Equality Florida Action PAC endorses Andrew Gillum for governor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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MIAMI | Equality Florida Action PAC, Florida’s only political committee working to end discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians, announced its endorsement ofgubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum Aug. 31.

“Andrew Gillum has been a consistent champion for LGBTQ equality, and Floridians will see the stark contrast between his record on equality and his opponent who has embraced the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies of the Trump-Pence administration,” PAC Chair Stratton Pollitzer released in a statement.

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LGBTQ and ally candidates talk Florida’s Aug. 28 vote

By : Samuel Johnson
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The midterm election primaries are right around the corner on Aug. 28. The LGBTQ community numbers nearly 900,000 Floridians, comprising 4.1 percent of the adult population of Florida. Of that adult LGBTQ population, more than a quarter of them are raising children. Based on these numbers, the LBGTQ vote can impact elections, especially in the primaries.

In Florida there are candidates throughout the state who are advocates for the LGBTQ community. They are vowing to protect and promote equality for LGBTQ—and all—Floridians. The midterm primaries in Florida are boasting at least eight openly gay candidates, plus a slew of advocates and allies who are running.

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With 2018’s third transgender murder in Jacksonville, advocates seek justice and solidarity

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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At least 28 known transgender men and women were murdered nationwide in 2017, the highest number on record. On June 24, just over 2018’s midpoint, the murders of two transgender women brought this year’s total to half that—prompting community advocates to demand justice for the 14 transgender lives lost.

One of those murders was that of Cathalina Christina James, a transgender woman of color who lived her life as more than a disturbing statistic stemming from Jacksonville, Fla. James’ death sparked outrage and stoked fear for the transgender community in Florida’s fourth most populous city, with local leaders fearing a serial killer stalked Jacksonville’s streets.

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Lawyer seeking Pinellas-Pasco judgeship reiterates anti-LGBTQ views

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Pinellas-Pasco circuit judgeship candidate Donald McBath is standing by his anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim commentary ahead of Aug. 28’s primary election.

“If the homosexual continues committing that sin of sodomy, his soul faces ETERNAL damnation,” McBath shared via Facebook Feb. 25, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times May 30. “Abstain, if you really have that mental illness. It’s not love.”

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Mad Cow Theatre explores sexual identity, family tension with local run of ‘Fun Home’

By : Layla Ferris
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After national tour stops in both Orlando and Tampa from the Tony Award-winning musical “Fun Home,” Orlando’s Mad Cow Theatre is putting on a production featuring local talent starting June 1.

“Fun Home,” the first Broadway musical to have a lesbian protagonist, is an adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir. The show portrays Bechdel’s uncovering of her own sexuality, her strained relationship with her closeted gay father and the re-examination of the years leading up to his unexpected suicide. The hour and 40-minute show is seen through the eyes of a 43-year-old Alison who looks to the past as she writes the graphic novel the play is based on.

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St. Augustine Transgender Woman Trains for 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle Ride in California

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. | Since 1993, LifeCycle raised more than $200 million and completed more than 42,000 trips on bikes down the coast of California. Last year, the 545-mile journey drew in over 2,000 cyclist and nearly 700 volunteers who raised $15.1 million for HIV/AIDS services.

After only a year of cycling, 60-year-old transgender woman and St. Augustine resident Tricia Russel will be joining the LifeCycle ride as a member of the Bank of America team. She is currently VP of Business Control Management with Bank of America, as well as a member of Equality Florida, the TransAction Florida Advisory Board, the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality and LGBT Pride Leadership Council of Bank of America.

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PHOTOS: St. Petersburg breaks records at Equality Florida’s 2018 gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Equality Florida’s 2018 St. Pete Gala was held May 12 at the city’s Mahaffey Theater, raising a record total of $354,287 to support the organization’s work.

A total of 708 attendees dined, danced and donated in the name of equality. The event was the most-attended of any Equality Florida Gala and over $26,000 was raised in auctioned items alone.

Watermark was on hand to help celebrate the event, and you can check out some of our photos after the jump.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Gala Greatness

By : anonymous
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Equality Florida’s 2018 St. Pete Gala was held May 12 at the Mahaffey Theater, raising a record total of $354,287 to support the organization’s work.

Una Voce: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Tampa Bay dazzled the sold-out event with song while guests dined, danced and donated in the name of equality. A total of 708 attendees, the largest of any Equality Florida Gala, raised over $26,000 in auctioned items alone.

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Never again, but why now?

By : Jamie Hyman
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In the weeks since a shooter killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., survivors have been featured in a town hall on national television, visited the Florida Legislature and led a march of more than a million protesters nationwide, demanding sensible gun control.

In the weeks following the shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016, the levels of advocacy and response were far more muted, which is forcing members of the LGBTQ community to wonder why, after a mass shooting that at the time was the deadliest in U.S. history, government officials, the media and the nation failed to rally behind the Pulse survivors with the volume and intensity that are leading millions to take action today.

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Gainesville first north Florida city to ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. | Gainesville became the first city in north Florida to ban conversion therapy for minors April 5 when the Gainesville City Commission unanimously voted to outlaw the practice.

The ordinance will “prohibit licensed professionals from engaging in counseling efforts, practices or treatments with the goal to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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Equality Florida highlights 2018’s statewide legislative battles

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida

Tallahassee, fla. | Equality Florida has released a highlight of the battles fought on behalf of the LGBTQ community during Florida’s 2018 legislative session.

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Dean Trantalis becomes Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay mayor

By : Jeremy Williams
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Wilton Manors attorney Dean Trantalis defeated former police chief and current vice mayor Bruce Roberts with 64 percent of the vote March 13 to become Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay mayor.

Trantalis was also Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay city commissioner. Trantalis was elected to the city’s District 2 seat in 2003 and served until 2006. Trantalis was re-elected to the seat in a 2013 special election and served up until his mayoral win.

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