The fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit unites LGBTQ youth

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: City of Orlando’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Senior Specialist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez gives a speech at the Orlando Youth Summit at Valencia College – West Campus. Photo by Melanie Ararat

ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies were able to network, engage in interactive workshops and listen to community leaders for the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) at Valencia College – West Campus on Nov. 3. A special appearance was made by Orange County Mayor and School Board Chair-Elect Teresa Jacobs.

“It’s important for our youth, our educators and our professionals to all come together and talk about the best ways to help our youth as they discover who they are and how they can make sure that they can live their authentic selves in our community,” Jacobs says.

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PHOTOS: The Reformation Project’s 6th annual LGBTQ Inclusion Conference holds service in Orlando

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | LGBTQ Christians, theologians and allies all gathered to worship and learn about LGBTQ inclusion in the church held by The Reformation Project. The event — the sixth annual LGBTQ Inclusion Conference — was held at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando Oct. 18-20.

The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, nonprofit Christian grassroots organization that works to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups in the church. The organization focuses on reforming the church’s teachings on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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PHOTOS: COWP and QLatinx screen international short film ‘MAR’ at Reel Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | A week of Pride continued on Oct. 10 when Come Out With Pride, in partnership with QLatinx, presented the inaugural Reel Pride at The Venue in Orlando.

Reel Pride screened the international LGBTQ short film “MAR (The Sea),” directed by Portuguese-Canadian filmmaker William Vitoria. Vitoria was on hand for the event and held a Q&A session after the audience watched his film.

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William Vitoria’s “MAR (The Sea)” to make US film debut at Come Out With Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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“MAR” director William Vitoria

Come Out With Pride’s expansion to a full week of events partners Pride with QLatinx to present Reel Pride, an international film screening of the LGBTQ-themed short film, “MAR .”

“MAR” is directed by Portuguese-Canadian filmmaker William Vitoria.

“I was born in Toronto where I lived until I was seven years old, then my parents moved me to Portugal,” says Vitoria, 28. “I lived there for 14 years and moved back to Toronto.”

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08.09.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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“Guys in Orlando suck!” “The gay community in Orlando is so transient.” I heard these phrases way too often in the early 2000s, but I never bought into that way of thinking.

I moved to Central Florida in 1986. This was back in the days when the 408 was just two lanes each way, The Winter Park Village was an enclosed Mall and Ronnie’s was serving the Mogambo Extravaganza (a sixth grade ice cream lover’s dream dessert). I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on track to meet some amazing people with incredible stories to tell, and who would disprove the notion that Orlando was not a strong LGBTQ community.

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Come Out With Pride announces its week-long schedule of events for Pride 2018

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its schedule of events at its 2018 Big Reveal at Tin Roof Orlando July 30. COWP will extend its official events from the traditional three-day weekend to a full week of events.

COWP’s week-long series of events will take place throughout Orlando Oct. 8-14. Several community leaders took the stage at the Big Reveal to make the announcements.

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One Orlando Alliance retracts ED offer after Patricia Todd suggests Alabama Gov. is lesbian

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The One Orlando Alliance has retracted the offer of employment made to former Alabama Rep. Patricia Todd to serve as the organization’s executive director after Todd suggested on Twitter May 15 that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is a lesbian.

“The Board affirms that Ms. Todd’s recent comments are not aligned with the values of One Orlando Alliance. We strongly believe that coming out is a personal choice and we do not support involuntarily outing,” said Jennifer Foster, Chair of the Board of Directors and one of the original co-conveners of the Alliance, in a press release. “This has been a challenging situation. While Ms. Todd has a well-established record of outstanding service to the community, her lapse in judgment has led us to end our relationship with her. We admire her many decades of exemplary service and believe that, with the right opportunity, Ms. Todd will continue to use her many talents to make significant progress advocating for justice and equality.”

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Groups form in the wake of Pulse to better explain, correct our problem with mass violence

By : Billy Manes
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There have been numerous efforts to make sense – and sociological advancement – following the attack at Pulse Orlando on June 12.

Look around you. There are murals everywhere, scenes of righteous indignations, ribbon-makers delivering rainbows to celebrities, candlelight tributes, attempts to curb the seeming necessity to take those out with whom you do not agree. Orlando is America’s tipping point on both the LGBTQ and gun-violence fronts, and many of those who are most affected are seeking change to make things better. You can say “intersectionality” in terms of protest all you want, but here, now, it is manifest. These are but a few of the bright spots to come from that dark night. Orlando is coming together; you can help.

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Day of Love and Kindness announced to honor Pulse anniversary

By : Billy Manes
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ORLANDO – While there will certainly be a number of events launched in the coming months to pay homage to those who suffered from the June 12 massacre at Pulse, the city and the county are preparing for the event in the best way they know how. A “Day of Love and Kindness” has been planned to coincide with vigils at the Pulse site, Lake Eola and the History Center.

Orlando’s LGBTQ Alliance, which formed in the wake of the tragedy, is working with the municipal governments to make “love and kindness” matter. Alliance member Jennifer Foster of Foster Productions Inc. says that June 12 should be a day where everyone makes a special effort to be kind in traffic, maybe donate blood and generally be good to locals.

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Marginalized groups join forces to fight the Trump administration’s attacks on minorities

By : Billy Manes
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Orlando – On Jan. 29, amid of flood of hurried information and the confusion that comes along with it, more than 1,000 people of Orlando (and those who love them) convened upon the Orlando International Airport to voice their solidarity for their marginalized populations, LGBTQ and Muslim populations among them. As the gathered crowd was educated about the lines of peaceful protest against the backdrop of Lee Vista’s The Haven Bar – a site offered by the strip-mall’s owner (and former Libertarian Orlando mayoral candidate) Matthew Falconer for gathering – participants were instructed, in typical protest parlance, to not descend to the level of name-calling that has made anti-gay, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant conjecture the focus, an act that was sure to be offered at a high-profile event in one of the busiest travel meccas in the world.

“Do not engage with the opposition,” that was the key point. It will get you nowhere.

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The Connection is Made: Mover and shaker Carlos Carbonell meets, greets and wins

By : Billy Manes
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It’s almost impossible to peruse any Orlando media without catching a glance of the Human Rights Campaign’s (seemingly) chief networker Carlos Carbonell. Carbonell also serves on the Contigo Fund Grant Committee, an affiliate of the Our Fund Foundation, that was developed in Orlando in the wake of the Pulse massacre. He’s also a key figure in the newly formed LGBTQ alliance which seeks to pull resources together from throughout the community to achieve equality and fairness.

“I have a huge love for everything Orlando,” he says. “I graduated college from the University of Florida. I came to Orlando and had odd jobs, like working for Disney. I ended up working for a marketing firm. For 10 years, I helped build up the marketing side of that. But, it was through my friend [Orlando LGBTQ advocate] Jennifer Foster and a few others that I got involved in HRC, because there wasn’t an HRC here. So there were about four or five others that got that going. I was also somewhat involved in the Democratic Party, just helping out here and there. That gave a little bit of a compassion for advocacy.”

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Organización comunitaria local busca exaltar las voces de la comunidad LGBTQ+ y Latinx

By : David Thomas Moran
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Translated by Esteban Rios.

Un grupo recién formado trabaja para promover la intersección a nivel local de las voces y opiniones de las comunidades LGBTQ+ y Latinx a lo largo de toda Florida Central.

Más que nada, QLatinx desea brindar un espacio de sanación para sus miembros. El grupo busca fortalecer a las personas LGBTQ+ y Latinx, así como a sus aliados quienes han resultado sumamente afectados por el crimen de odio cometido en Pulse, para movilizar y apoyarse los unos a los otros a medida que afrontan las secuelas del tiroteo. El grupo ya ha sido noticia reciente al aparecer en la revista The New Yorker.

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