Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2018

By : Watermark Staff
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The LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay are resilient and resourceful. So many members of our community, along with our allies, proved that to be true in 2018.

They’re also remarkable. That’s why Watermark solicited readers for your suggestions of the year’s most impactful individuals in each area. From there, the editorial staff chose 18 unsung heroes and difference makers – nine from Central Florida and nine from Tampa Bay – to name them our Most Remarkable People of 2018.

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Nikole Parker: onePULSE Foundation Events & Community Outreach Coordinator

By : Barbara Poma
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Barbara Poma

Nikole Parker is a daughter, sister, transwoman, fiance, advocate, employee and friend. But what she is most is the shining hope for our future. Her journey to the woman she is today is what makes her remarkable far beyond a few hundred words.

She left her home in Orlando at the age of 19, to begin her transition. After three years of black market hormones and unsafe lifestyle practices she returned to Orlando to restart her life.

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12.13.2018 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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It’s here! That magical time of the year, kiddos—where the holidays are upon us and most people have a little more pep in their step and cheer in their voice.

It’s also that time of year when everyone is doing up lists. Santa has a list of nice and naughty children. Entertainment critics have lists of the year’s best films, shows and songs. Everyone has their list of all the personal changes they hope to make stick in 2019, me included. May the odds be ever in our favor.

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The fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit unites LGBTQ youth

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: City of Orlando’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Senior Specialist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez gives a speech at the Orlando Youth Summit at Valencia College – West Campus. Photo by Melanie Ararat

ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies were able to network, engage in interactive workshops and listen to community leaders for the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) at Valencia College – West Campus on Nov. 3. A special appearance was made by Orange County Mayor and School Board Chair-Elect Teresa Jacobs.

“It’s important for our youth, our educators and our professionals to all come together and talk about the best ways to help our youth as they discover who they are and how they can make sure that they can live their authentic selves in our community,” Jacobs says.

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Looking back on a gay nightclub that almost wasn’t; looking forward after a massacre

By : Alma J. Hill
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The news coverage of Pulse is a 24-hour cycle of tragedy. Again and again, readers are forced to relive chaos and carnage. Images of the battered wall fill our news feeds, and the faces of the 49 float in and out of our consciousness on a regular basis. Bodies in corners, mothers crying in cars, candles in the rain; remembering Pulse has come to almost exclusively mean reliving the events of June 12th.

Rarely is the legacy of the club discussed. As an LGBTQ friendly space that had been operational for well over a decade, Pulse represented many firsts for Orlando. It was the first Orlando nightclub to feature a space even remotely similar to its famed futuristic white room (that changed colors). In 2013, it became one of the first gay clubs in Central Florida to give a Saturday night home to a Latin night. The club’s opulent interior garnered national attention, earning Pulse coverage in both Club and Mondo magazines.

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