PHOTOS: Equality Florida Action PAC hosts fundraiser for State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Equality Florida Action PAC hosted State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith’s final re-election fundraiser before the Nov. 6 general election at The Venue in Orlando on Oct. 23.

Dozens of Central Florida voters listened as The Venue owner Blue Star and Smith’s partner Jerick Mediavilla spoke about the importance of voting for the self-professed “proud progressive, liberal, feminist, gay, Latinx, democrat.”

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LGBT Latinx support offered in Boston

By : Staff Reports OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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BOSTON |  Fenway Health is offering a new Spanish support group for Latinx LGBT people, The Rainbow Times reports.

“Many LGBT people in the Latinx community struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation or gender identity with entrenched anti-LGBT cultural and religious stigma,” said Gerardo Moreno-Serrano, a bilingual psychotherapist at Fenway Health, who facilitates the group, according to The Rainbow Times. “Additionally, they must contend with racism and homophobia within our broader society, higher rates of HIV, immigration and asylum issues, and other issues of health and safety. Our group aims to give LGBT Latinx people the tools and support they need to live healthy, authentic, fulfilling lives.”

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Orange County Regional History Center opens Pulse exhibit

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | In honor and remembrance of the Pulse victims, The Orange County Regional History Center is presenting a special, limited-time exhibit titled “Another Year Passes: Orlando After the Pulse Nightclub Massacre.” The exhibit opened at the start of Pride Month June 2 and will run through Oct. 14, the weekend of Come Out With Pride.

“Another Year Passes” includes more than 200 images and items collected at Pulse memorial sites throughout Orlando as well as community artwork and international messages and tributes. The exhibit will also feature the iconic 49 statue tribute crosses created to honor those who died through June 16.

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AIDS Healthcare Foundation awards The Center $25K grant for Kissimmee location

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has awarded a $25,000 grant to the LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. (The Center) that will go toward opening The Center’s second location in Kissimmee.

AHF, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, is the nation’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care. It provides advanced medicine and advocacy to more than 900,000 people in 39 countries.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Pamela Schwartz, Orange County Regional History Center’s Chief Curator

By : Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Mayor
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Teresa Jacobs

It’s an honor and privilege to celebrate Pamela Schwartz as a 2017 “Remarkable Person.”

In the early hours after the Pulse Nightclub massacre, when we were reeling with anguish and disbelief from the brutal attack on our LGBTQ, Latinx and Hispanic communities and the unimaginable loss of 49 innocent souls, one person was already thinking about how we could help memorialize the staggering loss and remember the innocent victims. That was Pam Schwartz, who by the next day, had already outlined a plan for the collection and preservation of the tribute items that she knew would come.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Marco Antonio Quiroga, Program Director at Our Fund Foundation

By : Carlos Carbonell, CEO and Founder Echo Interaction Group
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Carlos Carbonell

It’s times like today that call for leadership like Marco Quiroga.

Although kind and soft-spoken, he unapologetically and confidently speaks loudly for those who have less of a voice in our community. He collaborates with leadership who came before him in the struggle of both the Latinx and LGBTQ communities, while still challenging and educating the status quo on what is still left to do and for whom.

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Editor’s Desk 6.1.17

By : Billy Manes
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For most of us, it’s been the year of our discontent: a slack-jawed reckoning with a grief that stretches city and countywide, a mourning that, for 12 months, confounded and consumed the entire world.

Even the uncomfortable cultural things that swarm in after the bomb drops – helicopters and newscasters and national media hovering around each tear we’ve been able to drop, each one of those drying our wells of stamina and breaking our private slouches – have served as difficult oil clouding our water. But never once have they cracked our resolve. Orlando strong? Yes. Orlando hurt? More than you can even imagine.

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Orlando’s Overheard: A review of Orange County and a preview of Orlando Fringe

By : Anonymous
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Hand in Hand

On April 7, Orange County Mayor, Teresa Jacobs hosted the State of the County address at the Orlando Eye on International Drive.

During her address, Mayor Jacobs paid tribute to the Pulse tragedy by addressing the massacre and sharing a video. In her own words, Mayor Jacobs said, “The world watched as we mourned and rallied with the common goal of supporting our LGBTQ and Latinx communities and all of those affected. Through our response to the greatest attack we’ve ever withstood, the greatest loss we’ve ever suffered, we learned something incredible about ourselves: We know that our culture of collaboration has allowed us to accomplish so much – but we [also] discovered that it is our culture of compassion that makes Orlando such an incredible place to live.”

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Protections for trans Puerto Rico Senate employees rescinded

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The president of the Puerto Rico Senate has eliminated protections for the chamber’s transgender employees.

El Vocero, a Puerto Rican newspaper, reported Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz on March 31 rescinded an administrative order that said trans Senate employees could use bathrooms and wear clothing that is consistent with their gender identity.

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1.26.17 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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If there was any great takeaway – beyond awe and admiration – from the millions of women and the people who love them marching and rallying Jan. 21 in Washington D.C., Orlando, St. Petersburg – and the state, nation and world – it was that we’re more alike than we think.

Arm in arm with those marching for equal pay and for reproductive rights were people from the Black Lives Matter movement, the Latinx movement, various environmental causes and, of course, those of us draped in rainbows hoping that our LGBTQ victories will not be tossed aside by a president with only money (and unmentionables) on his mind.

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Allied and ready: Orlando’s LGBTQ Alliance brings collaboration in a post-Pulse world

By : Billy Manes
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Orlando – “I called Carlos Carbonell on June 12,” Orlando LGBTQ Alliance co-founder and member of the Metropolitan Business Association (and founding chair of the area’s Human Rights Campaign group) Jennifer Foster says. “On June 13, he and I got together, and on that Thursday was our first meeting. Thirty people showed up!”

Carbonell, CEO and founder of Echo: Tech & Strategy Apps in downtown Orlando, remembers the day well.

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The Contigo Fund seeks to mend fences and spread the wealth in the wake of the Pulse tragedy

By : David Thomas Moran
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ORLANDO – A newly formed, $1.4 million fund launched in the aftermath of the Pulse hate crime wants to invest in local organizations that advocate for LGBTQ people of color – particularly the Latinx community.

Meet the Contigo Fund – which means “with you” in Spanish. The fund stands out in that it is not looking for money to provide services in response to the Pulse tragedy like many local other agencies and nonprofits whose resources are already stretched thin but rather to funnel money and resources into Central Florida to support such groups.

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