PHOTOS: Equality Florida holds 2018 Suncoast Celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Equality Florida held its annual Suncoast Celebration at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium Nov. 18, benefiting the organization’s work in fighting for statewide equality.

The evening featured live entertainment from Josh Walther and the Phase5 Band and honored community advocates throughout the celebration, beginning with Dr. Fred and Lee Brockmann. The duo, known for their outspoken advocacy, received the 2018 Voice for Equality honor. Dorothy Neufeld received the 2018 Spirit of Service and Leadership honor.

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride gets wild for inaugural Pride-Zoo-La

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Pride kicked off fundraising for its fifth year with the organization’s inaugural Pride-Zoo-La at ZooTampa at Lowry Park Nov. 17.

The evening began with a performance by the Tampa Bay Pride Band. Guests subsequently moved to an artists’ showcase highlighting local talent, participated in over 50 raffles and were given the opportunity to participate in a giraffe feeding with ZooTampa staff.

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PHOTOS: Watermark Wednesday benefits Project No Labels

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Watermark’s bi-monthly Tampa Bay social networking event Watermark Wednesday benefited area nonprofit Project No Labels (PNL) at The Franklin Manor Nov. 14.

PNL exists to unite all LGBTQ+ supporters in Tampa Bay through positive activities and events, Development Director Jonathan Soots shared with attendees. The organization promotes volunteerism and activism for a fulfilling LGBTQ+ lifestyle.

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PHOTOS: Metro raises funds, celebrates at the PeaCocktail Party

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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GULFPORT | Metro Wellness & Community Centers held its annual fundraiser Nov. 10, benefiting the organization’s diverse lineup of LGBTQ programming and honoring community leaders.

The celebration took place at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport from 7-11 p.m. It honored three outstanding individuals for their excellence in leadership – St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Christina Burke and Todd Richardson. Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois was also celebrated for her 25 years of service and dedication to the Tampa Bay community.

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Metro, James Haley VA, CAN hold second annual Trans Fashion Expo

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Metro Wellness and Community Centers, CAN Community Health and the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital will present the second annual Trans Fashion Expo at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Tampa Nov. 17 from 12 – 6 p.m.

LGBTQ+ veterans, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are invited to step into the inclusive space for the free event. They’ll learn about available resources from local community leaders, advocates and vendors as they participate in raffles and select clothing from a full, professional boutique of attire in a safe and affirming venue.

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Vegan-themed, male revue theatrical event, ‘Chip ‘n’ Kales’ workshops at The Mezz

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Florida Theatrical Association, director Kenny Howard and writer Jerry “J” Jobe Jr. workshop their latest musical comedy, “Chip ‘n’ Kales,” at The Mezz in Orlando Nov. 8 and 9.

“Chip ‘n’ Kales” is “the world’s first strip-tastical, theatrical event,” according to an event’s page for the show.

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PHOTOS: Voting is the message of the night at Equality Florida’s Greater Orlando Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Equality Florida had a huge turnout for its Greater Orlando Gala at the Orlando Museum of Art Nov. 2, and its message to everyone in attendance: “Get out and vote this Tuesday!”

The event was a who’s who of Central Florida’s LGBTQ, Democrat and progressive communities. The crowd watched as Pulse survivor and gun safety advocate Brandon Wolf was awarded the Voice For Equality Award and Michael Thomas of John Michael Exquisite Weddings and Events accepted the Equality Means Business Award.

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PHOTOS: The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida celebrates 40 years with Studio 54 concert

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida celebrated its 40th anniversary with a concert at The Plaza Live on Nov. 3.

The Studio 54-themed event was hosted by Jorge Estevez and featured showstopping musical and dance numbers by the Orlando Gay Chorus, a sensual burlesque dance from VarieTEASE’s Blue Star, Tymisha Harris and the Ladyboys’ Gadiel Vazquez, hysterical drag by Gidget Galore and a once-in-a-lifetime special performance from one of the queens of disco, Martha Wash.

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PHOTOS: ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ steals the show at Stonewall Orlando’s Halloween night

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | It was FUN HOUSE Happy Hour at Stonewall Orlando for Halloween Oct. 31. Hosted by Erica Roberts, the event was filled with fun games and fantastic prizes, including theme park tickets!

The FUN HOUSE wrapped up with its Halloween Costume Contest at 9 p.m., where Kurt Kors and CJ Clontz won dressed up as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” King of Halloween Jack Skellington and his love Sally … with their ghostly pooch Zero in tow, of course.

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PHOTOS: Venice Pride holds inaugural celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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VENICE, Fla. | Venice’s LGBTQ community and its allies celebrated diversity and visibility during the inaugural Venice Pride Nov. 3.

The celebration, which proclaimed “We Are Here” with its theme, was held on the five-acre campus of SunCoast Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church from 1 – 5 p.m. According to Senior Co-Pastor Rev. Vickie Miller, one of the organizers, the theme was chosen to make a statement that the LGBTQ community exists in the area. “We want our voices to be a part of the community,” she shared with Watermark. “We want to be unified and work together on issues that impact us.”

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PHOTOS: Halloween night was filled with tricks and treats at Parliament House

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | It was another epic Halloween at the Parliament House Oct. 31 with amazing costumes across the courtyard and throughout the resort.

With a total of $8,000 cash prize – $5000 cash prize awarded on Saturday to a “Day of the Dead, Calavera” bride and $3,000 given to the X-men’s Archangel featuring quite the impressive wing span.

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PHOTOS: Sanford Pride brings rainbows and clear skies for weekend festival

By : Jeremy Williams
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SANFORD, Fla. | The weather was perfect for the third annual Sanford Pride festival held in downtown Sanford Nov. 3.

Attendees were treated to live entertainment, food trucks, drag performances and a city proclamation from the Mayor of Sanford.

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