PHOTOS: CAN Community Health’s 2020 Red Ribbon Gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | CAN Community Health welcomed supporters to the Ritz-Carlton Feb. 22 for the organization’s second annual Red Ribbon Gala.

The gathering raises awareness for CAN’s mission to provide a continuum of medical, social and education services to the communities it serves. The evening specifically benefited the organization’s youth initiative.

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Actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to restored charges

By : wire report
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CHICAGO (AP) | Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Monday to restored charges that accuse him of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself last year in Chicago and falsely reporting to police that the phony attack was real.

His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. She also told Judge James B. Linn that she has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.

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Homeless transgender woman brutally murdered in Puerto Rico

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Advocacy group Puerto Rico Para Tod@s calls for no more hate. Photo via Puerto Rico Para Tod@s’ Facebook page.

A homeless transgender woman was brutally murdered in Puerto Rico early Monday.

Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBTQ advocacy groups, confirmed media reports that said the victim, who was known as Alexa, was killed in a park in Toa Baja, a municipality that is about 15 miles west of San Juan.

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PHOTOS: Equality Florida’s 2020 Tampa Gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Equality Florida welcomed supporters to Armature Works Feb. 21 for its annual Tampa Gala, outlining its statewide fight for equality.

The gathering featured silent and live auctions benefiting the organization’s efforts and honored activists Don Murray and Wayne Spiwak. The two have spent their 29 years together fighting for LGBTQ rights and years ago became the first same-sex couple to adopt in Florida.

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Supreme Court to hear if adoption agencies can reject LGBTQ families

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Advocates in front of the Supreme Court. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday it has agreed to hear a case from a Philadelphia-based taxpayer-funded adoption agency seeking a First Amendment right to refuse child placement into LGBTQ homes — even though the agency consented to a city contract prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

The court listed the case, Fulton v. Philadelphia, on its order list Monday, which indicated the petition for certiorari filed by Catholic Social Services in July 2019 seeking review was granted. It takes a vote of four justices to issue a writ of certiorari — or agree to take up a case — but the vote for that decision isn’t public.

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Spring Arts Guide 2020

By : Dylan Todd
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Let’s spring out for the arts in 2020 with Watermark’s annual Spring Arts Guide.

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Florida-based Seacoast Bank receives perfect score on HRC 2020 Index

By : Samantha Neely
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(Image from Suncoast Bank’s Twitter)

Seacoast Bank was among the 680 companies to receive a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2020 Corporate Equality Index, which measures corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.

The financial institution is the first and only Florida-based bank to achieve the top score.

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Netflix announces drop date for Ryan Murphy’s ‘Hollywood’

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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(Image courtesy Netflix)

The entertainment juggernaut that is Ryan Murphy just keeps on coming.

Netflix officially announced Feb. 20 the launch date for “Hollywood,” the prolific writer/director/producer’s second series on the network.

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Restraining order issued against man accused of stalking Apple’s Tim Cook

By : Jeremy Williams
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Apple CEO Tim Cook (Photo courtesy Apple)

Apple CEO Tim Cook allegedly has a stalker.

On Thursday, NBC reported Feb. 20 that a California court has issued a restraining order against a man Apple claims has been “aggressively” stalking the tech executive.

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Lady Gaga launches new lipstick, features Orlando artist in campaign

By : Samantha Neely
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ABOVE: Lady Gaga shows off one of her new “Le Monster” Matte Lip Crayons. (Image from HausLabs.com)

ORLANDO | Local artist Ernesto Pena-Reagan showed his pride as a little monster as he modeled for Lady Gaga’s makeup brand, Haus Laboratoriesin their new lipstick campaign. 

The campaign features 11 other super fans of Gaga’s in her new “Le Monster” Matte Lip Crayon launchPena-Reagan was chosen in a casting call online to model the product and promote it on social mediaHe is wearing the shade, “Hot Rod,” in his photo. 

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Michigan teacher won’t let student write about same-sex marriage

By : Wire Report
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MONTROSE, Mich. (AP) | A Michigan teacher has denied a request from a student with two mothers to write about same-sex marriage for a class assignment.

Destiny McDermitt, a junior at Hill McCloy High School in Montrose, was given an assignment earlier this month to write a speech discussing an issue they felt strongly about and to take a stand for or against it, M-Live reported.

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Trump praises gay Bollywood romcom on Twitter

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Scene from LGBTQ Bollywood film “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan.” (Screenshot from YouTube)

To the shock — and perhaps even confusion — of many, President Donald Trump retweeted Feb. 21 a tweet from a British gay activist praising a new gay “Bollywood” romantic comedy movie in India.

Trump’s retweet even came with a short commentary on the film’s production: “Great!”

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