LGBTQ pride parade in Amsterdam features boats as floats

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ABOVE: Crowds gather for the closing of Pride Amsterdam Aug. 4. Photo courtesy Pride Amsterdam Facebook page.

AMSTERDAM (AP) | Tens of thousands of spectators are lining an Amsterdam canal to watch a parade of decorated boats during the Dutch capital’s LGBTQ pride festival.

Organizers said 80 boats officially took part in the canal parade on Saturday, including ones representing Dutch police, the military and an undertakers’ organization.

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Panasonic a pioneer for LGBT rights in Japan

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TOKYO (AP) – For decades, Panasonic Corp. has shaped Japanese corporate tradition – be it morning exercise routines or lifetime employment. But don’t hold your breath waiting for other Asian businesses to emulate its latest policy announcement: Recognizing same-sex partnerships.

Much of Asia remains far behind the West in such attitudes. Panasonic’s move is rare, although bold, and seems unlikely to herald a sea change.

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Panasonic forges ahead with recognition of same-sex marriage and possible benefits

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Tokyo (AP) – Panasonic Corp. said it will recognize same-sex marriages in its employment policies in a rare move for a major Japanese manufacturer.

Although details are being worked out, some of the benefits currently allocated to married employees include maternity leave, health insurance and a small cash bonus, said spokeswoman Chieko Gyobu. Panasonic said the new policy will come into effect in April.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Janet Jackson, a Ybor City impostor and Santa’s little helpers

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Janet-Concert-T-shirt-Tampa
Janet Jackson came to Tampa and all she got was this T-shirt, and she could not have been more excited about it. While performing on stage at the Amalie Arena during her “Unbreakable World Tour,” a fan threw a T-shirt on stage. Now gifts being thrown on stage by adoring fans are nothing new to Ms. Jackson, but this one left her visibly giddy as she opened up the shirt, and it read Penny-Charlene-Cleo-Justice, those being the first names of her iconic characters from Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, Fame and Poetic Justice. The T-shirt was designed by St. Petersburg artist Chad Mize, who was unable to attend the concert, and was tossed on stage by his friend Ryan Prado. The T-shirt design, which lists four similar people, places or things, is becoming quite iconic itself with the World Tour shirt (Paris-London-Tokyo-St. Pete) being all the rage last year. The design even made appearances at this year’s TIGLFF events with the Sundance-Cannes-Toronto-TIGLFF t-shirts. HIGH FASHION!

Can the real Ybor City please stand up?
Hollywood is coming to Ybor… well, sort of. The rights to Tampa Bay writer Dennis Lehane’s novel, Live by Night, were bought by Oscar-winning writer/director/actor/producer/Batman Ben Affleck who will turn it into his next project. The story is set in Ybor City during the 1920s and ‘30s and is about a Boston thief’s rise to power as a Gulf Coast rum runner. Don’t dust off those acting chops just yet though my local performers. While the story takes place in the bay area, the lack of state tax incentives for movie productions has caused Mr. Affleck to head north some 270 miles to Brunswick, Georgia where he is building a fake Ybor City for the film. If you build it, they will come and come he will. The set designers have been busy building since early September preparing for Batman Ben’s arrival to begin shooting the first week of November. Sorry real Ybor and thanks Obama… oops, we mean thanks Rick Scott!

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Guam rejects territory’s first same-sex marriage license application

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HAGATNA, Guam — Guam on April 8 rejected a marriage license application from the first-same sex couple to apply for the document in the U.S. territory.

A Department of Public Health and Social Services clerk refused to accept an application filed by Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero.

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Tokyo ward 1st in Japan to recognize same-sex marriage

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TOKYO (AP) — Fumino Sugiyama will finally be able to marry his girlfriend of four years. He couldn’t before, because same sex marriages weren’t recognized in Japan, and he is legally a woman.

With a landmark vote March 31 by the assembly of Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, the district famous as a mecca for trendy youngsters became the first locale in Japan to recognize same sex partnerships as the “equivalent of a marriage,” guaranteeing the identical rights of married couples, including hospital visitations and apartment rentals.

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IOC makes Olympic-sized move on LGBT issues

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Monaco – The International Olympic Committee approved a new Olympic bidding process this month to make the system less costly and more flexible to attract future candidates—to including adding sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.

Under Principle 6, the new clause states there should be no discrimination “of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

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George Takei sees gay pride beginning in Japan

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TOKYO (AP) – George Takei said he needed courage and anger to come out as gay and to join the equal rights movement for sexual minorities in the U.S., and he hopes his Japanese counterparts will do the same to make their society more equal.

Takei said he has noticed a movement beginning in Japan, though the country of his ancestry has a long way to go. He said Japanese people need to fight for their own rights and they need to be a bit angry, too.

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12,000 march in Tokyo’s pride parade

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Thousands of people participated in a gay pride parade in Japan’s capital Sunday to kick off “Tokyo Rainbow Week,” the first ever celebration of the LGBT community.

Organizers said about 12,000 people took part in the “Tokyo Rainbow Pride”parade, which has taken place for several years in the posh Harajuku shopping district, but is now a part of the weeklong celebration. Events run through May 6.

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Thinking Out Loud: Straightening Up At The Boy Scouts Of America

By : Abby Dees
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AbbyDeesHeadshotSometime in the ’20s my grandfather became the then-youngest Boy Scout to obtain the top rank of Eagle Scout. When he died he was as proud of that as he was of piloting ships into Tokyo Bay at the end of the war. He was a classic Scout too. The epitome of honor and resourcefulness, he whistled while he worked and did everything he could think of to make life better for the people in his world.

I never talked about the gay scouting ban with my grandfather. Maybe I didn’t give the 97-year-old guy enough credit, but I thought that conversation would be too awkward. I’d have to explain things that we just didn’t talk about together, like the difference between plain old sex and sexual orientation. And I worried he’d think I was criticizing him personally, so I cut us both some slack. You get to do that with family sometimes.

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