Tampa’s Jobsite Theater turns 20 with ‘Hedwig’ and more

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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“In a lot of ways we’ve been the little theater company that could,” Tampa’s Jobsite Theater co-founder and Producing Artistic Director David M. Jenkins says. “We started in 1998 with nothing, as five friends who weren’t seeing the kind of theater in town that we were interested in, as far as being artists. We decided to take it into our own hands.”

They did exactly that, forming the professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater company Jobsite, a collective of like-minded artists dedicated to the creation of socially- and politically-relevant theater.

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Bernie Sanders endorses several progressives ahead of primaries

By : Jeremy Williams
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Sen. Bernie Sanders has achieved rockstar status ever since running in the 2016 presidential election. While he didn’t win, he has maintained that status, so when he rolled into town to speak at a rally for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running to be the Democratic nominee in the Florida gubernatorial race, it was no surprise that several hundred young, progressive voters turned up at UCF’s CFE Arena for a chance to hear him speak.

Governor-hopeful Gillum, who earned an endorsement from Bernie, spoke about the same values that Bernie campaigned on: affordable healthcare, increasing the minimum wage and equality for all. Before Bernie and Andrew came to the stage, the crowd was greeted by our own proud progressive, feminist, queer, Latinx, Democrat, state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

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AHF suing Gov. Rick Scott for not releasing public records

By : Colton Adkins
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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a law suit against Gov. Rick Scott on July 26 after Scott’s office refused to release public records of Scott’s schedule.

Scott and state Medicaid officials earlier this year decided to discontinue healthcare coverage to more than 2,000 HIV+ patients provided by Positive Healthcare (PHC).

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With 2018’s third transgender murder in Jacksonville, advocates seek justice and solidarity

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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At least 28 known transgender men and women were murdered nationwide in 2017, the highest number on record. On June 24, just over 2018’s midpoint, the murders of two transgender women brought this year’s total to half that—prompting community advocates to demand justice for the 14 transgender lives lost.

One of those murders was that of Cathalina Christina James, a transgender woman of color who lived her life as more than a disturbing statistic stemming from Jacksonville, Fla. James’ death sparked outrage and stoked fear for the transgender community in Florida’s fourth most populous city, with local leaders fearing a serial killer stalked Jacksonville’s streets.

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Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidates pitch for votes

By : Wire Report
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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s five Democratic candidates made their pitches to party activists at their annual convention June 30, hoping to swing support and drum up donations in advance of the August primary.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and developers Jeff Greene and Chris King dashed between interest group caucuses in hopes of solidifying support among party stalwarts in advance of the Aug. 28 primary.

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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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