PHOTOS: ‘We won’t be erased’ rally held at Orlando City Hall after Trump administration’s anti-trans memo leaked

By : Melanie Ararat
Comments: 0
ABOVE: An audience gathers on the steps of City Hall Plaza in Downtown Orlando for the Orlando We Won’t Be Erased Transgender and Allies Support Rally on Oct. 27. Photo by Melanie Ararat

ORLANDO | Colorful flags and posters waved in the air as people chanted “We won’t be erased” outside City Hall Plaza in Downtown Orlando on Oct. 27. The chant was led by Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality.

“We send this message to the White House saying that the Orlando transgender and gender nonconforming communities will not be erased,” Duncan says. “We will not be defined out of existence.”

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith says YAS! to Pride proposal from partner Jerick Mediavilla

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

ORLANDO | Come Out with Pride 2018 had a lot of memorable events, but few came close to the marriage proposal during the Pride Rally at the Walt Disney Amphitheater Oct. 13.

LGBTQ activist Jerick Mediavilla went down on one knee in front of thousands of Pride attendees and proposed to his partner, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

Continue Reading >>

Equality Florida brings transgender workplace training to Orlando

By : Melanie Ararat
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Gina Duncan speaking at an Equality Florida event at Orlando City Hall in 2015. Photo by Dana Ng

ORLANDO | Equality Florida will host the organization’s Transgender Dynamics in the Workplace workshop at the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 16.

The workshop includes a panel discussion with corporate leaders, as well as an appearance from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. The event looks to educate attendees on transgender workplace issues and concerns, as well as offer ways to improve policies and protocols for transgender employees.

Continue Reading >>

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

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

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.

Continue Reading >>

Celine Walker becomes fourth reported transgender homicide victim in 2018

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | Celine Walker became the fourth reported transgender homicide victim this year on Feb. 4, though news of her death was delayed after local police reportedly misgendered her and utilized her birth name in official reports.

Walker, a 36-year-old transgender woman of color, was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound at an Extended Stay America hotel near the St. Johns Town Center. According to transgender advocate Monica Roberts of the TransGriot blog, “the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is claiming they have a policy that does not refer to victims as transgender.”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Nathan Bruemmer, ALSO Youth’s Executive Director and organizer for St. Pete Pride’s Trans March

By : Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s State Director of Transgender Equality
Comments: 0

Gina Duncan

I am so pleased and honored to recognize my close friend, advocate and leader of LGBTQ social justice, Nathan Bruemmer. Nathan is a member of Equality Florida’s TransAction Advisory Council, our Speakers Council and a Workplace Transgender Cultural Competency trainer. I have had the good fortune of sharing the stage many times with Nathan in speaking out for LGBTQ equal rights across Florida.

Nathan currently serves as the executive director of ALSO Youth Sarasota and is a member of the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights. He has an extensive legal background having served as a teaching assistant at the Stetson University College of Law, a Federal judicial extern for the U.S. District Court and serving as a Andrew S. Cray Law Fellow at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C., all while pursuing his Juris Doctorate at Stetson where he will graduate with honors in 2018. While a law student at Stetson, he was a Trial Team member, ADR Board member, American Bar Association representative and vice-representative, Lambda Legal Society president, Stetson Law Democrats president, American Constitution Society president, and a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.

Continue Reading >>

Gone, not forgotten: St. Petersburg Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil to honor lives lost in 2017

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

ST. PETERSBURG | St. Petersburg residents are preparing to honor 25 lives lost to anti-transgender violence in 2017, in what organizers of this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil are calling “the largest number of murders to date.”

The claim is no exaggeration. In all of 2016, according to the Human Rights Campaign, advocates tracked at least 23 deaths related to known anti-transgender violence—two fewer than the 25 known lives lost in 2017 thus far.

Continue Reading >>

UCF celebrates LGBTQ history with a month of events

By : Rachel Dececco
Comments: 0

ORLANDO | “Our history did not begin with Stonewall, but our movement began there.”

These were the words that kicked off the opening ceremonies for LGBTQ History Month at the University of Central Florida Oct. 3.

Continue Reading >>

Addressing mental health concerns within the minority LGBTQ community

By : Samuel Johnson
Comments: 0

“Mental health is not a lack of willpower. Mental health is not being inflicted by the Devil. Mental health isn’t about not being strong enough to cope with life.” This is the opinion of psychiatrist Dr. Z. (She has requested that her name remain anonymous).

Dr. Z is a Hillsborough National Alliance on Mental Illness board member and has both clinical knowledge as well as the mental health delivery system. Untreated mental health, as she views it, is a serious public health issue; “Not in the contagious sense of the word. I can’t catch depression from someone else. I can’t catch schizophrenia from someone else. I can’t catch bipolar [disorder] from someone else. But how I’m feeling does impact others. For example, social ails like homelessness, like prison populations, where a lot of that has to do with untreated mental illness; society at large is impacted by the way we that we approach the treatment of mental health.”

Continue Reading >>

Orange County gets its first transgender deputy

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

ORLANDO – As transgender rights continue to snowball at the end of Pride month – despite political opposition via religious freedom and bathroom bills – Rebecca Storozuk has hit the message homeward in Central Florida. Her message? People should be who they are. In an Orlando Sentinel article published June 23, Storozuk made it clear to the masses that she was indeed the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s lone transgender deputy with a headline reading, “I’m becoming who I want to be.”

As the story goes, Storozuk always identified as a female – even though born as “Peter” – and played the role of high-school jock fairly well all the way up to military service

Continue Reading >>

Tampa Bay’s Overheard: St. Gina’sBurg, Newton picks sides and The Studio @ 620 has Tunnelvision

By : Anonymous
Comments: 0

Duncan in the ‘Burg

You may see a familiar face more often as you run your errands around downtown or grab a latte at your favorite coffee shop in St. Petersburg. Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality Gina Duncan announced May 25 on her Facebook page that as of the end of June she will call St. Pete her new home after living in Orlando for 37 years.

“While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the City Beautiful and its amazing people, I am excited about this next adventure. Fortunately my position with Equality Florida lets me live anywhere in the state,” Duncan wrote. Along with those heartfelt words Duncan, posted a photo of herself on St. Pete’s amazing beach at sundown calling it “heaven.”

Continue Reading >>

TransPride March joins St. Pete Pride

By : Staff Report
Comments: 0

ST. PETERSBURG – St. Pete Pride is making history again. Not only is it the largest LGBTQ Pride celebration in the state of Florida, but it is about to become the first Pride in the state to hold a TransPride March in conjunction with their annual parade.

The TransPride March will kick off St. Pete Pride’s parade and will consist of members of the transgender, gender-non-conforming, queer communities, their families, friends, allies and supporters.

Continue Reading >>