With funding finalized, The Center’s renovation moves ahead

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – The GLBT Center of Central Florida is looking for a few good men (and women).

On Dec. 8, The Orlando City Commission gave final approval to a $146,500 to renovate The Center’s headquarters on Mills Avenue, paving the way for the bidding process to begin. Terry DeCarlo, executive director of The Center, said it is hiring roofers first because that has to be fixed before the board can move ahead with other renovations. DeCarlo said the architect plans are also almost complete.

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MBA still searching for answers

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – The Metropolitan Business Association is in talks with police about pursuing charges against Mikael Audebert, its former president, but the organization has not yet made the move.

Audebert resigned from the MBA in October and was fired from his post as executive director of Come Out With Pride in November. Since then, the MBA Board and its subsidiary organizations have revealed a financial mess, blaming Audebert, and told Watermark Dec. 2 they planned to go to the authorities with their findings of alleged financial fraud.

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The 14 Most Remarkable People of 2014

By : Jamie Hyman
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Every year, Watermark chooses a couple of stand-outs from the LGBT community – individuals who made a mark in the past year, whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

For 2014, we decided to open it up. We took nominations from readers and then selected the 14 Most Remarkable People of 2014 – seven from the Central Florida area, and seven from Tampa Bay. See our selections and read their exceptional stories:

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In 2014, Mary Meeks’ remarkable activism has directly impacted LGBT equality in Florida

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – If you have exercised any of your existing rights to equality as an LGBT in Central Florida, chances are Mary Meeks had a hand in it.

Meeks, an Orlando attorney and LGBT activist, has been involved in the fight for equality since the early 2000s, when Orlando passed Chapter 57, the city’s human rights ordinance. Since then, Meeks has been a key player in the fight for an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, Orlando and Orange County’s domestic partner registries, and is a member of the legal team working to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Florida.

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By setting up a scholarship, Karen Castelloes reached out directly to LGBT Youth in 2014

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – If Karen Castelloes could describe her year in one word, she said it be “rewarding.”

Castelloes, an exiting board member of Joy MCC and the co-founder of the Jeff Voss Education Fund, has been an active member in the LGBT community, volunteering her time and effort to a variety of organizations and people to help give back.

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National Leather Association Orlando

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Chris “Lunatic Bound” Cartee refers to himself as a GDI—a god damn independent. Meaning, of course, that the Orlando resident doesn’t follow any prescribed path, and that goes for his everyday life and for his role in the leather community.

Cartee stepped into the leather community almost four years but has practiced the lifestyle for 11 years.

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Master among men

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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There are only 11 recognized masters of the leather community in Central Florida. These are leaders within the community who have been properly covered and earned all of their pieces of leather. Master Stephen is one of them.

“In 1972 in a leather bar in New York, I met my mentor,” Stephen says. “He was first generation Old Guard. I spent nine years with him earning every piece of leather and learning what it was to be a leatherman. That was mostly about integrity and not just about learning to throw a flog.”

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Winter White Black as Night – Showtime!

By : Patrick O'Connor
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MAC Cosmetics Team Orlando in association with the Parliament House present their annual gala; benefitting The Hope & Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, Inc.

The event was held at Parliament House Nov. 30.

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Winter White Black as Night – Red Carpet

By : Patrick O'Connor
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MAC Cosmetics Team Orlando in association with the Parliament House present their annual gala; benefiting The Hope & Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, Inc.

The event was held at Parliament House Nov. 30.

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MBA board will likely to go to police with fraud allegations

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – After weeks of internal investigation, the Metropolitan Business Association is expected to go to the authorities with their findings of alleged financial fraud by the organization’s former president.

Mikael Audebert resigned from the MBA in October and was fired from his post as executive director of Come Out With Pride in November. Since then, the MBA Board and its subsidiary organizations have revealed a financial mess, blaming Audebert, but until now had not accused Audebert of any criminal wrongdoing.

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2014 World AIDS Day at Lake Eola

By : Danny Garcia
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An event for World AIDS Day 2014 was held in Downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Dec. 1. There was free HIV testing, entertainment and remembrance of those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

The event was put on by Central Florida AIDS Planning Consortium, Miracle of Love, Place of Comfort, The Center and Hope & Help Center.

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