LGBTQ youth homelessness epidemic to be addressed in St. Petersburg

By : Christina Diaz
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ST. PETERSBURG –A collaboration of organizations has been formed to find out how many homeless LGBTQ youth are living in Pinellas County.

Funded by The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, the LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth Project is conducting research to help better serve this community.

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Trump admin to rescind trans student protections

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Despite pleas from parents of transgender children and LGBT employees, the Trump administration is set Tuesday to rescind Obama-era guidance to schools barring discrimination against transgender students and ensuring they have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Washington Blade on Monday she’s heard from “reliable sources” President Trump has green-lighted the plan for the Justice Department and Education Department to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools rescinding the guidance.

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LGBT gang members-turned-entrepreneurs appeal for support

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of National Gay Media Association
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Nearly 10 years ago, when they had the distinction of being members of the nation’s only known LGBT youth gang called Check It, most members never imagined the group could evolve into a budding fashion clothing business.

But members and supporters say that’s exactly what happened after several of them began organizing an effort about five years ago to produce and sell T-shirts and other clothing items and put together several runway shows.

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METRO Health brings history and fun to LGBTQ youth

By : Alexis Vilaboy
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metro building

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ST. PETERSBURG – LGBTQ teens and supporters are invited to sleep in and attend METRO Health’s third annual LGBTQ+ Youth Leadership Summit on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. at its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The one-day event focused on developing youth will begin with workshops, the topics of which were requested by METRO’s youth group participants, and end with dinner and a social dance.

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White House to honor nation’s oldest LGBTQ youth drama group

By : Wire Report
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BOSTON (AP) – A Boston-based youth theater group is being honored at the White House this week.

True Colors: Out Youth Theater, the nation’s longest-running LGBTQ youth drama group, is among the recipients of the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

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Disney comps LGBT youth for Gay Day at Magic Kingdom

By : Jamie Hyman
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A gaggle of red-shirt-wearing LGBT youth will converge upon the Magic Kingdom June 4, thanks to a donation of comped tickets from Disney to the Zebra Coalition.

According to Zebra executive director Heather Wilkie, 60 people are going: 45 youths and 15 chaperones.

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First Lady urges youth to vote to ensure LGBT rights, among other things

By : Wire Report
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Jackson, Miss. (AP) – First lady Michelle Obama told graduates of a historically black university in Mississippi that “the power of voting is real and lasting” and they need to cast ballots to protect civil-rights advances made by previous generations.

She said many young African-Americans have disenfranchised themselves because only about 20 percent of them voted in the 2014 midterm elections.

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Panasonic a pioneer for LGBT rights in Japan

By : Wire Report
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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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Watermark endorses Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary

By : Billy Manes
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The bluster was all there in Orlando on Feb. 17, as it typically is at Democratic political events held in union offices. There was a violinist, there were stilt-walkers and there were numerous names and faces often associated with the local liberal machine. There was also a cheering squad of three shouting things like, “When I say madam, you say president!” It was all in the name of advancing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Florida, of course. Clinton has been opening offices throughout the state in the past weeks, eliciting hyperbolic statements of support. When statements like, “She’s a hard-nosed candidate who can get things done,” are thrown around by union leaders, it’s hard not to notice.

The battle is on.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tampa Pride’s celebrity

By : Anonymous
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Tampa Pride snags its celebrity
With about a month to go, details for Tampa Pride are starting to come in and get finalized. After last year’s huge success when 40,000+ attendees filled the streets in Ybor the pressure is on to try and be bigger and better. Tampa Pride held there Miss Tampa Pride pageant and selected their queen. The grand marshals have been plunked from the community – Fox 13 News morning anchor Russell Rhodes and CEO of Metro Wellness & Community Centers Lorraine Langlois – and now we have our celebrity grand marshal, photographer and designer Mike Ruiz. You might remember Ruiz from Logo’s reality series The A-List, or his appearances on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ruiz has also been recognized and praised for working to help LGBT homeless youth.

There be Mormons outside this theater
One of Broadway’s biggest hits, the Book of Mormon, paid a visit to the bay area and had a sold out run Feb. 16-21 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. If you were lucky enough to get a chance to see the show, you probably noticed something charming occurring right outside the theater. A group of well mannered, clean cut, real life Mormons! That’s right, the light hearted Latter Day Saints were parked outside saying “Hello!” to guests as they entered the show. Unlike many conservative, religious groups who would set up camp with picket signs and yell out ignorant chants, these young lads hung out Two by Two with a sign that read, “have your picture taken with the real thing.” They smiled, they shook hands and they talked with anyone about anything without pushing any agenda, only talking about the All-American Prophet and handing out the Bible Part 3, if you so wanted to. They even hung out after the show, asked theater goers if they had a good time and enjoyed themselves and never once condemned anyone to a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream. Well done boys.

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Kinky Boots event brings LGBT youth behind the curtain

By : Jamie Hyman
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About 20 of Central Florida’s LGBT youth will get an opportunity to learn about what goes into a Broadway production.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with Zebra Coalition, Kinky Boots and the True Colors Foundation is hosting the event, which is an afternoon of educational speakers followed by a dinner, performance and then a Q&A with the Kinky Boots cast.

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Jason and deMarco to Perform at SunCoast Cathedral MCC

By : Krista DiTucci
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As part of their “Anything is Possible” tour, contemporary pop worship artists Jason and deMarco will be performing live at SunCoast Cathedral MCC in Venice on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. The concert will be a free-will offering and coincides with the church’s 21st anniversary.

Susie Brenner, SunCoast MCC program developer, says she is excited about their music and the message they bring.

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