Central Florida 2016 WAVE Award Winners

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST
First: City Commissioner Patty Sheehan
Second: Mayor Buddy Dyer
Third: Eric Rollings – Orange County Soil and Water Conservation

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBT COMMUNITY
First: Mayor Buddy Dyer
Second: Jim Philips
Third: Margo Dixon

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Partners in prevention: HIV prevention drugs available in more Central Florida locations

By : Jamie Hyman
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Central Floridians interested in HIV prevention medications now have several options.

Planned Parenthood announced at the end of 2015 that they offer both PrEP and PEP (pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis) at local clinics.

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Kinky Boots event brings LGBT youth behind the curtain

By : Jamie Hyman
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About 20 of Central Florida’s LGBT youth will get an opportunity to learn about what goes into a Broadway production.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with Zebra Coalition, Kinky Boots and the True Colors Foundation is hosting the event, which is an afternoon of educational speakers followed by a dinner, performance and then a Q&A with the Kinky Boots cast.

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Out & About night returns to Central Florida Fair for second year

By : Adam Manno
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central florida fairThe 104th annual Central Florida Fair runs through March 13, but LGBT families might want to save the date for March 2, the second annual Out & About Night from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“Last year was our first year hosting Out & About and we found an increase in attendance of about 1000 people,” says Central Florida Fair Sponsorship Coordinator Frances Rivera.

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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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UCF now offers PREP

By : Wire Report
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Orlando (AP) – The University of Central Florida’s health center has begun offering a drug that helps prevent an HIV-negative person from becoming infected with the virus.

The Orlando Sentinel reports UCF is joining a number of schools that are beginning to offer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP).

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Uprisings: Not OK, computer

By : Billy Manes
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Uprisings_JebBushOh, the headlines. Oh the damage control. Oh, this election cycle that is whittling itself into obtuse ignominy before our very eyes. This is hell. In the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed the gloves coming off and the chandeliers swaying in an increasingly heated presidential-preference primary season, mostly because that’s what happens every four years and we should be accustomed to it. But it’s also because when manufactured candidates get closer to the truth, it’s almost like their wings melt, and the clashes of titans become more like stutters in rehearsed lexicon pools.

Case in point: the Feb. 5 Republican debate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It was a Saturday, and we all know that Saturday nights are all right for fighting, so the presence of playground bullies like Donald Trump and Chris Christie wasn’t a surprise. The popcorn was already burned; the rotgut already crystallized at the bottom of a red Solo cup for later tosses into regret fires. But Rubio – oh, our poor, poor former state House speaker and author of books sold at Wal-Mart on the cheap – he wasn’t quite ready, really, and the whole of the news media and the Republican slam book was on alert. Rubio, who is loved for no reason by the Log Cabin Republicans and people who don’t like politics alike (he’s cute from a distance, really, but there’s no need to get any closer), pulled a robotic Small Wonder and waivered from his fresh-faced political sprint. There in the miniature shadow of the New Hampshire primaries, Rubio went on autopilot, pulling an attack on sitting President Barack Obama, even though said sitting president is not even in these primaries.

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LGBT tech hero Carlos Carbonell hailed at Sentinel’s Central Floridian of the Year gala

By : Billy Manes
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Betwixt the rain, the rush-hour traffic and a packed concert next door, the Orlando Sentinel held its first Central Floridian of the Year event on the evening of Jan. 28 at the Pegasus Ballroom within the University of Central Florida’s student union. Hosted by everybody’s favorite “aw, shucks” political columnist Scott Maxwell, and attended by all of the mucky-mucks and the editorial board members that have crossed them at one time or another (plus Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and his entourage … oh, and the amazing philanthropist Harriet Lake, who left the house for the first time in a long time despite her illness), the catered soiree was just about what you would expect it to be. We had the stuffed chicken.

What we didn’t expect, however, was the presence of LGBT tech entrepreneur Carlos Carbonell, who was shortlisted as one of the finalists for the prestigious Sentinel award. We’ve known other winners and nominees in the past, and you’re not allowed to talk about it. What happens in the paper’s mahogany boardroom STAYS in said boardroom.

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Florida leads states in new HIV infections

By : Staff Report
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Florida is the top state for newly-diagnosed HIV infections.

That’s according to new numbers released by Centers for Disease Control, which states Florida had 5,377 new HIV cases in 2013 and 6,147 new HIV cases in 2014.

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PHOTOS! Orlando Meltdown 2016

By : Deanndra Meno
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More than 900 softball players hit the field Jan 15-17 for the 16th annual Orlando Meltdown Tournament, hosted by the Central Florida Softball League.

50 teams participated in Orlando Meltdown 2016. Here’s who came out on top:

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After a yearlong delay, renovated GLBT Center set to open in February

By : Jamie Hyman
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Sometimes, a fire escape is a simple safety mechanism. But sometimes (or this time), it’s the final piece in the much-anticipated, long-delayed renovation of the GLBT Center of Central Florida’s headquarters, located on Mills Ave.

The fire escape isn’t solely to blame for setting the project back about a year longer than planned. “The building was built in 1941,” says Terry DeCarlo, executive director of The Center. “There have been no major upgrades or renovations until this came about. Code enforcement in 1941 was a lot different than [now], and we had to bring everything up to code.”

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12.31.15 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

“And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. And you may find yourself in another part of the world. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And you may ask yourself, “Well … How did I get here?” the Talking Heads once rattled over a thumping bassline. “Once in a Lifetime,” indeed.

2015 was certainly a big year for the LGBT community, seemingly allowing decency to coast atop the terrible notions of people like Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi into a panacea of hopefulness. In our coverage area, so much change happened: new leadership, new businesses, a new outlook, and, gasp, a new editor.

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