Cuba activists push for same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A torrential downpour was passing over the Cuban capital on May 11 when Violeta Cardoso and her partner of 32 years, Isabel Pacheco, arrived at a coffee shop in the Vedado neighborhood.

The women soon began to speak passionately about LGBTI-specific issues with Juana Mora and Lidia Romero of Acepto, a group that advocates for marriage rights for same-sex couples in Cuba. It was sweltering inside the coffee shop because of a power outage, but the women nevertheless spoke with each other for more than an hour as they drank iced tea and coffee.

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Trump supporter holds up homophobic sign in front of College Park man’s house

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | A Trump supporter laughed as  local College Park resident Fernando Sosa recorded him sitting outside of Sosa’s home with a homophobic and racist sign July 9.

In the video, the man — identified as Matt Sherman — is holding up a sign that says, “A gay Asian with AIDS who hates America + fireworks lives here!” on one side and, “A butt hurt Trump hater lives here, who’s the keyboard warrior now?” on the other.

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Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph honored for HIV/AIDS advocacy

By : Wire report
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) | Actress, singer and producer Sheryl Lee Ralph is a triple threat in the entertainment industry but was honored during this weekend’s Essence Festival for something entirely different — her activism.

Ralph was honored Sunday as part of McDonald’s 365Black Awards, receiving the program’s advocacy award for her work fighting against HIV and AIDS.

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PHOTOS: AIDS Healthcare Foundation opens new St. Pete healthcare center

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) opened its newest healthcare center June 25 in St. Petersburg to combat Florida’s growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

AHF hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate their St. Petersburg expansion, where AHF Tampa Bay Medical Director Dr. Jeanette Cancel was joined at the podium by AHF President Michael Weinstein, Southern Bureau Chief Michael Kahane and other AHF leadership. St. Petersburg Police Department LGBT liaison Markus Hughee, city LGBTQ liaison Jim Nixon, Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth T. Welch and other community leaders also spoke, thanking AHF for their commitment to St. Petersburg.

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AIDS Healthcare Foundation opens new St. Petersburg healthcare center

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) opened its newest health care center June 25 in St. Petersburg to combat Florida’s growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The Los Angeles-based AHF is a global nonprofit organization and the nation’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care. Its new healthcare center will provide services to patients regardless of their ability to pay and is located in the organization’s local flagship facility in the Skyway Marina District, first opened in May 2017. The facility also houses AHF’s pharmacy and their fundraising thrift store Out of the Closet, chosen as organization grand marshal for the 2018 St. Pete Pride parade.

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Central Florida Overheard: Quilt of memories

By : anonymous
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The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a massive quilt started in the 1980s by LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones to bring awareness to how bad the AIDS pandemic really was. Each panel was personalized for someone who lost their battle with the disease. It is meant to honor the dead and bring healing to the person’s loved ones.

This year, the Orlando VA Medical Center is raising awareness for HIV/AIDS and letting the community know the fight is still not over by creating a local quilt to be displayed later this year. “We are going to unveil the quilt on Worlds AIDS Day,” says Freda Johnson, a social worker with the VA’s Infectious Disease Team. “Then it will be displayed at the various VA locations around Central Florida.”

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Positive Living: Pride Made Me an Activist

By : Greg Stemm
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I remember the very first time someone called me a “gay activist.”

Fortunately that jarring epiphany didn’t come while I was alone. Just prior to the first St. Pete Pride celebration, we founders were sitting around a table having one of our last-minute board meetings. Since there had never been a gay pride celebration of any size or merit in St. Pete before, understandably the Tampa Bay Times (actually it was still called the St. Petersburg Times back then in 2003) was following our planning process very carefully.

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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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Ros-Lehtinen talks retirement, slams Trump’s military trans ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Fla.) speaks with the Washington Blade at her office on Capitol Hill on May 21. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) last week reiterated her criticism of President Trump over a host of issues that includes his effort to ban transgender people from the military.

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USCA’s Fight Against AIDS Coming to Central Florida

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | Orlando has been selected as the host city for the 2018 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). The conference will aim to not only promote Orlando but also to empower those impacted by HIV/AIDS around the entire country.

USCA is an academic conference that reaches out to the communities impacted by HIV/AIDS in order to educate and empower the individuals within these spaces. Over 3,000 advocates, educators, researchers and providers come to the host city and present on topics such as biomedical HIV prevention, gay men with a focus on youth, leadership and skills necessary to be an effective leader to fight HIV, the opioid epidemic, people living with HIV with a focus on stigma and aging, public policy, trauma-informed care and the impact of HIV as well as advancements against HIV for women.

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Daniela Vega takes part in Havana LGBTI march

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Daniela Vega on May 12, 2018, participated in a march in Havana that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

HAVANA — The transgender actress who starred in “A Fantastic Woman” on Saturday participated in a march that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in Havana.

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Mariela Castro to push for marriage, LGBTQ rights in Cuba

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Mariela Castro, daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro, leads an LGBTQ march through Havana on May 13, 2017. She told reporters on May 4, 2018, that she and her organization, the National Center for Sexual Education, will push for marriage and other rights for LGBTQ Cubans in the country’s National Assembly. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro on Friday said her organization plans to submit proposals to the country’s National Assembly that would extend marriage and other rights to LGBTQ Cubans.

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