Bliss CARES prepares for TRANSformation’s 2020 series

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Bliss CARES’ TRANSformation 2020 kick-off party in Orlando Jan. 30. (Photo by Dana Ng)

ORLANDO | Bliss CARES began its enrollment period for the next TRANSformation series with a kick-off party at its clinic in Orlando Jan. 30.

TRANSformation, a six-part educational series focusing on aspects of gender transition with a goal of creating more leaders within the transgender community, first launched in 2017. TRANSformation 2020 will be Bliss CARES’ fourth time providing the series of classes to Central Florida’s transgender community.

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Ashley Figueroa, Project Manager, Bliss CARES

By : Maggie L. King, Director of Development and Community Relations, Bliss CARES
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If you knew Ashley, like I know Ashley you would know that… Ashley Figueroa is an open and proud Latina American transgender woman.

The day that I met Ashley, I knew that she was a force to be reckoned with. Almost instantly, I knew that she was kind, compassionate, and intelligent and had a great sense of humor. Her compassion for others is what really makes her stand out. Because of her displayed strong leadership abilities, she was a natural fit for Bliss Cares.

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Jazell Barbie Royale, Miss International Queen 2019

By : Darcel Stevens, Parliament House Entertainment Director
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2019 has been a remarkable year for a remarkable lady! From finding a meaningful purpose to unexpectedly becoming a trailblazer, I’m honored to talk about Jazell Barbie Royale’s incredible 2019 journey.

No one can predict the future. Often the best intentions are foiled by the daily riggers of life, yet through it all this native of Jacksonville has been blessed thanks in part to generational life lessons instilled in her by three dominate women in her life: her great grandmother, Gladys Kyle; her grandmother, Kathy; and her mother, Petria Chisholm. They all taught her the importance of wisdom, perseverance, humility and, most important, failure.

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Florida Puerto Rican Parade announces newly formed LGBTQ+ Committee

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: (L-R) Vivian Rodriguez, Ralph Morales, Luis Martinez, Joel Morales, Jerick Mediavilla and Roxy Santiago after the LGBTQ+ Committee announcement at The Center in Orlando. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | The Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival has announced the formation of a new committee to help bring more LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion to its annual celebration.

The announcement, made during a press conference at The LGBT+ Center in Orlando Nov. 27, introduced the six-member committee who will be a part of the planning process of next year’s parade, festival and related events.

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‘Sweet Dreams’ raises $71K for Bliss CARES

By : Jeremy Williams
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Bliss CARES had a successful night at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Orlando on July 13 with its inaugural “Sweet Dreams: Dancing for TRANSitional Housing” fundraiser.

The event — which partnered 11 amateur dancers, all LGBTQ community leaders in Central Florida, with professional dancers for a night of fast-paced, fancy footwork — raised $71,344, which will go towards creating semi-permanent housing for the transgender and gender nonconforming communities where they can have access to health services, life skills and career counseling to prepare them to live on their own in their own safe space.

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Bliss CARES partners community leaders with professional dancers to raise money for transgender housing

By : Jeremy Williams
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Bliss CARES, a nonprofit healthcare organization in Central Florida, has created a new dance competition to help raise money for transgender emergency housing.

“Sweet Dreams: Dancing for TRANSitional Housing” will partner 11 amateur dancers, all LGBTQ community leaders in Central Florida, with professional dancers for a night of fast-paced, fancy footwork at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Orlando on July 13.

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Orlando’s Big LGBTQ Weekend still has something for everyone

By : Jeremy Williams
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The newly created KindRED Pride Foundation is bringing some of the weekend’s most anticipated events, but the kickoff weekend to Orlando’s big Pride Month is packed full of some returning favorites and big surprises.

Just as with the last several years, RED Shirt Pride Days has a designated Disney theme park for each day from May 30-June 2.

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PHOTOS: Orlando recognizes Jazell Barbie Royale with city proclamation

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Mayor Buddy Dyer recognized the current Miss International Queen Jazell Barbie Royale with a proclamation to the city declaring it “Jazell Barbie Royale Day” in the city of Orlando on April 11.

Dyer and Royale were joined on the steps of City Hall by City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Parliament House Entertainment Director Darcel Stevens, Orlando Police Captain Jim Young, Bliss CARES Medical Director Dr. Roberto Ortiz and many of Royale’s family, friends, fans and supporters.

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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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Parliament House’s Jazell Barbie Royale crowned Miss International Queen

By : Jeremy Williams
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Jazell Barbie Royale—a performer at Parliament House in Orlando—was crowned Miss International Queen on March 8. Kanwara Kaewjin from Thailand and Yaya from China were named first and second runner-up, respectively.

The Miss International Queen Pageant is a worldwide beauty pageant for transgender women held every year in Pattaya City, Thailand.

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Equality Florida brings transgender workplace training to Orlando

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: Gina Duncan speaking at an Equality Florida event at Orlando City Hall in 2015. Photo by Dana Ng

ORLANDO | Equality Florida will host the organization’s Transgender Dynamics in the Workplace workshop at the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 16.

The workshop includes a panel discussion with corporate leaders, as well as an appearance from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. The event looks to educate attendees on transgender workplace issues and concerns, as well as offer ways to improve policies and protocols for transgender employees.

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09.20.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Thanks to the wonders of Facebook’s “On This Day,” a feature which allows users to grin or grimace at their social media posts from yesteryear, I recently discovered I’ve been living in Florida for 11 years.

For whatever reason, I still tell folks I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio when they ask. They tend to figure out that I’m from the North when I correctly describe Diet Coke as “pop,” but I suppose I should really start telling my Lyft drivers that I’m from St. Pete. I put too much thought into small talk, which is probably why I’m so bad at it.

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