Parents join the conversation at 2016 Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Adam Manno
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From Tumblr to transgender trends, the leaders, teachers and students who attended the third annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit tackled a wide range of topics of interest to modern LGBT youth.

Co-sponsored by the City of Orlando in partnership with GLSEN, the Orlando Youth Alliance, and Zebra Coalition, O-YES is a collaborative workshop and panel-based conference aimed at empowering Orlando’s LGBTQIA+ community through dialogue and discourse.

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Nebraska’s defunct same-sex marriage ban could go before voters

By : Wire Report
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Lincoln, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska’s defunct same-sex marriage ban could once again go before voters under a measure in the Legislature that seeks to remove it from the state constitution.

The proposal triggered several heated exchanges Jan. 27 during a legislative hearing, with one senator predicting that voters are too “bigoted” to strike the ban even though it’s no longer enforceable.

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Watermark readers respond: HRC endorses Hillary Clinton

By : Jamie Hyman
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You guys had a lot to say about the Human Rights Campaign’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton for U.S. President.

Read a round-up of Watermark reader comments after the jump: 

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City of Orlando Oath of Office Ceremony

By : Jamie Hyman
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Patty Sheehan, Orlando’s first openly gay city commissioner, was sworn into her fifth term of office Jan. 11 at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

At the Oath of Office ceremony, in addition to Sheehan, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was sworn into his fourth full term, District 2 Commissioner Tony Ortiz was sworn into his third term, and District 6 Commissioner Samuel B. Ings was sworn into his third full term on the City Council.

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Alabama chief justice says marriage equality ban still in place

By : Wire Report
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Montgomery (AP) – Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says state probate judges remain under a court order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples even though a US. Supreme Court decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage more than six months ago.

The outspoken chief justice, who previously tried to block gay marriage from coming to the Deep South state, issued an administrative order saying the Alabama Supreme Court never lifted a March directive to probate judges to refuse licenses to gay couples.

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Watermark Year in Review: November 2015

By : Jamie Hyman, Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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Following a long, long negotiation, Parliament House solidifies its future by finalizing a deal for a $3.9 million refinancing loan. The loan was announced before Halloween, finalized the first week of November and frees the resort to remain an Orlando LGBT icon.

Orlando’s mayor and Orlando’s first openly gay commissioner will both remain in office another term. Buddy Dyer and Patty Sheehan both win their re-election campaigns in November, emerging victorious from races that both involved their fair share of mud-slinging.

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Watermark’s 15 Most Remarkable People of 2015

By : Watermark Staff
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Every year, Watermark chooses stand-outs from the LGBT community – remarkable individuals who made a mark in the past year, whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

For 2015, we took nominations from readers and selected the 15 Most Remarkable People of 2015: seven from the Central Florida area, and eight from Tampa Bay. See our selections and read their exceptional stories:

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Leader of the pack: Patty Sheehan makes remarkable waves as she launches her fifth term

By : Billy Manes
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District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan hasn’t had the easiest of years, but she’s made certain to make it easier for much of Orlando’s LGBT population. In addition to being out, loud and proud, Sheehan has tackled all of the issues, from marriage equality to sidewalks and back again. By now, most Orlandoans know of Sheehan’s attention to detail – don’t even try to take away her giant binder of ordinances and research; she will attack, and you won’t like that.

She’s got the power.

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Obituary: Brett Lawrence Chambers

By : Staff Report
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BrettChambersBrett Lawrence Chambers, 46, of Orlando, Florida, left this life peacefully on his birthday, Sunday, November 8, with his last hours surrounded by the love of his immediate family and dear friends at his bedside.

Brett was born and raised in St. Augustine Florida, the youngest of four brothers, and graduated from St. Augustine High School. Brett then left home for Gainesville to attend the University of Florida, where he graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation. After graduation, Brett moved to Orlando where he chose to settle permanently. Since 2004, Brett worked for Travelers Insurance Company as a senior adjustor in the Work Comp/Claims division. Brett loved the arts, travel, fashion, cooking, spending time with his friends and visits to St. Augustine to catch up with his mother, with whom he held an especially deep relationship.

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Orlando Police Department introduces Transgender Person policy

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – The Orlando Police Department announced in a press release Nov. 6 that it will adopt new Transgender Persons procedures to ensure that all officers are in line with the agencies policy “to treat all people with dignity and respect.”

“Orlando is a city that embraces diversity and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions and sexual orientations,” OPD Media Relations stated in an email. “Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioner Patty Sheehan, in particular, have worked diligently to have an inclusive government that fosters diversity by establishing programs, ordinances and initiatives that benefit the LGBT community.”

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2015 General Election Results

By : Watermark Staff
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Polls are closed on the 2015 General Elections and results are rolling in.

Find out who won after the jump:

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Watermark’s Voter’s Guide for 2015 General Elections

By : Watermark Staff
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Today is election day in certain districts throughout Central Florida, Tampa, St. Pete, and the rest of the country.

Get out and make your vote count by knowing who you are voting for and what they stand for.

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