A trans woman’s journey to activism

By : Alec Reynolds
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Would constant fear of harassment and assault motivate or defeat you? Would you turn inward, mentally tucking yourself away on the outskirts of society if you felt unloved and unappreciated in almost every instance of your life? If you felt that your mere existence made others feel uncomfortable, could you still love yourself?

These are the struggles faced by many transgender women of color in the United States and across the world every day. Transgender women of color are engulfed in fear of becoming the next statistic in the American transgender murder epidemic. Violent deaths in Dallas, Jacksonville, Kansas City and across the nation often instill a sense of perpetual panic.

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Hope & Help announces move to new facilities

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Hope & Help’s Re-Start group marches in the Orlando AIDS Walk at Lake Eola in 2018. (Photo by Jake Stevens)

ORLANDO | The Hope & Help Center of Central Florida will be moving to a new location in Winter Park, the health organization announced in a press release Aug. 28.

“Due to increased demand of HIV-related services, the company is relocating to a larger facility,” the release reads. The new facility is located at 4122 Metric Drive, #800 in Winter Park. Hope & Help moved into their previous facility at 707 Mendham Blvd. in Orlando two years ago.

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Block Advisers in Winter Park launch fundraising campaign with The Center Orlando

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The U.S. tax code is not an easy thing to understand and with all the changes that were implemented in 2018, the task of tax preparation may seem daunting—but have no fear, tax agent Rodney Willoughby and Block Advisors in Winter Park have you covered.

Along with easing your filing anxiety, Willoughby is helping give back to the LGBTQ community this tax season with a fundraising campaign through income tax preparation services H&R Block and Block Advisers which will benefit The LGBT+ Center of Central Florida. Here’s how it works: Come into Block Advisers at 2205 Aloma Ave. in Winter Park and let Willoughby help get your taxes prepared this year. While there, give him The Center’s special 14-digit code (400-1000-109-9542) and the company will donate $20 to The Center. It’s that easy.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Steven Robert Mayer and Luis Oviedo Valverde

By : Aaron Drake
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Steven Robert Mayer and Luis Oviedo Valverde met through Facebook in December of 2017. The two met in person on New Year’s Day of this year in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

“After one month chatting by Facebook and video call,[Steven] drove 5 hours on New Year’s Eve into Hilton Head Island and arrived at 9 a.m.,” Oviedo shares. “It was a big surprise for me.”

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Winter Park’s inaugural “Weekend of the Arts” Celebration

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Rediscover arts and culture in Winter Park at the city’s first “Weekend of the Arts” Friday, February 16, thru Monday, February 19. Be inspired with extraordinary performances, unique exhibits, and exciting events at over 20 arts organizations throughout the city. Each day features a new and exciting cultural experience. #wpinspires

Central Florida Overheard: Hope & Help’s new home

By : Anonymous
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Now that they’re finally getting settled into their new digs, Hope & Help is having a house warming party and everyone’s invited.

We checked in with Joshua Meyers, the community director at Hope & Help, on what we can expect to see at the grand re-opening.

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Winter Park’s newest eatery The Glass Knife opens with an official cake cutting

By : Jeremy Williams
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WINTER PARK, Fla. | Winter Park’s newest gay-owned eatery The Glass Knife held its grand opening today, Nov. 10 at 7:00 a.m.

Founder and owner Steve Brown was joined by The Glass Knife’s executive chef Stuart Whitfield, leadership from the City of Winter Park and members of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce for the commemorative cake cutting and grand opening.

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Wedding Bells: Scott Stinson and Raul Salinas

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Wedding Bells 2319 137“On that first date, I kind of realized that this was probably something that I really wanted to pursue, so we kind of decided to see each other again,” Raul says. “We had a few dates after that, probably for two or three months, and we kept it very platonic and kind of started to get to know each other, which is probably one of the best things we’ve ever done, realizing we probably wanted to go further with the relationship. It was a courtship – it really was.”

Scott Stinson, who is a senior business analyst, and Raul Salinas, a hairstylist, met more than 27 years ago through a friend named Jerry, who cut Scott’s hair.

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Paddy’s grand opening

By : Jamie Hyman
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Paddy’s Gay Piano and Entertainment Lounge in Winter Park hosted a grand opening party all weekend Jan. 8 – 10, 2015.

In addition to full liquor and live piano and singing, Paddy’s offers a customer reward and loyalty program and each day, will support a charity or local cause. 

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Matthew Riha and Brian Smith

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Both originally from the Windy City, Matthew and Brian have known each other for 15 years. In 2009, they moved to Winter Park, met a new group of friends and finally decided to officially tie the knot.

“I think that both Brian and I have been very lucky to live in a space where we spent most of our lives and we’ve always felt accepted—by our family members, by our friends, by our co-workers and by our employers,” Matthew says.

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‘POZ’ founder to address the criminalization of HIV

By : Greg Stemm
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Winter Park – For people with HIV, a contentious relationship, a personal misunderstanding or even a minor infraction of the law can lead to a long jail sentence, public shaming and registration as a sex offender. HIV-specific criminal charges have been filed in the United States more than 1,000 times.

About two thirds of U.S. states, territories and possessions have HIV-specific criminal statutes or STD criminal statutes that have been used to prosecute people with HIV. But people with HIV are potentially subject to prosecution for non-disclosure, potential exposure or transmission in every jurisdiction under general criminal statutes. 

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Deanne Gabel welcomes guests to The Alfond Inn at Rollins College

By : Susan Clary
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Winter Park – As soon as Deanne Gabel graduated from high school in Oregon, she flew to Hawaii and took a job as a lifeguard at the Intercontinental Maui. She knew then that she wanted to work in hospitality. She was 19.

On Aug. 11, the career that has taken her from Seattle to Palm Springs to New York and all around the world, has led her to an unique and exciting resting place, The Alfond Inn at Rollins College.

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