The Center announces 2018 Orlando Diversity Award recipients

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. announced March 9 the recipients of the 2018 Orlando Diversity Awards which will be presented at the sixth annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.

State House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith was named as the Champion of Equality recipient, the Orlando Police Department’s Chief John Mina was named as the LGBT Ally of the Year and Orlando performer and activist Blue Star was named as this year’s LGBT Trailblazer.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Michael Deeying

By : Jeremy Williams
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Age: 33

Hometown: Orlando, Florida

How you identify: Gay

What’s your sign: Aquarius

Michael is a self-professed nerd; he loves golf, Pokemon Go and board games. Above all, he values one thing the most: intelligence.

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Lacking resources for an aging LGBTQ community

By : Steve Blanchard
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Aging is a reality we all face. Everyone gets older and everyone eventually finds himself or herself in the twilight years.

But for older LGBTs, aging can be more challenging than for their heterosexual counterparts. That’s mostly because resources and those who provide them are not specifically geared toward the LGBT community.

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1.25.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s good to be back. Last issue Jeremy Williams took over this space in Central Florida and Ryan Willams-Jent wrote the column for Tampa Bay. They will continue their columns every other issue, and I will continue mine in the alternating weeks.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have been on a journey to live a healthier and better life—while I still have a few good years ahead of me. There is the physical: regular personal training sessions with Max Dunley at Rock Hard Fitness, eating well, LASIK and braces. There is also the mental, or my version of spirituality. With the help of a twelve step program, I spend a lot of time looking at my past to understand the responsibility I have in the choices I’ve made in the hopes that I will make better decisions in the future.

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Orlando’s LGBTQ Center changes name, debuts new logo

By : Randa Griffin
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ORLANDO | In honor of a milestone year, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida, Inc. is changing its name to The LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc.

The Board of Directors approved the decision to legally change the name and logo on Jan. 13 at the organization’s annual board retreat. Board members supported the name change as a way to update the organization and The Center’s imprint on the community.

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Hillary Clinton urges LGBTQ advocates to keep fighting

By : Wire Report
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(Image from YouTube.)

NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton told an audience of LGBTQ advocates April 20 that the progress they’ve achieved in recent years may not be secure under the Donald Trump administration, and urged them to keep fighting.

“I know that the election hit a lot of us hard,” Clinton said of her bitter loss to Trump in November. “But I can tell you this: Even when it feels tempting to pull the covers over your head, please keep going.”

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Orlando’s chapter of Gays Against Guns is officially launched

By : David Thomas Moran
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ORLANDO – You might recall a group marching in the Orlando Pride parade last November with a huge rainbow banner that said “Gays Against Guns.” That wasn’t just a one-off parade stunt. GAG Orlando is still at it and recently met at The Center Orlando to layout some gun safety directives for the next few months including joining the League of Women Voters’ Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.

The Orlando chapter of GAG also plans to step up pressure on gun retailers, lobbyists and elected officials to stop enabling gun violence. The group is part of a national network of GAG chapters focused on ACT UP-inspired direct actions and founded in response to the Pulse hate crime.

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In the wake of the Pulse massacre last summer, millions of dollars rolled in to help the survivors. But where has the money gone?

By : Alma J. Hill
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Every Friday night, for the past 13 years, Josean Garcia had gone out with the same two friends. Garcia, Amanda Alvear and Mercedez Flores had been inseparable since they bonded in middle school. On June 12, after some coordinating, the three made their way to Pulse Nightclub.

They bought a few drinks. Alvarez danced on camera for her Snapchat story, and filmed partygoers early in the night. In her haunting final clip, gunshots rang out, cutting through the music. She mutters lowly, the word “shooting” audible in the chaos. She bites her thumb searching, fumbles, and the feed cuts out.

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A toast and a stumble through 2016, the year we will never forget

By : Billy Manes and Jeremy Williams
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We could go on and on about our gripes with the letter “P” this year, generally circulating around two terms: “Pulse” and “Politics.” So, indeed, that’s what we’ll do. Though we may have seen some wonderful developments in the year that God forgot, for the most part, many of us are grabbing at straws, trying to make sense of how it is that we descended so deeply, that we became the eye of the target of absolute terror.

Some may say that 2016 was the backlash for all of the gifts we were given by 2015, most notably marriage equality in both state and nation. Others might opine that there is something else going on here with the media, with conspiracies, with a new Cold War. We can’t be certain, but we certainly have each other’s backs, as has been proven by the many acts of kindness that rose up to meet the beast of an election year gone awry and a local community cut to its core. We are not a weak people; we have seen trouble before. But this year owns a special place in our hearts, one we hope that heals over without forgetting those who suffered and those who commandeered offenses that none of us could have been prepared for.

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Orlando’s Overheard: Mary expansion, enchanted jungles and they’re with her

By : Anonymous
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Mary gets supersized

The downtown Orlando Hamburger Mary’s is often at capacity with its theme nights such as trivia and Broadway Brunch. The daytime business crowd also seems to flock to Mary’s. So it’s no surprise that Orlando’s location is following in the high heels of the Tampa location with a neighborly expansion. A while ago it was rumored Hamburger Mary’s may open a second location in the I-Drive area, but we weren’t able to receive confirmation.

The former Church Street tavern, and previously the Dessert Lady’s location, will now be home to an expanded version of Hamburger Mary’s called Mary’s Sidebar Café.

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Organización comunitaria local busca exaltar las voces de la comunidad LGBTQ+ y Latinx

By : David Thomas Moran
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Translated by Esteban Rios.

Un grupo recién formado trabaja para promover la intersección a nivel local de las voces y opiniones de las comunidades LGBTQ+ y Latinx a lo largo de toda Florida Central.

Más que nada, QLatinx desea brindar un espacio de sanación para sus miembros. El grupo busca fortalecer a las personas LGBTQ+ y Latinx, así como a sus aliados quienes han resultado sumamente afectados por el crimen de odio cometido en Pulse, para movilizar y apoyarse los unos a los otros a medida que afrontan las secuelas del tiroteo. El grupo ya ha sido noticia reciente al aparecer en la revista The New Yorker.

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Terry DeCarlo to remain GLBT Community Center of Central Florida’s executive director

By : Jeremy Williams
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Terry DeCarlo will be staying on as the executive director for the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida indefinitely, The Center’s Board of Directors announced in a press release July 8.

DeCarlo previously announced his resignation from The Center May 27 after accepting a new position as the regional director for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in South Florida.

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