Come Out With Pride announces 2019 parade grand marshals

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Come Out With Pride’s Most Colorful Parade in 2018. (Photo by Brian Becnal)

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) will have four grand marshals for its 2019 Most Colorful Parade in downtown Orlando Oct. 12. COWP made the announcement in a press release Sept. 2.

The 2019 grand marshals are Miss International Queen 2019 Jazell Barbie Royale, founder of The Orlando Ribbon Project Ben Johansen, Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Color Guard and, in memoriam, LGBTQ pioneer Joel Strack.

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08.08.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As we were coming into this latest issue, I had a lot of things that I wanted to rant about on this page, and Lord knows there is plenty to rant about.

I wanted to talk about the most recent round of Democratic presidential debates, which had Twitter all abuzz in support of author and “self-help guru to the stars” Marianne Williamson.

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Come Out With Pride announces theme, events for 2019 celebration

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Come Out With Pride board members (L-R) Marc Espeso, Nate West, Karen Brown, Clayton Altman, Jeff Prystajko, Blue Star and Joyce Almeida at the 2019 events announcement July 31. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its official theme, entertainers and list of events during a press conference at The Venue in Orlando July 31.

“2018 was a spectacular year. The weather was perfect and we had a lot of changes; the layout changed, we added a new stage, we added a huge new Marketplace, the energy level was absolutely incredible and we want to keep that going,” said COWP Board President Jeff Prystajko during the press conference.

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Stonewall Bar Orlando honors the legacy of The Stonewall Inn in NYC

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Stonewall Bar Orlando hosting the “Win With Love Rally” on June 18. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | The history of The Stonewall Inn in New York City is easy to find these days. A quick Google search of the legendary gay bar turns up more than 31 million search results.

For Steven Watkins, who grew up in a small town, learning the history of LGBTQ people in general—let alone that of The Stonewall Inn—was nonexistent in his early years.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Nate West

By : Jeremy Williams
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AGE: 38

HOMETOWN: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

IDENTIFIES AS: Gay

PRONOUNS: He/ him/ his

SIGN: Aries

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02.07.2019 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Love is in the air and I’m a sap. In fact, I’m an Air Supply listening, rom-com loving, “This Is Us” crying sap. You have to be pretty close to me to see it, but it’s there. When 90 percent of your social life is work related, it’s easy to have work-mode walls up. What may seem like an all-business exterior is really just all mush inside.

I can’t say where this love of love stems from. My earliest memories are of growing up with little means in Houston, Texas. There were five kids, my parents and an uncle in the house. Making ends meet and raising a herd of kids didn’t leave a lot of room for romance. Although, my parents did go on a date to see Willie Nelson’s New Year’s Eve concert every year and I thought that was sweet.

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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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Come Out with Pride partners with InterPride to host first Prides of Southeast conference in Orlando

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | Members of the LGBTQ community will gather for the Prides of Southeast (POSE) conferencein downtown Orlando on Feb. 7-10. POSE is a networking and educational conference designed to bring together Pride organizations from all over the Southeast for workshops, networking opportunities and social events.

POSE will be hosted jointly by Come Out with Pride (COWP) and InterPrideat the Holiday Inn Resort at Lake Buena Vista, one mile from the Walt Disney theme parks.

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WatermarkOnline’s Top News Headlines of 2018

By : Watermark Staff
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WatermarkOnline.com had its largest number of visitors in 2018. Hundreds of thousands of readers came to the website throughout the year for the stories that impacted the LGBTQ community in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and across the country.

Below, we have complied the top five headlines from each of our LGBTQ news sections: Central Florida News, Tampa Bay News, State News and Nation & World News. The sections top headlines are based on the number of clicks on each story.

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Jerick Mediavilla: Educator and Central Florida LGBTQ Activist

By : Ida Vishkaee Eskamani
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Ida Vishkaee Eskamani

It’s fall 2017 and we are somewhere in Tallahassee. Legislative committee weeks had commenced and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida’s first LGBTQ Latinx lawmaker, was telling me about a new man in his life.

He was both giddy and bewildered by how well they were vibing. This guy was handsome (I immediately verified this with some light social media lurking), kind, funny, attentive, smart, successful and, most importantly, emotionally available and into Carlos. His name is Jerick Mediavilla and my friends—This man is remarkable!

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Buddy Dyer: Mayor of Orlando

By : Gina Duncan
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Gina Duncan

Today, the city of Orlando is known as a national leader in LGBTQ diversity and inclusion. This distinction has been a direct result of the intentional work of Mayor Buddy Dyer and his diverse leadership team at The City Beautiful.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling granting same-sex marriage rights in the United States, Orlando was one of the first cities in Florida to pass a Domestic Partner Registry providing rights and protections for unmarried couples. This was quickly followed by the passage of Orlando’s Human Rights Ordinance protecting people against discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

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Jeff Prystajko: Come Out With Pride Board President & Operations Director

By : Bob Azzarito
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Bob Azzarito

Several years ago, Jeff Prystajko joined our team at Come Out with Pride. I’ve had the privilege to work with him on the board of directors and the production team, and I am proud to call him a friend.

In 2018, he took on the role of president of the board of directors. He assembled an impressive team and together they produced a fantastic event.

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