MBA’s Pride in Business Awards Gala moves to November

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Annual Metropolitan Business Association’s Pride in Business Awards Gala, originally scheduled for Oct. 7, will be moved to Nov. 4 from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m., with a sponsor reception beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Rosen Shingle Creek.

“There were some limitations for the original date that would have prohibited us from putting on the kind of show that the MBA attendees have become accustomed to,” Gala Committee Co-Chair Deb Ofsowitz says. “On top of that, when Irma came though, it hindered some of the vendors.”

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Orlando Magic presents first Pride Night

By : Billy Manes
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Orlando – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Orlando’s signature sports league the Orlando Magic would be hopping onto the “Pride Night” train. After all, Orlando has been in the global spotlight since last year’s Pulse massacre which took the lives of (eventually) 50 victims. The Magic has made a point of its engagement with the community and the community has paid in kind (nearly $500 million) to build the Amway Center, the spired city landmark that hosts the basketball team and its games. The league is proud of its varied community, staff says. Giving back is what it is all about.

“We, over the last two years have been introducing more theme nights for our community around myriad things,” Linda Landman Gonazalez, vice president of philanthropy and multicultural insights for the Orlando Magic, says.“We’ve always done Black History Month; we’ve always done Hispanic Heritage Month, Latin Night; we’ve always done everything.”

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Watermark’s 16 Most Remarkable People of ’16

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark has chosen those who stood out from the LGBTQ community – 16 remarkable individuals who made a mark in 2016; whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

It has been a difficult year for all of us, both politically and personally, and those we have selected have made the most change, been the most inspiring and helped to make our LGBTQ community that much stronger in the face of adversity.

Below, our 16 Most Remarkable People of ’16.

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Keep it Together: MBA President Lu Mueller-Kaul on community building amid crises

By : Billy Manes
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You wouldn’t take Lu Mueller-Kaul for the shy type but she is remarkably thoughtful. Mueller-Kaul, who joined the Metropolitan Business Association, eventually, becoming its president in 2015, understood that business requires communication.

“I was involved in the Referral Exchange Development Group (RED) before, and that was really why I became part of the MBA,” she says. “I was so awkward about running a business and promoting a business, that I thought, ‘OK, I could do something to learn this.”

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A toast and a stumble through 2016, the year we will never forget

By : Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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We could go on and on about our gripes with the letter “P” this year, generally circulating around two terms: “Pulse” and “Politics.” So, indeed, that’s what we’ll do. Though we may have seen some wonderful developments in the year that God forgot, for the most part, many of us are grabbing at straws, trying to make sense of how it is that we descended so deeply, that we became the eye of the target of absolute terror.

Some may say that 2016 was the backlash for all of the gifts we were given by 2015, most notably marriage equality in both state and nation. Others might opine that there is something else going on here with the media, with conspiracies, with a new Cold War. We can’t be certain, but we certainly have each other’s backs, as has been proven by the many acts of kindness that rose up to meet the beast of an election year gone awry and a local community cut to its core. We are not a weak people; we have seen trouble before. But this year owns a special place in our hearts, one we hope that heals over without forgetting those who suffered and those who commandeered offenses that none of us could have been prepared for.

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LGBT chamber is recognized for its networking program, RED

By : Billy Manes
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Lu Mueller-Kaul isn’t one to sound overexcited. As board president of Orlando’s LGBT chamber of commerce, she’s got some ghosts to address. Though the Metropolitan Business Association has broken so much ground in the Central Florida region, it’s also broken a heel or two.

“Advocacy is something we really need to work with,” Mueller-Kall says. “I know it’s not all rosy. There are still people who are suspicious.”

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Organización comunitaria local busca exaltar las voces de la comunidad LGBTQ+ y Latinx

By : David Thomas Moran
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Translated by Esteban Rios.

Un grupo recién formado trabaja para promover la intersección a nivel local de las voces y opiniones de las comunidades LGBTQ+ y Latinx a lo largo de toda Florida Central.

Más que nada, QLatinx desea brindar un espacio de sanación para sus miembros. El grupo busca fortalecer a las personas LGBTQ+ y Latinx, así como a sus aliados quienes han resultado sumamente afectados por el crimen de odio cometido en Pulse, para movilizar y apoyarse los unos a los otros a medida que afrontan las secuelas del tiroteo. El grupo ya ha sido noticia reciente al aparecer en la revista The New Yorker.

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MBA’s PRIDE GALA Business Awards changes date to accommodate Orlando Strong charity concert

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO – The Metropolitan Business Association (MBA) announced a date change for the 2016 PRIDE GALA Business Awards to accommodate the recently announced Orlando Strong charity concert being held at the Camping World Stadium August 20.

The Awards Gala will remain at the Sheraton Orlando North and will host a day earlier on August 19.

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MBA headed in a director direction

By : Jamie Hyman
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The Metropolitan Business Association is restructuring, investing in a full time executive director to lead the LGBT chamber of commerce’s continued growth.

Nayte Carrick, who has served as part-time executive director for about 18 months, says nothing is finalized yet, but he’s “in the final steps of pursuing new opportunities.”

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Out & About night returns to Central Florida Fair for second year

By : Adam Manno
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central florida fairThe 104th annual Central Florida Fair runs through March 13, but LGBT families might want to save the date for March 2, the second annual Out & About Night from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“Last year was our first year hosting Out & About and we found an increase in attendance of about 1000 people,” says Central Florida Fair Sponsorship Coordinator Frances Rivera.

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Orlando’s LGBT chamber votes in new leadership for the new year

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – The Metropolitan Business Association – Central Florida’s gay chamber of commerce – will greet the new year with some fresh faces.

The MBA has elected their new board members, including officially installing President Lu Mueller-Kaul, who was appointed to the role Nov. 1 after the resignation of Nayte Carrick, previous president.

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Central Florida pro sports teams celebrate LGBT Pride

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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October is LGBT History Month, so Orlando City Soccer Club and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are gearing up to celebrate pride with their LGBT fans.

Orlando City Soccer announced that it will be hosting its first LGBT Night on Oct. 3 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl against the Montreal Impact, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hosting a LGBT Pride Day for their Oct. 4 game against the Carolina Panthers.

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