UCF kicks off LGBTQ History Month with PrideFest

By : Lora Korpar
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ORLANDO | The University of Central Florida held PrideFest at the Student Union on campus Oct. 2 to celebrate LGBTQ History Month with its students and educate them on local LGBTQ organizations.

Decorated with Pride flags and rainbow lights, PrideFest was the opening ceremony for a series of events at the university throughout LGBTQ History Month.

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UCF celebrates International Transgender Day of Visibility

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: Gender nonconforming performance artist, writer and educator Alok Vaid-Menon was a special guest at UCF’s TDoV event on March 28. Photo courtesy Alok’s Facebook

ORLANDO | The University of Central Florida (UCF) celebrated the 10th Annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) on its main campus March 28, creating a safe place for students and community members to come and discuss issues transgender and gender nonconforming people face.

“I think as a whole, especially after the tragedy Orlando has faced, I think it’s really important to stand together in solidarity with different people in the community, and understanding the importance of the work and the advocacy that transgender and nonconforming people do,” said Vilma Portocarrero, Pride Director for the Multicultural Student Center at UCF.

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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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HRC, NextGen America encourage UCF students to “charge your vote”

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | NextGen America, a nonprofit and political action committee focused on environmental advocacy, dispatched teams across Florida for National Voter Registration Day Sept. 25, attempting to register as many students as possible before the Oct. 9 deadline.

The organization claims it has registered almost 40,000 voters in the state so far for the 2018 election and received over 15,000 pledges to vote.

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UCF alum creates Orlando’s first space for LGBTQ Asians

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | University of Central Florida alum Rikki Ocampos founded the Orlando Queer and Trans Asian Association, or OQTAA (pronounced “octa”), in April. OQTAA looks to bring together LGBTQ individuals of Asian descent in the Central Florida area. The organization is set to launch July 8.

OQTAA will focus on empowering Asian-Americans who identify has queer and trans through culture and community. “There have always been spaces for queer people and for Asians in Orlando, but none have been designed specifically for the intersection of those identities” Ocampos says.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017 events in Central Florida and Tampa Bay

By : Watermark Staff
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Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually every Nov. 20, is a day to commemorate and reflect upon transgender individuals who have passed away due to transgender-related violence.

The day began after a transgender woman named Rita Hester was brutally stabbed in her Massachusetts apartment in 1998. Graphic designer and advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a candlelight vigil in memory of Hester. Every year, there are services and candlelight vigils held across the nation to commemorate the death of Hester and all transgender people lost to violence.

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OF THEE I SING

By : TheatreUCF
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This all-American political satire focuses on the election campaign and Presidency of John P. Watergreen, whose party, lacking a viable platform, runs on love, promising that if elected he will marry the partner chosen for him at an Atlantic City beauty pageant. When he falls for the wrong woman, trouble begins! With politicians skewered right and left, Of Thee I Sing is a hilarious and timeless send-up of national institutions that is as relevant now as ever.

Book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind • Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin • Directed by Mark Brotherton
Main Stage • Rated PG

Tickets:

Adults $20, Seniors $18, Students $10

UCF celebrates LGBTQ history with a month of events

By : Rachel Dececco
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ORLANDO | “Our history did not begin with Stonewall, but our movement began there.”

These were the words that kicked off the opening ceremonies for LGBTQ History Month at the University of Central Florida Oct. 3.

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Seminar

By : TheatreUCF
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Innocence collides with experiences in this biting comedy… Four aspiring novelists sign up for private writing classes with an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored.

By Theresa Rebeck • Directed by Julia Listengarten
Main Stage • Rated R

Tickets:

Adults $20, Seniors $18, Students $10

Orlando remains united on the one-year mark of its most difficult time

By : Billy Manes and Sophia Mackrives
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In accordance with grief and tradition, Central Florida will be honoring the 49 lost at Pulse on June 12, 2016, with numerous events spanning more than a week.

This is by no means a complete guide to the memorials that will be going on – new ones appear daily – but this is a fairly broad guide for what it is you might want to do to reflect on that horrific day nearly one year ago. Likewise, we’re looking forward while looking back. If you visit actlovegive.org – Orlando United’s Day of Acts of Love and Kindness, a combined initiative between the county, the city, Pulse and other organizations – you will find plenty of ways to help in the ongoing cycle of trauma: volunteering, storytelling and donating. This is the part where you come in.

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Former Miss America champion Ericka Dunlap takes a walk on the political side

By : Billy Manes
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ORLANDO – Ericka Dunlap has been everywhere. The ubiquitous beauty queen has followed the trails of her 2004 crowning as Miss America with numerous service projects, making her name as a supporter for the rights of those with less, and doing so with grace. She’s also hilarious, but you’re not supposed to know that. This year, Dunlap will face off against Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill in November. And though Hill has been dogged by bad press and a series of unfortunate events, Dunlap isn’t trading in the base of political gamesmanship. She’s just continuing her philanthropy in the best way she knows how: at home.

“I have been a resident of District 5 all of my life, and honestly I have always wanted to positively impact the people. That’s the reason why I think people should give pageants credit: for what they can do, which allows a young lady to represent her area, but also to bring life to what you can do,” she says.

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LGBTQ students raise awareness through UCF pageants

By : Anna M. Johnson
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ORLANDO – Haley Zilberberg and Stanley Swindling are two University of Central Florida students that identify as lesbian and gay, respectively. They’re also two UCF students that competed in the Mr. and Miss UCF Scholarship pageant Feb. 3 and 4. Swindling won first runner up and fan favorite and Zilberberg won best talent.

This pageant was the two college seniors’ first ever. They both rehearsed for over four months to compete in the shows, with no guarantee of any prizes.

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