

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After DOMA: Now What? Panel requests call to action

By : David Thomas Moran
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As LGBTQ Americans across the country continue to celebrate the June 26 Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the immediate future of marriage equality in Florida looks bleak. Even so, a call to action is growing state-wide to bring about change.

According to panelists at the “After DOMA: Now What” forum held at The Abbey in Downtown Orlando on July 17, Florida marriage equality still has some significant hurdles to overcome even with success of defeating DOMA and Proposition 8.

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