AIDS Walk Orlando raises over $52K for Hope & Help

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | More than 400 walkers gathered at the Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park in Orlando April 27, helping raise over $52,000 for Hope & Help’s 29th annual AIDS Walk.

AIDS Walk Orlando was moved back to the morning hours after two years as an evening walk around Lake Eola, kicking off at 7:30 a.m. with registration and guest speakers at the amphitheater. Speakers included City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Hope & Help’s community developmental director Joshua Myers, also the AIDS Walk Orlando event director.

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Come one, come all to a summer of fun as every body says love!

By : Watermark Staff
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As summer draws closer, everyone is starting to plan for what promises to be an epic season for the LGBTQ community. From beach days and backyard barbecues to the inaugural Red Shirt Pride Days in Orlando and the 17th annual St Pete Pride, there is going to be so much to do.

We here at Watermark say that there is no ideal body type for loving who you are and spending the summer having fun with your friends, family and community. That’s why, in observance of the summer season, we have gathered together a diverse collection of LGBTQ models from Central Florida and Tampa Bay to celebrate beautiful beach-ready bodies of all genders, races, sizes and shapes.

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PHOTOS: Orlando Fringe gives a taste of what’s to come at this year’s festival

By : Danny Garcia
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ORLANDO | Orlando Fringe kicked off its 28th year by giving audiences a taste of what to expect at this year’s festival with the annual preview shows, one for general audiences and one for the more mature shows, at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre April 15.

Performers had two minutes each to woo the audience with a preview to their show. Check out the photos below and stay tuned to Watermark as we bring you our annual LGBTQ preview of Orlando Fringe in the coming weeks.

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PHOTOS: Babes in Bonnets raises $32,000 for OYA

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Parliament House hosted Babes in Bonnets, an Easter holiday tradition that raises funds for the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA), at the Footlight Theatre in Orlando April 15.

The fundraiser, which was started 21 years ago by the legendary drag queen Carmella Marcella Garcia, brought in $32,000 for OYA programs and services.

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PHOTOS: Orlando recognizes Jazell Barbie Royale with city proclamation

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Mayor Buddy Dyer recognized the current Miss International Queen Jazell Barbie Royale with a proclamation to the city declaring it “Jazell Barbie Royale Day” in the city of Orlando on April 11.

Dyer and Royale were joined on the steps of City Hall by City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Parliament House Entertainment Director Darcel Stevens, Orlando Police Captain Jim Young, Bliss CARES Medical Director Dr. Roberto Ortiz and many of Royale’s family, friends, fans and supporters.

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Pride held its fifth annual celebration in the streets of historic Ybor City March 30, honoring milestones in the LGBTQ community.

The day began with the organization’s festival expo and community health fair, highlighting area vendors and artists while featuring a wide array of entertainment. Thousands of attendees subsequently gathered along 7th Ave. for Tampa Pride’s largest diversity parade yet, which welcomed over 100 parade entrants and was led by grand marshals Amy Demilo, James Encke, Pat Frank, Ja’Staria Infiniti, the Tampa Bay Pride Band, Tyler Reed and Nick Staszak.

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride 2019 VIP Sponsor Party

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Pride held its annual VIP Sponsor Party at the Florida Aquarium March 28.

The evening celebrated the organization’s partners, sponsors and supporters ahead of the fifth annual Pride weekend. It featured a tour of the aquarium, music by DJ Jayson Clancey and was hosted by FOX 13 anchor and former Tampa Pride grand marshal Russell Rhodes, who soon introduced the city’s outgoing Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

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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: 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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