Disney to live stream Epcot’s Candlelight Processional hosted by Neil Patrick Harris

By : Jeremy Williams
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(Above image courtesy Disney Parks Blog.)

ORLANDO | Walt Disney World’s annual Candlelight Processional has become a tradition for park goers attending Epcot during the holiday season.

Every year guests watch as a choir, orchestra and a celebrity narrator tell the story of Christmas through words and music. Unfortunately, you’ve had to miss out on it if you didn’t happen to be visiting the parks on one of the event’s selected nights … until now.

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Orlando man looks to raise reward money to find local trans woman’s murderer

By : Jeremy Williams and Melanie Ararat
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ORLANDO | Sasha Garden, a 27-year-old transgender woman, was found dead in the parking lot of a Holden Ave. apartment complex in Orlando July 19.

At that time, Garden became the fourth trans woman murdered in the state of Florida and the 16th trans person taken by violence in the U.S. Those numbers have now climbed to a known five in Florida and a known 22 in the U.S., and in many of these cases local authorities have not turned up any suspects or made any arrests.

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Two inspiring individuals prove leaving the corporate world can really pay off

By : Holly Kapherr Alejos
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When I called Victor Bokas for an interview, he was in the middle of working on a five-foot-square commissioned painting for an art collector in Spain. “I could have never done this had I stayed in the corporate world,” he said to me with an incredulous half-laugh. Since being let go from his position as a senior graphic designer at Tupperware Brands in 2015, he has devoted his full energy to his craft, and it’s made all the difference.

Mandy Keyes, owner of Community Cafe in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg, also left her corporate position as an interior designer to open a storefront on Central Avenue, the area’s main thoroughfare. When I walked into the cafe for our interview, she was in the thick of taking orders, clearing tables, fielding questions – all the things you’d expect from a small-business owner – popping up at intervals during our conversation to tend to her customers. At 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday, the place was packed. It’s working.

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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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Voters elect a more liberal, progressive Central Florida

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Voters called for a bluer state Nov. 6 as progressive candidates won several key races and many Democrats held onto their Central Florida Congressional and Legislative seats in the 2018 midterms.

State representative races placed a big blue dot in the middle of Florida as Rep.-Elect Geraldine Thompson, Rep.-Elect Anna Eskamani, Rep. Amy Mercado and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith all won in their districts.

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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: 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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The fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit unites LGBTQ youth

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: City of Orlando’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Senior Specialist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez gives a speech at the Orlando Youth Summit at Valencia College – West Campus. Photo by Melanie Ararat

ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies were able to network, engage in interactive workshops and listen to community leaders for the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) at Valencia College – West Campus on Nov. 3. A special appearance was made by Orange County Mayor and School Board Chair-Elect Teresa Jacobs.

“It’s important for our youth, our educators and our professionals to all come together and talk about the best ways to help our youth as they discover who they are and how they can make sure that they can live their authentic selves in our community,” Jacobs says.

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