Equality Shuffle & LGBTQ+ Youth Art Show

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Mark your calendar and join us for the Equality Shuffle and LGBTQ+ Youth Art Show on Sunday, February 23rd from noon-3pm at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Courts. The event is free and open to the public.

This is a great opportunity for our members, supporters of equality, and the Tampa Bay community to learn about the work of securing LGBTQ equality in Florida and enjoy an afternoon playing shuffleboard.

As part of this event we are proud to host the Equality Florida LGBTQ+ Youth Art Show. This is a chance for young LGBTQ+ individuals to express themselves through art. If you know of any LGBTQ+ youth that would be interested in participating, please encourage them to be part of this event.

The Equality Florida LGBTQ+ Youth Art Show is a platform to showcase and celebrate young LGBTQ+ artists. We want them to feel safe to express who they are through their art and in their life.

In the wake of the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, Equality Florida committed to honor the victims with action. We launched our Safe and Healthy Schools Program that is aimed to end LGBTQ bias where it begins, with our youth. By helping our schools and educators create safe spaces for LGBTQ youth, students feel welcomed, supported and can thrive.

The theme of the show is “Safe” and artists will interpret it through a LGBTQ+ youth lens. Artists will explore topics such as… What does being safe mean to you? When do you feel safe to be who you are? What is your safe place? Is your safe place a location, person or activity? How can those around you make you feel more safe?

Call for Artists: If you are LGBTQ+ and 21 or under, we invite you to submit your art to be included in this special event. Deadline to submit art is February 12, 2020. For details, visit https://forms.gle/H3L9knmvtfxGS25u8 or contact Jennie O’Leary, Equality Florida St. Petersburg Steering Committee Chari at eqfljennie@gmail.com.

Thank You to Our Sponsors: Diversity Arts, Florida CraftArt, Gobioff Foundation, Mainframe Real Estate and The St. Petersburg Celebration for the Arts

Va. Senate approves bill to ban conversion therapy for minors

By : Philip Van Slooten of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The Virginia Capitol. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The Virginia Senate on Monday passed a bill that would prohibit health care providers from engaging in so-called conversion therapy for minors.

The American Psychological Association has for years condemned the practice for the harm caused to patients as well as for promoting the unsupported “notion that sexual orientation can be changed.”

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LGBTQ+ Free Youth Art Workshop

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LGBTQ+ youth throughout the Tampa Bay area are invited to attend a free art workshop where they will create a multi-media collage piece. The workshop will be led by artist, John Gascot of Diversity Arts. Pieces will then be featured at the upcoming Equality Florida LGBTQ+ Art Show.

Limited number of spots available. To attend the workshop, please sign up here (https://forms.gle/kEZYNXA2RZwa3aVG6).

The Equality Florida LGBTQ+ Youth Art Show is a platform to showcase and celebrate young LGBTQ+ artists. We want them to feel safe to express who they are through their art and in their life.

The theme of the show is “Safe” and artists will interpret it through a LGBTQ+ youth lens. Artists will explore topics such as… What does being safe mean to you? When do you feel safe to be who you are? What is your safe place? Is your safe place a location, person or activity? How can those around you make you feel more safe?

The show will be displayed at the Equality Shuffle on Sunday, February 23rd from Noon to 3pm at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Courts located at 559 Mirror Lake Dr N, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701.

Thank You to Our Sponsors: Diversity Arts, Florida CraftArt, Gobioff Foundation, Mainframe Real Estate and The St. Petersburg Celebration for the Arts

Kristian Cosme, AT&T Community Impact Award winner

By : Ayme Rodriguez Smith
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Kristian Cosme is a force of nature. From his time at Colonial High School to his graduation from UCF to his career with AT&T, Kristian has supported his community through volunteerism and political action.

I met Kristian in 2002 working together to elect democrats in Orange County. We bonded over phone banking and door-to-door canvassing. I had the honor of being the first person Kristian came out to. It is a moment I cherish; the moment that made Kristian family.

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Finding Hope: Suicide risk high among LGBTQ youth in Idaho

By : wire report
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NAMPA, Idaho (AP) | According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, LGBTQ+ people are at a higher risk than the general population for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, and experts tell us, in Idaho, those rates are especially high among LGBTQ+ youth.

“It was very clear what needed to happen to remain alive and healthy,” Jess Cziapewski, trans woman from Idaho told Boise television station KIVI .

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Derek Shaye shares his story, advocates for Zebra Coalition ahead of the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: Derek Shaye performs on stage in CFC Arts’ production of “Bye Bye Birdie” this past summer. (Photo courtesy of Derek Shaye)

Six years ago, Derek Shaye ran away from home. After years of struggles — including homelessness and trafficking — Shaye found help with the Central Florida LGBTQ youth organization Zebra Coalition. Now, 23-year-old Shaye is ready to tell his story.

Shaye grew up in Washington with a very religious family. He referred to his home as “unstable and abusive,” especially as an LGBTQ person.

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Detroit suburb bans so-called gay conversion therapy

By : wire report
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FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) | A Detroit suburb has banned so-called conversion therapy, a scientifically discredited practice to change a gay person’s sexual orientation or someone’s gender identity.

Ferndale council member Julia Music says the ban is an effort to build a “safe and inclusive space” for all people. The Detroit News says the vote was unanimous Monday.

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LGBTQ youth to connect, be educated at Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: City of Orlando’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Senior Specialist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez gives a speech at last year’s Orlando Youth Summit. (Photo by Melanie Ararat)

ORLANDO | The City of Orlando, Zebra Coalition and LGBTQ organizations across Central Florida will be celebrating and educating LGBTQ youth with the upcoming Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit.

The fifth annual summit will take place at Valencia College’s West Campus on Oct. 19 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is free of charge.

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Lighthouse offers a beacon to LGBTQ teens in Connecticut

By : wire report
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GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) | When Joe Belisle was growing up in the 1970s, there were no support groups or resources for teenagers questioning their sexuality. So, he and other teens made what they thought was the safest decision—they remained under the radar and hid their identities.

For Belisle, a gay teenager growing up in a devout Catholic household in Hadley, Mass., coming out could have invited physical or verbal violence, or exclusion from his family and religious community.

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Gabriell Rush

By : Jeremy Williams
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24 | Bisexual | She/Her/Hers

Gabriell experienced homelessness at the age of 20. She was involved in a domestic violence situation and even though she had nowhere to go she knew she couldn’t stay there.

“I was in a transitional housing program with another youth-related homeless group but I aged out when I turned 21,” Gabriell says. “By that time I wasn’t getting anymore services and I was not ready to be out on my own, I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a stable job. I was dealing with depression, so someone told me to go to Zebra Coalition.”

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Drag Queen Story Hours enchant Central Florida, Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Once upon a time, in the mystical land of San Francisco, wordsmith Michelle Tea had a dragulous idea.

As the Lambda Literary Award winner for Best Lesbian Fiction and the creator of RADAR Productions, the nonprofit that develops groundbreaking literary work by supporting LGBTQ artists, she understood both the power of community and the written word—and so Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) was born.

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Keeping It Real: Grit, grace and gaps across our LGBTQ+ generations

By : Nathan Bruemmer
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Pride Month is a wrap. This year was monumental—50 years since Stonewall.

What began as a single confrontational event that turned into a one-day march, grew into a weekend and then blossomed into a weeklong festival, has matured into a month of non-stop activities for all ages. However, we can’t seem to agree on how we define Stonewall. An uprising? Protests? Riots? What happened and who was there continues to be debated. But 50 years ago, the world changed.

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