Come Out With Pride announces new board president

By : Jeremy Williams
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New Come Out With Pride board president Jeff Prystajko.

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced the appointment of Jeff Prystajko as the board’s new president March 19 after Brian Riha completed his two-year term in the same position.

Prystajko has been with COWP for several years, most recently serving as director of marketing and communications. He has also held leadership positions with both the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA Orlando) and the Human Rights Campaign in Orlando.

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PHOTOS: Manatee Pride celebrates its fifth year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Bradenton | The Manatee Pride Festival held its fifth annual LGBTQ pride event on March 17 at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion.

New and returning vendors surrounded the event’s main stage, allowing attendees the perfect view of the event’s performers. Entertainment included area favorites like Divine AF, an ensemble from The Players Centre for Performing Arts, Beneva Fruitville and Johnny Sparks.

Darwin’s Brewery and Tap Room once again provided the signature Manatee Pride beer, event sponsor CAN Community Health offered free health screenings and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. You can check out some of our photos below.

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride 2018

By : Maia Monet
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Tampa | The 4th annual Tampa Pride occured March 24 in all its glory on the streets of Ybor City. Leading things off in the morning was the Festival Marketplace on the campus of Hillsborough Community College Ybor. Filled with vendors, artisans, churches and theater groups, there was a lot to take in and enjoy for the rainbow-bedazzled public greatly enjoying the perfect early spring weather.

The action shifted in the afternoon to the Diversity Parade led by Grand Marshals Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw, Jane Castor and Christopher Sean. As the parade participants slowly made their way down 7th Ave. through the heart of Ybor City, they were met by thousands of cheering people dressed-to-express their LGBTQ pride and waving rainbow as well as transgender pride flags. Watermark was lucky enough to have a float in the parade and capture some of the sights for your viewing pleasure. Check out our pics after the jump below.

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PHOTOS: Project No Labels kicks off Tampa Pride at City Side Lounge

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa | Project No Labels helped kick off Tampa Pride on March 23 at a transformed City Side Lounge for the group’s first Pride Legacy Awards.

The awards highlight local leaders, individuals and businesses who dedicate themselves to the LGBTQ community through time and/or resources. The night was hosted by area favorite Mayven Missbehavin’ and featured food from local restaurants, free shots from Tito’s Vodka and a wide array of entertainment.

Aerial artists, fire performers, vocalists and some of Tampa Bay’s best drag performers dazzled the crowd—and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. You can check out some of our photos below.

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PHOTOS: The Florida Aquarium kicks off Tampa Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa | The Florida Aquarium hosted a Tampa Pride kickoff party on March 23, treating attendees to penguins, performances and pride.

Presented by Brier Grieves Insurance, the event featured an open bar with signature cocktails and began with full access to the aquarium’s many exhibits. Area favorite Stephanie Shippae performed, and the evening even included a special visit from the aquarium’s African penguins.

Watermark was on hand to help celebrate—and you can check out some of our photos below.

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Volusia Pride brought rainbows and smiles to New Smyrna Beach’s Old Fort Park

By : Dillan Ramirez
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Volusia Pride was a delightful gathering on the east coast of Florida with the sun shining all day at Old Fort Park in New Smyrna Beach Oct. 21.

This quaint, pride-filled festival has continued to grow in numbers each year and the energy level of its attendees was uplifting and welcoming.

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Orlando gathers downtown to celebrate Come Out With Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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Lake Eola Park, and it’s surrounding streets, were packed Oct. 14 for Orlando’s annual Come Out With Pride parade and festival.

The big, colorful floats and LGBTQIA+ marchers took their turns proudly around the lake as thousands of community members and supporters cheered.

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Come Out With Pride’s Launch Party kicks off a weekend of Pride

By : Danny Garcia
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Come Out with Pride’s Launch Party kicked off Orlando’s Pride festivities Oct. 12 with a full house at the Veranda in Thorton Park.

Cocktails were served by the staff of The Hammered Lamb and entertainment was provided by some talented local flavor. Emceed by Addison Taylor, the night saw performances from local drag entertainers April Fresh and Bridgette Galore; a musical act by the cast of the upcoming cast of “Debbie Does Dallas”; Gay Bar Star Janine Klein and a trippy dance by the one and only Weego.

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Melbourne celebrates 10 years of Space Coast Pride in style

By : KathleenHarper
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The 10th annual Space Coast Pride was held Saturday, Sept. 30 in the Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne.

The event kicked off at 3:00 p.m. with vendor booths inside the civic center and outside on Highland Ave.

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From coast-to-coast, Central Florida and Tampa Bay celebrate Pride in the fall

By : Jeremy Williams
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Many people think of the month of June when someone says Pride, but thanks to National Coming Out Day and the state’s cooler temperatures, October is fast becoming Florida’s big Pride month.

Whether you are looking to march through the streets or spend a few hours in the park with your friends, October has got a Pride for you.

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Come Out With Pride wants you to keep dancing, but also to keep involved

By : Jeremy Williams
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Pride is a word that once carried a negative connotation. One of the original seven deadly sins, it was seen as something shameful and immoral. In the years after the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, the word Pride was taken up as sign of honor, respect and loyalty by the LGBTQ community.

Pride became how we stood up for ourselves and celebrated who we are. Nearly 20 years later we celebrated the first National Coming Out Day Oct. 11, 1988. Pride was applied to something everyone in the community had to do no matter which letter you identified with in the LGBTQ spectrum. The significance of that day was to mark the one year anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

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As St. Petersburg celebrates Coming Out and LGBTQ film, a new Pride emerges

By : Samuel Johnson
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Two Bay Area LGBTQ festivals are joining forces this October. The Tampa-based Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is collaborating with the nascent St. Petersburg Come OUT St. Pete. The former has been a staple on the LGBTQ calendar for 28 years; and the latter is in its first year. Although 2017 marks the COSP inauguration, the apex of the celebration falls on Oct. 11: National Coming Out Day which honors the anniversary celebration of the National March on Washington D.C. for Lesbian and Gay Rights 29 years ago. For those of you wondering what gift is appropriate for each anniversary, here is the traditional gift suggestion: Orchids for 28 years and furniture for 29 years.

The partnership between the established TIGLFF and the newborn COSP is rooted in a palette of shared core values: celebration, reflection and education. But most of all it’s a good fit for the twin cities on the Bay.

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