The Center Orlando to host Stonewall National Museum exhibit

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center in Orlando has been selected to host the national traveling exhibit from Stonewall National Museum & Archives, the organization announced July 30.

The Center will be one of 20 LGBTQ community centers in the U.S. to feature selections from the museum’s Stonewall National Education Project, a program of 14 LGBTQ educational exhibits.

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Drag Queen Story Hours enchant Central Florida, Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Once upon a time, in the mystical land of San Francisco, wordsmith Michelle Tea had a dragulous idea.

As the Lambda Literary Award winner for Best Lesbian Fiction and the creator of RADAR Productions, the nonprofit that develops groundbreaking literary work by supporting LGBTQ artists, she understood both the power of community and the written word—and so Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) was born.

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Central Florida LGBTQ pioneer Joel Strack passes away at age 59

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Joel Strack at his celebration of life at Leu Gardens in Orlando June 23. (Photo by J.D. Casto)

ORLANDO | Joel Strack—an LGBTQ leader, activist and pioneer in Central Florida’s fight for equality— passed away in the early morning hours of July 15. He was 59.

Strack was instrumental in launching what would become known as Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom, helped create Orlando’s first Pride parade and assisted in founding both the Orlando Gay Chorus and the Gay and Lesbian History Museum.

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Florida House candidate Elizabeth McCarthy’s credibility questioned

By : Jeremy Williams
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SANFORD, Fla. | Elizabeth McCarthy—the openly LGBTQ, Democratic candidate running for Florida House District 28, whose full legal name is Catherine Elizabeth McCarthy—has come under fire for inconsistencies about her past, most notably her claims of working as a cardiologist at Orlando Regional Medical Center on June 12, 2016 after the Pulse tragedy.

Florida Politics reported June 15, when confronted about the inconsistencies, McCarthy insisted that “Yes, I am a doctor” and “Yes, I did work the night of Pulse.”

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Dining Out For Life adds Central Florida, Space Coast LGBTQ organizations to list for 2020

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Dining Out For Life, an annual fundraiser for local HIV service organizations at locations around the world, announced June 6 that The LGBT+ Center and Project Response would be participating in the event in 2020.

“Central Florida will now be part of Dining Out For Life International because of the efforts put forth by The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. (The Center) and Project Response, Inc. of Melbourne,” the press release announced.

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The LGBT+ Center to honor community leaders at Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center of Orlando (The Center) will honor local LGBTQ leaders and businesses during the 2019 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast at Dubsdread in Orlando May 22.

The seventh annual event—named for the first openly gay elected official in California and LGBTQ icon Harvey Milk—will be hosted by the Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell, and will take place on what would have been the slain civil rights leader’s 89th birthday. The day is designated as “Harvey Milk Day” in the U.S.

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The Orlando Ribbon Project releases new enamel pin

By : Lauren Lee
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Famous figures including Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and HRC’s Chad Griffin have worn the now famous rainbow-colored ribbon, now the Dissent Pin Company has partnered with the Orlando Ribbon Project to create enamel versions of the ribbons that traveled the world in memory of the 49 lives lost at Pulse Orlando.

“Its been rather amazing watching the project grow from just a handful of fabric ribbons for volunteers to a worldwide symbol of love and hope,” says founder of the Orlando Ribbon Project, Ben Johansen.

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Drag Queen Story Hour comes to life with Gidget Galore at The LGBT+ Center in Orlando

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | Central Florida drag queen Gidget Galore was not on her usual stage March 21 at The LGBT+ Center in Orlando, but instead sat in a circle with nearly 20 children reading stories to them.

“I look like a clown. I’m big, bright, sparkly and colorful and kids love it,” says Galore. “I have been looking forward to this since [we did it at] the Kids Fringe Festival and George [Wallace, The Center’s executive director] asked, and I said ‘Yes, this is for me!'”

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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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