Watermark Giveaway: 3-night stay at the GayDayS 2019 Host Hotel

By : Watermark Staff
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The pool parties! The pageants! The theme parks! GayDayS 2019 is coming this August for an end of summer celebration you won’t forget.

Join GayDayS as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement at The Stonewall Inn by hosting a weekend filled with their always popular pool parties, one of the largest LGBTQ expos in the world and tons of exciting events including Taste of GayDayS, Miss GayDayS Pageant, Mr. GayDayS Leather Competition, Drag BINGO with Chantel Reshae, XXX Porn BINGO with ChiChi LaRue, Two Spirit Family Fun Carnival and more.

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Central Florida LGBTQ pioneer Joel Strack passes away at age 59

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Joel Strack at his celebration of life at Leu Gardens in Orlando June 23. (Photo by J.D. Casto)

ORLANDO | Joel Strack—an LGBTQ leader, activist and pioneer in Central Florida’s fight for equality— passed away in the early morning hours of July 15. He was 59.

Strack was instrumental in launching what would become known as Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom, helped create Orlando’s first Pride parade and assisted in founding both the Orlando Gay Chorus and the Gay and Lesbian History Museum.

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Central Florida singer-songwriter Billy Mick releases new single ‘Flesh and Bone’

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Central Florida singer-songwriter Billy Mick released the first single from his upcoming debut album on YouTube July 1.

The song, titled “Flesh and Bone,” is an upbeat track preaching tolerance, acceptance and understanding.

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Central Florida agency looks to get the word out on same-sex couples becoming foster parents

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: (L-R) Steven Wagner-Young, DJ and Gerald Wagner-Young at Lake Eola in Orlando. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | David, or DJ as his family and friends call him, is a quiet and well-behaved teenager. DJ, who is openly gay, loves his pet Chihuahuas, enjoys seeing the drag shows at Hamburger Mary’s and spends his time learning about life from his two dads, Steven and Gerald Wagner-Young. Just your typical modern family.

“DJ’s a good kid with a good spirit,” says Gerald Wagner-Young. “Whether he is having a good day or bad day he finds a way to put a smile on his face. Every time. That says something about a 15 year old who has been through some stuff.”

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Orlando Fringe announces new producer, show director for 2020 festival

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Lindsay Taylor (L) and Michael Marinaccio. (Photo courtesy Taylor’s Facebook page)

ORLANDO | The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival has announced that, after nearly a decade, Michael Marinaccio will step down as the festival producer starting with Fringe’s 29th festival in 2020.

“For the last eight years I have been so incredibly proud to serve as the festival producer of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival,” Marinaccio wrote on Facebook. “Serving over 1,000 artists annually has been one of the greatest honors of my life. After over a year of discussion and contemplation, last month I stepped down from that position and accepted a new role with Orlando Fringe.”

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Bliss CARES partners community leaders with professional dancers to raise money for transgender housing

By : Jeremy Williams
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Bliss CARES, a nonprofit healthcare organization in Central Florida, has created a new dance competition to help raise money for transgender emergency housing.

“Sweet Dreams: Dancing for TRANSitional Housing” will partner 11 amateur dancers, all LGBTQ community leaders in Central Florida, with professional dancers for a night of fast-paced, fancy footwork at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Orlando on July 13.

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PHOTOS: WorldPride 2019 commemorates 50th anniversary of Stonewall

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Millions lined the streets of Manhattan June 30 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and celebrate WorldPride.

Organizers said that 150,000 people marched during the parade, which kicked off at noon at 26th St. and Fifth Ave. in the Chelsea neighborhood. The Gay Liberation Front, the cast of FX’s hit series “Pose,” UK Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, The Trevor Project and Monica Helms, the transgender activist who created the trans Pride flag, served as grand marshals.

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Elizabeth McCarthy suspends campaign for Florida House District 28 seat

By : Jeremy Williams
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SANFORD, Fla. | Elizabeth McCarthy announced she will be suspending her campaign as a Democratic candidate for Florida House District 28.

McCarthy made the announcement with a Facebook post June 28.

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Hope & Help to increase HIV awareness as Orlando among top areas with new diagnoses

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Members of Hope & Help’s staff at their Orlando offices. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | In the wake of the latest stats on HIV in the U.S., Hope & Help is looking to increase its visibility in the LGBTQ community. According to the latest numbers from AIDSVu, Central Florida ranks second in the U.S. for most new HIV diagnoses, only behind the Miami-Dade area.

The fact that the top two areas with the largest number of new cases are both in Florida is not surprising to Abby Silverman, operations director at Hope & Help.

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Stonewall Bar Orlando honors the legacy of The Stonewall Inn in NYC

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Stonewall Bar Orlando hosting the “Win With Love Rally” on June 18. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | The history of The Stonewall Inn in New York City is easy to find these days. A quick Google search of the legendary gay bar turns up more than 31 million search results.

For Steven Watkins, who grew up in a small town, learning the history of LGBTQ people in general—let alone that of The Stonewall Inn—was nonexistent in his early years.

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Florida House candidate Elizabeth McCarthy’s credibility questioned

By : Jeremy Williams
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SANFORD, Fla. | Elizabeth McCarthy—the openly LGBTQ, Democratic candidate running for Florida House District 28, whose full legal name is Catherine Elizabeth McCarthy—has come under fire for inconsistencies about her past, most notably her claims of working as a cardiologist at Orlando Regional Medical Center on June 12, 2016 after the Pulse tragedy.

Florida Politics reported June 15, when confronted about the inconsistencies, McCarthy insisted that “Yes, I am a doctor” and “Yes, I did work the night of Pulse.”

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PHOTOS: Central Florida LGBTQ trailblazer Joel Strack honored with proclamation from City of Orlando

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Joel Strack has been an out and proud leader, activist and trailblazer in the Central Florida LGBTQ community for over 40 years.

Strack was instrumental in launching what would become known as Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom, helped create Orlando’s first Pride parade and assisted in founding both the Orlando Gay Chorus and the Gay and Lesbian History Museum.

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