ABOVE: Pridegoers prepare for the inaugural Venice Pride’s pet blessing Nov. 3, 2018. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.
Venice, Fla. | SunCoast Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) will hold the second annual Venice Pride on Nov. 2 to highlight Southern Sarasota’s growing LGBTQ community.
Suncoast MCC Senior Co-Pastors Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson and Rev. Vickie Miller will welcome attendees to the church’s five-acre campus from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The organization, which is described as a safe spiritual home for the LGBTQ community and its allies, hosted the inaugural Venice Pride in 2018.
Sarasota native Miguel Jasso-Ruiz is “annoying positive,” he muses. He believes optimism is the key to happiness, an outlook that he says has served him well throughout each of his endeavors.
His passion for serving the community began in high school, where he became vice president for his local chapter of UnidosNow. The organization’s high school program seeks to elevate the quality of life for the growing Hispanic/Latino community. It does so by inspiring participants to become agents of change through college preparation, leadership training and meaningful community service. “Basically we connected minority groups to resources,” Jasso-Ruiz explains, including those in the LGBTQ community. “I absolutely love giving back.”
As the DJ transitioned to a new song, it was eerily quiet for a moment. Then, a few clear strong keystrokes from a single piano could be heard as My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” captured the full attention of nearly 200 teenagers as they stood almost at attention waiting for the lyrics to begin. Then you heard “When I was a young boy …” in unison with all of their voices. It was a magical. It was one of those anthem moments.
I have nothing but horrific memories of my high school prom. But you see this prom was different. This prom was an alternative prom held to kick off the 2019 prom season. My organization, ALSO Youth, has been lucky enough to host in partnership with The Out-of-Door Academy an alternative prom for the LGBTQ+ youth of west central Florida for six years. This year was our biggest year yet!
North Port, Fla. |The North Port Police Department (NPPD) announced Dec. 19 that Juan Salazar-Diaz had been arrested and charged with the murder of Londonn Moore, the fifth reported transgender woman of color murdered in Florida this year.
What’s it like growing up LGBTQIA+ in 2018? It depends on whom you ask and where you live. The general perception from generation to generation is that youth have it better, but for this generation of LGBTQIA+ youth, even before the change in administration, it is a much more complicated answer.
The progress of social equality has been impressive over the last decade or two. Today we live in country with marriage equality, more resources, more support and fewer challenges than in the past. However, not all Florida communities have embraced this progress. Even communities with a progressive citizenry may not have progressive city councils, county commissions, school boards or school board policies.
I am so pleased and honored to recognize my close friend, advocate and leader of LGBTQ social justice, Nathan Bruemmer. Nathan is a member of Equality Florida’s TransAction Advisory Council, our Speakers Council and a Workplace Transgender Cultural Competency trainer. I have had the good fortune of sharing the stage many times with Nathan in speaking out for LGBTQ equal rights across Florida.
Nathan currently serves as the executive director of ALSO Youth Sarasota and is a member of the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights. He has an extensive legal background having served as a teaching assistant at the Stetson University College of Law, a Federal judicial extern for the U.S. District Court and serving as a Andrew S. Cray Law Fellow at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C., all while pursuing his Juris Doctorate at Stetson where he will graduate with honors in 2018. While a law student at Stetson, he was a Trial Team member, ADR Board member, American Bar Association representative and vice-representative, Lambda Legal Society president, Stetson Law Democrats president, American Constitution Society president, and a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.
As the sun rises over the city of Tampa Bay, the audience is introduced to a group of ambitious and motivated black, lesbian women attempting to change the face of television.
Earlier this week LaJoi Media debuted the premiere episode of My Beautiful Pain, a YouTube series about the relationships and careers within a group of entrepreneurial lesbians of color determined to make it as the “first black LGBT network.”
SARASOTA – ALSO Youth will celebrate its fourth annual prom/gala, “Over the Rainbow,” on April 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Lido Beach Resort in Sarasota.
ALSO Youth director Molly Swift says this year’s highlights will include drag performer David “Scarbie” Mitchell as guest host and an “Over the Rainbow” ukulele performance from some of ALSO’s members.
The Sarasota County School District, after four months of community upheaval over the issue, still has no official policy that protects the rights of transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identities.
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