The Pride Chamber honors LGBTQ professionals, community leaders at the 2019 Pride in Business Awards Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Pride Chamber, formerly known as MBA Orlando, recognized LGBTQ business professionals and community leaders at the 2019 Pride in Business Awards Gala, presented by Two Spirit Health, at Hard Rock Live at Universal’s CityWalk in Orlando Aug. 3.

Hosted by Spectrum News 13’s Eric Levy and the legendary Miss Sammy, the evening featured a VIP reception, live entertainment and an epic after party in CityWalk.

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The Other Side Of Life: Hashtag Amity

By : Jason LeClerc
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I was recently honored to be a guest of Pulse founder Barbara Poma for an intimate talk and tour of the interim #PulseMemorial organized by Equality Florida. As regular readers of this column know, I’m Watermark’s token conservative columnist: a red soul in a sea of blue, even as I have advocated for a just-right-of-center, nuanced approach to political discourse that I call Radical Centrism.

Arguing from a position of empathy and fact-driven rationality in favor of such positions as climate change resiliency, justifiable local taxation and the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, I have riled members of my own Party. In the age of Trump, I’ve become a bit of a #RINOsaur. While there are members of the current Republican power structure who are ready to revoke my membership card for some of my #RadicalCentrist positions, my attendance of an Equality Florida event would likely push them further toward apoplexy.

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Florida lawmakers call for Pulse to be named National Memorial Site

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Darren Soto (FL-09) and Val Demings (FL-10) announced they would like Congress to establish the Pulse nightclub as a federally recognized National Memorial Site.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma joined the Orlando-area representatives at a press conference held at the Pulse interim memorial June 10, two days before the three-year mark of the shooting.

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Central Florida-based web series to feature four local trans leaders

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | “Unapologetically Trans,” a new web series filmed in Central Florida and featuring four local transgender community leaders, was announced via social media on May 11.

Jordyn Victoria Laos, Holly Gramm, Ashley Figueroa and Nikole Parker will host the series “about life through trans eyes while in the pursuit of happiness.” The show will feature candid conversations with community members and allies about various topics.

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onePULSE Foundation’s Barbara Poma discusses the future of the Pulse memorial and museum

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Barbara Poma speaks during the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy at the interim memorial. Photo by Maia Monet

ORLANDO | The onePULSE foundation announced March 25 that it is launching an international design competition challenging architects from around the world to create a unique and iconic National Pulse Memorial and Museum.

While the look of the final project will be left to the winning design team, the competition does layout three key elements that will be a part of the finished product: a memorial, a museum and pedestrian pathway known as “Survivors Walk.”

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Hard Rock partners with onePULSE Foundation for Taylor Dayne’s Velvet Sessions

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando’s Velvet Sessions lobby concert will not only feature Grammy-nominated singer Taylor Dayne—who is responsible for 80s hits “Tell It to My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back” and “Prove Your Love”—on March 29, but will also benefit onePULSE Foundation.

A dollar from every ticket sold, along with all proceeds raised by the event’s silent auction, will go to onePULSE Foundation as they work towards building a Pulse museum and memorial honoring the 49 angels lost at the Pulse tragedy.

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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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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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Two Spirit announces $25,000 donation to OnePulse Foundation toward permanent memorial

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | Two Spirit Health Services announced Oct. 16 it will be donating $25,000 to the OnePulse Foundation to support the development of a permanent memorial site where the Pulse nightclub tragedy occurred on June 12, 2016.

Two Spirit is a nonprofit organization providing mental health, behavioral, substance abuse, transgender health and related services to the LGBTQ community. Two Spirit’s mission is to provide a “one- stop shop” health center where LGBTQ individuals can obtain expert healthcare by providers comprised of LGBTQ professionals and allies.

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08.09.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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“Guys in Orlando suck!” “The gay community in Orlando is so transient.” I heard these phrases way too often in the early 2000s, but I never bought into that way of thinking.

I moved to Central Florida in 1986. This was back in the days when the 408 was just two lanes each way, The Winter Park Village was an enclosed Mall and Ronnie’s was serving the Mogambo Extravaganza (a sixth grade ice cream lover’s dream dessert). I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on track to meet some amazing people with incredible stories to tell, and who would disprove the notion that Orlando was not a strong LGBTQ community.

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Point Foundation to honor Barbara Poma at National Leadership Dinner

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | Point Foundation will present its Leadership Award to Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse, at its 2018 National Leadership Dinner in Lake Buena Vista on July 27.

Since the Pulse shooting, Poma has been serving as the executive director of the onePULSE Foundation. onePULSE has worked with the Central Florida community to establish a permanent Pulse memorial and to give scholarships to the LGBTQ community.

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PHOTOS: Mayors Dyer and Jacobs declare June 12 Orlando United Day at Pulse ceremony

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Hundreds gathered at the Pulse memorial June 12 to honor and remember the 49 lives lost just two years ago within the nightclub at the memorial’s location.

The crowd watched performances from the Orlando Gay Chorus, Blue Star, the Orlando Philharmonic and more.

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