Sarasota Fabulous Film Festival

By : Deanndra Meno
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The 5th annual Sarasota Fabulous Independent Film Festival was held September 18-20 at Burns Court Cinemas and USF Sarasota/Manatee campus.

Watermark introduced Tangerine, the story of two transgender women and how they adjust to life’s obstacles. 

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LGBT protections play important role for students

By : Krista DiTucci
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As LGBT youth approach a new school year, they will wonder what opportunities and challenges to expect. One of these challenges is whether they will face bullying and, if so, if they can turn to teachers and administration for support.

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) recently reported findings on LGBT protections in “From Statehouse to Schoolhouse: Anti-Bullying Policy Efforts in U.S. and State School Districts.” Findings reveal LGBT students are at increased risk of being bullied and harassed in schools and often encounter “in-school victimization that negatively impacts their academic experiences.” However, findings also reveal that specific LGBT protections in district and state anti-bullying policies may help alleviate victimization and create a more positive school environment. Such policies include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. LGBT-inclusive policies are especially important because youth may not be able to confide in family members and, thus, rely on teachers and administration for confidentiality as well as expertise in addressing LGBT-related issues.

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Manatee County celebrates second annual Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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Manatee Pride had its second outing at the Bradenton Riverwalk with an estimated 1,500 attendees on March 21.

Visitor’s were greeted by local venders and live entertainment at a Pride that looks to become an annual event.

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Manatee Pride aims for bigger, better on March 21

By : Aaron Alper
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Bradenton – “It’s a day of food, fun, music, entertainment and community.”

That is how Valerie A. Fisher, head of the Youth Prism Initiative (a support group for young LGBT residents of Manatee county) described Manatee Pride, which was the first annual pride event ever held in Manatee County in 2014.

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Couples get married by Sarasota Pride

By : Steve Blanchard
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Sarasota – On Dec. 28, Sarasota Pride chairperson Cindy Barnes received her notary stamp. And she wanted it for one reason only—to officiate same-sex weddings on Jan. 6.

Barnes did just that shortly before 9 a.m. in the Sarasota County Courthouse’s courtyard when she united couples Susan and Barbara Pringle and Gail Foreman and Pat Cummins shortly after both couples were granted marriage licenses.

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West/Central Florida marriage equality by the numbers

By : Jamie Hyman
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Here is a breakdown of number off marriage licenses issued Jan. 6, 2015, the first day same-sex marriage was legally available in Florida.

When available, we included number of couples married on-site, whether at the clerk’s office or courthouse.

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Sarasota-Manatee holds first alternative prom for LGBT youth

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Sarasota – With prom season right around the corner, ALSO Youth plans to hold Sarasota’s first alternative prom for LGBT youth and allies.

High school students from 14 to 20 are invited to attend the “A Summer Night”-themed prom on Saturday, May 10, at The Out-of-Door Academy. There is an attendance cap at 200 people, and the dress requirement is semi-formal.

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Movement pushes for Manatee to develop a Human Rights Ordinance

By : Staff Report
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The same day that Manatee County celebrated its first LGBT Pride, the county’s Human Rights Ordinance committee drafted a petition on Change.com to encourage commissioners to protect LGBTs from discrimination.

The ordinance, posted March 22, encourages the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners to create an HRO to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The group wants at least 200 signatures to present to the commission.

The HRO would establish civil rights that would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations in all of Manatee County, for gays, lesbians and transgender residents.

“Currently, neither Manatee County nor any of the six municipalities in Manatee County provide basic civil rights anti-discrimination legal protections in employment, housing, or public accommodations for LGBT people, active duty, Reserve, or National Guard military personnel, or veterans of the armed forces,” the petition reads.

The HRO that the Manatee HRO Committee is requesting is similar to ones that have been established in other Florida counties, like Pinellas, Orange and Volusia

Manatee Pride makes big debut with 1,500 in attendance

By : Steve Blanchard
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Jack Newton looked around Bradenton Riverwalk March 22 and was amazed. Not only by the size of the inaugural Manatee Pride, but the age range of those attending.

“I never knew there was such a community here,” Newton said as he browsed vendor booths. “I’m stunned, really. I would have never imagined all of this could happen here.”

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Manatee Pride makes big debut with 1,500 in attendance

By : Steve Blanchard
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Bradenton – Jack Newton looked around Bradenton Riverwalk March 22 and was amazed. Not only by the size of the inaugural Manatee Pride, but the age range of those attending.

“I never knew there was such a community here,” Newton said as he browsed vendor booths. “I’m stunned, really. I would have never imagined all of this could happen here.”

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Inaugural Manatee Pride set for March 22 debut

By : Sarah Marshall
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Bradenton – This month marks a historic first for Manatee County. The first-ever LGBT Pride Festival will be held at the Bradenton Riverwalk on Saturday, March 22. The effort, which runs from noon to 4 p.m., is organized by the Prism Youth Initiative and its executive director, Shannon Summers.

Manatee Pride hopes to accomplish two things in its inaugural year. It aims to bring the pro-LGBT community together to promote awareness and tolerance regarding LGBT issues, and identify possible board members and mentors for Prism members for the Manatee County Human Rights Ordinance Committee.

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Metro merges with Sarasota’s Comprehensive Care Center

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg- The respective board of Metropolitan Charities (Metro Wellness and Community Centers) and Comprehensive Care Centers (Community AIDS Network) announced Feb. 14 that they will merge the two organizations as of July 1.

Community AIDS Network is a Sarasota-based nonprofit organization offering medical and dental care, mental health services and case management.

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