Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin stepping down

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Equality activist Chad Griffin – president of the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – announced Nov. 15 that he will vacate the position in 2019 after seven years.

“Under Griffin’s leadership, HRC has become a leader in the resistance to the Trump-Pence administration, and one of the most politically powerful organizations in the country,” the organization shared.

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Issue 25.23: Pursuing Passion

By : Jake Stevens
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Two inspiring individuals prove leaving the corporate world can really pay off, voters elect a more liberal, progressive Central Florida, EPIC Generations coalition forms to support aging LGBTQ community, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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Kehlani gets real about her struggles as a pregnant queer woman

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Kehlani opened up about the negative backlash she received for announcing her pregnancy in a revealing interview with Nylon. 

The 23-year-old singer told fans she was expecting on social media in October but she says some people doubted her sexuality because she is pregnant.

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Costa Rica lawmakers ordered to legalize same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Costa Rica Supreme Court on Nov. 14 formally released its ruling that says lawmakers have 18 months to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“Acts of open discrimination, whether they are expressed or implied, cannot be justified in any way in a democratic society that respects fundamental rights,” reads the ruling.

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Watermark’s Holiday Guide 2018

By : Jake Stevens
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Once again, it’s here, it’s queer, and FULL of holiday cheer! Read our best holiday guide yet!

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Rami Ayoub & Jason Lowe

By : Aaron Drake
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“Our first date was on Feb. 3, 2013, which happened to be Super Bowl Sunday,” Rami Ayoub shares about meeting his now-husband Jason Lowe. “After chatting back and forth for over a month, we finally met at Spice downtown [Orlando]; a brief Super Bowl stop with friends for Beyonce’s halftime show and off to live music at the Peacock Room, a venue we miss often.”

Ayoub, who works as assistant manager at Cedars Restaurant in Orlando, grew up in Damascus, Syria. His husband, Lowe, is employed as senior vice president of CCMC, Inc. He hails from Greensboro, N.C. They now live together in Orlando.

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11.15.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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There are a few things people tend to figure out about me rather quickly, whether they get to know me well or only casually.

The first is that I’m into politics. Voting is rad, even more so when it’s done in the name of equality and every vote is counted. Second, I have a totally normal love and appreciation for (read: obsession with) Disney, particularly “The Little Mermaid.” I mean, how many wonders can one movie hold?

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11.15.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I was sitting at my desk, drinking my coffee and chatting with some coworkers when my team leader came up to me and said that we had a meeting to attend. I didn’t know what she was talking about but in those days I was terrible at managing my schedule so forgetting about a meeting seemed like something I might do.

I was a second-level supervisor at a call center for the company Express Scripts. For those who aren’t familiar it’s a Prescription Benefits Manager. That’s just fancy talk for insurance for medications. I started working there after I discharged from the Air Force in 2007. Six years in the military, of being told where to go, when to go there and to stay in the closet left me in need of a change in my life.

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Watch: Netflix releases new trailer for Jennifer Aniston film ‘Dumplin’

By : Meghan Sweeney
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What do Jennifer Aniston, Dolly Parton and Ginger Minj all have in common? They’re all apart of the new Netflix original movie “Dumplin’.”

“Dumplin'” — based on the Julie Murphy novel of the same name — follows Willowdean “Dumplin” Dickson, played by Danielle Macdonald, and her former pageant star mother Rosie, played by Jennifer Aniston.

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Penguin Point Productions is getting new home at Oviedo Mall

By : Jaime Donelson
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ABOVE: Artist rendering of what the Penguin Point Productions’ store front will look like. Photo courtesy James Brendlinger’s Facebook

Local theater teacher and founder of Penguin Point Productions, James Brendlinger, is raising money to expand his company through GoFundMe.

Penguin Point Productions announced a new home in Oviedo Mall and will be opening its doors on Jan. 7, 2019. Multiple storefronts in the mall are being used to create a working studio theater, costume shop and arts classrooms.

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Embry-Riddle addresses student concerns after LGBTQ monument defaced

By : Jeremy Williams
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. | Leadership at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. are responding to student and community outrage with a call for respect after an LGBTQ-painted monument was defaced with homophobic and transphobic phrases.

The incident occurred overnight Oct. 31 after the university’s LGBTQ organization, P.R.I.D.E., painted the campus’ Spirit Rock — a large rock the school’s groups take turns painting supporting various causes. P.R.I.D.E. painted Spirit Rock with the trans pride flag colors on one side and the rainbow pride flag colors on the other with the phrase “#WontBeErased.”

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Equality Florida’s Michael Thomas Farmer announces departure

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Michael Thomas Farmer speaks at the Equality Florida Greater Orlando Gala at the Orlando Museum of Art earlier this month. Photo by Meghan Sweeney

ORLANDO | Equality Florida is losing one of its star players. Statewide Deputy Development Director Michael Thomas Farmer announced via Facebook that he will be leaving the statewide equality organization on Nov. 30.

“When I started working at Equality Florida nearly 10 years ago, I never could have imagined where I, and we, would be today,” Farmer wrote. “It’s been the honor of my life to have been part of the leadership team at Equality Florida. Although at times the work was daunting, trying and challenging, the rewards of the work far outweighed any of the cons.”

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