Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tailgates, roller coasters and a dance-off

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EQFL celebrate Bucs’ Pride Day with a tailgate party
Football season is here and for the second year in a row the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will celebrate the LGBT community with a Pride Day at Raymond James Stadium. So dust off the black and red gear and make sure to get to the stadium bright and early on Oct. 4 because, before the Bucs tear apart the Carolina Panthers, Florida Equality is going to be tailgating. For those who are not familiar with this sport’s fan tradition, tailgating is a huge block party celebration in the parking lot before the game starts. Fans come out to socialize, do a little trash-talking about the other team and eat amazingly greasy and delicious foods out of trucks of people’s cars. Equality Florida will have their own private tailgate area (think Pride VIP service), so make sure to bust out the tailgate and come celebrate with the community. GO BUCS!

Gardens by day, sin by night
Make sure to get plenty of rest on Oct. 16, because Oct. 17 is going to be a long, fun day for many. The day kicks off with the fourth annual Big Gay Gardens Day. It’s a day of family, fun and roller coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for the LGBT community. The organizers tell us this year is really nothing more than a bunch of families getting together for a day of fun in the park. In previous years, there have been pre-parties, after parties and fundraisers, but with so much going on in the community this year, they’ve kept it simple … SO FAR. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as some surprises may be coming your way. Keep hydrated while you are out at the park, because that night is the 39th Annual All Hallows Masquerade Ball at District 3. This is a private, invite-only party, so if you are one of the lucky ones to get an invitation, and your endurance is strong, then this may be the best day of the year for you from sun up to sundown. Make sure if you are attending to pick your poison, because this year, #SinIsIn.

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Resource guide links transgender individuals to healthcare

By : Jamie Hyman
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Equality Florida is offering a new Transgender Resource Guide that is a directory of transgender-friendly healthcare and service providers across the state.

Gina Duncan, EQFL’s transgender inclusion director, says they’re contacted daily by transgender individuals and parents of transgender Floridians who are trying to find quality healthcare and transgender support.

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Florida marriage certificates will finally be updated

By : Jamie Hyman
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More than a year after Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional, the state’s marriage licenses will finally say “spouse” and “spouse” instead of “husband” and “wife.”

According to Equality Florida, the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics is finalizing the inclusive update to state-issued marriage licenses. The new forms will be available Sept. 15. 

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Equality Connection at the Grand Bohemian

By : Patrick O'Connor
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Equality Florida hosts Equality Connection, a networking event for EQFL members new and old, at The Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando.

Gina Duncan, EQFL Director of Transgender Inclusion, gave an update on transgender issues and challenges.

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Equality Florida takes a stand for Planned Parenthood

By : Jamie Hyman
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Equality Florida is standing behind Planned Parenthood while reminding LGBTs why reproductive justice and LGBT equality are connected.

In a recent blog post, EQFL condemns “the smear tactics used against this wonderful organization that serves so many in our state,” stating Equality Florida and Planned Parenthood for years “have fought side-by-side to ensure quality healthcare & reproductive freedom for women, comprehensive sex education for teens, and equality for all LGBT people.”

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Gov. Rick Scott signs bill removing gay adoption ban

By : Jeremy Williams
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TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott signed the Adoption and Foster Care bill (HB7013) into law June 11 effectively removing the language that bans gays from adopting in the state of Florida.

This was a smaller part of a larger adoption bill that will provide incentive payments to community-based care groups.

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St. Pete Gala nears goal, Equality Florida eyeing $250,000 mark

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Petersburg – With just over a week to go before the Greater St. Petersburg Gala, Equality Florida is nearing its goal of $250,000. Organizer Todd Richardson is confident he can reach that goal, if not surpass it.

“We’re over $245,000 so far and that surpasses last year’s $237,000,” Richardson explained. “Our stretch goal is $275,000, which I’d like to hit.”

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Anti-transgender bill headed to committee vote

By : Jamie Hyman
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transgender restroom gender-identity

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An anti-transgender bill that would bar people from using restrooms that align with their gender identities will be voted on by a committee March 4.

The Civil Justice Subcommittee is slated to discuss HB 583, filed Feb. 7 by Republican State Rep. Frank Artiles of Miami and titled “Single-Sex Public Facilities.”

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Issue 22.04: Love for a Lifetime

By : Jake Stevens
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Love for a lifetime: Long-term relationships really can work and we found the couples to prove it and share how it’s done, Readers share their Valentines, Melissa Manchester credits LGBTs for her career, Dining Out For Life to expand into Orlando, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

ALSO: Our fabulous, beautiful Spring Arts Guide inside every issue!

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Kevin Beckner to be honored at EQFL Tampa Gala

By : Staff Report
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Tampa–Equality Florida will present Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner with the 2015 Voice for Equality Award at the Ninth Annual Tampa Gala for his leadership efforts in helping progress LGBT legislation in Hillsborough County.

Beckner was elected as the first openly gay person to hold office in Hillsborough County in 2008. Beckner, a couple months into holding office, introduced a domestic partner registry to the county, which was shot down by a 5-2 vote.

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In 2014, Nadine Smith and Equality Florida made marriage equality a very real possibility for 2015

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – A long list of people worked tirelessly in Florida this 2014 to bring marriage equality to the Sunshine State. But someone who has been at the forefront of that fight for more than a decade is Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.

In January, EQFL filed the very first lawsuit against the state on behalf of six same-sex couples demanding marriage equality. By doing so, marriage equality suddenly had multiple faces demanding equal rights.

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Equality Florida 2014 Greater Orlando Gala

By : Jake Stevens
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Equality Florida’s 2014 Greater Orlando Gala raised more than $200,000 for the organization on Nov. 14. The event, held at The Mezz in downtown Orlando, boasted a sold-out crowd – nearly 400 guests.

EQFL honored their 2014 Voice for Equality honorees Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy, Ted Maines and Jeff Miller.

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