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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With changes to Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend coming in 2019, we look back on the history of Gay Day

By : Jeremy Williams
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Outside of Pride parades and festivals, one could argue that no other LGBTQ event in the world is as recognizable as the one that occurs on the first Saturday in June every year at the happiest place on Earth.

Gay Day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom has gone through many changes and obstacles in its 28-year history. What began as one day at the park ballooned into multiple days of events from many groups who bring circuit parties, concerts, expos and pool parties every year that encircle the original event and carry the same message of visibility that Gay Day at Magic Kingdom was founded on.

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PHOTOS: GayDayS visitors kept cool on those hot days by going poolside

By : KathleenHarper
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GayDayS’ pool parties, held at their host hotel DoubleTree by Hilton at SeaWorld, were going on throughout the big gay weekend in Orlando.

Check out a few poolside photos below.

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PHOTOS: GayDayS gets some Expo-sure

By : Jeremy Williams
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GayDayS packed its expo with LGBTQ businesses and vendors, selling everything from underwear to custom bottle openers, when it kicked off at the DoubleTeee by Hilton at Sea World May 31.

Watermark was also there, handing out the latest issue, along with other LGBTQ non-profits and organizations.

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PHOTOS: GayDayS wets the appetite at Taste of Gay Days

By : Jeremy Williams
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GayDayS delivered with one of its tastiest events of the week with Taste of Gay Days in the Voodoo Showroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Sea World May 31.

Local businesses showed off their best food and drinks, and GayDayS showed off its talented performers.

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PHOTOS: GayDayS kicks off at Sleuth’s

By : Jeremy Williams
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It’s finally here! GayDayS 2018 got started with its official kickoff party at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Show May 29.

Hosted by Coco Montrese and Steve Erics, GayDayS greeted the attendees with food, drink and all things Mardi Gras, the theme for GayDayS this year.

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5.31.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’m pretty sure I was 16 the first time I went to Gay Day at Disney. I was only out to my mom and a handful of friends back then, so it was a little awkward when my brothers and I rolled up on the second annual Gay Day at Disney. It became a tradition in my family that when one of the brothers graduated high school, we’d celebrate with a trip to the Magic Kingdom—just us boys. Turns out that celebration always happened on the first Saturday of June. We didn’t know what that day meant to so many people, but we picked up on it pretty quickly.

I remember being petrified my brothers would figure out somehow I was gay, as if just being in close proximity with so many LGBTQ people would cause me to grow a boa and hum the ABBA anthology. I also remember experiencing immense joy and comfort. It was scary being gay in the early ‘90s, not to diminish the struggle today’s 16-year-olds face with their own coming out. But that one day, every year, was a day of happiness in the happiest place on earth. It was a day to be normal, to be together and to be visible.

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Update: GayDayS, Inc. moves dates for 2019 event; One Magical Weekend, Girls In Wonderland to remain

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | GayDayS, Inc. stirred up controversy within the community as it announced new dates for their annual LGBTQ celebration in Central Florida from the first weekend in June to mid-August starting in 2019.

Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom began the first Saturday in June 1991 when a group of LGBTQ people came together wearing red shirts for a day of celebration and visibility at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Over the last three decades several organizations—including GayDayS, One Magical Weekend, Girls In Wonderland and Tidal Wave—have been formed surrounding Gay Day increasing the one-day celebration to nearly a week of theme parks, pool parties and vendor fairs.

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05.03.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Whoever said money can’t buy happiness was never a chubby Ohio kid on vacation at Disney World.

At a ripe and round 13, my parents used the money they’d received after my dear grandmother’s passing to take me to the most magical place on earth. It was my first foray into Florida, and while I’d have gladly moved into the castle that day—it was transformed into a birthday cake for its 25th anniversary and I was chubby for a reason—I had no intention of moving here until a decade later.

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05.03.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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This past weekend officially kicked off (at least for me) the summer season with the release of “Avengers: Infinity War” in theaters. No spoilers, I promise, but at the time of writing this I have seen the film three times and it may be the greatest movie ever made. From here on out until July—along with a few more weekends of blockbuster cinema—we have Fringe, Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend, Pride month and my birthday among the events to look forward to.

Since starting here at Watermark as an account manager for the sales department more than five years ago, I have developed quite a few traditions within the LGBTQ community.

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GayDayS moves dates, host hotel for 2019 event

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | GayDayS, Inc. has a new location and dates for their annual Gay Days celebration, according to organization co-owner Chris Alexander-Manley.

GayDayS will call the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive home starting in 2019 as it becomes the event’s new host hotel. The event will change dates as well moving from its traditional spot on the first weekend in June to Aug. 13-19.

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GayDayS Inc. moving host hotels, possible date change for 2019

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | GayDayS Inc. will be right where you left it at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Sea World for 2018, but the Central Florida event–one of the largest LGBTQ events in the world–will be making a move in 2019.

GayDayS Inc. co-owner Chris Alexander-Manley says that the initial need to move is due to scheduling conflicts at the DoubleTree.

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