Equality Florida brings transgender workplace training to Orlando

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: Gina Duncan speaking at an Equality Florida event at Orlando City Hall in 2015. Photo by Dana Ng

ORLANDO | Equality Florida will host the organization’s Transgender Dynamics in the Workplace workshop at the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 16.

The workshop includes a panel discussion with corporate leaders, as well as an appearance from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. The event looks to educate attendees on transgender workplace issues and concerns, as well as offer ways to improve policies and protocols for transgender employees.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Like a shiny unicorn, the gay mafia does exist! (and other homo business advice)

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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I have a secret to tell you: The “gay mafia” is real. I know because I met them a few weeks ago.

In early August, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) held its annual conference in Philadelphia. Targeted at both LGBTQ+ owned businesses as well as the purchasing professionals for many Fortune 500 companies, the event was a combination of educational sessions to run your business better to focusing on how to more effectively engage with minority vendors. The conference was strongly attended by many members of Central Florida’s Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), our local LBGTQ+ Chamber of Commerce (who awesomely won Chamber of the Year in 2017).

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PHOTOS: MBA Orlando rocks Universal’s CityWalk with its 2018 Pride Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | MBA Orlando went all out for its 2018 Pride Gala Business Awards at Universal CityWalk’s Hard Rock Live Aug. 4.

The show opened with Alina Alcantara and the Brunch Bunch performing the Academy Award-winning song “This Is Me” from the 2017 film musical “The Greatest Showman.” Emcee’s Jorge Estevez and Miss Sammy then took the stage with their always entertaining comedy back-and-forth.

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2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – CENTRAL FLORIDA

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner – District 4

Second: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Third: Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida House Representative – District 49

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Second: Anna Eskamani, Florida House candidate – District 47

Third: Darren Soto, U.S. House of Representatives – Florida’s 9th District

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Michael Deeying

By : Jeremy Williams
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Age: 33

Hometown: Orlando, Florida

How you identify: Gay

What’s your sign: Aquarius

Michael is a self-professed nerd; he loves golf, Pokemon Go and board games. Above all, he values one thing the most: intelligence.

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MBA Orlando introduces new board of directors

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Metropolitan Business Association announced their 2018 board of directors at a reception held at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando Jan. 27.

MBA Orlando Executive Director Kellie Parkin spoke to the event’s attendees before introducing them to the board.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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In a year filled with many setbacks and obstacles, the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay have met those challenges with amazing resilience and resisted all forms of discrimination.

The individuals selected as Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017 come from many walks of life but all share one thing in common, they all were truly exceptional this year.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Kellie Parkin, MBA Orlando’s Executive director

By : Lu Muller-Kaul, MBA Orlando President
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Lu Muller-Kaul

Kellie Parkin is a friend, supporter and the best employee I could have hoped for. In title and job description, she is responsible for running MBA’s operations, but she adds volunteer time for the One Orlando Alliance and other projects.

Kellie has also been working with founding MBA members, most importantly Debbie Simmons and Michael Thomas, to connect MBA’s past of now 25 years to a successful future, always ensuring equality through economics for our business members and the whole LGBTQ community of Central Florida.

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Watermark’s Roundup of Marriage Ceremonies and Celebrations

By : Staff Report
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With same-sex marriage finally being recognized and legal in the State of Florida on Jan. 6, many people are looking for ways to celebrate this historic event – whether they’re looking to get married or not.

Here is a list of some wedding ceremonies and celebrations that are taking place throughout Central Florida and Tampa Bay that you can attend in honor of marriage equality coming to Florida Jan. 6.

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Overheard in Orlando: Elton John burn!

By : Anonymous
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Dissed by Elton John
After interviewing her twice by telephone, Watermark publisher Tom Dyer finally got to meet Billie Jean King in person at the Mylan WTT Smash Hits tennis fundraiser at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. But his most memorable encounter was with Elton John, who threw him an unexpected – and hilarious – barb during the pre-tennis press conference. Dyer, who has light hair and a thick white goatee, asked Sir Elton if he planned to teach his two boys to play tennis. His response: “Before I answer, I just want to thank Kenny Rogers for being here today.”

Lambert turns 60… in a casket
Those who know Winter Park hair stylist Gary Lambert expected his 60th birthday at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park to be sensational. But he surprised more than 300 attendees when he was carried into the banquet hall by members of the Orlando Ballet-in a casket! Lambert spent the first part of the evening in party drag – think Marilyn Monroe meets Honey Boo Boo. But after he changed – and the Orlando Ballet led a flash mob on the dance floor – Lambert dropped to one knee and asked his partner of 21 years, Shawn Hunt, to marry him. To everyone’s relief – and surprise – Hunt said ‘yes.’ Their good friend, WKMG anchor Lauren Rowe, emceed the event, which was a benefit for Bears Who Care and the Orlando Youth Alliance. Like Auntie Mame, Lambert encouraged everyone to live life to the fullest…as he certainly has.

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