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LGBT Community- What’s Next on the Horizon for Equality

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This past year has been a series of epic wins for the LGBT community: Marriage is now legal for gay couples in every state in the nation, Florida has repealed its ban on adoption by gay couples, the Boy Scouts lifted their ban on gay leaders and the general public is finally starting to hear and accept the concerns of the transgender community.

Orlando’s LGBT community is getting ready for a well-earned celebration at this year’s Come Out With Pride weekend, which takes place Oct. 8-10 at venues around downtown Orlando. But as this week’s Orlando Weekly cover story about what’s next on the horizon for equality indicates, this is not a time to become complacent.

Despite the fact that same-sex couples can marry, and some municipalities have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, state law doesn’t protect anyone from being fired or evicted for being gay or transgender. Florida law covers hate crimes based on sexual orientation, but inexplicably it doesn’t cover hate crimes against transgender individuals. And even a purely social level, many transgender men and women say, they’re struggling for acceptance: “I’m not even treated like a human most of the time when people know that I’m trans,” one transgender woman told us.

So even though there’s a lot to celebrate in this post gay marriage world, there’s still a lot left to fight for: “It’s exciting to know that we were able to get the pomp and circumstance,” says Billy Manes, editor of Orlando LGBT publication Watermark, “but it’s the circumstance that really matters now. The fact that you can be fired from your job for being gay. Even looking gay. It’s disheartening.” This past year has been a series of epic wins for the LGBT community

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