Supreme Court could deliver bad news for LGBTQ teachers at religious schools

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ABOVE: Advocates gather for LGBTQ rights. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

Cases the Supreme Court has recently agreed to take up on the right for religious non-profits to hire and fire employees consistent with their faith could have major implications for LGBTQ workers at those institutions, LGBTQ legal advocates are warning.

Last week, the Supreme Court announced it had a granted a writ of certiorari, or agreed to hear, the two cases now consolidated as one: Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, Agnes and St. James School v. Darryl Biel.

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TEDxWinterPark : Being Human

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This year’s TEDxWinterPark events’ theme is Being Human. We will be examining all things that could define us as a species while looking at the most intriguing and interesting aspects about ourselves. We are excited for this special event on a day that evokes instant thoughts, feelings or memories. Friday the 13th. We are ending this decade and entering 2020 with all new possibilities. How will you define yourself next year? Will you be a Human Being or a Human Doing?

This event is open to the public.

-More Details Coming Soon-

As a TEDxWinterPark attendee, you will be a part of our live studio audience. Please note that you may end up on film. While devices will be allowed in the theater this year, we ask that those attending understand we hope to have you there and present and will request that no video or live streaming to social media occur.

Our goal is to showcase practitioners, makers, dreamers and thinkers who are contemporary and thought-provoking; who are pushing the boundaries of their own disciplines; and who are working towards a more purposeful, socially responsible future. Additionally, the event is multi-disciplinary by nature and the speakers echo the various perspectives present in our city, state, country and planet.

We are calling all change-agents to attend. Are you ready to be inspired?

Tickets are general admission and include access to the TEDxWinterPark after party and screening of documentary We Rise Up.


Alex Berenson
Chief Executive Officer

Presentation Title: Rising from the Depths of Despair. Mr. Berenson has been the CEO of Kikwear Inc., a Los Angeles based streetwear clothing company which he co-founded in 1991. Additional brands under the Kikwear corporate umbrella include Kikgirl, Greed, and Greedgirl. He has experience in running day-to-day operations of a consumer-facing manufacturing and distribution company. There is a major focus on managing domestic and international chain store accounts, domestic reps, and distributors. Inception to date sales of Kikwear are in excess of $250 million. Additionally, The next act for Berenson is launching his seed-stage start-up RECLAME Corp. He will serve as the company CEO. This 100% Organic CBD brand will feature unique flavors and fragrances throughout the debut line consisting of tinctures, gummies, toothpicks, Quick Strips, bath bombs, salves, and dog chews. In 2021, the company plans to offer 3rd. party tested flavored THC products.

Anwar Superstar
Life Experience – updated shortly

Anwar Superstar, born Anwar Khalil Prescott, is an American hip hop artist. He began rapping at the age of 14 on the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Anwar has battled MCs from across the US and abroad. Anwar’s skills have been compared to some of hip-hop’s most established MCs. Hip-Hop legend and pioneer KRS-One has requested for Anwar to perform alongside him on stage, as well as Lil’ Kim, whom he has opened for at NYC’s B.B. Kings. Anwar has also been on tour many times with various artists. Some of these include M.O.P., Pharoahe Monch, Kanye West, Common, Cormega, Talib Kweli, and Grammy and Emmy nominated artist Mos Def.

Bikram Mishra
Life Experience

Title of Presentation: Does Failure Actually Exist? Bikram has an MBA in Leadership, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis management, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, and an Associate of Science. These along with his 16 years of leadership and management experience, a customer communications and management certification. Bikram has many exemplary soft skills such as being a problem solver, communicator, team player, and fluent in English, French, and Spanish all sound good. But, more importantly, Bikram has been blessed with a character, personality, and outlook on life that have been forged through trauma. He credits these blessings, attributes that anyone can obtain, for his current and future accomplishments.

Dr Barbara Coffee
Couples, Family & Crisis Counseling

Dr. Barbara Coffee was born and raised in Europe. She speaks several languages and is very culturally aware. Although a practicing Christian, Barbara has a deep respect for all religions and alternative lifestyle choices. She sees her profession as a calling and truly loves what she does. Her education represents a continuing quest to be able to offer her clients the newest and most effective methods available to make the changes in their life that they want. Her passion for helping people has grown out of personally seeing suffering and successfully navigating her own life challenges. Compassion has come from having “been there” and learning ways to get through and thrive. Barbara’s clients call her sincere and down-to-earth. She excels at using her training and expertise in an easy-to-understand way to provide excellent, effective tools for her clients’ success.

Elias Piccard
CEO / Barber / Father / Husband

Moved to Florida in 1992 from NYC Queens where I was born and raised. Met my wife days after enrolling into college. Married her in 1998 and in 2000 my son Elias III arrived. I always had love for barbering so I decided to open my own barbershop. Uppercuts was established in 2003 here in the heart of Orlando. Life truly started for me on April 6 2006 when our son was diagnosed with autism.

Ernie G
Empowerment Comedian

For over 20 years, Ernie G has been one of the hottest, multi-talented, young Latino Entertainers & Comedians in the country! His comedy has been seen by millions on TV shows such as Comedy Central’s “Make Me Laugh,” B.E.T.’s “Comic View,” Ed McMahon’s “Next Big Star,” & Sí TV’s “Funny is Funny!” He is one of the original stars of Galavisión’s hit Comedy show “Qué Locos!” hosted by George Lopez, along with HBO Latino’s “Habla Again,” MUN2’s “La Chicas Project,” Sí TV’s “Latino Laugh Festival!” & “Inside Joke!” He also appeared weekly as “The Angry Angeleno” on the Ch.13 News in LA and as a Feature Reporter for “Fox Good Day LA!” Additionally, he has Performed for & Empowered Students, Faculty & Staff at over 500 of the Country’s Top Colleges, Universities, High & Middle Schools. He has also performed at Juvenile Detention Centers, Churches, Community Centers, Comedy Clubs & Venues!

Grant Anderson
CEO/President of Paragon Space Development Corp

Recognized as a leader in the life support in extreme environments field, he has led the systems & conceptual design of multiple spacecraft under contract to Lockheed Martin, NASA, Inspiration Mars Foundation & others. He has led the development & qualification of experimental flight hardware for five shuttle flights, two Mir missions, a Russian Progress, and the first commercial payload on ISS. Prior to starting Paragon, Mr. Anderson was the Chief Design Engineer for the International Space Station Solar Array Program–the largest solar arrays ever built–while employed at Lockheed Martin. Working at an aviation consultancy, he participated in the start-up of two airlines through route analysis, equipment analysis, and strategy advice. One went on to be America West, now part of American Airlines. Mr. Anderson also oversees a non-profit tuition scholarship organization that provides around $250,000 of scholarships to deserving children throughout southern Arizona.

Jason Flitton
Business Owner – Serial Entrepreneur

Title of Presentation: The Power to Brainwash Jason Flitton is a business executive currently in Orlando Florida, with years of education and experience in a variety of businesses, technologies, music, and the arts. Additionally, he is a serial entrepreneur with a mindset to leave the world in a much better place than where he found it. With a constant curiosity about the world around him comes the ability to truly look at the bigger picture of the world we live in. Hopefully to solve some of the problems ahead.

Jody Beyer
Police Officer

TITLE: Policing The Police

Matej Harangozo
Serial Entrepreneur

Title of Presentation: How has our Species Evolution Affect our Creation & Consumption of Music Matej Harangozo is an experienced, award-winning entrepreneur, innovative technologist & leading web/software systems visionary. He has been a driver of innovation & strategy while being instrumental in the development of cutting-edge platforms & automation protocols within his ventures. He has experience in growing companies in the real-estate, guerilla marketing & energy efficiency sectors. Currently, he’s the Co-Owner & Managing Partner of Codaemon, an E-Commerce Solutions Provider, & Founder of Open Source Entertainment, a Music Business Incubator. The music industry has been a quest for Matej since high school & he has created a successful business model conducive to this industry. Matej’s unique upbringing in Eastern Europe & being a US immigrant has shaped his unique outlook on business, innovation, history & culture.

Ricky Williams
Evolutionary Astrologer – NFL player (Retired)

Title of Presentation: What Astrology can teach us about being human. Ricky is an American former football running back who played 12 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) and one season in the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football for the University of Texas, where he was a two-time All-America and won the Heisman Trophy.

Ricky has become known in many circles as a unique healer with both a great knowledge base and the first-hand experience of a professional athlete. An integral part of Ricky’s approach to healing has come through the study of astrology, which he began in 2004 after living in an ashram during his first retirement from the NFL. Over the years, as he has wrestled with existential dilemmas in his own life, he has found time and time again that astrology offers him insights that have empowered him to transform wounds and traumas into access to internal resources and clarity of purpose.

Colleges hold trainings to better support LGBTQ athletes

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Kenyon’s Timothy Bussey and Denison’s Kayla Hayes. Photo via Twitter.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) | Coming out as gay or transgender can come with many questions and fears.

For LGBTQ student-athletes, it can mean uncertainty about whether teammates and coaches will be accepting, whether playing time will be reduced, and whether they can continue to play a sport that, for many, has been a key part of their life and identity.

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Zimbabwe judge issues landmark transgender rights ruling

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Ricky “Rikki” Nathanson (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A judge in Zimbabwe on Nov. 14 issued a landmark ruling in favor of a transgender woman who filed a lawsuit over the abuse she suffered after her arrest for using a women’s restroom.

Police in the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo in January 2014 arrested Ricky “Rikki” Nathanson after she used a women’s restroom in a hotel.

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Virginia women’s college updates transgender student policy

By : wire report
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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) | A private women’s university in Virginia has announced a new policy allowing students who transition from female to male while at school to remain enrolled and earn their degree.

Under the new guidelines at Hollins University in Roanoke, enrolled students who transition from female to male will no longer be required to transfer to another institution. As for applicants transitioning from male to female, they no longer have to complete a full surgical transition before being eligible for admission.

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Detroit suburb bans so-called gay conversion therapy

By : wire report
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FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) | A Detroit suburb has banned so-called conversion therapy, a scientifically discredited practice to change a gay person’s sexual orientation or someone’s gender identity.

Ferndale council member Julia Music says the ban is an effort to build a “safe and inclusive space” for all people. The Detroit News says the vote was unanimous Monday.

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Rep. Jennifer Webb launches re-election campaign

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Rep. Jennifer Webb welcomes supporters to the Historic Peninsula Inn Sept. 24. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

Gulfport, Fla. | Rep. Jennifer Webb officially launched her re-election campaign for Florida House District 69 on Sept. 24 at the Historic Peninsula Inn.

Webb became the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to the state legislature in 2018, where she currently serves as Democratic Deputy Whip. Her district includes 12 cities throughout Gulfport, Pinellas Park, St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg and more.

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Dartmouth lets students select chosen names

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Dartmouth’s Class of 2023. Photo courtesy Dartmouth’s Facebook page.

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) | Dartmouth College has become the latest university to allow students to easily change their name or gender identity in directories, on identification cards and elsewhere across the Ivy League campus.

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Weber State welcomes first openly gay student body president

By : wire report
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ABOVE, L-R: Weber State’s 2019-2020 cabinet. Rilee Jones, Kate Hughes, Gabe Taylor, Bret Alexander, Bailie Kidd and Erin Dominguez. Photo via Weber State.

OGDEN, Utah (AP) | Bret Alexander is the picture of success: He recently began his first year as a graduate student at Weber State University studying higher education leadership and leads the school as student body president.

He’s also the school’s first openly gay student elected to the position. But the ambitious, buoyant student traveled a difficult path to where he stands now, the Standard-Examiner reports.

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California law requires updating transgender grads’ records

By : wire report
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) | California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill requiring school districts to update their records to reflect the names and genders of transgender graduates.

Newsom announced Aug. 30 that he approved the bill by Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco.

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Mama Bearings: Happy Birthday, Jake!

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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Summer is upon us and my children have four weeks left until they go back to school. I am happy to say they are as eager to get back into the grind of public education as I am.

My oldest son will be a senior in high school and is excited to be in the home stretch. My daughters are super social and love the access to friends, gossip and picking out outfits daily. Jake, my youngest, is having a wonderful summer—what I would guess is the best summer of all four of them. Regardless of the fact that his dad moved out and that his parents are divorcing, my little guy is happier than ever. That’s in part because three summers ago he became himself.

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Nicholas Sparks accused of trying to ban LGBTQ club at Christian school

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Author Nicholas Sparks, known for penning bestselling romance novels such as “The Notebook” and “A Walk to Remember,” has been accused of trying to ban an LGBTQ club at a Christian school he co-founded in New Bern, North Carolina.

Sparks has been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle with Epiphany School of Global Studies’ former headmaster, Saul Benjamin.

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