“Liberal Redneck” Trae Crowder talks about his ties to the LGBTQ community and incoming tour

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Trae Crowder, the 31-year-old comedian better known as the “Liberal Redneck,” gained national notoriety after he and his southern drawl supported transgender rights in April 2016.

He’d been a stand-up comedian for nearly six years at the time, but it was his condemnation of North Carolina’s bigoted HB2 “bathroom bill” that thrust him into the viral video spotlight. That first video, originally uploaded to his personal Facebook page, has garnered over 980,000 YouTube views to date. In total, his hot takes have drawn over 50 million.

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CDC study finds half of gay black men will get HIV

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) — About half of gay and bisexual black men will be diagnosed with the AIDS virus in their lifetime, according to new government estimates.

Overall, for the average American, the odds of an HIV infection is 1 in 99 and has been declining.

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Georgia Senate approves LGBT service-refusal bill

By : Wire Report
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Atlanta (AP) – Georgia’s state Senate approved a bill allowing faith-based organizations to refuse services to same-sex couples without government penalties, including loss of grants or other taxpayer funding.

Senators voted 38 to 14 on party lines Feb. 19, despite fear about damage to the state’s economy expressed by the state’s influential business community and opposition from gay-rights advocates.

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Boy Scout performs gay community service for Eagle Scout project

By : Wire Report
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Chicago (AP) – David Fite had already earned the 21 Boy Scout merit badges needed to earn the coveted rank of Eagle. But he still had to complete a community service project.

Now 16, he’d always been a gung-ho scout, dutiful, polite and committed. But he’d also been disappointed with the organization’s longstanding ban on openly gay scouts and leaders, so much so that he’d considered quitting. “I knew it wasn’t right,” said Fite, who has many family friends who are gay or lesbian – some of them honorary “aunts” and “uncles” who’ve given him money for camp and other scouting projects over the years.

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Around the World: Four romantic getaways for V-Day

By : Aaron Drake
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Aaron Drake

There’s something about arguing with your hubby while navigating the tumultuously windy backroads of Maui through a tropical forest – or clinging to each other at 3 a.m. during a downpour that rumbles like freight train on the tin roof of the cottage you’re staying in – that just spells the word “R-O-M-A-N-C-E.” I mean, it’s said that you never get to know someone better than when you travel together. What better way to kick off the most romantic month of the year than with a trip made for two? 2016 is the year to put it to the test, or perhaps re-spark that languishing LTR.

Inspired by the wintry weather, which is making its presence felt even here in the Sunshine State, we’ve got love and warmer temps on the brain.

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Indiana sees bipartisan push for hate crime laws

By : Wire Report
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Indianapolis (AP) – Forty-five states have hate crime laws, but Indiana isn’t one of them.

Indiana was once a Ku Klux Klan stronghold and the Southern Poverty Law Center says there are 15 hate groups currently operating – which it defines as groups that “attack or malign an entire class of people” regardless of whether the group advocates for or engages in violence or other criminal activity. Efforts to add a hate crime designation to the criminal code have failed for years amid concerns that it would elevate one type of crime over others that could be equally brutal.

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U.S. Christians think they should be more protected than other religions

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.

Solid majorities said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to uphold religious freedom in general. However, the percentages varied dramatically when respondents were asked about specific faith traditions, according to a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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Jacksonville wraps HRO community discussions

By : Jamie Hyman
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Jacksonville – The third and final meeting to discuss proposed LGBT protections in Jacksonville is in the books.

Mayor Lenny Curry scheduled the Community Conversations to discuss a human rights ordinance that includes nondiscrimination protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity. Jacksonville is the only major Florida city without protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, despite being the Florida metro area with the highest percentage of LGBT residents, according to a report by the Jacksonville Office of General Counsel.

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HRO discussions truck along in divided Jacksonville

By : Jamie Hyman
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About 750 people packed a gymnasium at Edward Waters College for the second of three “Community Conversations” on a proposed human rights ordinance for the city of Jacksonville.

Attendees went through heightened security, with a metal detector and bag search, presumably because there was a bomb threat after the first meeting Nov. 17.

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Native Americans living on tribal lands still fighting for marriage equality

By : Wire Report
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Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP) – Cleo Pablo married her longtime partner when gay weddings became legal in Arizona and looked forward to the day when her wife and their children could move into her home in the small Native American community outside Phoenix where she grew up.

That day never came. The Ak-Chin Indian Community doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages and has a law that prohibits unmarried couples from living together. So Pablo voluntarily gave up her tribal home and now is suing the tribe in tribal court to have her marriage validated.

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SMART Ride 2015 raises nearly $1 million for HIV/AIDS organizations

By : Ciara Varone
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Miami – 383 bicyclists from 24 states and one from Ottawa, Canada pedaled 165 miles from Miami to Key West Nov. 13 and 14 for The SMART Ride, the annual Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride, raising almost $1 million for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Now in its 12th year, the event has collected over $7.3 million total, donating every cent of that to the cause.

“That gives me goosebumps, just knowing that what we do is unique and that we attract so many different people from so many different places,” says Glen Weinzimer, The SMART Ride’s founder, adding that as of press time, he’s still receiving donations from the 2015 event.

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UN changes guidelines: HIV patients should start treatment immediately

By : Wire Report
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LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization has revised its HIV guidelines to recommend that anyone who tests positive for the virus that causes AIDS should be treated immediately.

That guidance fits with what is already recommended in many developed nations, including the United States.

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