Orlando Derby Girls’ LGBT-inclusiveness puts them on track to compete internationally

By : Ciara Varone
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Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls are skating their way to high-stakes competition. On Jan. 22, the league was accepted alongside nine other teams – ranging in location from across the country in Hood River, Oregon to across the world in New Zealand –into an apprentice program for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the international governing body of a sport considered by many to be the fastest-growing in the world.

Completion of the apprentice program typically takes from six months to a year. If the league is then accepted into WFTDA, it will play against the best teams in the country and even the world.

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St. Pete and Orlando earn perfect municipal equality scores from HRC

By : Staff Report
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Orlando and St. Petersburg are among the record number 47 cities in the U.S. to score a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2015 Municipal Equality Index.

The City Beautiful and St. Pete are joined by Wilton Manors as the three Florida cities who scored perfect marks on the HRC’s index that measures a city’s policies for LGBT inclusion and equality. Tampa was not far behind with a score of 95.

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UT president says school is comitted to inclusiveness, despite removing references to gender-neutral pronouns after outcry

By : Wire Report
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The president of the University of Tennessee told state lawmakers on Oct. 14 that it’s committed to inclusion and diversity even though references to the use of gender-neutral pronouns were removed from a school website.

UT President Joe DiPietro spoke at a hearing before the state Senate Higher Education Subcommittee following outcry from the posting made in August by the University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

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NYC St. Patrick’s parade organizers choose 2nd LGBT group

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Organizers have chosen a second LGBT group to march in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade next year.

The parade’s board of directors announced Sept. 29 that it has selected the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender group called The Lavender & Green Alliance.

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ABC Family tops other TV networks for gay, lesbian inclusiveness

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) — The television network that gets the most praise from an advocacy group that monitors content featuring gays, lesbians and transgender people has “family” in its name and targets an audience of teenage girls and young women.

GLAAD said in a report issued Sept. 3 that 74 percent of the programming hours on ABC Family included at least one LGBT character — the highest percentage any network has recorded since the group began issuing content reports in 2007. GLAAD studied the networks for a one-year period that ended May 31.

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Gina Versace takes on Starwood Hotels and Resorts over trans discrimination

By : Billy Manes
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It’s an auspicious scene. Gina Versace is a few minutes late to a practice courtroom, a fake space, replete with mahogany on the 16th floor of the downtown Morgan & Morgan offices. Her designated attorney Carlos Leach – the press releases have been handled by super-attorney John Morgan’s son Matt Morgan, so heavy is the public relations lift here – is offering bottled water and apologizing.

“She lives just a few minutes away,” Leach says. “It shouldn’t be long.”

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Stuart Milk presents Patty Sheehan with Lifetime Achievement Award

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – Human rights activist Stuart Milk presented City Commissioner Patty Sheehan with a lifetime achievement award during the third annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast presented by the LGBT Center of Central Florida at the Orlando Museum of Art on May 11.

Sheehan was visibly surprised when she took to the stage to accept her award from Milk.

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Ohio city capitalizes on Indiana law

By : Wire Report
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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) – Officials in Ohio are aiming to capitalize on backlash against a religious-objections law in neighboring Indiana that critics say could permit discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The Dayton Daily News reports Dayton officials are working to attract companies and individuals looking to leave Indiana because they oppose the new law, touting the southwest Ohio city’s recognition for diversity and inclusiveness.

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New report says $365M spent discriminating against LGBT workers in Fla.

By : Staff Report
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Equality Means Business released a new report saying more than $362 million is spent a year in discriminating against LGBT workers in Florida. The costs are due to lost productivity and employee turnover.

Equality Means Business is a coalition of employers statewide working on passing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act and making sure full equality and inclusiveness is provided to LGBTs across the state of Florida.

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Dunedin invites gay couples to wed Feb. 14

By : Aaron Alper
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Dunedin – From noon to sunset this Valentine’s Day, a park in downtown Dunedin will be the site of several same-sex weddings. That’s because Team G Events, along with the City of Dunedin and Equality Florida, will host scheduled weddings throughout the day at Weaver Park.

It’s a way to celebrate marriage equality’s arrival in Florida this year and it’s especially exciting for Gregory Brady, who grew up in Dunedin, to see so much progress.

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Orlando Mayor responds to city’s perfect score on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index

By : Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
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From my first day in office in 2003, I pledged to preserve a democratic and inclusive government that serves and represents our diverse community.

I am honored to share with you the City has obtained the highest score of 100 on the 2014 Municipal Equality Index (MEI), a nationwide evaluation of 353 cities on how inclusive the city’s laws and policies are for the LGBT community. Orlando is one of the few major cities in the country to obtain the top score of the MEI.

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St. Pete earns first perfect score on HRC’s 2014 municipal equality index

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – For the first time, St. Petersburg outranked the City of Tampa on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index. St. Petersburg earned a 100% rating, up more than 50 points from a year ago. Tampa earned a respectable 97%.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman told Watermark over the summer that one of his goals was to boost St. Petersburg’s ranking on the annual index, which consistently ranked St. Petersburg low in previous years. Tampa has had consistently higher rankings even before Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn took office. His predecessor, Mayor
Pam Iorio, was an advocate for LGBT rights and pushed for domestic partnership benefits for city employees in the early 2000s.

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