Tag: Florida

Palm Beach County Strengthens Civil Rights Protections

(GayWebSource.com) (West Palm Beach, Florida) –  At this morning’s meeting, Palm Beach County Commissioners voted unanimously to expand civil rights protections for minorities by amending the definition of “places of public accommodation” in the Palm Beach County Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation.

“When I looked at the antidiscrimination ordinances that had been in effect in Palm Beach County over the years, it became clear that our law needed to be updated to better protect minorities,” said County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger. “In light of all that is happening with race relations across our nation, this is the appropriate time for the County Commission to take a strong, proactive stand against discrimination.”

While a majority of states have long prohibited discrimination of any kind in retail establishments, Florida is not one of them.

“Since there is no statewide law covering discrimination in retail stores, the ordinance passed today is clearly the most significant civil rights law passed in Palm Beach County in decades,” said Rand Hoch, the retired judge who provided the County Attorney’s office with the language used in the ordinance.

Hoch is President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), the County’s most prolific civil rights organization. Over the past twenty-five years, PBCHRC has succeeded in having public officials enact more than 90 local antidiscrimination laws and policies.

Palm Beach County first enacted an ordinance to prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation in 1973.  Over the years, the ordinance has been rewritten to include discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, familial status, sexual orientation, age, marital status, and gender identity or expression.

However, for more than three decades, instances of public accommodation discrimination were strictly limited to only those which occurred in places offering lodging, food service or entertainment in the ordinance.

“The ordinance traced its roots back to civil rights laws written in the 1960s when it was legal to have ‘Whites only’ hotels, restaurants and bars and the County Commissioners only addressed inequities had occurred in very few places of commerce.” said Hoch. “As we know, discriminatory acts are not limited to those few places.”

“No one should be subjected to the humiliation of being denied service in a store open to the general public because of his or her race.” said County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor.

“Allowing store owners to choose their customers based on prejudice deprives shoppers of the freedom to walk into a store that seems to be open the general public and get served like everybody else,” said Hoch.

At today’s meeting, the County Commissioners widely expanded the definition of public accommodation to include retail stores, schools, day care and senior centers, medical offices, funeral homes, bakeries, laundromats and virtually all other places of business throughout the county.

“When the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council asked the County Commission to expand the definition of places of public accommodation last January, our main priority was to prohibit consumer racism in retail stores – a practice known as ‘shopping while Black,'” said Hoch.

The experience of people of color being refused service – or given poor service – is not uncommon.  “Shopping while Black” also includes black customers being followed by store clerks, wrongly detained, steered away from certain products, and being asked for additional forms of identification regarding credit applications.

President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey,  Condoleezza Rice, and other well-know Black Americans have publically discussed their humiliating experiences of shopping while black.

“There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store,” President Obama said after the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. “That includes me.”

“Public accommodations must be open to all people equally. If you hang out a shingle and get a license to do business with the general public, you should be required to provide the same service to all of the general public – and that includes gays and lesbians.” said Hoch.

Since same-sex marriage has become legal, a handful of companies in the wedding industry in Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have  refused to provide services gay and lesbian couples.

“Gay and lesbian couples planning their weddings are being refused service solely because of their sexual orientation,” said Hoch.  “Under the new Palm Beach County ordinance, if a bakery refuse to provide a cake for a gay or lesbian couple’s wedding, that baker may be faced with litigation, a fine of up to $50,000 and payment of attorneys’ fees.”

The new ordinance does take into account the special rights of churches and private clubs by exempting both religious and distinctly private organizations from the ordinance.

“Churches may be allowed to  exclude people of other faiths.  Private clubs may be allowed to continue to deny membership based on race and religion,” said Hoch. “However, in Palm Beach County, businesses engaged in commerce will no longer be allowed to refuse service based on a person’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or any other protected classes.”


Pensacola LGBT Film Fest 2015

October 7, 2015toOctober 10, 2015

Pensacola LGBT Film Fest 2015 – The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival highlights the artistic contributions both nationally and internationally of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers. The unique ability of film to transcend stereotypes and relate to the viewer opens the door to a dialogue about the LGBT experience, building a stronger and more open Pensacola.

Pensacola LGBT Film Fest 2015

Pensacola LGBT Film Fest 2015

The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival began in 2012 as a conduit to provide a vibrant and educational experience to the Gulf Coast region, specifically Pensacola, Florida. This festival focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues, with a goal of expanding the region’s diversity and acceptance of diverse identities. This mission is driven primarily by an annual film festival featuring short and feature-length documentaries and fiction films with LGBT themes and / or directors and actors.

The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival highlights the artistic contributions both nationally and internationally of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers. The unique ability of film to transcend stereotypes and relate to the viewer opens the door to a dialogue about the LGBT experience, building a stronger and more open Pensacola.


Wednesday, 10/7 @ Treehouse Cinema 6:30pm

Thursday, 10/8 @ The Museum of Commerce 6:30pm

Friday, 10/9 @ UWF Center for Fine & Performing Arts 6:30pm

Saturday, 10/10 @ The East Hill Yard 7:00pm

Our name — STAMPED: Pensacola LGBT Film Fest — was inspired by efforts of the LGBT community in the mid-1990s to highlight the impact of LGBT tourism. After some local officials and business owners spoke out against gay and lesbian visitors, including annual Memorial Day Weekend activities which draw tens of thousands of people to the area, many LGBT residents and visitors began to stamp the cash they spent with the words “GAY MONEY” and/or a pink triangle. That year, Christopher Street South, a local LGBT publication, estimated that gay and lesbian tourists spent $25 million annually in the area.


The mission of the Pensacola LGBT Film Festival is to host an inclusive, entertaining event that not only serves to bring our local LGBT community together for four nights of fun, but also educates others in a way to spread acceptance and love throughout the Gulf Coast. Accessibility is a priority of the festival, and every year we have kept the festival free and open to anyone who wishes to join us. In order to make this a reality, we run off the generous donations of our community and local businesses to create this fun event free of charge. Our festival is a big believer in the power of film to educate and entertain, and we use this medium coupled with the stories of the LGBT+ community to carry out our mission.

The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival originally began in 2012 as a means to create a more accepting, safe, and educated community in our small, Gulf Coast town of Pensacola, Florida. The festival has been going strong ever since, growing into an annual four-day celebration of film that has attracted hundreds of people every year. As we continue to grow, we have been able to spread our message of acceptance further along the Gulf Coast through the art of film, showcasing dozens of LGBT+ films and filmmakers that range from local to international. The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival has become an event the Gulf Coast community looks forward to every year, celebrating film with the vast stories and experiences of LGBT+ people around the world.

The post Pensacola LGBT Film Fest 2015 appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

Free Tickets to LGBT Equality Institute

Due to popular demand, Out & Equal has added 50 more FREE registration spots for the sold-out LGBT Equality Institute, July 23 at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida. Don’t miss this opportunity – register now!

The Walt Disney Company and Out & Equal Workplace Advocates invite you to the LGBT Equality Institute, a free one-day intensive workshop about the basics of making your workplace welcoming and inclusive for all employees and potential hires.

Out & Equal will share information and resources to help your company begin to understand the rapidly changing social and legal landscape in today’s competitive labor market. And, Disney Institute will illustrate how you can build a culture of inclusiveness that attracts and retains a talented and diverse workforce.

Click here for more information and to register.

Free Tickets to LGBT Equality Institute

Free Tickets to LGBT Equality Institute

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and The Walt Disney Company

Out & Equal is committed to creating safe and equitable workplace environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. We believe that people should be judged by the work they do, not by their sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day, we work to protect and empower employees to be productive and successful—so they can support themselves, their families, and contribute to achieving a world free of discrimination for everyone.

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is working with Disney to lead businesses toward creating workplaces that are welcoming and inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. Disney and Out & Equal will host an LGBT Equality Institute workshop at the Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, July 23, 2015.

Out & Equal, the world’s premiere nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving LGBT workplace equality will convene world experts, diversity trainers and HR professionals who will share their experiences, best practices, and tips for achieving workplace equality.

The day-long LGBT Equality Institute will provide cutting edge thought leadership and on-the-ground training to transform companies of all sizes, bringing diversity and inclusion to life in businesses from all over the country. The Institute will help business leaders understand the rapidly changing social and legal landscape in today’s competitive labor market. It will also show companies how to build a culture of inclusiveness that attracts and retains a talented and diverse workforce.

“We are pleased to host and sponsor such an important gathering of employers who, like Disney, are committed to diverse and inclusive workplaces,” said Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis. “Having employees with a broad range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives gives employers an advantage in understanding and meeting the needs of consumers, and it is important to remain focused on attracting and developing a diverse workforce at every level.”

“We are proud that companies like Disney are leading the way to LGBT workplace equality. Now we can ensure that companies of all sizes can be equipped with the tools for equal workplaces,” said Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. “Over the last 19 years, we have been working with LGBTA professionals and executives to ensure the workplace is welcoming for all of us. I am thrilled that the idea for the Institute came out of an Out & Equal Executive Forum where we gather 50 LGBT executives each year to discuss what more we can do to achieve full workplace equality.”

Registration opens on May 13, 2015 and has limited capacity. To learn more and reserve space at the LGBT Equality Institute, please click here.

About Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is the world’s premiere nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality. Out & Equal collaborates with Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies to provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for LGBT employees.

Since 1996, Out & Equal has worked with executives, human resources professionals, Employee Resource Groups and individuals to provide leadership and professional development, education and research to create a culturally accepting work environment free of discrimination.

Out & Equal hosts an annual Workplace Summit, where employees and experts from around the world gather to share strategies and best practices to create workplace equality, inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. To learn more visit www.outandequal.org.

The post Free Tickets to LGBT Equality Institute appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

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