Central Florida Overheard: A Powerful Community

By : Anonymous
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It’s always good to have friends in high places, and based on Orlando Magazine’s 2018 list, the LGBTQ community not only has some good friends, they also have some pretty powerful ones too.

Orlando Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful of 2018” issue was released recently and it was no surprise one of the community’s best buds, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer topped the list in Government and Politics.

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The LGBT+ Center names new expansion after Orlando City Foundation

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando announced a collaboration with Orlando City Foundation, who donated funds to help the Center expand its current building with a catering area, June 15.

The Center’s plans to expand, according to Executive Director George Wallace, will include a renovated second floor and an extended section to the building where HIV/AIDS testing will take place.

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The 49 Fund awards scholarships to LGBTQ students

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Central Florida Foundation announced the recipients of The 49 Fund’s 2018 scholarships at City Hall in Orlando June 9.

Started by Central Florida attorney and LGBTQ activist Barry Miller, The 49 Fund awards scholarships of $4,900 to students who self-identify as an out member of the LGBTQ community, attend an accredited two- or four-year institution of higher learning on a full-time basis, earn a 3.0 GPA or higher and demonstrate a commitment to making Central Florida a better place.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Hope (and Thoughts and Prayers) for Our Gun-Totin’ Future

By : STEVE YACOVELLI
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Steve Yacovelli

The Parkland shooting has yet again re-ignited the great American gun control debate. Both sides of the coin have brought out their best arguments for control/freedom. It’s sadly yet another repeat of the same ol’ “thoughts and prayers” responses we have heard time and time again: from Sandy Hook to Virgina Tech to Las Vegas to our own Pulse massacre. Yet this time something feels a bit different; it feels like a tipping point of sorts.

While there was ample focus after Pulse within our community and beyond to look at common sense gun control, sadly we were constantly met with that “thoughts and prayers” shenanigans from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Some – like Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Florida State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith – passionately reached out to lawmakers to change things. Groups like the Orlando chapter of Gays Against Guns and The Dru Project formed and shouted for gun reform. But nothing seemed to change. Some thought that, gee, if Washington wasn’t moved into action when kindergarteners were gunned down in their own classroom at Sandy Hook, maybe nothing could really turn the dial.

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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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Central Florida Overheard: Patty passed up

By : Anonymous
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Over the Jan. 20 and 21 weekend across the country, women and men joined together to march on the one year anniversary of the original Women’s March held the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

The Orlando march was on Sunday, Jan. 21, at Lake Eola. The peaceful demonstration featured several speakers, but one prominent member of the LGBTQ community and a female elected official seems to have not been invited.

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PHOTOS: Dedication of the Pulse Memorial Labyrinth

By : Maia Monet
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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Pulse owner Barbara Poma, Pulse survivors, and members of law enforcement joined with LGBTQ citizens and allies for the dedication of the Pulse Memorial Labyrinth at Colonialtown Square Park on Dec 21.

The Orlando United rainbow heart at the center of the memorial is surrounded by the labyrinth outlined in brick. The outer edge is made up of 49 equal pieces of granite inscribed in gold with the names of each Pulse victim. After the dedication and a request to hold hands for a group prayer, those gathered were invited to walk the labyrinth in memory of those lost in the tragedy.

More photos of the proceedings after the jump and video clips have been posted to the Watermark Instagram page.

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The GLBT Center of Central Florida celebrates its new renovation with ribbon cutting, open house

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The GLBT Center of Central Florida reopened their doors after a nearly three year renovation with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house Aug. 31.

The event was well attended by local and state officials, members of the community and media as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy spoke to the crowd and then cut the ribbon officially opening The Center.

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Central Florida elected officials gather at JOY MCC to stand with the transgender community

By : Jeremy Williams
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(ABOVE: (L-R) Orange County District 5 Commissioner Emily Bonilla, Florida Senator Linda Stewart, Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill, JOY MCC Senior Pastor Rev. Terri Steed Pierce, Orange County District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke, Florida House District 49 Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan.)

ORLANDO | Nearly two dozen elected officials are standing in solidarity with the transgender community after President Donald Trump’s tweets last week announcing a ban on trans people serving in the U.S. military.

Eric Rollings, Orange County’s Soil and Water Conservation Chair, spoke from the pulpit at JOY Metropolitan Community Church July 30, reading from a list of Central Florida politicians who stated they unequivocally stand with the LGBTQ community, especially with the transgender community in light of the recent attacks.

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Organizers want confederate statue removed from Lake Eola Park in time for June 12 Pulse events

By : Billy Manes
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ORLANDO – He may go by the name “Johnny Reb,” but the statue that has become one of Orlando’s more recent persons of interest – and controversy – isn’t representative of one man or woman, but rather the Confederate soldiers of Orlando. The issue of the statue’s placement in the main thoroughfare around Lake Eola has raised hackles among progressives, the black community and the LGBTQ community in recent weeks due to a number of reasons, the least of which being its nomenclature.

“After last year’s Pulse massacre, local officials stood up against hatred and saluted diversity,” activist David Porter says in a YouTube video.

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This morning’s announcement of the Pulse memorial was short on information, full of emotion

By : Billy Manes
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This morning, May 4, 2017, a pall fell over the inside of the tribute gates of the oft-visited Pulse Orlando nightclub, where thousands have paid their respects to the 49 killed on June 12, 2016. The event was announced nearly a week before, but the details of what was going on were amorphous at best. The Pulse site would become a permanent memorial, the original April 25 press release read, leaving out any finite details.

“Pulse has always been a part of me, but after this tragedy which took 49 lives, it became a part of this community and the world,’’ Poma explained in the press release. “When this event happened, I had no clue how expansive the love for Pulse was. It’s important that we as a community be mindful and take great care to preserve, honor and help heal.”

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Day of Love and Kindness announced to honor Pulse anniversary

By : Billy Manes
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ORLANDO – While there will certainly be a number of events launched in the coming months to pay homage to those who suffered from the June 12 massacre at Pulse, the city and the county are preparing for the event in the best way they know how. A “Day of Love and Kindness” has been planned to coincide with vigils at the Pulse site, Lake Eola and the History Center.

Orlando’s LGBTQ Alliance, which formed in the wake of the tragedy, is working with the municipal governments to make “love and kindness” matter. Alliance member Jennifer Foster of Foster Productions Inc. says that June 12 should be a day where everyone makes a special effort to be kind in traffic, maybe donate blood and generally be good to locals.

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