IOC lifts restrictions on transgender athletes

By : Wire Report
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London (AP) – Transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics and other international events without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, according to new guidelines adopted by the IOC.

International Olympic Committee medical officials told The Associated Press they changed the policy to adapt to current scientific, social and legal attitudes on transgender issues.

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The Other Side of Life: Remarkable tidings

By : Jason Leclerc
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Jason Leclerc

Jason Leclerc

Recently, in a storied, New England Museum of Art, I stood in front of a painting of Christ on a cross. Beside me, a beautiful Reform Jewish family punctuated by twin girls, fought to gain control of voice volumes and squeaky, scampering feet. When at last, the first-grade bundles of energy were wrapped, I heard them cry out to their yarmelke-topped father: “Tell the story again.” I listened hopefully as they stood—innocent and excited—beside me, eyeing the same ab-perfected, long-haired, halo-sporting figure. I tried to not overhear. Of course, I listened with every bit of my heart.

After an elaborate dance—Na’ale Na’ale, or was it a cha-cha—around the subject, the uncomfortable father began his story, “So this baby was born in a barn,” only to be cut off by the boisterous inquisitors, “No, tell it like Mommy did.”

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Everything you need to know about The Pope before he visits the U.S.

By : Wire Report
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Vatican City (AP) – Pope Francis is expected to raise issues ranging from climate change to income inequality when he visits Cuba and the United States Sept. 19-27. Francis has launched an agenda of reform in the Vatican and in the global church, prioritizing different issues and counseling a more merciful message.

Here’s a primer on where the pope stands on key issues – including LGBT rights.

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Australians to vote on gay marriage if government re-elected

By : Wire Report
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Aug. 12 that Australians would get a chance to vote on legalizing gay marriage if they re-elect his government next year, a promise his opponents argue is a stalling tactic to sideline the divisive issue ahead of the general elections.

Abbott’s ruling conservative coalition all but doomed legislation that would allow gay marriage by refusing to allow its lawmakers a free vote on the issue.

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“Heather has Two Mommies” author Lesléa Newman talks about poetry and the updated version of her classic book

By : Gregg Shapiro
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Lesbian writer Lesléa Newman writes in many different literary genres. She is perhaps best known for her children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies, first published in 1989, which has the distinction of being a consistently challenged and banned title.

Over time, the subject matter—lesbian moms raising a child—has become less shocking than it was more than 25 years ago, but there will always be someone there to make a fuss. A new edition of Newman’s Heather Has Two Mommies (Candlewick, 2015) was recently published and features updated artwork. Newman’s other new title releases this year is I Carry My Mother (Headmistress Press, 2015), a book-length poem.

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Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project hosts “Love is the Cure” concert to raise money for PWAs

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – Fifteen talented musical performers will donate their time and talents to the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project’s newest fundraiser on April 27. The show, Love is the Cure, is a showcase of love songs from the musical theater stage.

SATP creator Garry Breul has made it his life’s work to raise money for people suffering with HIV and AIDS, and he remains committed to raising money that goes directly to those individuals, not organizations.

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Youth summit to feature Jane Castor

By : Staff Report
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JaneCastorMugTampa – Jane Castor, the Tampa Police Chief, will be the guest speaker at the first-ever Empower Tampa LGBTQ Youth Summit this weekend in Ybor City.

The event will be held at Metro Wellness & Community Centers Ybor location and runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7.

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Rainbow Pride flag flies over St. Petersburg City Hall

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – Mayor Rick Kriseman made history again June 26, when he held a short but meaningful ceremony to recognize the LGBT community of his city and the annual St. Pete Pride celebration. At 9 a.m., Kriseman raised a rainbow pride flag to fly above City Hall through Pride weekend.

“I am proud to do something here today that hasn’t been done at City Hall in the past,” Kriseman said to a crowd of about 50. “As we like to say, the sun shines here and in particular on the opportunities that exist in this community for everyone. That’s what I believe makes this community so special.”

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A night parade and separate street festival bring global message to St. Petersburg

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – If you think you know St. Pete Pride, you don’t. The 12th inception of the annual LGBT Pride event has a new look, a new feel and a new schedule in 2014.

While St. Pete Pride continues to honor the anniversary of the New York Stonewall Riots that started it all in 1969 the last weekend of the month—June 27-29—that’s all that remains the same as in years’ past.

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New York proposes bill to ban gay conversion therapy on minors

By : Wire Report
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A proposed ban against New York health professionals trying to change a child’s sexual orientation through therapy comes too late for Matthew Shurka, a 26-year-old Long Island man who says he remains emotionally scarred from five years of attempts to “cure” his being gay.

“My anxiety was at its worst,” Shurka said of the therapy that began when he was 16. “I never attempted suicide, but I had a lot of suicidal thoughts and dreams and thinking about it, considering it.”

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Screened Out – Edge of Tomorrow

By : Stephen Miller
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Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton

Tom Cruise’s last foray into science fiction was last year’s Oblivion, which was pretty to look at but also fairly stupid. Edge of Tomorrow is not so beautiful – a grim, grungy, violent world wrapped in an apocalyptic war with an alien race – but it shows some cleverness.

People will argue that it’s just Groundhog’s Day meets Starship Troopers. Yes, they’re right. Yet, for a summer popcorn flick, Edge of Tomorrow is still extremely entertaining.

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No Shame in Watching These Games: The argument for NOT boycotting the Olympics on TV

By : Kirk Hartlage
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Kirk Hartlage

Kirk Hartlage

I’m gay, I drink Stolichnaya Vodka, and this month I’m watching the Olympics. Oh, and I’m not ashamed of any of it. When I hear my LGBT brethren speak of boycotting the 2014 Winter Games I have to ask, “What does boycotting really mean to you?” If it means not watching any of NBC’s extensive coverage from Sochi, well then, you’re missing out.

No matter the season, the Olympic Games consistently present compelling tales featuring the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat. This year’s Games already are no exception; to deny our—­­or any nation’s—athletes the opportunity to compete against all of the world’s best would be a huge discredit to the true Olympic spirit.

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