The 2018 Amendment Guide

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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This year’s ballot lists 12 potential amendments to the Florida Constitution. Only two of those were proposed by Florida’s citizens, including Amendment 4. It is the only amendment Equality Florida has taken a stance on, advising that the eligibility to vote is fundamental to democracy and that voting yes “is the first step in helping LGBTQ people with former convictions.”

For more information about 2018’s proposed amendments, read on below.

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Equality-focused organizations, candidates and voters hope to turn the tide Nov. 6

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The LGBTQ vote matters. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization—it made up five percent of the electorate in 2016’s general election.

The organization stresses that LGBTQ voters were one of the few voting blocs to increase its turnout following 2012’s cycle, noting one critical element. “Here’s the key thing to remember,” HRC President Chad Griffin tells Watermark. “Because we are intentionally excluded from the census—the Trump-Pence administration eliminated what would have been a census that included us—we know that number by independent exit polling data.

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PHOTOS: Spooky Empire gets scary for its Ultimate Horror Weekend

By : Meghan Sweeney
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What would the Hallow Season be without Spooky Empire? The Ultimate Horror Weekend took over the Caribe Royale from Oct. 26-28 providing attendees with a chillingly good time!

Convention-goers were treated to a full “X-Files” reunion featuring stars David Duchovney and Gillian Anderson, “Hocus Pocus” star Kathy Najimy posed with fans and over 200 vendors sold their delightfully scary wares.

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PHOTOS: Halloween weekend was spooktacular at Parliament House

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The first of Parliament House’s costume contests brought out all of Orlando’s most creative costumers Oct. 27.

From the scantily clad to the big-budget players, everyone showed off their skills vying for that $5,000 prize money.

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onePULSE Foundation awarded up to $10 million for museum

By : Melanie Ararat
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ORLANDO | The Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) awarded the onePULSE Foundation up to $10 million in hotel-tax revenues  on Oct. 30 to help it acquire land and create designs for its proposed Pulse museum.

The present members at the BCC meeting unanimously approved the funding and the onePULSE Foundation was met with the support of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, the Tourism Development Council and the Application Review Committee.

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Local LGBTQ leaders to gather at Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Christen Kelley
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ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies will engage in a full day of interactive workshops at the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit, or OYES, at Valencia College’s West Campus in Orlando Nov. 3.

The free event is presented by the City of Orlando with one goal in mind—to empower LGBTQ youth. Guests can attend a variety of workshops dedicated to a range of topics such as career building, poetry, healthy relationships and LGBTQ history.

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The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida celebrates 40 years with a Studio 54-inspired party

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida has undergone several name and location changes in its 40-year history, but the mission has always remained the same.

“The focus since the beginning was always advocacy, making sure there was a voice for the community and socialization,” says George Wallace, The Center’s current executive director.

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PHOTOS: ‘We won’t be erased’ rally held at Orlando City Hall after Trump administration’s anti-trans memo leaked

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: An audience gathers on the steps of City Hall Plaza in Downtown Orlando for the Orlando We Won’t Be Erased Transgender and Allies Support Rally on Oct. 27. Photo by Melanie Ararat

ORLANDO | Colorful flags and posters waved in the air as people chanted “We won’t be erased” outside City Hall Plaza in Downtown Orlando on Oct. 27. The chant was led by Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality.

“We send this message to the White House saying that the Orlando transgender and gender nonconforming communities will not be erased,” Duncan says. “We will not be defined out of existence.”

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Watermark Giveaway: A pair of VIP tickets to The Center’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

By : Meghan Sweeney
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The LGBT+ Center Orlando is celebrating the big 4-0 and Watermark wants to give you and a guest the chance to celebrate in style!

The Center’s 40th Anniversary Celebration- A Night At Studio 54 will feature food, drinks, and a special live performance by one of the Queens of Disco – Martha Wash!

To enter, comment down below and let us know what your favorite disco song is.  We will pick a winner on Oct. 31 at noon.

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This is Halloween: Full event calendar for Central Florida and Tampa Bay

By : Watermark Staff
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As Halloween draws closer, Watermark has complied a full list of spooky happenings across Central Florida/Tampa Bay

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‘Jersey Boys,’ the story of The Four Seasons’ rise to fame and the gay man behind the success, comes to the Dr. Phillips Center

By : Jaime Donelson
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Wade Dooley, who plays the character of Bob Crewe in the North American tour of “Jersey Boys,” says he feels very connected to his character as an openly gay actor.

“I try to put a bit of myself into [the character]. Still today there are times when I can’t tell if it’s safe or not safe to be myself. I try to bring some of that realism to it,” says Dooley.

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Central Florida and Tampa Bay prep to eat, drink and be scary this Halloween

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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From the fierce to the freakish, Halloween is a celebration of self-expression. It’s a chance for those of any age, gender identity or sexual orientation to live exactly as they are—or should they choose, to become someone or something else entirely.

For those reasons and more, so many in the LGBTQ community have gravitated toward Halloween throughout its hallowed history. But deeper meanings aside, it’s also fun. How can you go wrong with costumes, candy, parties and puns?

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