City of Orlando, Orange County proclaim June 12 ‘Orlando United Day’

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Artwork from Orlando County Regional History Center’s 2018 exhibit “Another Year Passes: Orlando After the Pulse Nightclub Massacre.” (Photo by Layla Ferris)

ORLANDO | Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, along with the Orlando City Commissioners and Orange County Commissioners jointly proclaimed June 12, 2019 to be “Orlando United Day.”

“As we approach the three-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, our community continues to honor the 49 innocent lives taken on June 12, 2016, and support the survivors and victims’ families,” said Dyer. “I am proud to join Mayor Demings to proclaim this June 12 as ‘Orlando United Day’ in the City of Orlando and Orange County and help show that we are still responding to that hateful act with love, compassion and unity.”

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PHOTOS: One Orlando Alliance holds ‘Love and Kindness’ event, announces new Barnie’s coffee honoring Pulse victims

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | One Orlando Alliance gathered people at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando for “Love and Kindness on the Lawn” on June 9.

The event was to honor the spirit of #OrlandoUnited!, and featured food trucks, games and dancing as well as performances by Jasmin Rhia, Melissa Crispo, the Orlando Gay Chorus and Pulse survivors Joshua Lewis and Vico Baez Febo.

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RED Shirt Pride Day looks to continue Orlando’s traditional Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom

By : Jeremy Williams
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In June 1991, a group of LGBTQ Central Floridians—led by openly gay Orlando resident Doug Swallow—decided to meet at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to say to “The Most Magical Place On Earth” that “We’re here, we’re queer and we’d like to see Cinderella’s Castle!”

“[Doug said] ‘let’s go be somewhere where we can be ourselves and let people see that we’re normal people, but let them know that we are gay … we’ll do something like wear a red shirt so we can know who each other are.’ That was totally Doug’s idea, to make that day what it is,” said Michael Wanzie, a Central Florida entertainer who was at the very first event, in an interview with Watermark in 2018.

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Zebra Coalition to host LGBTQ Youth Pride Prom

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: The Zebra Coalition celebrates Come Out With Pride on their float during the parade in downtown Orlando last year. Photo courtesy for Zebra Coalition

ORLANDO | The Zebra Coalition is hosting its first-ever Youth Pride Prom at the Orlando Museum of Art June 22 from 6-10 p.m. for LGBTQ youth ages 14-20.

Zebra is partnering with more than a dozen coalition partners and a youth committee to plan the event.

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One Orlando Alliance to host community discussion on LGBTQ homelessness

By : Abigail Brashear
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ORLANDO | The One Orlando Alliance is hosting a Central Florida-based discussion on the topic of LGBTQ youth homelessness at the Holden Heights Community Center in Orlando on April 11.

The discussion panel will consist of representatives from Alliance member organizations Bliss Cares, Equality Florida and Zebra Coalition; and will be moderated by Homeless Services Network of Central Florida Deputy Director Brian Postlewait.

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Orlando Apollos partner with One Orlando Alliance to celebrate first Pride Night

By : Amanda Espinosa
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UPDATE: Orlando Apollos Pride Night CANCELLED, the club is no longer in operation, effective immediately. 

ORLANDO | The Orlando Apollos, a newly formed team for the Alliance of American Football league, will be celebrating its first-ever Pride Night at the University of Central Florida’s Spectrum Stadium on April 6 at 8 p.m.

The Apollos are partnering with One Orlando Alliance, a nonprofit coalition empowering more than 30 LGBTQ organizations in Central Florida.

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We look back on 2018, a midterm year for a country that’s just living on a prayer

By : Jeremy Williams and Ryan Williams-Jent
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It’s been two years since we, as a country, entered into the reality that is the Trump Administration. The country feels more divided than ever and the phrases “fake news” and “it’s all a witch hunt” are commonplace.

The violence that seems to define who Americans are these days is also there, particularly in Florida, where there has been no justice for the five transgender women of color who were murdered and yet another mass shooting—this time at a high school in Parkland, Fla.—pulled the focus of the world to our state.

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Jeff Prystajko: Come Out With Pride Board President & Operations Director

By : Bob Azzarito
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Bob Azzarito

Several years ago, Jeff Prystajko joined our team at Come Out with Pride. I’ve had the privilege to work with him on the board of directors and the production team, and I am proud to call him a friend.

In 2018, he took on the role of president of the board of directors. He assembled an impressive team and together they produced a fantastic event.

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Jennifer Foster: One Orlando Alliance Executive Director

By : Justine Thompson Cowan
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Justine Thompson Cowan

When asked to write about Jennifer Foster, I knew it would be easy enough to list her accomplishments.

A natural leader, she always has her hands in something transformative. She co-founded the Human Rights Campaign community in Central Florida, served on the statewide board of the Florida Red and Blue Campaign and co-founded One Orlando Alliance.

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10.18.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Ah, Halloween. That time of year when you get to dress up, pretend to be someone else for a night and beg strangers for candy if you’re a kid, or for a drink if you’re an adult.

I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of Halloween. I’m one of those people who most others complain about because while everyone is deciding what nine costumes they are going to wear to each party they are attending, I’m the guy walking up and down the Christmas aisle figuring out what colors and pattern my tree will be this year.

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PHOTOS: Pride Rally at Lake Eola brought the love

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride held a Pride Rally at the Walt Disney Amphitheater during Saturday’s celebration at Lake Eola.

The crowd heard from Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and more.

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One Orlando Alliance names Board Chair Jennifer Foster as new Executive Director

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Jennifer Foster, who served as board chair for the One Orlando Alliance since formation, was named the organization’s founding executive director Oct. 11.

Foster’s appointment as the Alliance’s director comes on National Coming Out Day and during Orlando’s Pride Week — a weeklong celebration led by Alliance member Come Out With Pride.

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