#LoveHandlin’: Together

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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There is a sort of divine spark within each of us that constantly follows us through life wherever we go. Some people call it a vibe, an energy, a wisdom that keeps pulling us towards what some say is our true calling.

I started writing at age 10, right around the same time I first saw the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie “Bloodsport.” My dad loved his movies for the kicking, the punching and the blood. I loved them for… well, obvious reasons. His splits, stretching between two chairs, helped me realize I was gay—Van DAMN!

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Puerto Rico governor signs executive order banning conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (center) speaking in Utuado, Puerto Rico in March 2018.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order March 27 that bans so-called conversion therapy for minors in the U.S. commonwealth.

“These therapies lack scientific basis,” said Rosselló in a tweet that shows him signing the order. “They cause pain and unnecessary suffering to LGBTT people.”

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Puerto Rico lawmakers block vote on bill to ban conversion therapy for minors

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Members of a pro-statehood party in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on March 18 blocked a bill that would have banned so-called conversion therapy for minors.

El Nuevo Día, a Puerto Rican newspaper, reported the New Progressive Party caucus blocked Senate Bill 1000.

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2019 WAVE Awards Spotlight: John Gascot

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay’s Favorite Local Artist

“Art should be for everyone,” St. Petersburg’s John Gascot says. “It shouldn’t only be for the educated or only for people with a lot of money.”

That’s why the artist’s work is accessible not only in its subject matter and aesthetic, but also its price point. “You can go into my studio and get a hand painted magnet for $5 or a painting for $3,000,” he explains.

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Puerto Rico government issues LGBTI-friendly guidelines to public employees

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s administration on Feb. 8 issued guidelines that are designed to make the U.S. commonwealth’s public employees more sensitive to the needs of transgender people and same-sex couples and their children.

The guidelines specifically refer to trans Puerto Ricans who want to change the gender on their birth certificates and children whose parents are legally married same-sex couples.

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Puerto Rico: A year after Hurricane Maria

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAN JUAN — Sept. 20 marked a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Many of the U.S. commonwealth’s more than 3 million residents are trying to return to some sense of normalcy, but signs of Maria’s destruction remain visible throughout Puerto Rico. Anger over the pace of recovery and President Trump’s response to Maria remain widespread across the island.

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San Juan mayor: Trump ‘unhinged from any sense of reality’

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Wednesday reiterated her sharp criticism of President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico a year ago.

“More than 3,000 people have died, that’s for sure,” she told the Washington Blade during an interview in Old San Juan. “They died of neglect. They died because they couldn’t have their insulin refrigerated because we didn’t have power. They died because hospitals weren’t ready and because hospitals didn’t have power. Those are deaths that could have been preventable and they weren’t.”

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Trans Puerto Ricans can now change gender on birth certificates

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Transgender people in Puerto Rico are now able to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

A federal judge in March ruled the U.S. commonwealth’s previous policy — a 2005 decree from the Puerto Rico Supreme Court that said trans people could not amend the gender marker on their birth certificates — was unconstitutional.

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Central Florida Overheard: Fringe Forever

By : anonymous
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The Orlando International Fringe Festival wrapped another hugely successful year with an awards celebration and party on the Fringe lawn at Loch Haven Park this past Memorial Day.

Fringe had well over 100 sold out performances during the course of the 13-day festival, they announced. Then Watermark took the stage to present our readers’ choice 2018 Splash Awards. The big winner of the night was AJ Prats’ “PeeVira’s ScareVan Singalong: Disney Addicktion” which won both Favorite LGBTQ Show and Favorite LGBTQ Lead Performer for Prats.

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Watermark on the Fringe: “El Wiz”

By : Danny Garcia
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A true love letter to Puerto Rico, her people and her culture. This retelling of the classic “Wizard of Oz” is set in modern day Puerto Rico, but instead of our story’s hero Dorothy getting swept up in a tornado, she’s whisked away during Hurricane Maria which devastated the island this past fall.

Touting a very large cast with vocal performances that are quite strong, “El Wiz” blends Latin music, hip-hop and even traditional Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba music – we’re taken on Dorothy’s journey from start to finish in whimsical and family friendly ways. The characters in “El Wiz” are given a modern upgrade and all the incredibly talented performers fit the roles perfectly.

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Federal judge rules Puerto Rico birth certificate gender marker policy unconstitutional

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal judge has ruled Puerto Rico must allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

Lambda Legal last April filed a lawsuit on behalf of three trans Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a local advocacy group. U.S. District Court Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo in her ruling that she signed on March 28 said the U.S. commonwealth’s birth certificate policy, which the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decreed in 2005, is unconstitutional.

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Orlando Immunology Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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CENTRAL FLORIDA’S FAVORITE LGBTQ BUSINESS NOT A BAR/CLUB (OVER ONE YEAR), FAVORITE LOCAL HEALTHCARE PROVIDER (DR. EDWIN DEJESUS), WHO SHOULD BE ON THE COVER OF CENTRAL FLORIDA’S WAVE AWARD ISSUE (DR. EDWIN DEJESUS)

The Orlando Immunology Center, commonly referred to as OIC, has been a part of the Central Florida area for more than 40 years. They are the oldest and largest infectious disease clinic in Central Florida—one of the largest in the state—and specialize in the medical needs of the LGBTQ community. It’s no wonder that they were voted Central Florida’s favorite LGBTQ business.

The readers also named OIC medical director Dr. Edwin DeJesus as Central Florida’s favorite local healthcare provider, as well as the person they wanted to see on the cover of this issue.

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