Hot Seat Fundraiser at Stonewall for Eric Rollings

By : Maia Monet
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Join us for a Friday night of drinks and a celebration of our LGBT community at Stonewall Bar in Orlando.

Thousands celebrate in Rio’s gay pride parade on Copacabana

By : Wire Report
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Thousands of revelers danced on Copacabana beach Sunday to celebrate Rio de Janeiro’s annual gay pride parade despite deep funding cuts by the city.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella offered no city funding this year, but organizers said they were able to finance festivities with the support of private businesses and organizations.

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Orange County DEC Legacy of Action awards reception

By : Jamie Hyman
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At their Legacy of Action Awards reception, the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee celebrated the lives and legacies of local grassroots activists Feb. 19 at Elixer in downtown Orlando.

The DEC presented the Harris-Namey-Waxman Lifetime Legacy Award, Cannon-Porta Woman of Action Award and The Bill Nelson Activist in Government Award in honor and celebration of exemplary service, patriotism and dedication to the values of the Democratic Party and the people of Central Florida.

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Pastor Protection Act headed to Florida Senate for a vote

By : Jamie Hyman
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Tallahassee – The Pastor Protection Act, an unnecessary, anti-gay bill that purports to prevent religious leaders from being forced to perform same-sex weddings, is headed to the full Florida Senate.

On Feb. 17, SB110 cleared its final hurdle when the Rules Committee voted 7-3 in favor of the legislation. The bill is redundant, as under current laws protecting religious beliefs, clergy can already opt out of marrying any couple they choose, gay or straight.

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Police arrest anti-gay demonstrators in Senegal

By : Wire Report
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DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – The head of an anti-gay coalition says police have arrested 11 people in Senegal’s capital during a demonstration against the release of 11 people accused of homosexual acts.

Abdoulaye Barro said Jan. 22 about 100 people from a 20-group anti-gay coalition staged the demonstration. He said police dispersed demonstrators and arrested some because the protest wasn’t authorized.

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Adam Lambert to take Universal Studios Orlando stage during Mardi Gras

By : Staff Report
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Adam Lambert is among the 14 acts announced by Universal Orlando Resort to perform during the theme park’s annual Mardi Gras celebration.

On select nights from Feb. 6 through April 16, Universal Studios will convert the theme park into the French Quarter complete with a Mardi Gras parade, performances and Cajun cuisine from the Big Easy.

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Watermark Wedding Bells: Brad and Zadin Lawson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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“Zadin is genuine,” Brad says.“He sees the best in everybody; he sees the best in every situation.”

Brad Lawson, who is a nurse at South Lake Hospital in Clermont, and Zadin Lawson, who is a clinical IT at Leesburg Regional Medical Center, met online. They texted and emailed back and forth for a while, but Brad had to go out of town to take care of some family business in a place that had no cellphone reception and no access to a computer for three weeks. He was nervous at first that Zadin thought he was just flacking out on him because he really liked him.

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11 arrested for gay acts in Senegal

By : Wire Report
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Dakar, Senegal (AP) – Residents in the Senegal town of Kaolack say police have arrested 11 people accused of gay acts.

Boukhari Ndiaye said the arrested were among 20 people attending a celebration of a gay marriage at a school in the town about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of the capital, Dakar, on Dec. 25.

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Trans-positive: Tristan Byrnes, a compassionate voice for the transgender community

By : Krista DiTucci
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Amidst the transgender community’s tragedies and struggles in 2015, local hero Tristan Byrnes has been fighting to raise awareness and celebrate the community’s victories.

Byrnes, licensed mental health counselor, provides assistance in gender issues through his private practice, New Transition Therapy. But he feels his advocacy for the transgender community should extend beyond one-on-one work in order to make a real difference.

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Catering to our needs: Michael Thomas cooks up a culture of giving

By : Jamie Hyman
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If we were to list all of the organizations who receive donated catering from John Michael Catering, readers would click away because who wants to read a list of dozens of names? That relentless generosity is why company owner Michael Thomas is a 2015 pick for Watermark’s Most Remarkable People.

Thomas’ company closed out 2014 with more than $100,000 in catering donated to more than 50 events, mostly fundraising events for non-profit organizations. They’re on track to top that in 2015, the company’s 20th year in business, with Thomas predicting they’ll donate about $125,000 in catering toward 60 events.

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The man in the wings: George Wallace flies high with Fringe

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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While many people know him for his work with the Orlando International Fringe Festival, George Wallace has a lot more going on behind the scenes.

“When I look back at 2015, there were so many more positives than there were negatives, so I think that it was a fabulous year,” Wallace says.

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Tampa proud: Mark Bias and Carrie West keep pride alive

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tampa does not have anyone closer to LGBT royalty than Carrie West and Mark “Tea Cup” Bias. Any given day you can catch up with them in Ybor City, mingling with their subjects and bestowing there grand wisdom to the new generation.

“Everything we do we try and do in a positive direction,” West says.

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