12.27.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s hard to believe the end of the year is here. It’s cliche to say, but when you live your life in two week cycles across two metropolitan areas—time flies. 2018 zoomed by in the blink of an eye.

Watermark did well in 2018. We saw an increase in sales, so thank you to the businesses and organizations that support us and help us to continue bringing the latest in LGBTQ news to our readers—and congratulations to Senior Account Manager Sam Callahan who had a stellar year. We also saw an increase in distributions sites and are now available at over 600 locations in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and surrounding areas.

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The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida named new Orlando Fringe venue

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Orlando International Fringe Festival—the longest running Fringe Theatre Festival in the U.S.—is preparing for Winter Mini-Fest, which plays at Loch Haven Park Jan. 10-13, 2019, at the moment but that isn’t stopping information from coming out about the main festival in May.

The 14-day arts festival packs so much crazy, uncensored, experimental, amazing theatre into its schedule that Loch Haven Park cannot contain all of it so Orlando Fringe ventures out into the city and theater locations are set up throughout Orlando.

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George Wallace: Current LGBT+ Center of Central Florida Executive Director

By : Michael Wanzie
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Michael Wanzie

I may not be aware of all that George Wallace has done to make him a hero of 2018 specifically, but I do know that George has been my personal hero for many years.

Firstly, as a healthcare advocate for special needs individuals. Secondly, as a person who has helped countless individuals in need—on a personal level, well beyond the scope of any employment mandate, and he has done so often and without fanfare or public recognition. Thirdly, as one of the true visionaries and hardest working people who dedicated every fiber of his being to help make The Orlando Fringe Festival the resounding success it is today.

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A look back at The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida as told from some of its executive directors

By : Watermark Staff
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The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida has seen a number of name changes in its several decades as the beacon of Orlando’s LGBTQ community. Throughout its years, The Center has also changed locations, starting with its first brick-and-mortar building on Mills Ave. in 1987. After bouncing to a few different locations on Colonial Dr., it settled in at its current location at 946 N. Mills Ave. in 2000.

Since finding its permanent home, The Center has had some renovations and expansions; adding more safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to have gatherings, meetings and parties, or just a comfy chair to sit and have a little quiet time. The Center is many things to many people.

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Historic Downtown Kissimmee points the way to the LGBT+ Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida opened its second location in Kissimmee over the summer and while the reception at its ribbon cutting on Aug. 15 was overwhelmingly positive, many were curious how a more conservative city would respond to having an LGBT+ Center.

Well to steal a phrase from The LGBT+ Center’s Executive Director George Wallace, “Kissimmee has welcomed The Center with open arms.”

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The Center Orlando to become home for permanent LGBTQ history exhibit

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. and LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida are partnering up to install a permanent LGBTQ history exhibit in The Center Orlando, which has undergone a new renovation.

The collaboration’s mission is to “promote and empower the LGBT community and its allies through information, education, advocacy and support.”

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The Center Orlando hosts annual Celebrity Bartending fundraiser

By : Christen Kelley
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ORLANDO | Local celebrities will go head-to-head in a competition for tips during The LGBT+ Center Orlando’s sixth annual Celebrity Bartending night at SAVOY Orlando Sept. 11.

LGBTQ and ally politicians, journalists, entertainers and more will be making drinks for attendees from 6 p.m. to midnight. All proceeds will benefit The Center for services such as STI testing and LGBT+ education and outreach in Central Florida.

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PHOTOS: The Center Kissimmee holds its grand opening and ribbon cutting

By : Jeremy Williams
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. | Politicians, media, local leaders and community members all gathered at the new LGBT+ Center in Kissimmee for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 15.

George Wallace, executive director of The Center, welcomed guests before introducing a string of political leaders — State Rep. John Cortes, Congressman Darren Soto and Osceola County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb — who all expressed gratitude for The Center coming to Kissimmee. Grieb also presented The Center with a proclamation from the county. 

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The Center Orlando and Zebra Coalition will expand partnership to new Kissimmee Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando and Zebra Coalition announced Aug. 8 that they will expand their collaborative services to the brand new LGBT Center location in Kissimmee.

The program expansion —made possible by grant support from both the Contigo Fund and Orlando Health — will include youth mental health counseling support, as well as youth and parent support groups facilitated by a Zebra Coalition mental health counselor.

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The Center Orlando to bring LGBTQ children’s books to the community

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando is expanding again, and this expansion is bringing in something for the kids.

George Wallace, The Center’s executive director, says the new expansion will include a children’s library complete with LGBTQ children’s books and youth novels. A children’s library will be added into the new Center coming to Kissimmee as well.

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The LGBT+ Center names new expansion after Orlando City Foundation

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando announced a collaboration with Orlando City Foundation, who donated funds to help the Center expand its current building with a catering area, June 15.

The Center’s plans to expand, according to Executive Director George Wallace, will include a renovated second floor and an extended section to the building where HIV/AIDS testing will take place.

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The Center’s communications director Terry DeCarlo announces his resignation

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Terry DeCarlo, The LGBT+ Center Orlando’s chief communications director, announced via Facebook June 11 that he would be resigning from his position at The Center just one day before the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy.

“It is with a heavy heart that I report to you this morning that I have resigned my position at the LGBT Center Orlando,”DeCarlo wrote. “I hope during my tenure at the agency, going through a complete facility overhaul to give Orlando a nice place to call home and then helping lead the community through one of the darkest times in history that I made you proud.”

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