LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Brandon Scott Kiley

By : Jeremy Williams
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25 | Transgender Male | He/Him/His

Brandon found the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) at a point in his life when he needed it the most.

He was homeschooled by his parents and raised in the church. When he finally decided to ask about “the gay thing,” Brandon and his family’s path changed forever.

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Support builds as LGBTQ groups call on Orange County to ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: (L-R) Heather Wilkie, Andrew Chang and Eric Rollings are among the community leaders helping to ban conversion therapy in Orange County. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | A petition calling for the ban of so-called gay conversion therapy for minors in Orange County has been launched on the website Change.org.

The petition, which can be found at ConvertToLove.org, has the support of local, state and national LGBTQ organizations including Equality Florida, Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA), One Orlando Alliance, The Trevor Project and the Zebra Coalition.

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Petition launched in Central Florida demands Orange County ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | A petition calling for the ban of so-called gay conversion therapy for minors in Orange County, Florida has been launched on the website Change.org.

The petition, which can be found at ConvertToLove.org, has the support of local, state and national LGBTQ organizations including Equality Florida, The Trevor Project, Zebra Coalition, Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) and One Orlando Alliance.

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PHOTOS: Babes in Bonnets raises $32,000 for OYA

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Parliament House hosted Babes in Bonnets, an Easter holiday tradition that raises funds for the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA), at the Footlight Theatre in Orlando April 15.

The fundraiser, which was started 21 years ago by the legendary drag queen Carmella Marcella Garcia, brought in $32,000 for OYA programs and services.

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OYA and Parliament House’s Easter tradition continues with Babes in Bonnets

By : Abigail Brashear
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ABOVE: A sample of the bonnets auctioned off at the 2018 Babes in Bonnets event. Photo by Tabitha Widby

ORLANDO | The Parliament House will once again host the Easter holiday auction Babes in Bonnets, which fund raises for the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA).

Each fundraiser over the past several years has continued to surpass the one before it, with last year’s auction bringing in a record $32,171. The fundraiser itself has been around for 21 years and was started by the legendary drag queen Carmella Marcella Garcia.

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Orlando Youth Alliance selected to be Lucky’s Market 1st quarter fundraiser partner

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ORLANDO | Lucky’s Market, located at 11750 E Colonial Dr, announced Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) as one of its three nonprofit partners participating in Bags for Change, a quarterly fundraiser hosted by the supermarket chain.  Lucky’s Bags for Change program will help raise funds for OYA from Feb. 3 to May 25.

OYA is a nonprofit local organization providing LGBTQ youth a safe place and support group to discuss any issues or concerns in their lives and includes members from ages 13 to 24.

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OYA in the running to be Lucky’s Market Orlando 1st quarter fundraising recipient

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ORLANDO | Lucky’s Market is a supermarket chain not only with a focus on organic foods but also a focus on giving back to its local community. Bags of Change, a fundraiser organized by the supermarket chain, helps three local nonprofits to raise some much needed funds each quarter.

Each one of Lucky’s Market locations nominate five nonprofits and its customers vote on which three will be the fundraising recipients, and Lucky’s Market Orlando selected the Orlando Youth Alliance as one of the five nominees for its first quarter. Now it is up to you to make OYA one of the top three.

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Watermark Film Company’s new documentary ‘Greetings From Queertown’ shines a light on Orlando’s LGBTQ history

By : Christen Kelley
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From KKK members threatening Pride-filled parade marchers to a sea of red shirts ascending on Disney World for Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom to standing “Orlando Strong” around Lake Eola, Central Florida has come a long way for the LGBTQ community. It’s a rich history that Watermark Film Company plans to detail in their upcoming documentary, “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando.”

Spearheaded by Watermark owner, publisher and editor Rick Claggett, director/producer Sandi Hulon, director of photography Tye Belcher and others from Team Watermark, the film company was created to share the story of “Queertown.”

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The Center Orlando to bring LGBTQ children’s books to the community

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando is expanding again, and this expansion is bringing in something for the kids.

George Wallace, The Center’s executive director, says the new expansion will include a children’s library complete with LGBTQ children’s books and youth novels. A children’s library will be added into the new Center coming to Kissimmee as well.

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Central Florida Overheard: Church Closure

By : anonymous
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Reeves United Methodist Church, a church that has been in Orlando for nearly 100 years, permanently closed their doors leaving parishioners without a place to worship. The church was scheduled to close May 1 to be re-opened later this year as a daycare center, but decided to shut down a couple weeks early. Church volunteers were left to pack up their belongings while a locksmith was changing the locks, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The church was not just home to the roughly 30 church members, but was also home to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups, as well as a rehearsal and storage location for the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band & Color Guard and a meeting space for the Orlando Youth Alliance.

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Babes in Bonnets sets record in fundraising for OYA

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Babes in Bonnets, The Parliament House’s annual Easter fixture, set a fundraising record bringing in $32,171 for the Orlando Youth Alliance March 26.

The previous record was set last year when Babes in Bonnets brought in $28,000 for OYA.

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3.22.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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The first person I ever came out to was a complete stranger. It was surprisingly easy. The journey to get to that moment was not easy, nor the mountains I would have to climb after; but coming out to a stranger wasn’t difficult. It was freeing and desperate.

It was the early 1990s and he was a mentor with the Delta Youth Alliance, now the Orlando Youth Alliance. At the time, it was the only resource for gay youth to meet and support each other and it remains a vital component of the community today. My involvement with the group gave me the courage to come out to my high school best friend. That was difficult because it was someone close to me. It was a bigger gamble as there was more riding on her reaction than that of the stranger.

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