Derek Shaye shares his story, advocates for Zebra Coalition ahead of the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Derek Shaye performs on stage in CFC Arts’ production of “Bye Bye Birdie” this past summer. (Photo courtesy of Derek Shaye)

Six years ago, Derek Shaye ran away from home. After years of struggles — including homelessness and trafficking — Shaye found help with the Central Florida LGBTQ youth organization Zebra Coalition. Now, 23-year-old Shaye is ready to tell his story.

Shaye grew up in Washington with a very religious family. He referred to his home as “unstable and abusive,” especially as an LGBTQ person.

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LGBT survivors of human trafficking share their stories to shed light on a brutal practice

By : Zach Caruso
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Nathan Earl—and many more like him—have a story to share. He is a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation.

“I was sexually and physically abused when I was very young. The perpetrators were family members, so the protection aspect when I was little, it just didn’t exist,” the Sarasota resident says. “I was going through issues with my own sexuality, and all of this put together, I just felt like I was a mistake. I was initially too scared to run to the streets, so at 11 years old I started sniffing gasoline in the garage as a way to escape reality.

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Orlando makes history with first-ever LGBT Youth Summit

By : Alyssa Merwin
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Orlando – From bullying to human trafficking, the first-ever Central Florida Youth Empowerment Summit covered the gamut of issues and problems that LGBT youth may face.

On Feb. 1, The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and Orlando Youth Alliance and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays teamed up for the Summit, inviting attendees of all sexualities, gender and ages.

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