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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Finding Our Pulse: Words matter, actions matter more

By : Teresa Jacobs
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Until June 12, 2016, although I knew of Pulse, I had not realized its significance within our community, the sense of home and family that it provided for so many in the LGBTQ community, or how it served as an anchor for others – especially our LGBTQ young people.

Pulse – a place of love and acceptance, where once our LGBTQ brothers and sisters gathered with laughter and joy. Pulse – a place named to honor the enduring spirit of one woman’s beloved brother, and Pulse – a place that was to become an instant shrine for 49 innocent victims who will forever live within our hearts. But in the early morning hours of June 12, I knew none of that. I knew only the shattering pain and the surreal disbelief we all felt. I knew from the start – literally on that morning – that this was a hate crime, occurring during Pride Month and aimed squarely at the LGBTQ community, as well as the Latinx and Hispanic communities. And above all, I knew that people would need help.

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The gay gloves are off: Log Cabin Republicans endorse Paul Paulson for Orlando Mayor

By : Billy Manes
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(Editor’s note: This post has been edited to reflect late info and to remove the image of someone who did not want to be associated with it.)

We don’t really want to come off negative on the Log Cabin Republicans (in fact, we publish an LCR viewpoint on occasion), but the fact that mayoral candidate Paul Paulson, he of the Doug Guetzloe money train and all that that legally implies, is openly touting his Republican leanings in a nonpartisan race is cause for some alarm.

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Watermark readers respond hot and cold to Teresa Jacobs’ statement on marriage equality

By : Jamie Hyman
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Our latest interview with Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs – where she finally confirmed that she is in support of marriage equality – sparked some polarized readers comments. For some of you, the interview was a great step forward for equality, while others thought it was too little, too late.

Read the comments round-up after the jump:

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Mayor Jacobs leaves LGBT equality out of State of the County Address

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – Despite a push from local LGBT activists, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs did not come out in favor of marriage equality during her 2014 State of the County Address.

Jacobs spoke to a crowd of politicians, media, Orange County employees and citizens at The Ballroom at Church Street, keeping with her theme of “The Year of Transformation,” as she highlighted a variety of accomplishments over the last year.

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Video: Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs at Come Out With Pride

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ speech at Come Out With Pride.

Video after the jump:

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COWP organizers estimate 110,000 will pack downtown for Orlando Pride

By : AlejandPate
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Orlando – Come Out With Pride organizers are predicting 110,000 people will attend the Oct. 5 festivities, which would be a record-breaking crowd size.

It was estimated that for COWP 2012, 100,000 atttended. Of the predicted 110,000, organizers estimate 30% will be straight allies and families.

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Mayor Jacobs, Commissioner Sheehan sign Orlando Pride proclamations

By : Staff Report
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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan have both signed proclamations in support of Come Out With Pride, Orlando’s Pride festival slated for October.

See the proclamations after the jump:

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Public servant Chase Smith dead at 41

By : Jamie Hyman
Comments: 2

Orange County ombudsman Chase Smith died the afternoon of Aug. 28, surrounded by his family members, and the city and county government officials who considered him family.

ChaseSmithSmith, 41, was an active public servant for Central Florida government. He worked as an aide to Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan from 2004-2011. He then served as Orange County ombudsman and performed outreach for Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs. During that time, Smith made a run for Orlando City Commissioner District Seat 1, but was stalled during the primary elections.

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Orlando’s Gay Games bid turned in

By : Jamie Hyman
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Now, we wait.

On Feb. 28, Orlando’s Gay Games team, “Orlando 2018,”officially turned in its bid to bring the 2018 Gay Games Orlando.

The next step is a series of questions from the voting members – some of which will be readable on GayGames.org – followed by an electronic vote on May. 31 which will create a short list of the top three cities still in the running, according to Mikael Audebert of Converge, a visitor’s bureau focused on LGBT travel.

Those three cities will have site visits and inspections in July and August, and then each city’s bid teams will head to the Gay Games general assembly in Cleveland to make a final presentation. The winner will be announced the weekend of Come Out With Pride Orlando, Oct. 5-6.

Audebert said Orlando has “extremely good chances,” stating that the bid is focused on Orlando’s vibrant economy mostly based on tourism, hospitality, transportation, sports and entertainment, plus potential for growth and innovative social experience.

“Also, our budget is looking very good,” he said. “This means we are low on expenses and looking fantastic on revenues thanks to our expertise in running and managing events of this size.”

Orlando’s bid got another boost Feb. 20 in the form of a letter of support from Alex Martins, CEO of Orlando Magic. As of press time, endorsement letters have been submitted by President Barack Obama, the Florida Sports Commission, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer,  Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Universal Studios COO Bill Davis and George Kalogridis, the newly-instated, openly-gay president of Disney World.

9.16.10 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
Comments: 6

SteveBlanchardHeadshotWhat is happening to our LGBT community?

As a group that usually prides itself on inclusion of diversity and acceptance, there is a growing faction that is now tearing down organizations, individuals and businesses by spreading spiteful rumors and lies. You don’t have to look much farther than your own inbox for evidence.

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