The season of love is back, and so are we with 10 of Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s Most Eligible Singles

By : Watermark Staff
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“I’m in the mood for love simply because you’re near me. Funny, but when you’re near me, I’m in the mood for love.”  Those opening lyrics to “I’m in the Mood for Love” were written by lyricist Dorothy Fields more than 80 years ago, but they are arguably the best description of love’s holiday, Valentine’s Day.

Like joy with Christmas and food with Thanksgiving, love is elevated during Valentine’s Day. That is why we here at Watermark started last year what has now become an annual tradition: presenting Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s 10 most eligible singles for the year.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Kathy Ruiz

By : Jeremy Williams
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AGE: 21

HOMETOWN: Miami, Fla.

IDENTIFIES AS: Bisexual

PRONOUNS: She/her

SIGN: Aquarius

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Orlando Youth Alliance selected to be Lucky’s Market 1st quarter fundraiser partner

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ORLANDO | Lucky’s Market, located at 11750 E Colonial Dr, announced Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) as one of its three nonprofit partners participating in Bags for Change, a quarterly fundraiser hosted by the supermarket chain.  Lucky’s Bags for Change program will help raise funds for OYA from Feb. 3 to May 25.

OYA is a nonprofit local organization providing LGBTQ youth a safe place and support group to discuss any issues or concerns in their lives and includes members from ages 13 to 24.

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Miracle of Love’s Project Red will have ‘Wigs in Space’ at the Parliament House

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | Miracle of Love—an organization whose mission is to reduce the number of HIV cases and end the AIDS epidemic by providing comprehensive, multicultural care, education and prevention services in Central Florida—is as known for its fabulous events as it is for its amazing work, and its signature fundraiser event Project Red is always the talk of the town.

This year, Miracle of Love presents Project Red: Wigs in Space, an infusion of art and drag, on Feb. 22 from 7-10 p.m. at the Parliament House in Orlando.

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LGBTQ cops in Central Florida are ready to talk GOALs

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: GOALcfl’s founding board members. (Photo courtesy GOALcfl.com)

ORLANDO | The Gay Officer Action League (GOAL), a fraternal civil rights organization providing a safe place for active and retired LGBTQ law enforcement officers, got its start in New York in 1982.

Since then GOAL has opened several other chapters in the U.S. with the most recent one kicking off in Orlando on Jan. 26. GOALcfl, as it is called for short, is now one of four chapters that branched from the original GOALnyc.

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OnePULSE Foundation to honor Parkland victims at one-year mark of school shooting

By : Abigail Brashear
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ORLANDO | OnePULSE Foundation announced that it will begin honoring victims from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 7 at the Pulse Interim Memorial.

According to a press release sent out by the foundation, a banner will hang at Pulse for “community members to leave messages of love, hope and support.” They will also tie 17 ribbons – one for each of the victims – on trees at the memorial.

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SPEKTRUM offers new healthcare option for LGBTQ patients

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | SPEKTRUM Health hopes to become the go-to LGBTQ healthcare provider in Central Florida now that its Orlando location is officially open.

The clinic’s mission is “to provide top quality comprehensive primary healthcare options for LGBTQA+ individuals,” reads the organization’s mission statement.

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Stonewall Orlando hosting inaugural comedy showcase

By : Abigail Brashear
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ORLANDO | Stonewall Orlando is bringing the laughs to the party with the debut of its first stand-up comedy showcase Jan. 30.

Hosted by Heather Shaw, the free showcase starts at 9:30 p.m., with doors opening 30 minutes beforehand. The inaugural event will feature comedians Shaw Smith, Simon Nash, Christophe Jean, Chris Alexander, Krystal Tholen and Ariana Garcia-Chow.

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Watermark’s 2019 WAVE Awards Final Round – Central Florida

By : watermark staff
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We asked for your local favorites and you responded in the largest numbers we have ever seen. The 2019 WAVE Awards are now in full swing and, thanks to you faithful readers, we have our Top 3 in each category.

Now it’s time to tell us the top of the tops.

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Watermark’s 2019 WAVE Awards Final Round – VOTE NOW

By : watermark staff
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We asked for your local favorites and you responded in the largest numbers we have ever seen. The 2019 WAVE Awards are now in full swing and, thanks to you faithful readers, we have our Top 3 in each category. Now it’s time to tell us the top of the tops.

The WAVE Awards, or the Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, recognize the best in Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community in the areas of activism, service, entertainment and more.

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Come Out With Pride announces intent to host WorldPride during Pulse 10-year mark

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced in a press conference at The Venue Jan. 23 that they plan to bid to host WorldPride in Central Florida in 2026.

InterPride, an international organization that ties Pride together globally, brings WorldPride to major cities across the globe every two to six years. This year WorldPride will take place in New York City to coincide with the 50-year mark of the Stonewall riots. Several members from the COWP board will be in attendance at the event this June.

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Apopka transgender woman evicted, alleges discrimination from housing association

By : Abigail Brashear
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APOPKA, Fla. | A transgender woman of color and her husband were evicted from their mobile home in Apopka this month and claim discrimination from the Homeowners Association was a factor.

Tiara Kelley, 38, and her husband Robert Kelley, bought their Bayshore Chalet North mobile home in September. The couple bought the mobile home completely in cash, ensuring that their name was on the title of the home, and leased the lot that the mobile home was on with the Chalet North HOA.

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