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Services to Mark 1 Year Since 49 Killed in Pulse, Orlando

(AP) Starting in the early hours Monday, and continuing almost 24 hours later, survivors, victims' families, city officials and central Florida residents will remember the victims with four services.

The first service is closed to the public, and it's being held at the nightclub for survivors, local officials and club employees. It will overlap with the exact time that gunman began firing shots - a little after 2 a.m. on June 12, 2016.

It is followed by another midday service at the nightclub, and an evening gathering in the heart of downtown Orlando. A final, music-filled late-night service is being held at the nightclub.

On Monday, local churches throughout Orlando have arranged for church bells to ring simultaneously, 49 times at noon.

Local officials also have declared the one-year mark as a day of "love and kindness," and they are encouraging residents to volunteer or perform acts of compassion.

An exhibit of artwork collected from memorial sites set up around Orlando after the massacre will be shown at the Orange County History Center, and a giant rainbow, gay-pride flag will be unveiled at the Orange County government building.


Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame Defaced Over Weekend at Gay Pride #ResistMarch

(EDGE) As thousands took to the street over the weekend in Los Angeles for the city's Pride parade, which was re-branded this year as #ResistMarch, a number of demonstrators made a point to visit Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where they paid homage to the president's sidewalk monument by defacing it with stickers.

According to a report in Trump-friendly online publication Breitbart, Trump's star was photographed Sunday morning covered with stickers that ran the gamut from "Resist Homophobia" to "No! Drive out Pence/Trump fascist regime!"

Breitbart also noted that the former TV reality personality's star on the walk has been vandalized a number of times since his inauguration. Last month, a golden toilet with the message "Take a Trump" was placed on the billionaire's star.

Trump received his star on the walk ten years ago for his work on the "Miss Universe Pageant" and "The Apprentice."

According to AP, the annual LA Gay Pride Parade, which was rebranded #ResistMarcch pulled tens of thousands of Angelenos into the streets to carry rainbow flags and protest the Trump Administration. 

The all-star roster of speakers also included some heavy hitting politicians including U.S. Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters.

Waters led the crowd in rousing chants of "impeach 45!"

She said "we're going to take our country back from him," and told the marchers that they have the strength, the courage, and the power to do it.


A Mix of Pride and Anger at LGBT Rights Marches Across US

(AP) Supporters of LGBT rights marched and rallied in the nation's capital and dozens of other U.S. cities on Sunday, celebrating gains but angry over threats posed by the administration of President Donald Trump.

The centerpiece event, the Equality March in Washington, was endorsed by virtually every major national advocacy group working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Activists have been embittered by the Trump administration's rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

They also complain that Trump, who campaigned as a potential ally of gays and lesbians, has stocked his administration with foes of LGBT rights, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Throngs of marchers, many thousands strong, paraded past the White House and toward the Capitol, trailing behind a giant rainbow flag near the head of the procession.

"We're here, we're queer, get that Cheeto out of here," was among the chants directed at Trump.

For the LGBT community nationwide, it's an emotional time. Monday is the anniversary of the mass shooting a year ago in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people - mostly Latinos - at Pulse, a gay nightclub.

Among the marchers in Washington was Gil Mendez, a Puerto Rican native who traveled with his partner all the way from San Francisco to join the parade. He carried a sign that included the names of all the Pulse victims.

"The attack on Pulse really struck me hard," he said. "It made the connection between the physical violence of guns and the political attacks on our community."

Also marching, and singing freedom songs and patriotic songs along the way, were scores of members of gay choruses from various cities.


Over 200,000 at Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, Region's Biggest

(AP) Thousands of people from around the world are partying in Tel Aviv at the Gay Pride Parade, the region's largest.

The Municipality said over 200,000 people celebrated Friday. The theme of this year's parade is "Bisexuality Visibility."

Jorge Medina from Mexico said the parade is "amazing."

Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world's most gay-friendly travel destinations.

Israel stands in sharp contrast to much of the region.

Across the rest of the Mideast, gay and lesbian relationships are mostly taboo. Pervasiveness of religion in everyday life, along with strict cultural norms, plays a major factor.

Same-sex relations are punishable by death in Iran, Sudan and elsewhere.

Gays serve openly in Israel's military and parliament. But community leaders say the country still has far to go in promoting equality.