The Orlando Ribbon Project announces some big changes

By : Jaime Donelson
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The Orlando Ribbon Project has created nearly 500,000 ribbons since the Pulse tragedy in June 2016. Founder Ben Johansen felt he had to do something to help his community in their time of grief. The ribbons have spread all around the world appearing in multiple countries and pinned to politicians, celebrities and community leaders everywhere. Now, as the organization’s Facebook page says, the project is evolving.

“We have applied for our 501(c)(3) nonprofit license. We are also creating a college scholarship program for GLBTQ students that have been kicked out of their homes. The scholarship will be called The Orlando Ribbon Project, Helping Hands Scholarship program,” the page reads.

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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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Watermark’s 16 Most Remarkable People of ’16

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark has chosen those who stood out from the LGBTQ community – 16 remarkable individuals who made a mark in 2016; whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

It has been a difficult year for all of us, both politically and personally, and those we have selected have made the most change, been the most inspiring and helped to make our LGBTQ community that much stronger in the face of adversity.

Below, our 16 Most Remarkable People of ’16.

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Do you know the ribbon man?: Ben Johansen steps up and steps out with the clear symbol of this year’s tragedy

By : Billy Manes
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Ben Johansen, who you might know as drag fave Eureka Fish (but not really, anymore, he says), helps to run Embellish FX with his man Timothy Vargas. Vargas, a honcho at the GLBT Center in downtown Orlando, was busy handling palates of food and water the day after the Pulse tragedy. The Center was, in fact, the Center of dignity after the event. So Johansen set out to make his peace with the community, to contribute in a way only he could.

“It actually happened the second day I was making ribbons,” he says. “I had a reporter following me around, and I was telling him about Orlando, and he was interested. So, he’s actually the one who coined me the ‘Ribbon Maker’ and wrote the story.”

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