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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The Center Orlando and Zebra Coalition will expand partnership to new Kissimmee Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando and Zebra Coalition announced Aug. 8 that they will expand their collaborative services to the brand new LGBT Center location in Kissimmee.

The program expansion —made possible by grant support from both the Contigo Fund and Orlando Health — will include youth mental health counseling support, as well as youth and parent support groups facilitated by a Zebra Coalition mental health counselor.

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The Center Orlando announces opening of new Kissimmee location

By : Colton Adkins
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. | After releasing plans earlier this year to expand into Kissimmee, The Center Orlando has announced the location and opening date of its new LGBT+ Center.

The Center Kissimmee, located at 21 W. Monument Ave., will open Aug. 8 with an official grand opening and ribbon cutting scheduled for Aug. 15.

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Florida Bar in the process of creating gender-neutral divorce documents

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | The last marriage-related document in Florida is finally changing to reflect the needs of same-sex couples.

After the 2015 marriage equality ruling by the state of Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court, marriage applications and most divorce forms were adjusted to include same-sex couples. However, Barry Miller, President of the Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association (CFGALLA) and CEO of The Closing Agent, discovered the Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage still referred to couples as “Husband” and “Wife.”

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The Center’s communications director Terry DeCarlo announces his resignation

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Terry DeCarlo, The LGBT+ Center Orlando’s chief communications director, announced via Facebook June 11 that he would be resigning from his position at The Center just one day before the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy.

“It is with a heavy heart that I report to you this morning that I have resigned my position at the LGBT Center Orlando,”DeCarlo wrote. “I hope during my tenure at the agency, going through a complete facility overhaul to give Orlando a nice place to call home and then helping lead the community through one of the darkest times in history that I made you proud.”

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AIDS Healthcare Foundation awards The Center $25K grant for Kissimmee location

By : Layla Ferris
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ORLANDO | AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has awarded a $25,000 grant to the LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc. (The Center) that will go toward opening The Center’s second location in Kissimmee.

AHF, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, is the nation’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care. It provides advanced medicine and advocacy to more than 900,000 people in 39 countries.

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Central Florida Overheard: Church Closure

By : anonymous
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Reeves United Methodist Church, a church that has been in Orlando for nearly 100 years, permanently closed their doors leaving parishioners without a place to worship. The church was scheduled to close May 1 to be re-opened later this year as a daycare center, but decided to shut down a couple weeks early. Church volunteers were left to pack up their belongings while a locksmith was changing the locks, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The church was not just home to the roughly 30 church members, but was also home to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups, as well as a rehearsal and storage location for the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band & Color Guard and a meeting space for the Orlando Youth Alliance.

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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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