The fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit unites LGBTQ youth

By : Melanie Ararat
Comments: 0
ABOVE: City of Orlando’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Senior Specialist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez gives a speech at the Orlando Youth Summit at Valencia College – West Campus. Photo by Melanie Ararat

ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies were able to network, engage in interactive workshops and listen to community leaders for the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) at Valencia College – West Campus on Nov. 3. A special appearance was made by Orange County Mayor and School Board Chair-Elect Teresa Jacobs.

“It’s important for our youth, our educators and our professionals to all come together and talk about the best ways to help our youth as they discover who they are and how they can make sure that they can live their authentic selves in our community,” Jacobs says.

Continue Reading >>

Come Out With Pride to keep Orlando dancing with this year’s parade, festival

By : Christen Kelley
Comments: 0
ABOVE: COWP’s Most Colorful Parade at downtown Orlando in 2017. Photo by Brian Becnel

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) is gearing up for its most colorful day of the year — its 14th annual Pride festival and parade held on Oct. 13.

Aligning with National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ History Month, COWP is one of the largest Pride events in Florida with over 160,000 attendees last year. COWP President Jeff Prystajko says there will likely be even more this year.

Continue Reading >>

Come Out With Pride announces its week-long schedule of events for Pride 2018

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 1

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its schedule of events at its 2018 Big Reveal at Tin Roof Orlando July 30. COWP will extend its official events from the traditional three-day weekend to a full week of events.

COWP’s week-long series of events will take place throughout Orlando Oct. 8-14. Several community leaders took the stage at the Big Reveal to make the announcements.

Continue Reading >>

Central Florida Overheard: Who run the world?

By : anonymous
Comments: 0

ABOVE: President of the Barber Fund and owner of The Venue, Blue Star.

Orlando Magazine has named its Women of the Year in Central Florida and a couple of familiar names popped up on that list. “They are educators, mentors, counselors, fund-raisers, business owners and managers of organizations that help those in need. But most of all they are leaders, who step forward to help keep our community strong,” says Orlando Magazine of its 23 individual selections.

Continue Reading >>

2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Zebra Coalition

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

CENTRAL FLORIDA’S MOST EFFECTIVE LOCAL LGBTQ ORGANIZATION

Zebra Coalition embodies every bit of their 2018 WAVE Award title as the most effective local LGBTQ organization. They have a very simple and direct mission—support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth—and they have been very effective in doing so.

“It’s such an important mission,” says Heather Wilkie, Zebra’s Executive Director. “We serve LGBTQ+ youth here. We provide housing services, mental health counseling support and really wrap-around all-around services for the youth here in Central Florida. I think it’s a critical service and clearly the community agrees.”

Continue Reading >>

Orlando’s Overheard: Hate crime in Hollywood, Aloha Alauna and old school fundraising

By : Anonymous
Comments: 0

RPDR’s Trinity attacked!

In “Trump’s America,” it’s always a tough call when there’s an assault on anyone in the LGBTQ community to not assume it’s a hate crime, but this time in L.A., the hate seems pretty clear.

The incident was reported as a late night attack on March 16 in West Hollywood. The victims of this crime included photographer Jason King and RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 cast members Valentina and Orlando’s very own Trinity Taylor.

Continue Reading >>

Stripes: Zebra Coalition graduate and trans champion Eli Sellers makes us all proud

By : Alma J. Hill
Comments: 0

Temperatures are well below freezing as Eli Sellers braves tempest-like winds on his walk to class near his home in Chicago, Illinois. As a newly enlisted member of the United States Navy, he’s taking his first round military training classes at his assigned base, Naval Station Great Lakes.
Eli is a third generation military serviceman. His father and his grandfather both served in the U.S Army. His father is still actively serving in the Army. With a legacy such as this, you could safely assume that Eli is familiar with the ins and outs of life in the military: The constant relocation, the strain on family, all these are challenges he has had to navigate within his 20 years. Yet, the obstacles that Eli faces on his journey to becoming an officer of the Navy are unique; challenges that neither his father, nor his grandfather can help him navigate. They are both cisgender, straight men. Eli, however, was born a woman.

Continue Reading >>

Local leaders weigh in on the way we were and the way we will be

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 2

Dumbfounded. Knocked out. Afraid. Broken. These are just a few of the things that many of us are feeling in the wake of Donald Trump’s historic rise to presidential power on Nov. 8.

If you’re anything like us, you have a lot of questions. You may have even been harassed already. We reached out to some of our best and brightest for answers, options, hope. And they provided just that. We’re not done yet. And so we rise. Here are some words from our friends. Stay strong.

Continue Reading >>

Meet Zebra Coalition’s new Executive Director

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 0

Orlando – Zebra Coalition, a network of organizations which provides services to LGBT youth, has a new head honcho.

Heather Wilkie will start her new job as Zebra Coalition’s executive director Sept. 8. She comes to Zebra from Harbor House, where she’s worked for 12 years and has served as chief operating officer for the past four years. During that time, she was chair of the LGBT+ Caucus with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where she led a statewide initiative to enhance services for LGBT+ survivors of abuse.

Continue Reading >>