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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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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In a year filled with many setbacks and obstacles, the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay have met those challenges with amazing resilience and resisted all forms of discrimination.

The individuals selected as Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017 come from many walks of life but all share one thing in common, they all were truly exceptional this year.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Robin Daily, Zebra Coalition Community Engagement Coordinator

By : Heather Wilke, Zebra Coalition Executive Director
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Heather Wilke

Robin Daily has been involved in work with Zebra Coalition since the organization opened a youth drop-in center in 2012. She was a dedicated volunteer for many years until April 2017 when she accepted a position as the Community Engagement Coordinator.

In this role, Robin is responsible for connecting with the community to raise awareness for the mission of Zebra Coalition, to inspire and support LGBTQ youth. Robin excels in this role through her passion for improving the lives of young people.

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Orlando Overheard: No Wonder, She’s Super Woman

By : Anonymous
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The Zebra Coalition’s Community Engagement Coordinator, Robin Daily was recently recognized as an Orlando Family Magazine’s Super Woman.

Orlando Family Magazine wrote: “Daily found her passion for helping others in 2004 when she started volunteering in the local community, and her passion continues to grow each year. She started with Zebra Coalition as a volunteer in 2012 and was hired in April as community engagement coordinator, where she is responsible for executing community outreach initiatives and raising awareness for the organization and the mission they serve.”

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Rock Hard Fitness worked out bodies and hearts raising funds for the Zebra Coalition

By : Jeremy Williams
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With Gay Days, Pride month and summer weather all just around the corner; Rock Hard Fitness had more than 30 attendees sweating for their beach bods all while helping out a good cause May 21.

Rock Hard Fitness’ “Sweat For a Cause” boot camp event pushed, pulled and squatted  the group to firmer abs and bigger hearts as they raised over $1,000 for the Zebra Coalition.

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A Night with Varla Jean Merman

By : Alex Storer
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Come see Varla Jean Merman in her award-winning, one-woman show for an ONE exclusive night of comedy and song to benefit The Zebra Coalition, presented by The Orlando Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

You’ve seen her on Project Runway, on stage in Provincetown, on the big screen in “Girls Will Be Girls,” and now she’s performing live in a special one night event at the Parliament House where ALL of the proceeds from the shows will go to charity.

$45 online VIP Tickets get priority reserved seating AND a photo op with Varla Jean Merman. ($50 at the door, if available).

$25 online General Admission is first come – first served seating as long as it lasts, and standing room after that ($30 at the door, if available).

ONE NIGHT – TWO SHOWS! – Pick one:
Early show – 7:00pm
Late show – 9:00pm

Orlando’s Overheard: Hate crime in Hollywood, Aloha Alauna and old school fundraising

By : Anonymous
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RPDR’s Trinity attacked!

In “Trump’s America,” it’s always a tough call when there’s an assault on anyone in the LGBTQ community to not assume it’s a hate crime, but this time in L.A., the hate seems pretty clear.

The incident was reported as a late night attack on March 16 in West Hollywood. The victims of this crime included photographer Jason King and RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 cast members Valentina and Orlando’s very own Trinity Taylor.

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Rights at stake, again: As Trump revokes federal protections, Orlando community advocates for trans youth

By : David Thomas Moran
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ORLANDO – Local leaders are rallying behind transgender youth in Central Florida in response to the Trump administration’s recent attacks on transgender rights. There’s already been an onslaught of Trump executive orders seeking to limit the rights of immigrants, Muslims, women, the poor and now transgender and gender nonconforming youth.

President Trump’s Feb. 22 executive order, rolling back Obama-era protections, leaves trans students across the country at the mercy of local school board politics yet again.The anti-LGBTQ policy has also effectively stalled the Gavin Grimm vs. Gloucester County School Board lawsuit – a highly-anticipated, transgender rights case that until recently was headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Pride skates in for a Zebra Coalition fundraiser

By : Danny Garcia
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Nostalgia rolled rampant at Semoran Skateway in Orlando Feb. 12 for Pride Skate.

The skating party was a fundraiser for the Zebra Coalition, and was a throwback to the days when everyone hung out at the weekly Gay Skate.

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Macbeth Studios to host “Local Love Night”

By : Billy Manes
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Up in the loft-like heights of Jim Hobart’s Macbeth Studios downtown, a wall is splashed in a cloud of rainbow colors. Interrupting the dizzying mélange is a large bit of white text. “Orlando Loves,” it reads. Local luminaries from consultant Kelly Cohen – who can flip her hair like Mariah Carey when goaded – to Ted Maines and Jeffrey Miller have been here to show their pride in the little city that could while Hobart skirts around the edges of focus to find just the right shot.

The reason? Hobart is, at heart, a philanthropic photographer. And on Feb. 2, Macbeth Studios will host a “Local Love Night” event to benefit the Zebra Coalition at CityArts Factory from 5-10 p.m. The networking and social party seeks to bring like-minded Orlandoans together with the organizations that need their support.

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Stripes: Zebra Coalition graduate and trans champion Eli Sellers makes us all proud

By : Alma J. Hill
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Temperatures are well below freezing as Eli Sellers braves tempest-like winds on his walk to class near his home in Chicago, Illinois. As a newly enlisted member of the United States Navy, he’s taking his first round military training classes at his assigned base, Naval Station Great Lakes.
Eli is a third generation military serviceman. His father and his grandfather both served in the U.S Army. His father is still actively serving in the Army. With a legacy such as this, you could safely assume that Eli is familiar with the ins and outs of life in the military: The constant relocation, the strain on family, all these are challenges he has had to navigate within his 20 years. Yet, the obstacles that Eli faces on his journey to becoming an officer of the Navy are unique; challenges that neither his father, nor his grandfather can help him navigate. They are both cisgender, straight men. Eli, however, was born a woman.

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Local leaders weigh in on the way we were and the way we will be

By : Billy Manes
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Dumbfounded. Knocked out. Afraid. Broken. These are just a few of the things that many of us are feeling in the wake of Donald Trump’s historic rise to presidential power on Nov. 8.

If you’re anything like us, you have a lot of questions. You may have even been harassed already. We reached out to some of our best and brightest for answers, options, hope. And they provided just that. We’re not done yet. And so we rise. Here are some words from our friends. Stay strong.

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