Support builds as LGBTQ groups call on Orange County to ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: (L-R) Heather Wilkie, Andrew Chang and Eric Rollings are among the community leaders helping to ban conversion therapy in Orange County. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | A petition calling for the ban of so-called gay conversion therapy for minors in Orange County has been launched on the website Change.org.

The petition, which can be found at ConvertToLove.org, has the support of local, state and national LGBTQ organizations including Equality Florida, Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA), One Orlando Alliance, The Trevor Project and the Zebra Coalition.

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The Pride Chamber honors LGBTQ professionals, community leaders at the 2019 Pride in Business Awards Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Pride Chamber, formerly known as MBA Orlando, recognized LGBTQ business professionals and community leaders at the 2019 Pride in Business Awards Gala, presented by Two Spirit Health, at Hard Rock Live at Universal’s CityWalk in Orlando Aug. 3.

Hosted by Spectrum News 13’s Eric Levy and the legendary Miss Sammy, the evening featured a VIP reception, live entertainment and an epic after party in CityWalk.

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Come Out With Pride announces theme, events for 2019 celebration

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Come Out With Pride board members (L-R) Marc Espeso, Nate West, Karen Brown, Clayton Altman, Jeff Prystajko, Blue Star and Joyce Almeida at the 2019 events announcement July 31. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its official theme, entertainers and list of events during a press conference at The Venue in Orlando July 31.

“2018 was a spectacular year. The weather was perfect and we had a lot of changes; the layout changed, we added a new stage, we added a huge new Marketplace, the energy level was absolutely incredible and we want to keep that going,” said COWP Board President Jeff Prystajko during the press conference.

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Petition launched in Central Florida demands Orange County ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | A petition calling for the ban of so-called gay conversion therapy for minors in Orange County, Florida has been launched on the website Change.org.

The petition, which can be found at ConvertToLove.org, has the support of local, state and national LGBTQ organizations including Equality Florida, The Trevor Project, Zebra Coalition, Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) and One Orlando Alliance.

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Youth Pride Prom 2019

By : KathleenHarper
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Join us for Zebra Coalition’s first ever Youth Pride Prom for youth ages 14-20 on Saturday, June 22 at the Orlando Museum of Art from 6-10 pm. There will be drag performers, a lip syncing contest, lite bites, photo area and lots of prizes!

Issue 26.10: The Red Sea

By : Dylan Todd
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Red Shirt Pride Day looks to continue Orlando’s traditional Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom, Gulfport Public Library wins national award, Zebra Coalition to throw LGBTQ Youth Pride Prom, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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05.15.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Change scares a lot of people. You get so comfortable with the way things are—whether they are ideal for you or not—and you figure why change it up? What if you make things worse? What if the payout isn’t what you thought it would be in the end?

I have always been a fan of change. I’ve rarely lived in the same place more than a few years, opting to pack up and change homes, roommates and, in some cases, entire states for a change of scenery. It’s why I always fit well in the military lifestyle, a lifestyle I would most likely still be a part of if not for that pesky “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” thing. No, I wasn’t discharged because I was gay but the hardship of hiding who I was and having to come up with inventive, new ways to explain to my commander why my “roommate” accompanied me to all work functions, family gatherings and annual vacations was more work than I wanted to put into a lie.

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05.15.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I despised many things as a child. Some were warranted—like corn, which remains my arch nemesis—but others not as much, like doing nothing on a Saturday. Of the many things that cultivated my childhood angst, however, one in particular stands out: Easter.

I didn’t hate the holiday. There wasn’t much to hate in my family because we rarely did anything for it; gatherings were reserved for “major holidays” like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I wasn’t even aware families congregated for Easter until I was in college, and I was still surprised this year when Publix was closed for the day.

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Zebra Coalition to host LGBTQ Youth Pride Prom

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: The Zebra Coalition celebrates Come Out With Pride on their float during the parade in downtown Orlando last year. Photo courtesy for Zebra Coalition

ORLANDO | The Zebra Coalition is hosting its first-ever Youth Pride Prom at the Orlando Museum of Art June 22 from 6-10 p.m. for LGBTQ youth ages 14-20.

Zebra is partnering with more than a dozen coalition partners and a youth committee to plan the event.

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One Orlando Alliance to host community discussion on LGBTQ homelessness

By : Abigail Brashear
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ORLANDO | The One Orlando Alliance is hosting a Central Florida-based discussion on the topic of LGBTQ youth homelessness at the Holden Heights Community Center in Orlando on April 11.

The discussion panel will consist of representatives from Alliance member organizations Bliss Cares, Equality Florida and Zebra Coalition; and will be moderated by Homeless Services Network of Central Florida Deputy Director Brian Postlewait.

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Central Florida LGBTQ homeless coalition offers foster parenting informational sessions

By : Abigail Brashear
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The Zebra Coalition, a Central Florida-based network of organizations that provide aid to LGBTQ youth, is offering foster parenting informational sessions for those who are wondering how to become a foster parent. 

Robin Daily, community engagement and coalition manager of the Zebra Coalition, said during these informational sessions, staff from the Zebra Coalition and their partners Devereux and Embrace Families, as well as current foster families, will answer any questions that attendees might have about the process. 

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Rock Hard Fitness to host charity boot camp for The Barber Fund

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Rock Hard Fitness held a charity boot camp to raise funds for Equality Florida, one of the many organizations the Orlando-based fitness center supports, in July. Photo courtesy Rock Hard Fitness’ Facebook page

ORLANDO | Rock Hard Fitness, a personal training and fitness facility in Orlando, holds charity boot camp sessions throughout the year to help raise funds for organizations such as Equality Florida and Zebra Coalition. The LGBTQ-friendly fitness center announced it will host the next one on Dec. 9 to help raise money for the Orlando-based charity The Barber Fund.

The Barber Fund, named for the late John “Tweeka” Barber who passed away in 2011 after fighting a rare form of cancer known as Sinonasal Carcinoma, was established in 2014 as a way to help those living with cancer in any way that they needed help.

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