States won’t collect LGBTQ data on COVID-19, advocates aren’t happy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: COVID-19, image via the CDC.

Amid the coronavirus crisis, state health officials responsible for gathering data on COVID-19 are declining to collect and report whether or not patients identify as LGBTQ — a practice that angers LGBTQ advocates who say those answers could yield important information to combat the disease.

The lack of data, advocates say, will essentially blind the public to the coronavirus’ impact on LGBTQ people — a population that may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 — as the epidemic continues to rise and health officials warn the death toll in the United States will hit its peak in the coming weeks.

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Orlando Police investigate homicide at Parliament House

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Orlando Police (OPD) are investigating a shooting that occurred overnight which has left one man dead at the Parliament House’s hotel.

According to OPD, officers responded to a shooting call at the Parliament House’s hotel just after midnight on April 2 and discovered the body of Ricardo Montez Filmore, 38, laying on the ground inside one of the hotel rooms. Filmore was pronounced dead on the scene.

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04.02.20 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I had been in the U.S. Air Force for seven months when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened.

It being nearly 20 years ago since that life-changing event happened, I can’t remember everything that occurred in my life after Sept. 11, 2001; however, I do remember people being shocked and scared. I remember my family and friends being worried and not knowing what was coming next.

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04.02.20 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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If my 35 years on this planet and love of ridiculous memes have taught me anything, it’s that life comes at you fast.

The last few months have certainly reminded me that’s the case. “I’ve never had a particular affinity for cars,” I wrote in this very column Feb. 6, a lifetime ago now that the world is grappling with COVID-19. “I’ve always been grateful to own the ones I have … I’ve just never been one to covet the latest make or model to move about town.”

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George Takei posts April Fools Day joke about being final torchbearer at the Tokyo Olympics

By : Jeremy Williams
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“Star Trek” actor and LGBTQ icon, George Takei admitted that his announcement that he will be the final torchbearer who lights the Olympic Flame when the rescheduled Summer Olympics kickoff in Tokyo in July 2021 was an April Fools Day prank.

Several news outlets, including Watermark, reported the news April 1.

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Digital Showcase to stream live, benefit performers in Central Florida

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Three of Central Florida’s most well-known theatrical collaborators are teaming up with Watermark to present an online benefit showcase to help raise funds for Central Florida performers who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Director and Tony Award-winning producer Kenny Howard; composer and musician Rich Charron; and playwright, lyricist and producer Michael Wanzie — in conjunction with Watermark Publishing Group — will present “Social Distancing Showcase: Out of Work Performers Performing Outside of Work to Benefit Out of Work Performers,” streaming live on YouTube April 4 from 8-10 p.m. EST.

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Ginger Minj and Gidget Galore perform as a part of Digital Drag Fest

By : Jeremy Williams
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Some of the biggest names in drag have come together to bring a digital drag festival to homes across the globe as a majority of people in the U.S. and around the world are holdup in their homes due to COVID-19.

“Digital Drag Fest 2020,” presented by Producer Entertainment Group (PEG) and the digital concert service Stageit.com, brings dozens of drag and LGBTQ entertainers together in one virtual location and allows you to watch them perform from the safety of your home.

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Benjamin Scheuer releases new song, ‘I Am Samantha,’ for International Trans Day of Visibility

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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ABOVE: Benjamin Scheuer and Samantha Williams (Photo courtesy Canvasback Records/Atlantic Records)

In honor of International Trans Day of Visibility, singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer released “I Am Samantha,” a new track that recounts the real-life journey of a transgender woman he met and befriended at a coffee shop in New York City, along with a powerful accompanying music video.

Scheuer is well-known throughout the theatre world on both sides of the Atlantic for his 2014 one-man show “The Lion,” which won numerous awards including a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, an off-West End Award for Best New Musical and an ASCAP Cole Porter Award for Songwriting. He’s also a published children’s author (alongside wife Jemima Williams) for Simon & Schuster, having written “Hibernate With Me” and “Hundred Feet Tall,” as well as the author of “Between Two Spaces,” which documented his diagnosis with (and successful treatment for) stage IV Hodgkins’ Lymphoma.

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Joe Exotic files $94 million lawsuit over his prosecution

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Joe Exotic in the Netflix docu-series, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” (Screenshot from Netflix)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) | A former Oklahoma zookeeper sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot has filed a federal lawsuit seeking nearly $94 million in damages, claiming among other things that he was convicted based on false and perjured testimony.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic,” filed the lawsuit March 17 in federal court in Oklahoma City. Among the defendants are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted him and several witnesses in the case.

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Come Out With Pride to host virtual event to benefit LGBTQ community

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride announced March 31 a virtual event to benefit Central Florida’s LGBTQ individuals, nonprofits and organizations effected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Stay In With Pride” will be an online, interactive event that will broadcast live April 3 starting at 8 p.m. on Come Out With Pride’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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Idaho governor quietly signs anti-trans bills amid coronavirus crisis

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gov. Brad Little signs another measure into law March 13. Photo via Little’s Facebook page.

As the nation’s focus has become fixated on the coronavirus, Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed into law Monday on the eve of the Transgender Day of Visibility two pieces of anti-trans legislation.

One measure, House Bill 500, is aimed at restricting transgender youth’s participation in sports. The other measure, House Bill 509, is aimed at banning transgender people from changing the gender marker on the their birth certificate.

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Police: Salt Lake City man sexually assaulted lesbian

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Adam Quinn Atwood, photo via Salt Lake County police.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | The Salt Lake City Police Department launched an investigation March 26 into a possible hate crime after a man was arrested on multiple sexual misconduct charges.

Adam Quinn Atwood, 34, was accused of sexually assaulting a lesbian, who said he told her he would “fix the gay,” the Deseret News reported.

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