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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Rosario Dawson comes out while discussing relationship with Cory Booker

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rosario Dawson, photo via Dawson’s Facebook page.

Actress Rosario Dawson, who has in the past made public comments that have created confusion about her sexuality, has now officially come out… sort of.

The star, speaking to Bustle about her current relationship with former 2020 Democratic presidential contender Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), said that it was time to publicly claim her sexuality.

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French town uncouples with its Polish twin over LGBTQ rights

By : Wire Report
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WARSAW, Poland (AP) | A Polish mayor deplored the decision Feb. 17 by a sister town in France to suspend 25-year official ties with her town because it declared itself an area “free of LGBT ideology.”

The mayor of the south-eastern town of Tuchow, Magdalena Marszalek, blamed the rare decision by the French community it had been twinned with, Saint-Jean-de-Braye, on campaigning ahead of local elections there.

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Sarasota unveils ‘welcoming, inclusive’ crosswalk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The City of Sarasota unveiled a multi-colored crosswalk some residents see as LGBTQ affirming on Feb. 14.

“COLORFUL CROSSWALK,” the city shared via social media along with a video. “Our Public Works crew painted this vibrant crosswalk overnight in the 1500 block of Main Street. It’s part of our ongoing effort to enliven downtown and make it more pedestrian friendly. What do you think?”

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Michael Kors replaces Debra Messing for CAN Community Health gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Michael Kors, photo via CAN Community Health.

SARASOTA | Fashion designer Michael Kors will headline CAN Community Health’s second annual Red Ribbon Gala Feb. 22, replacing original headliner Debra Messing.

Messing, who was announced as the gala’s headliner Oct. 7, is best known for her role on NBC’s “Will & Grace.” CAN Community Health shared she would be unable to attend via video message Feb. 17 after the actress suffered an injury.

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US judge dismisses lawsuit over transgender pronoun dispute

By : Wire Report
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) | A judge dismissed a professor’s lawsuit against a small, public university in Ohio that rebuked him for not addressing a transgender student using the student’s preferred gender terms.

Nicholas Meriwether’s federal lawsuit alleged that Shawnee State University officials violated his rights by compelling him to speak in a way that contradicts his Christian beliefs.

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Garden Theatre hires first full-time education director

By : Jeremy Williams
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WINTER GARDEN, Fla. | The Garden Theatre in Winter Garden announced that Nick Bazo will be its first full-time education director, in a press release Feb. 13.

Bazo will be in charge of programming and implementing life-changing camps, classes and community partnerships throughout the year.

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Community Cafe, Drag Queen Story Hour find temporary home

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Mandy Keyes at the original Community Cafe in the Grand Central District. Photo courtesy Community Cafe.

ST. PETERSBURG | Former Grand Central District restaurant Community Cafe, the home of Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) Tampa Bay, has found sanctuary at the LGBTQ-affirming Allendale United Methodist Church.

Owner Mandy Keyes opened Community Cafe in 2013 to become “your home away from home,” offering a full menu specializing in vegan and vegetarian options. It served as a safe space in St. Petersburg’s traditional “gayborhood” until late last year.

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Elton John escorted from stage in New Zealand due to pneumonia

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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(Above image from Instagram)

A week after winning an Oscar for writing Best Original Song, “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from “Rocketman” with longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin, Sir Elton John was forced to call an early end to a concert in New Zealand after losing his voice.

The legendary pop star and LGBTQ icon is in the midst of his three-year “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour and was visibly emotional as he was led offstage at a concert in Auckland, Australia Feb. 16 after he had already performed for nearly two hours.

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Pasco Pride seeks countywide Human Rights Ordinance

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Pasco County, Fla. | Pasco Pride has launched a concentrated effort to enact a Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) in Pasco County to protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination.

The organization held its second annual festival last October. It exists to strengthen and support Pasco County’s growing LGBTQ community and sees the passage of a countywide HRO as an extension of that mission.

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Parliament House owner says the resort is not up for auction

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: The crowd gathers for a concert at Parliament House during Gay Days 2018. (Photo by Layla Ferris)

ORLANDO | Parliament House, Orlando’s longest running LGBTQ club and resort, will not be going up for auction at the end of the month. This according to Parliament House owner Don Granatstein.

Rumors that the more than four decades old LGBTQ resort was up for auction on Feb. 25 started to rise when court documents on the Orange County Clerk of Courts website stating as much began to circulate at the beginning of the year.

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Transgender woman poised to make Argentine soccer history

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Maria Gomez, photo via Instagram.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) | Dozens of trophies, balls and cups sit on two worn, wooden shelves in the small home in a Buenos Aires suburb of Mara Gomez, who is poised to become the first transgender woman to play professional soccer in Argentina.

Tall and athletic, Gomez looks at the mementos from her arduous journey in soccer and life, and smiles. “When I started I was so bad. I’d kick the ball at the goal and it would go anywhere.”

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