Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tampa Pride’s celebrity

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

By : Wire Report
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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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LGBT charity raises enough money to buy out anti-gay church

By : Staff Report
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Harlem, New York – The Ali Forney Center met a $200,000 fundraising goal in less than two weeks.

Donations poured in following news that vocally anti-gay Atlah Worldwide Missionary Church will face foreclosure auction on Feb 24. The charity quickly expressed interest in buying the building.

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Organist Cameron Carpenter to meet with LGBT adolescents

By : Krista DiTucci
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On Feb. 27, world-renowned organist Cameron Carpenter will meet with members of Blake High School’s LGBT youth club Common Grounds for a lecture/demonstration at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Carpenter will be meeting with 25 student members of Common Grounds to discuss his music, career and the International Touring Organ. He will then entertain students with a brief performance of the touring organ. Carpenter’s appearance is in conjunction with his concert later in the evening at the Straz Center.

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Parents join the conversation at 2016 Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Adam Manno
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From Tumblr to transgender trends, the leaders, teachers and students who attended the third annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit tackled a wide range of topics of interest to modern LGBT youth.

Co-sponsored by the City of Orlando in partnership with GLSEN, the Orlando Youth Alliance, and Zebra Coalition, O-YES is a collaborative workshop and panel-based conference aimed at empowering Orlando’s LGBTQIA+ community through dialogue and discourse.

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Conversion therapy finds new home in Israel

By : Wire Report
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IsraeliStarJerusalem (AP) – A leading American Jewish group promoting therapy it said could turn gays to heterosexuals was ordered shut by a New Jersey court, amid growing efforts in the U.S. to curb the generally discredited practice. But therapists with ties to the shuttered group say they have found a haven for their work in Israel.

Israel’s Health Ministry advises against so-called “gay conversion” or “reparative” therapy, calling it scientifically dubious and potentially dangerous, but no law limits it. In Israel, practitioners say their services are in demand, mostly by Orthodox Jewish men trying to reduce their same-sex attractions so they can marry women and raise a traditional family according to their conservative religious values.

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City of Orlando to host 3rd annual Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Adam Manno
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Orlando – For the third year in a row, community mentors will team up to empower Orlando’s LGBT youth at the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit Feb. 6.

The City of Orlando, in partnership with the Orlando Youth Alliance, GLSEN, Darden Restaurants and other local organizations, will host O-YES from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Orlando City Hall first floor rotunda.

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You Can Play continues to fight homophobia in hockey

By : Wire Report
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Philadelphia (AP) – Nellie Fitzpatrick raised the Philadelphia Flyers jersey presented to her as the team’s “community teammate” of the night, turned her head to her left and smooched her wife right on the lips.

Much like salutes to veterans, youth hockey players and other celebrated guests, Fitzpatrick’s kiss was shown for everyone in the arena to see on the overhead videoboard.

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Words to Live by: Aging gracefully

By : Rick Claggett
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Rick Claggett

Rick Claggett

By the time this article publishes, I will be 41. I’ve never been the type to dwell on age, well, not my own age. “I won’t fight aging,” I told myself. I will age gracefully. No plastic surgery, no covering up gray hair. Of course I made these promises when I had no wrinkles and my hair was a solid dark brown. Now I stare in anguish at the wrinkles near my ear and do my best to hide the variety of “Just for Men” products in my bathroom.

But aging gracefully isn’t just about your appearance; It’s about your way of life.

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First LGBT private school set to open in Atlanta

By : Wire Report
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Atlanta (AP) – A first-of-its-kind private school in Georgia aimed at attracting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and teachers is being established in Atlanta for students who feel bullied or not accepted in traditional schools.

Pride School Atlanta is a k-12 institution designed to be an alternative for LGBT students, though the school is open to any student who believes they’re not getting the support they need for “being different,” says Pride School founder Christian Zsilavetz.

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