UCF kicks off LGBTQ History Month with PrideFest

By : Lora Korpar
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ORLANDO | The University of Central Florida held PrideFest at the Student Union on campus Oct. 2 to celebrate LGBTQ History Month with its students and educate them on local LGBTQ organizations.

Decorated with Pride flags and rainbow lights, PrideFest was the opening ceremony for a series of events at the university throughout LGBTQ History Month.

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Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida names 1st openly-gay chair

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: New PPSWCF chair Dr. Boyd Lindsley (R) with PPSWCF president and CEO Stephanie Fraim (L) and UCF professor Dr. Jennifer Sandoval at a Planned Parenthood event. (Photo courtesy PPSWCF)

ORLANDO | Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (PPSWCF) elected Dr. Boyd Lindsley chair of its board of directors. The 23-member board is from a 22-county region of Florida, which includes Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples. Lindsley is the first openly gay man elected to the position.

Lindsley, who is the senior associate director for the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media, began volunteering with PPSWCF in 2011 and joined the board in 2013. He says he began volunteering after first utilizing Planned Parenthood’s services and being motivated by the work they do.

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Miguel Jasso-Ruiz

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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18 | Bisexual | He/Him/His

Sarasota native Miguel Jasso-Ruiz is “annoying positive,” he muses. He believes optimism is the key to happiness, an outlook that he says has served him well throughout each of his endeavors.

His passion for serving the community began in high school, where he became vice president for his local chapter of UnidosNow. The organization’s high school program seeks to elevate the quality of life for the growing Hispanic/Latino community. It does so by inspiring participants to become agents of change through college preparation, leadership training and meaningful community service. “Basically we connected minority groups to resources,” Jasso-Ruiz explains, including those in the LGBTQ community. “I absolutely love giving back.”

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Yasmin Flasterstein

By : Jeremy Williams
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25 | Bisexual | She/Her/Hers

Yasmin, who was born in Israel, came to Orlando to study psychology at the University of Central Florida. Her initial involvement in Orlando’s LGBTQ community came by working at Mental Health Association of Central Florida when they created the Orlando United Counseling program in response to the Pulse tragedy. That is also the time that she came out.

“I was inspired to come out by the overwhelming feeling of anger I had after Pulse that made me feel like I shouldn’t be ashamed,” she says. “I felt so much anger by what happened and then I self-reflected on that. It encouraged me to come out and be my authentic self.”

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Orlando Apollos partner with One Orlando Alliance to celebrate first Pride Night

By : Amanda Espinosa
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UPDATE: Orlando Apollos Pride Night CANCELLED, the club is no longer in operation, effective immediately. 

ORLANDO | The Orlando Apollos, a newly formed team for the Alliance of American Football league, will be celebrating its first-ever Pride Night at the University of Central Florida’s Spectrum Stadium on April 6 at 8 p.m.

The Apollos are partnering with One Orlando Alliance, a nonprofit coalition empowering more than 30 LGBTQ organizations in Central Florida.

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UCF celebrates International Transgender Day of Visibility

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: Gender nonconforming performance artist, writer and educator Alok Vaid-Menon was a special guest at UCF’s TDoV event on March 28. Photo courtesy Alok’s Facebook

ORLANDO | The University of Central Florida (UCF) celebrated the 10th Annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) on its main campus March 28, creating a safe place for students and community members to come and discuss issues transgender and gender nonconforming people face.

“I think as a whole, especially after the tragedy Orlando has faced, I think it’s really important to stand together in solidarity with different people in the community, and understanding the importance of the work and the advocacy that transgender and nonconforming people do,” said Vilma Portocarrero, Pride Director for the Multicultural Student Center at UCF.

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HRC, NextGen America encourage UCF students to “charge your vote”

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | NextGen America, a nonprofit and political action committee focused on environmental advocacy, dispatched teams across Florida for National Voter Registration Day Sept. 25, attempting to register as many students as possible before the Oct. 9 deadline.

The organization claims it has registered almost 40,000 voters in the state so far for the 2018 election and received over 15,000 pledges to vote.

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UCF journalism students compile a list of common — and some not so well-known — sexual orientation and gender identity terms

By : Colton Adkins, Jeremy Brener, Layla Ferris and Kathy Ruiz
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The cultivation of proper terminology helps educate both the LGBTQ community and the cishet (an abbreviation of the term cisgender heterosexual) community about the identities that not everyone may have heard or may not understand. In the past, coming out as gay took so much courage and demanded even more understanding. Now that same-sex couples can get married and transgender individuals feel more comfortable being themselves, the newer gender and sexual identities fall into even more categories—everything from the ace spectrum to being a completely sexual person have so many nuances.

The terms in this glossary are important because education is essential for progress. Members of these smaller groups still feel marginalized from within the LGBTQ community. As murders and other crimes increase in the United States against the transgender community, it is important that more people seek understanding in their identities. Have you ever heard a term and been confused by it? This glossary will hopefully help you define and understand the term.

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UCF alum creates Orlando’s first space for LGBTQ Asians

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | University of Central Florida alum Rikki Ocampos founded the Orlando Queer and Trans Asian Association, or OQTAA (pronounced “octa”), in April. OQTAA looks to bring together LGBTQ individuals of Asian descent in the Central Florida area. The organization is set to launch July 8.

OQTAA will focus on empowering Asian-Americans who identify has queer and trans through culture and community. “There have always been spaces for queer people and for Asians in Orlando, but none have been designed specifically for the intersection of those identities” Ocampos says.

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06.28.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Growing up there were a lot of things I wanted to do with my life. I remember my mom telling me stories about when I was a kid telling her I was going to be the President of the United States. Well that didn’t happen, and at this point I don’t think I would want that office.

I developed a passion for writing not long after that. When I was a young teen that passion for writing turned into a passion for journalism after I saw the movie “All The President’s Men” on HBO. If I couldn’t be President, maybe I could be one of the guys who brought one down.

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PHOTOS: UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality hosts Florida LGBT-Allies Summit

By : Maia Monet
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The 7th annual Florida LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit was held this past Friday at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality. Companies from across the state sent representatives to attend panels on “LGBT Equality and Civil Rights” as well as “Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace.”

The morning began with a panel on “Allyship: Voices of the LGBTQ Community” made up of George Wallace the Executive Director of the LGBT+ Center Orlando, Jennifer Walls the Senior Vice President/Area Sales Director for Lee Hecht Harrison, Marco Antonio Quiroga the Program Director for the Contigo Fund, and Kellie Parkin the Executive Director of MBA Orlando – LGBT Chamber of Commerce answering questions on the challenges and benefits of LGBTQ visibility at work. As noted by Parkin, it is estimated that 50% of employees are still in the closet and need support. Walls added that there are still large companies with annual revenue of $100M+ who believe that they do not have LGBTQ employees.

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Trans of Thought: Claiming our voice

By : Melody Maia Monet
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About a month ago, I was asked by a friend to present to his class at the University of Central Florida.

He teaches a course on representations of gender in entertainment, and because the subscribers to my YouTube channel seem to think I’m entertaining, and I do indeed have a gender, I was the obvious choice to address his students and tell them my story. This was the third time I had been the designated transgender speaker for this course in the last few years, but it was the first time I had gotten the brainwave to ask the class a question to confirm a trend I had noticed developing over time.

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