Equality Florida, Democratic Progressive Caucus call for removal of Artiles from Florida state senate [UPDATE]

By : Alexis Vilaboy
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(Image from Florida House of Representatives website.)

UPDATE:

As of April 21, Sen. Artiles has resigned over the issue of his insensitivity.

“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Artiles wrote, according to the Miami Herald. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.”

“It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth.”

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Issue 24.07: Twenty-everything

By : Jake Stevens
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Twenty-everything: Equality Floirda celebrates two decades of making change happen for our LGBTQ community, activist group Gays Against Guns comes to Orlando, Metro Wellness celebrates 25 years, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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4.6.17 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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As some of you might recall, I’ve been through a public battle with gun violence, suicide and gay marriage for the past few years. As some of you also know, I am married now to my best friend, Tony (two years and counting). The only reason I bring this up is that I couldn’t have survived the suicide of Alan Jordan, my partner of 11 years, without the assistance of Equality Florida and Orlando attorney Mary Meeks.

This issue, we celebrate 20 years of Equality Florida’s work throughout the state. This is an organization that came from virtually nothing and grew into the leading force for municipal and statewide rulings on LGBTQ rights at a time that most thought Florida was going to drip into the backwoods of the South. Equality Florida published a letter that I wrote to Florida state senators in 2013, one year after Alan took his life in front of me, with a gun, in our backyard. So, for the sake of posterity, as April 8 was the day he left me, I present you with a shortened version of that letter, and I wish you well as we persevere through these difficult times.

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Equality Florida celebrates two decades of making change happen for our LGBTQ community

By : Billy Manes
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“Does this look OK?”

There are yachts. There is a breeze. There is Charlie Crist’s condo out of the corner of the eye. But on this day in St. Petersburg, March 22, there is only one figure that absolutely matters, and she’s sitting on a tree close to Cassis American Brasserie, posing for her cover shot.

Nadine Smith is the force behind most LGBTQ measures that have changed Florida’s societal landscape. Her calm tones weighted by heavy thoughts have come to define the nature of Equality Florida, the organization she formed with Miami’s Stratton Pollitzer 20 years ago. She played rugby at the Air Force academy, she says, but she didn’t know where the score would go thereafter.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: St. Pete Pride Grand Marshal nominees and Equality Florida’s record-breaking fundraising

By : Anonymous
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St. Pete Pride makes decision on move, Grand Marshal finalists

St. Pete Pride announced March 2 via Facebook that the annual parade will move to the downtown area, but will keep the street festival in the Grand Central District. The new parade route begin’s at Albert Whitted Park and proceeds along Bayshore Drive to Vinoy Park. The compromise will allow St. Pete Pride to keep that city funding.

The night before St. Pete Pride met with the city to discuss parades and festivals, they announced the finalists for Pride’s Grand Marshals.

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Rights at stake, again: As Trump revokes federal protections, Orlando community advocates for trans youth

By : David Thomas Moran
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ORLANDO – Local leaders are rallying behind transgender youth in Central Florida in response to the Trump administration’s recent attacks on transgender rights. There’s already been an onslaught of Trump executive orders seeking to limit the rights of immigrants, Muslims, women, the poor and now transgender and gender nonconforming youth.

President Trump’s Feb. 22 executive order, rolling back Obama-era protections, leaves trans students across the country at the mercy of local school board politics yet again.The anti-LGBTQ policy has also effectively stalled the Gavin Grimm vs. Gloucester County School Board lawsuit – a highly-anticipated, transgender rights case that until recently was headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Garden State Equality headquarters targeted by vandals

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, headquarters in Ashbury Park was vandalized on Saturday with its executive director, Christian Fuscarino, inside. Fuscarino was not injured.

Vandals targeted a door that has a rainbow flag draped inside it by smashing the glass. Fuscarino believes that this was an attack on the LGBT community.

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Equality Florida gathers at TPepin’s for the 2017 Tampa Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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Equality Florida had a successful showing Feb. 25 for the 2017 Tampa Gala at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre.

The event was hosted by HOT 101.5’s Miguel Fuller, and featured live and silent auctions, musical entertainment and a powerful spoken word by Equality Florida’s Samira Obeid.

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Vandalism of Orlando Equality Florida office raises questions about the new normal

By : Billy Manes
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On Thursday, when nobody was working in Equality Florida’s Orlando office, somebody threw something through (or at) a window at the front of the building, although no rock or brick was found, says Equality Florida development director Michael Thomas Farmer. Is this the new violence-against-gays licence Donald Trump seems to be trumpeting? The timing of the vandalism makes it that much more suspicious, Farmer agrees, but no investigation has yet been filed.

“EQFL staff member Michael Thomas Farmer is currently at our Orlando office after receiving a call that something had been thrown through one of our office windows,” EQFL wrote on its Facebook last night. “We are waiting for the police to arrive to receive further information. But know, if this was some kind of an attempt to scare us from doing the work that we do – it will not work. We will not be intimidated, and we will not back down from our fight to end hate and secure full equality for ALL.”

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Jacksonville City Council finally approves Human Rights Ordinance

By : Billy Manes
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JACKSONVILLE – It was a Valentine’s Day to remember as the Jacksonville City Council, after years of effort, pushed through additions to the already existing Human Rights Ordinance that will now recognize sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, the ordinance protects minorities in housing and employment, among other necessities, and more broadly signals a change in Jacksonville’s historically conservative culture.

“Jacksonville is such a conservative area. It really is part of the deep south in the way that most cities in Florida are not,” Equality Florida field director Amber Paoloemilio says. “There really is a tangible shift and it’s really because of the community we’ve been building over the past few years.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Gaga for Tampa, GLAAD for the Times and Bolts Pride

By : Anonymous
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Mother Monster is Gaga for Tampa

Anyone who saw Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show at the Super Bowl (and with more than 100 million people tuning in, it’s likely most of you did) saw the goddess that is Mother Monster put on one of the hottest shows to ever take the field.

Moments after her performance – filled with drones, Gaga’s biggest hits and a dive from the top of the stadium – the Poker Faced diva announced the dates for her next world tour, supporting her fifth studio album, Joanne.

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Florida legislators bring Competitive Workforce Act back to the table

By : Billy Manes
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In a week that saw President Donald Trump’s administration vacillating between “yes” or “no” on support of a proposed federal religious freedom law (via executive order) that would permit discrimination based upon the religious affiliations of businesses, things could be taking an uptick at the Florida level. Though Trump’s executive order does in fact exist, stating a cornucopia of potential rights roll-backs that could bring adverse effects to everything from marriage to adoption, Trump has since promised to uphold President Obama’s executive order that forbids federal agencies from discriminating against LGBTQ citizens. The rest, by most reports, remains in flux.

However, Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act, which died last year in the Florida Senate, is back this year with bipartisan support in advance of the March legislative session in Tallahassee.

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