Local LGBTQ leaders to gather at Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Christen Kelley
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ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies will engage in a full day of interactive workshops at the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit, or OYES, at Valencia College’s West Campus in Orlando Nov. 3.

The free event is presented by the City of Orlando with one goal in mind—to empower LGBTQ youth. Guests can attend a variety of workshops dedicated to a range of topics such as career building, poetry, healthy relationships and LGBTQ history.

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PHOTOS: Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith says YAS! to Pride proposal from partner Jerick Mediavilla

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out with Pride 2018 had a lot of memorable events, but few came close to the marriage proposal during the Pride Rally at the Walt Disney Amphitheater Oct. 13.

LGBTQ activist Jerick Mediavilla went down on one knee in front of thousands of Pride attendees and proposed to his partner, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

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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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Diversity Mural of mosaic hearts dedicated in Orlando

By : Christen Kelley
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ORLANDO | The Diversity Mural, a rainbow made from more than 700 mosaic hearts, was dedicated to the city of Orlando Sept. 21.

The mural’s mosaic hearts, installed on the side of The Lamp & Shade Fair building at 1336 N. Mills Ave. throughout the month of August and September, were made by people across the U.S. and several other countries throughout the world. To represent diversity, no two hearts in the mural are alike.

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Watermark Film Company’s new documentary ‘Greetings From Queertown’ shines a light on Orlando’s LGBTQ history

By : Christen Kelley
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From KKK members threatening Pride-filled parade marchers to a sea of red shirts ascending on Disney World for Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom to standing “Orlando Strong” around Lake Eola, Central Florida has come a long way for the LGBTQ community. It’s a rich history that Watermark Film Company plans to detail in their upcoming documentary, “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando.”

Spearheaded by Watermark owner, publisher and editor Rick Claggett, director/producer Sandi Hulon, director of photography Tye Belcher and others from Team Watermark, the film company was created to share the story of “Queertown.”

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Florida heat and summer schools

By : Michael Wanzie
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michael wanzie atheist

Why is it when a svelte, smooth-chested, swimmer-type guy goes jogging shirtless on a scorching Orlando summer day, it is said of him that his luscious perspiration, glistening in the sunlight, gleefully beckons adoring tongues to lap up his liquid masculinity from a bronzed canvas of sensual, sun-drenched flesh, but when a big boned (read: fat) guy like me does the same thing the only thought it brings to anyone’s mind is, “Christ that tub of lard sweats like a fucking pig!?”

Never mind your snarky answers. It was a rhetorical question to which I already know the answer all too well—and thus Summer is in full stride in Central Florida. Thus continues my annual stint of carefully navigating my way into various pools at various parties with my shirt still on because I have body issues regarding my man boobs. Too much information? OK then, we’ll move on.

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The Center Orlando hosts annual Celebrity Bartending fundraiser

By : Christen Kelley
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ORLANDO | Local celebrities will go head-to-head in a competition for tips during The LGBT+ Center Orlando’s sixth annual Celebrity Bartending night at SAVOY Orlando Sept. 11.

LGBTQ and ally politicians, journalists, entertainers and more will be making drinks for attendees from 6 p.m. to midnight. All proceeds will benefit The Center for services such as STI testing and LGBT+ education and outreach in Central Florida.

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Watermark owner creates film company, premieres first movie’s trailer

By : Staff Report
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ORLANDO | Watermark Film Company premiered the first trailer to its documentary film “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando” at a private fundraising event at The Venue in Orlando Aug. 23.

Watermark Film Company was launched by Watermark Publishing Group owner Rick Claggett as a way to create, produce and distribute films that inform and educate audiences on the LGBTQ experience, according to a press release.

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08.09.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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“Guys in Orlando suck!” “The gay community in Orlando is so transient.” I heard these phrases way too often in the early 2000s, but I never bought into that way of thinking.

I moved to Central Florida in 1986. This was back in the days when the 408 was just two lanes each way, The Winter Park Village was an enclosed Mall and Ronnie’s was serving the Mogambo Extravaganza (a sixth grade ice cream lover’s dream dessert). I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on track to meet some amazing people with incredible stories to tell, and who would disprove the notion that Orlando was not a strong LGBTQ community.

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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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