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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Bomb threat and KKK anti-gay flyers result from Jacksonville HRO discussion

By : Jeremy Williams
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JacksonvilleBigotFlyersJacksonville, Fla. – The Ku Klux Klan distributed flyers encouraging gay bashing throughout Jacksonville neighborhoods Nov. 20.

The flyers were distributed in the Riverside area, well-known as Jacksonville’s LGBT neighborhood, as well as in the Mandarin and Southside neighborhoods, according to Jimmy Midyette of Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, a civil rights group who has been working to get sexual orientation and gender identity added to the city’s Human Rights Ordinance.

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Manatee Pride aims for bigger, better on March 21

By : Aaron Alper
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Bradenton – “It’s a day of food, fun, music, entertainment and community.”

That is how Valerie A. Fisher, head of the Youth Prism Initiative (a support group for young LGBT residents of Manatee county) described Manatee Pride, which was the first annual pride event ever held in Manatee County in 2014.

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Gay Ohio councilman stands up for transgender youth

By : Wire Report
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leelah alcorn suicide transgender teenager

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Cincinnati (AP) – The city’s first openly gay councilman is offering his support to youth who are struggling with being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Chris Seelbach has been speaking out following the apparent suicide of a 17-year-old transgender girl in southwest Ohio. Leelah Alcorn’s death has drawn global attention and added to concerns about suicide among transgender youths.

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Hundreds attend Ohio vigil for transgender teen

By : Wire Report
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CINCINNATI (AP) – Hundreds of people have gathered in the memory of a 17-year-old transgender girl following her apparent suicide in southwest Ohio.

Leelah Alcorn was struck and killed by a truck while on foot on Interstate 71 the morning of Dec. 28. Ohio authorities are still investigating.

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Rhode Island court throws out firefighters’ gay pride lawsuits

By : Wire Report
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Providence, R.I. (AP) – The Rhode Island Supreme Court has thrown out lawsuits brought by two Providence firefighters who said their constitutional rights were violated when they were ordered to drive a truck in a gay pride parade despite their religious objections.

The firefighters, Theodore Fabrizio and Stephen Deninno, argued that they are Roman Catholics and therefore do not support or condone being gay.

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Mark’s List founder killed after first leg of SMARTride charity event

By : Staff Report
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Marathon – Gay activist and founder of the gay travel and entertainment website JumpOnMarksList.com, Mark Haines, of Fort Lauderdale died Nov. 14 after he was struck by a pickup truck and two other vehicles on U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys near Marathon. He was 54.

Haines had just completed the first leg of the SMART Ride, a two-day, 165-mile bike ride from Miami to Key West that raises money for organizations working with those affected by HIV/AIDS.

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Seattle cyclist killed was attorney who fought DADT policy

By : Wire Report
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SEATTLE (AP) – The bicyclist who died in a collision with a truck in downtown Seattle was identified as a well-respected attorney who was part of the American Civil Liberties Union legal team that successfully challenged the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gay service members.

The King County Medical Examiner’s office identified the bicyclist as Sher Kung, 31, who had been working for the firm Perkins Coie.

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St. Pete Pride announces Parade Awards

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – The excitement of St. Pete Pride’s first night parade may finally beginning to fade, but that doesn’t mean the organization is done celebrating this year. On July 15, St. Pete Pride announced the winners of the St. Pete Pride Parade Awards.

Seven organizations were recognized for their creativity, spirit and participation and St. Pete Pride executive director Eric Skains released the list via email July 15.

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Dining Out For Life raised money for AIDS

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay restaurants came together April 24 for Dining Out For Life, an annual dining fundraising event which aims to raise money for local AIDS service organizations. Seventy-two dining locations across Tampa Bay participated this year to help reach the $63,000 goal, including proceeds that came from the new food truck rally aspect of the event.

“The food truck rallies brought out people that normally couldn’t get out to the restaurants,” said Jay Aller, resource development manager with the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP).

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Hundreds remember father of gay teen, killed on cross-country walk

By : Wire Report
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La Grande, Ore. (AP) – More than 300 people turned out in La Grande to remember a man whose son’s suicide inspired him to start a cross-country walk, a journey cut short by a fatal accident.

Joe Bell’s son, Jadin, hanged himself earlier this year in a schoolyard. He didn’t leave a note, but those close to him believe that the bullying of the gay teen led to his death.

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?Alexis Summers? arrested in Pasco prostitution sting

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Once again Alexis Summers has found herself behind bars. The Pasco County resident, who is legally known as Raymond Bowen, was arrested during a prostitution sting on Friday, June 18.

In all, 11 people were arrested during the eight hour undercover sting by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the New Port Richey police, authorities said. Officers made arrests by posing as customers at intersections in west Pasco.

Bowen, 34, of New Port Richey, was arrested on a felony charge of soliciting prostitution. According to a report from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Bowen entered the vehicle of an undercover officer and offered to perform oral sex for $40. The report also says that Bowen reached into the officer’s pants without consent.

It was unclear whether Bowen was dressed as a woman or a man during the arrest. Officials have charged him with prostitution on three previous occasions—most recently in January of this year. In the report, Bowen is quoted as saying another arrest would not make him stop the practice.

“I’ve been arrested for prostitution before and I’ll be out tomorrow,” Bowen is quoted as saying in the report. “I’ll keep doing it.”

The arresting officer requested that Bowen be held in lieu of the appropriate bond.

This is not the first time Bowen has appeared in Watermark for an arrest. In January 2009, Watermark reported on Bowen’s arrest for criminal mischief and burglary. In that incident Bowen, who was dressed as a woman, jumped into a truck stopped at a red light and began fondling the male driver. He reportedly told that driver that he needed “to make 20 bucks.”

When the driver attempted to call 911, Bowen allegedly took his cell phone, which resulted in the burglary charge.

At press time, Bowen was in the Pasco County Jail.