LGBTQ and ally candidates talk Florida’s Aug. 28 vote

By : Samuel Johnson
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The midterm election primaries are right around the corner on Aug. 28. The LGBTQ community numbers nearly 900,000 Floridians, comprising 4.1 percent of the adult population of Florida. Of that adult LGBTQ population, more than a quarter of them are raising children. Based on these numbers, the LBGTQ vote can impact elections, especially in the primaries.

In Florida there are candidates throughout the state who are advocates for the LGBTQ community. They are vowing to protect and promote equality for LGBTQ—and all—Floridians. The midterm primaries in Florida are boasting at least eight openly gay candidates, plus a slew of advocates and allies who are running.

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Central Florida candidates describe differing enthusiasm levels among young volunteers

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | A push for stricter gun laws, among other prominent issues, has politically mobilized Florida’s youth; however, Central Florida candidates say they have conflicting experiences with the enthusiasm levels of young volunteers and voters.

Three Central Florida candidates — Eric Rollings, Susan Makowski and Anna Eskamani — discussed how national enthusiasm has translated at the local level during a June 27 Pride & Allies Meeting held at the Orange County Administration Building in downtown Orlando.

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Phone Bank for Eric Rollings with the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of FL

By : Maia Monet
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Share this story:

Join the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida phone-bank for Eric! 

Coffee and Pastries will be served in the morning and pizza, snacks and soft drinks in the afternoon (vegan/vegetarian options too).

10.19.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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We are nearing the end of Pride season; Oct. 21 marks bi-coastal celebrations in Volusia County and Sarasota, and we close with Sanford Pride Nov. 5. As the Pride door shuts the holiday door swings open.

You can always tell when the holidays are coming, and I include Halloween as the official kickoff to the end of year holiday extravaganza. Pumpkin spice is everywhere, people are complaining that Christmas trees are already on sale and the temperature drops from a balmy 98 degrees to a cool 92. Ah yes, fall in Florida. There really is nowhere I’d rather be. I’m so basic that I love everything pumpkin, it’s never too early for tree shopping and nothing is better than warm weather. Fall is arguably the best time of the year.

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Eric Rollings looks to become the first openly gay Orange County Commissioner with his run at District 3

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Orange Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and Board Chairman Eric Rollings will officially announce he is running for the Orange County Commissioner seat in District 3 at the Orange County Administration Building at 10:45 a.m. Oct. 19.

Rollings filed the appropriate paperwork with the Supervisor of Elections Oct. 13. Rollings filed for a run at the District 3 seat for 2020, but may actually be eying to take the seat as early as 2018.

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Central Florida elected officials gather at JOY MCC to stand with the transgender community

By : Jeremy Williams
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(ABOVE: (L-R) Orange County District 5 Commissioner Emily Bonilla, Florida Senator Linda Stewart, Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill, JOY MCC Senior Pastor Rev. Terri Steed Pierce, Orange County District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke, Florida House District 49 Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan.)

ORLANDO | Nearly two dozen elected officials are standing in solidarity with the transgender community after President Donald Trump’s tweets last week announcing a ban on trans people serving in the U.S. military.

Eric Rollings, Orange County’s Soil and Water Conservation Chair, spoke from the pulpit at JOY Metropolitan Community Church July 30, reading from a list of Central Florida politicians who stated they unequivocally stand with the LGBTQ community, especially with the transgender community in light of the recent attacks.

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Mr. Blue Sky: Rolling in the deep

By : Eric Rollings
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EricRollingsMug

Eric Rollings

Ten inches is a lot! This is one estimate on how much the sea level will rise in the next 15 years. Our coastal neighbors will be feeling brunt of this first; in fact Miami Beach and surrounding lower areas were seriously flooded this week. The summer of 2015 worldwide was the hottest ever on record and I could guess Central Florida added to this both in temperature and rainfall. Climate change is here – it’s not what is coming, it is what has arrived, and its threats have become promises.

Some years back a friend of mine asked, “Why do you care about the environment? You’re gay; it’s not like you’re going to have kids?” The fact is the LGBT community is concerned about the environment and we are having more and more couples creating families with children. The scary part is that we can’t leave it to our next generation to figure things out. We need to address the issues today, and we can do it sensibly. The LGBT community has proven itself time and again: When we come together, things change for the better. Our environment, which affects all of us, needs to be at the top of our list of goals,and here’s why. Property values: Areas that are more prone to flooding are required to carry expensive flood insurance and, as the frequency of flooding increases, it will be more difficult to sell homes in those areas. As we experienced in Tampa and Orlando this summer, you don’t have to live on the beach to feel the effects of what a more severe climate can bring to our neighborhoods. Water is life: Clean water for the LGBT community is as important as the African-American community as the Latin community – you get the point … everyone without exception.

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Overheard in Orlando: Disney dads ad, good news for Constitution Green and OCS Pride night

By : Anonymous
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Disney Dads
A few issues ago we mentioned a photo spot at Epcot that featured what appeared to be a Gay couple and their child.

We received confirmation it wasn’t placed solely during Gay Days, as it still stands there to this day. Despite being very LGBT friendly, Disney wasn’t necessarily known for putting LGBT families in the spotlight as much as it’s done recently.

In a recent online ad for Disney Springs (the rebranded Downtown Disney), a Watermark reader reposted the ad sharing his joy of seeing what appears to be a gay couple and their child sitting down to eat at a restaurant.

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Overheard in Orlando: ‘Beard’ be gone

By : Anonymous
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Hair today, gone tomorrow
Lee Vandergrift, WAVE award winner for favorite local photographer & LGBT artist, is taking the clippers to his Beard Envy project. He’s wrapping up the series next month. The project started a little over a year ago and was intended for fun, but resulted in a Facebook fan page, calendar and—soon—a book. Vandergrift’s goal is to shoot a few last “big” beards and then he will be done by April 1. So if your facial bristles are bustling to be immortalized, you better hairy up.

If a tree falls in Orlando
Recently, out environmentalist Eric Rollings and others held a rally for Constitution Park, which houses quite a few old trees in the city of Orlando. The property is privately owned by the Caruso family and it’s been said that the family is looking to develop the property. With an estimated 200 people in attendance, 5,200 signatures via the online petition and the support from Mayor Buddy Dyer, Commissioner Patty Sheehan and area neighborhoods, the group may have a fighting chance to convince the family to save the park. If you want to help, sign the petition on the Constitution Green Park, Save our Orlando Treasure Facebook page.

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