Watermark Year in Review: November 2015

By : Jamie Hyman, Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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Following a long, long negotiation, Parliament House solidifies its future by finalizing a deal for a $3.9 million refinancing loan. The loan was announced before Halloween, finalized the first week of November and frees the resort to remain an Orlando LGBT icon.

Orlando’s mayor and Orlando’s first openly gay commissioner will both remain in office another term. Buddy Dyer and Patty Sheehan both win their re-election campaigns in November, emerging victorious from races that both involved their fair share of mud-slinging.

Not once, not twice, but THREE times anti-gay vandals attacked Irene’s Lounge, which isn’t even a gay bar but happens to be owned by a gay guy. Local LGBT supporters had enough, gathered the donations necessary to make things right, then showed up and fixed up the Mount Dora establishment as good as new. Who says there isn’t an LGBT community in Lake County?

Transgender Pride is A Thing now. We’re on board, and so it seems is Tampa Bay, after the second annual Tampa Bay Trans Pride exceeded expectations and opened minds.

Gidget gives it a shot. Actress Sally Field jumps into Proposition 1 argument, with an aim to secure equal rights in Houston. The ordinance fails. “I fear that this will have stained Houston’s reputation as a tolerant, welcoming, global city,” worries Mayor Annise Parker after the defeat. Time will tell.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry puts his meetings where his mouth is, scheduling three “Community Conversations” to talk about an LGBT-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance for the city. The discussions were divided, with one man arrested for a bomb threat and somehow, the Ku Klux Klan, got involved, tossing anti-gay flyers into front yards.

In its 26th year, Headdress Ball still has it. The signature fundraiser for Hope and Help of Central Florida raised a respectable $325,000 in 2015, and featured high-profile names like Mary Murphy, Johnny Damon and Jorge Estevez. We’re already shopping for our formal attire for 2016.

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