As sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, the battle for LGBTQ sex ed in schools is more important than ever

By : Samuel Johnson
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Another tale of twin cities is encapsulated in twin counties, both nestled on the Tampa Bay. St. Petersburg occupies the southern borders of the bay and Tampa hugs the northern shoreline; Pinellas County and Hillsborough County respectfully.

Like most twin cities, these twin counties are dealing with some of the same civic and social challenges: shared infrastructure or shared natural resources or even shifting residential patterns. Another aspect that these twin counties share is the startling rates of sexually risky behavior among their youth, which manifests itself in high rates of sexual infections and diseases.

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Uprisings: Diminishing returns

By : Billy Manes
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Though anyone who is taking the time to read this missive understands that this writer’s cynicism weighs more than two heavy bricks in two large pockets, the fact that the Aug. 30 primary only drew a 20 percent crowd in Orange County – and a similar number in Pinellas County – is a bit of a kick in the teeth. In some ways, I’ll take the blame. I was asked by numerous voters who to vote for, but I didn’t have the time to just throw numbers and precincts in their faces. I also didn’t, perhaps, do my due diligence in making that clear.

In a primary, in a gay paper, we don’t generally parse details. You’re with us, or you’re against us. We aren’t going to vote Republican, generally, so there’s that (sorry about your logs). The pols that have been with us were very clear in their messaging, and we likely profiled them in the past. The ones who are against us? Well, there aren’t enough ticks in a clock for us to deal with them at any reasonable length. So, on one hand, I’m issuing an apology. If any news source should be standing and screaming into the district-depths of individual primaries, it should be us, mine, the one that I edit. On the other hand, these are small towns and there are a lot of voices, many of which are familiar with my contact information, so I didn’t want to sink into the quicksand of political gamesmanship. In fact, because of social media, I did make some personal comments on personal pages, and I may have overstepped and come off as a dick.

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Marriage equality could signal the death of domestic partnerships and the benefits they bestow

By : Jamie Hyman
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It seems simple enough. When same-sex couples couldn’t legally get married, cities and counties created domestic partnerships, so that those couples could receive some of the benefits and protections marriage provides. Now that same-sex couples can legally marry, domestic partnerships are redundant and can be eliminated, right?

Not so fast.

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Santa Speedo Run returns to Ybor Dec. 14

By : Zach Caruso
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Tampa – Santa Claus is coming to town. And so is Mrs. Claus—in a bra.

The 2014 Santa Speedo Run will return on Dec. 14 to Centennial Park in Ybor City, and this year it will be host to a brand new co-event dubbed “Mrs. Claus in Bras.”

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Through modern and traditional media, Your Real Stories breaks social boundaries

By : Chris Muscardin
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St. Petersburg – The 2011 dramatic film The Help had quite the impact on St. Petersburg resident Lillian Dunlap. It inspired her to take a look at the stories of the real life ‘help’. What started as a small project to showcase “Decades of Day Work” has turned into a journey of stories turned into plays turned into art shows.

Now, Your Real Stories, the organization that produces the show, has announced its first official season.

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Man behind bars after alleged boyfriend’s death

By : Christal Hayes
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A Pinellas County man was charged with first degree murder after deputies discovered the body of his boyfriend inside the home the two men shared over the weekend.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, David G. Elsey, 50, was found dead with upper-body trauma inside a home on the 1600 block of Summit Way when deputies responded there to conduct a welfare check around 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 7. Arthur Michael DeCarvalho, 26,who neighbors say shared the home with Elsey, was charged with first-degree murder.

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Gulfport Library plans to create LGBT resource center

By : Greg Stemm
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Gulfport – The nonprofit Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library announced its intention to create a LGBTQ Resource Center at the Library. The project brings together books, periodicals and other media in a special collection to serve as a community resource for Pinellas County and Florida. The Resource Center would be the first of its kind for a public library in the State of Florida.

“Every library in Pinellas County has adopted a certain specialty,” said Roger Turner, chairman of the subcommittee. “Because Gulfport has such a large LGBT community — and because as far as we know there are no other public libraries in the state with a dedicated commitment to building and maintaining a large collection of LGBT-themed work — we think this is an appropriate thing for our library and our community.”

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Top 5 Tampa Bay news stories of 2013

By : Staff Report
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Hillsborough County Commission
The commission inspired one of our more powerful covers in 2013 when it voted Jan. 24 4-3 to reject a domestic partnership registry that would have granted a handful of rights to unmarried couples living within Hillsborough County. The same commission, however, voted June 5 to repeal an eight-year-old ordinance that prohibited county officials from recognizing LGBT Pride celebrations. It was a one-step backward, one step forward kind of year for the controversial commission.

Pinellas County Commission passes DPR
With only one dissenting vote, the Pinellas County Commission voted overwhelmingly in favor of a countywide domestic partnership registry on Jan. 15. Newly elected commissioners helped push the majority vote, which was made after residents debated both sides of the issue for several hours. The one commissioner not in favor of granting a handful or rights to co-habiting, unmarried couples in the county was Norm Roche.

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Pinellas to vote on transgender protections

By : Steve Blanchard, Susan Clary
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Clearwater – Nearly five years after the Human Rights Ordinance was passed in Pinellas County, there is hope transgender people will be included in its legal protections.

Commissioners will vote Aug. 20 on whether to replace the term “sexual identity” with “gender identity” in the wording of the ordinance.

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