Ros-Lehtinen talks retirement, slams Trump’s military trans ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Fla.) speaks with the Washington Blade at her office on Capitol Hill on May 21. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) last week reiterated her criticism of President Trump over a host of issues that includes his effort to ban transgender people from the military.

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Never again, but why now?

By : Jamie Hyman
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In the weeks since a shooter killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., survivors have been featured in a town hall on national television, visited the Florida Legislature and led a march of more than a million protesters nationwide, demanding sensible gun control.

In the weeks following the shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016, the levels of advocacy and response were far more muted, which is forcing members of the LGBTQ community to wonder why, after a mass shooting that at the time was the deadliest in U.S. history, government officials, the media and the nation failed to rally behind the Pulse survivors with the volume and intensity that are leading millions to take action today.

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The Tender Activist: You’re Not Responsible Enough to Have a Gun

By : Scottie Campbell
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In the aftermath of the June 12, 2016, shooting here in Orlando, my dad and I had a discussion about guns.

Like all of our discussions on that topic, nobody was swayed. I certainly didn’t help things when I had a knee-jerk reaction to a “the gun doesn’t kill people” bon mot he lobbed at me. Fresh off hearing Rick Scott regurgitate an impotent cliché for the national media about the Second Amendment itself not killing everyone, I snapped.

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Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith kicks off re-election campaign at The Abbey

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | “We have all heard him say, and I want you to say it with me, ‘I am a proud progressive, liberal, feminist, gay, Latino, Democrat,’” state Rep. Amy Mercado (D-48) said from the stage, speaking of state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-49), at The Abbey Jan. 5.

Mercado, along with many liberal progressives—among them Florida House District 47 candidate Anna Eskamani, former state Rep. Joe Saunders and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer—joined Smith as he kicked off his 2018 re-election campaign .

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Florida gubernatorial candidate Chris King takes LGBTQ rights personally

By : Scottie Campbell
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WINTER PARK, Fla. | Each 2018 Democratic candidate in the Florida gubernatorial race has made statements in support of LGBTQ rights, but in a speech before the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus in August, Orlando’s Chris King revealed why his long-held support is personal.

King ended his speech talking about his eldest brother, David, who was gay. A polished and considered speaker, the cadence of King’s voice noticeably changes as he relates David’s rough childhood and adolescence growing up gay in Florida during the ‘70s and ‘80s. After battling years of insecurities and depression, David eventually committed suicide 20 years ago at the age of 30. King tells Watermark that caucus speech is the one time he has talked about this publicly.

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Uprisings: Sign your name

By : Billy Manes
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While many of us were flapping around in post-traumatic winds on the one-year mark of the Pulse shooting June 12, some of the weight of a contentious legislative session met the power of the governor’s pen. Governor Scott, who never met a gay person he didn’t ignore (except for when convenient), took to uncle Donald Trump’s Twitter ways and made it clear that he was thinking about the victims.

“Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before,” his fingers tweeted. “I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.”

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Hateful lawn signs and Honoring the 49 with action

By : Anonymous
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Get off my lawn

In front of a quaint green-and-white paneled house, adorning the freshly manicured green lawn on 27th Avenue in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast neighborhood June 3, laid five derogatory signs. The first four calling for “No Jews,” “No Infidels,” “No Fags” and “No Retards”; a fifth sign read “…Great Again!”

The house – and the signs – are the property of St. Petersburg resident Roland Price. Price spoke with WFLA News Channel 8 and told them that the signs are self-explanatory. This isn’t the first time Price has stirred up controversy and frustration among his neighbors. According to neighbors, he has posted signs in the past displaying his political and social views ranging from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. The Tampa Bay Times has also found out that since 2004, the police have been called out to the Price residence 44 different times for aggravated assault, noise complaints, criminal mischief, theft and domestic incidents.

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Uprisings: A New Deal?

By : Billy Manes
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On the last day of February, our national leader and television star Donald Trump launched his congressional speech with a nod to his wife and to Black History Month, attempting, apparently, to launch a new narrative about the Trump presidency, one that doesn’t involve salacious groping and Twitter accounts.

“Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains,” he said with all the gall of a teenage actor.“ Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

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Uprisings: No apologies

By : Billy Manes
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By now, we’ve all had a few weeks to breathe in the post-traumatic, post-Trumpian world of Tweets and nonsense. By now we’ve survived our Thanksgiving skirmishes with chest-puffed grumpy uncles and the general racists and horror shows of our particular broods. By now, we’ve even danced around the daisies of Green Party hopeful Jill Stein and her swing-state strategy of proving nothing in a recount that is not meant to benefit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but rather to flex her own nascent political muscle one last time. By now, we’re aware of the hell we’re facing.

There isn’t nearly enough sugar – outside of Big Sugar – to coat the results of the Nov. 8 general election and its subsequent horror of errors. In just a week or so, the Electoral College will cast the final stone, leaving us swirling in a vacuum of idiocy, most of which will be stuffed with as much acrimony as a fraudulent billionaire can afford. Donald Trump got his wish: he is king of the mountain; it’s all on him.

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Florida Gov. may serve as a model, and warning, for Trump

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – He was opposed by the Republican establishment. During a contentious campaign he spoke forcefully about the need to crack down on immigration. And he used millions of his own money to bolster his political career.

President-elect Donald Trump? No, Rick Scott, the current governor of Florida.

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[Update] Deadline to register to vote in the presidential election is Weds., Oct. 12… Do it!

By : Billy Manes
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We’ll hold back on the locker-room banter motif that defined a weekend that was likely to be blown away by mass destruction via Hurricane Matthew. What’s more important, especially after watching last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, is that you are engaged in a manner that can make a difference.

Following a request by the Clinton campaign to extend voter registration in order to make up for days lost at home during a natural disaster, our favorite (not favorite) Gov. Rick Scott has refused said extension. Wonder why? Google “Voter Suppression.”

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Attitudes toward LGBT community at odds across Florida

By : Wire Report
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Tallahassee, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s Key West is one of the most gay-friendly places in the country. The Florida Panhandle – many locals call it the Redneck Riviera – is a different story.

The massacre of 49 people in a gay nightclub happened between these extremes, forcing many Floridians to reconsider their assumptions about the state’s evolving culture.

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