No word from Jammeh as midnight deadline arrives in Gambia

By : Wire Report
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DAKAR, Senegal (AP)- After more than two decades in power, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh faced the prospect of a military intervention by regional forces, as the man who once pledged to rule the West African nation for a billion years clung to power.

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Fidel Castro is dead, will LGBT Cubans now gain more civil rights?

By : Wire Report
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HAVANA (AP) — He overthrew a strongman, brought his country free health care and education, and enlisted Cubans in what he called fights for freedom from Central America to South Africa. Fidel Castro also maintained a steel grip at home, jailing dissidents and gays, controlling freedom of travel and expression and declaring virtually any activity outside his control to be illegitimate.

Since the revolutionary’s death Friday night, Cubans have defended Castro’s record while human rights groups said they hoped that his brother and successor, Raul Castro, would move faster toward allowing Cubans more freedom of speech, assembly and other basic rights.

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Bonnie Raitt – Dig In Deep Tour

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Following the highly-anticipated release of her twentieth album, Dig In Deep (Redwing Records), Bonnie Raitt returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall after her completely sold-out performance in 2013! Joining Raitt on the road is her longtime touring band, James “Hutch” Hutchinson (bass), Ricky Fataar (drums) and George Marinelli (guitar) along with Mike Finnigan (keyboards).

Throughout her spring 2016 tour, Raitt’s performances have garnered praise, with Billboard complimenting her “magnificent form: confident, engaging and sexy, while singing and playing her bottleneck slide guitar with searing soulfulness” at one of two sold-out shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre.

Continuing a long-standing tradition in conjunction with the Guacamole Fund, Bonnie will donate one dollar from every ticket purchased to grassroots local, regional, and national organizations whose work focuses on safe and sustainable energy, social justice and human rights, environmental protection, and blues/music education.

Obama Legacy: A quiet mission to export gay rights overseas

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – While the world was watching America’s gay rights transformation, the Obama administration was pursuing a quieter mission to export the same freedoms overseas to places like sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and eastern Europe.

The U.S. has deployed its diplomats and spent tens of millions of dollars to try to block anti-gay laws, punish countries that enacted them, and tie financial assistance to respect for LGBT rights. It was a mission animated in part by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declaration that “gay rights are human rights.”

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Czech Republic approves gays living in partnership to adopt children of partners

By : Wire Report
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PRAGUE (AP) – The Czech government has approved a plan to allow gays and lesbians living in a registered partnership to adopt the children of their partners.

Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier says the move is meant to ensure the rights of the children. He said Oct. 24 it is estimated that up to 1,000 children in the country live with a biological parent in a same sex partnership.

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Bruce Springsteen cancels North Carolina concert due to anti-trans bathroom law

By : Jeremy Williams
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Music legend Bruce Springsteen has canceled an April 10 concert in Greensboro, North Carolina because of the recently passed HB2, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which mandates transgender people can only use public restrooms that match the gender they were born and forbids municipalities from passing any LGBT protections.

“No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden,” Springsteen wrote in a statement on his website. “To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.”

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Jacksonville mayor announces “community conversations” on LGBT protections

By : Staff Report
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville will hold a series of “community conversations” led by the city’s mayor Lenny Curry over the next few weeks to discuss bringing a more inclusive Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) to the city, according to WJCT.

The first of three events will be held Nov. 17 at 6 P.M. at Jacksonville’s downtown campus of Florida State College.

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Stand and deliver: Una Voce celebrates Harvey Milk

By : Krista DiTucci
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Tampa – Una Voce: A Florida Men’s Chorale will make history June 12-13 with the Florida premiere of “I Am Harvey Milk,” words and music by Andrew Lippa.

Tom Barker, Una Voce managing director, describes the performance as “a dramatic musical composition that truly celebrates making political change by being who you are.”

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Kevin Beckner launches campaign against Pat Frank to become Hillsborough’s Clerk of Court

By : Greg Stemm
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Tampa – Two-term Hillsborough County commissioner Kevin Beckner has announced that he will be running for Hillsborough County Clerk of Court. Beckner was elected to the county commission in 2008 as the first openly gay elected official in Hillsborough County. He easily won re-election in 2012 and has reached his term limit.

His filing challenges current clerk of court and fellow Democrat Pat Frank, who said she will seek re-election in 2016.

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Transgender teen death sparks national attention

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Kings Mill, Ohio – The recent death of an Ohio transgender teenager has drawn reaction and focus about the growing issue of suicide among transgender young adults.

Seventeen-year-old Leelah Alcorn of Cincinnati, Ohio died on Dec. 28 after she was hit by a tractor trailer. The real concern is a post that appeared on Alcorn’s Tumblr account the next day at about 5:30 p.m. The post, written by Alcorn and scheduled to post the day after her death, detailed her coming out as gay and struggle with gender identity.

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Kentucky business appeals commission’s ruling

By : Wire Report
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A business in Lexington, Ky., has appealed a ruling by the city’s Human Rights Commission that it discriminated against an organization by refusing to print T-shirts for a gay rights festival.

The owners of Hands On Originals argue that the ruling violates their freedom of religion and expression. Attorney Jim Campbell, who represents the owners, says they should not be forced to communicate a message they find morally objectionable.

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Cape Coral approves DPR, 1st city in Lee County

By : Staff Report
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Cape Coral – The City of Cape Coral is now the first city in Lee County to approve a domestic parther registry. The DPR passed with a 5-3 vote, joining Punta Gorda as one of the only cities in southwest Florida to have a domestic partner registry.

At the city commission meeting on Nov. 3, Mayor Marni Sawicki and Councilmen Richard Leon, Rick Williams, Derrick Donnell and John Carioscia voted in favor of the registry, while council members Rana Erbrick, Jim Burch and Lenny Nesta voted against the registry.

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