LGBTQ youth to connect, be educated at Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Lora Korpar
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ABOVE: City of Orlando’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Senior Specialist Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez gives a speech at last year’s Orlando Youth Summit. (Photo by Melanie Ararat)

ORLANDO | The City of Orlando, Zebra Coalition and LGBTQ organizations across Central Florida will be celebrating and educating LGBTQ youth with the upcoming Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit.

The fifth annual summit will take place at Valencia College’s West Campus on Oct. 19 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is free of charge.

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Local LGBTQ leaders to gather at Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit

By : Christen Kelley
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ORLANDO | LGBTQ youth, organizations and allies will engage in a full day of interactive workshops at the fifth annual Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit, or OYES, at Valencia College’s West Campus in Orlando Nov. 3.

The free event is presented by the City of Orlando with one goal in mind—to empower LGBTQ youth. Guests can attend a variety of workshops dedicated to a range of topics such as career building, poetry, healthy relationships and LGBTQ history.

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The Last Page with Central Florida Bureau Chief Jeremy Williams

By : Rick Claggett
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Jeremy is Watermark’s consummate journalist, but it didn’t start out that way. Jeremy was a journalism major at Valencia College in 2013 when he saw Watermark was hiring a sales rep.

As an avid reader of the paper, Jeremy applied to get his foot in the door. He pitched the idea of being a part-time employee/part-time student. Unfortunately the demands of the sales position didn’t allow for that structure so we let Jeremy know he could reapply when he finished school. Within a week Jeremy had put his classes on hold to follow his heart.

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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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Central Florida actor Joshua Roth takes on the titular character in the Footlight Theatre’s production of ‘Jeffrey’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Most people, when trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, have that go-to person they talk it out with: a parent, a best friend, maybe a guidance counselor. For Central Florida actor Joshua Roth that person was a bit more removed than that.

“I went to New York with some friends and had a really amazing conversation with this random woman on the subway for like an hour,” Roth recalls. “This woman just came into my life at the right time and she asked me what I love, and I told her that I love singing and dancing and she asked me ‘then why aren’t you doing it?’”

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Orlando’s Overheard: Pro Bowl, scholarship and Spirits

By : Anonymous
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Label Makers

The NFL Pro Bowl came and conquered Orlando back in January. Football fans from all over flocked to Camping World Stadium to tailgate and watch the games. Places like Stonewall and Parliament House, which is are a short hop, skip and a jump from the stadium saw many pre-gaming at their bars.

Despite the misconception that gays and sports don’t necessarily mix, that wasn’t the case for the Pro Bowl. Especially for local real estate agents Kase Elders and Jeremy Conner who attended the game and now have become the subject of the Ad Council and NFL’s “Love Has No Labels” campaign which feature the two friends kissing. At the forty second mark of the video, the Kiss-Cam makes its way around the stadium and it focuses on Jeremy Conner and a young lady to his side (Kase’s hand resting on Jeremy’s knee); the camera has a heart image framing Jeremy and the young lady. At that point, Kase turns to Jeremy and the two go in for a big kiss, Kase placing his hand on Jeremy’s neck and the stadium goes wild for this touchdown!

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Transgender Day of Remembrance at Valencia

By : Jamie Hyman
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For the third year in a row, Valencia College hosts an event to honor Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 20.

Attendees took in table presentations, student performances, guest speakers from the LGBT community, Q & A session and a candlelight vigil.

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LGBT Opera Under the Rainbow has its world premier at Valencia College

By : Susan Clary
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Orlando – Valencia College Professor Alan Gerber didn’t have to struggle with a disapproving mother who hid behind conservative values and church teachings. So, he avoided the heartache of growing up gay and misunderstood.

But he knew the narrative all too well. It was the story of his partner of 22 years Mark Romig, and many other friends and colleagues. As a singer and musician, Gerber felt compelled to share this LGBT experience.

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