PHOTOS: Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit brings fun and education to LGBTQ youth

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The City of Orlando, Zebra Coalition and LGBTQ organizations across Central Florida celebrated LGBTQ youth with the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit at Valencia College’s West Campus on Oct. 19.

Dozens of LGBTQ youth, parents, guardians, community leaders and local educators spent the day learning about topics such as queer history, politics and health services to name a few. LGBTQ organizations including Equality Florida, Hope & Help, QLatinx, UCF’s LGBTQ+ Services, GLSEN, One Orlando Alliance and more held a information fair providing information to the youth on what each of them do for the community.

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To gain full LGBTQ equality we must first address discrimination within our own community

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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Grocery shopping is seen as a chore for most, so it is crucial to identify the products you want to buy quickly as you walk down the supermarket aisle. Because of this the consistency of the shapes, colors, sizes and textures of products will make your life easier. Ask any marketing aficionado how successful a specific female-shaped bottle of maple syrup is, and how sweet it makes your morning pancakes.

The branding of objects has seen benefits throughout our history, from defining the artistic movements throughout the ages like the Renaissance, the baroque period or Pop art to understanding the difference between a rose and a tulip. This differentiation can be a life or death situation when diagnosing an ailment which requires specific treatment and care. Labels are useful, because when we talk about objects, it is key to discriminate between what speaks to you and what does not. The discriminatory nature of our brains allows us to make sense of our physical worlds, and in that context, deciding when to stop searching for additional information and commit to a choice becomes an organic chore.

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03.07.2019 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I try not to watch the president when he’s on TV. I’m sure somewhere there is an argument to be made that I should watch so I am informed, but I’d rather just read about the highlights. It’s like watching a comedian fail. I get uneasy, embarrassed for him and the country. Why is it so difficult to speak in coherent sentences?

Now I have this image of the commander in chief hugging the American flag while mouthing, what appears to be, the word “mama” at the Conservative Political Action Convention. This of course preceded an hours-long stream of consciousness oration that mimicked a cocaine-induced rant.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Kathy Ruiz

By : Jeremy Williams
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AGE: 21

HOMETOWN: Miami, Fla.

IDENTIFIES AS: Bisexual

PRONOUNS: She/her

SIGN: Aquarius

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The fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit unites LGBTQ youth

By : Melanie Ararat
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ABOVE: City of Orlando’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Senior Specialist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez gives a speech at the Orlando Youth Summit at Valencia College – West Campus. Photo by Melanie Ararat

ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies were able to network, engage in interactive workshops and listen to community leaders for the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) at Valencia College – West Campus on Nov. 3. A special appearance was made by Orange County Mayor and School Board Chair-Elect Teresa Jacobs.

“It’s important for our youth, our educators and our professionals to all come together and talk about the best ways to help our youth as they discover who they are and how they can make sure that they can live their authentic selves in our community,” Jacobs says.

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PHOTOS: The Reformation Project’s 6th annual LGBTQ Inclusion Conference holds service in Orlando

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | LGBTQ Christians, theologians and allies all gathered to worship and learn about LGBTQ inclusion in the church held by The Reformation Project. The event — the sixth annual LGBTQ Inclusion Conference — was held at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando Oct. 18-20.

The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, nonprofit Christian grassroots organization that works to promote the inclusion of LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups in the church. The organization focuses on reforming the church’s teachings on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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PHOTOS: COWP and QLatinx screen international short film ‘MAR’ at Reel Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | A week of Pride continued on Oct. 10 when Come Out With Pride, in partnership with QLatinx, presented the inaugural Reel Pride at The Venue in Orlando.

Reel Pride screened the international LGBTQ short film “MAR (The Sea),” directed by Portuguese-Canadian filmmaker William Vitoria. Vitoria was on hand for the event and held a Q&A session after the audience watched his film.

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William Vitoria’s “MAR (The Sea)” to make US film debut at Come Out With Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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“MAR” director William Vitoria

Come Out With Pride’s expansion to a full week of events partners Pride with QLatinx to present Reel Pride, an international film screening of the LGBTQ-themed short film, “MAR .”

“MAR” is directed by Portuguese-Canadian filmmaker William Vitoria.

“I was born in Toronto where I lived until I was seven years old, then my parents moved me to Portugal,” says Vitoria, 28. “I lived there for 14 years and moved back to Toronto.”

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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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Come Out With Pride announces its week-long schedule of events for Pride 2018

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its schedule of events at its 2018 Big Reveal at Tin Roof Orlando July 30. COWP will extend its official events from the traditional three-day weekend to a full week of events.

COWP’s week-long series of events will take place throughout Orlando Oct. 8-14. Several community leaders took the stage at the Big Reveal to make the announcements.

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One Orlando Alliance retracts ED offer after Patricia Todd suggests Alabama Gov. is lesbian

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The One Orlando Alliance has retracted the offer of employment made to former Alabama Rep. Patricia Todd to serve as the organization’s executive director after Todd suggested on Twitter May 15 that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is a lesbian.

“The Board affirms that Ms. Todd’s recent comments are not aligned with the values of One Orlando Alliance. We strongly believe that coming out is a personal choice and we do not support involuntarily outing,” said Jennifer Foster, Chair of the Board of Directors and one of the original co-conveners of the Alliance, in a press release. “This has been a challenging situation. While Ms. Todd has a well-established record of outstanding service to the community, her lapse in judgment has led us to end our relationship with her. We admire her many decades of exemplary service and believe that, with the right opportunity, Ms. Todd will continue to use her many talents to make significant progress advocating for justice and equality.”

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Groups form in the wake of Pulse to better explain, correct our problem with mass violence

By : Billy Manes
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There have been numerous efforts to make sense – and sociological advancement – following the attack at Pulse Orlando on June 12.

Look around you. There are murals everywhere, scenes of righteous indignations, ribbon-makers delivering rainbows to celebrities, candlelight tributes, attempts to curb the seeming necessity to take those out with whom you do not agree. Orlando is America’s tipping point on both the LGBTQ and gun-violence fronts, and many of those who are most affected are seeking change to make things better. You can say “intersectionality” in terms of protest all you want, but here, now, it is manifest. These are but a few of the bright spots to come from that dark night. Orlando is coming together; you can help.

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