Come Out With Pride announces its week-long schedule of events for Pride 2018

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced its schedule of events at its 2018 Big Reveal at Tin Roof Orlando July 30. COWP will extend its official events from the traditional three-day weekend to a full week of events.

COWP’s week-long series of events will take place throughout Orlando Oct. 8-14. Several community leaders took the stage at the Big Reveal to make the announcements.

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The Center Orlando to bring LGBTQ children’s books to the community

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | The LGBT+ Center Orlando is expanding again, and this expansion is bringing in something for the kids.

George Wallace, The Center’s executive director, says the new expansion will include a children’s library complete with LGBTQ children’s books and youth novels. A children’s library will be added into the new Center coming to Kissimmee as well.

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“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” heads to the Cocoa Village Playhouse to benefit the Zebra Coalition

By : Colton Adkins
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For a special two-night event, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” will be showing at the Cocoa Village Playhouse outside of their normal show season. The punk-rock show is centered on Hedwig, a woman who “is out to set the record straight about her life, her loves and the botched operation that left her with that ‘angry inch.’”

Benjamin Cox, a 41-year-old marketing artist at the Cocoa Village Playhouse, not only stars as the titular character but also directs and co-produces the special engagement. “This has been kind of a passion project of mine since the late ‘90s when I saw the movie and found out that it was a stage play originally,” remembers Cox.

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Central Florida Overheard: Who run the world?

By : anonymous
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ABOVE: President of the Barber Fund and owner of The Venue, Blue Star.

Orlando Magazine has named its Women of the Year in Central Florida and a couple of familiar names popped up on that list. “They are educators, mentors, counselors, fund-raisers, business owners and managers of organizations that help those in need. But most of all they are leaders, who step forward to help keep our community strong,” says Orlando Magazine of its 23 individual selections.

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06.14.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As you are reading this it has been a few days since the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, but because of how deadlines and press days fall, I am writing this the day before the June 12 date.

June 12 carries a weird energy with me now. For those who don’t know, I share my birthday with the same day that a disturbed individual decided to take 49 lives at Pulse. Last year at the one-year mark, while attending memorials and vigils, I was receiving notifications of Happy Birthday and messages wishing me a fun and happy day all while grieving with my community and consoling friends.

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Local filmmaker to hold sneak peek of religious LGBTQ film ‘At the End of the Day’ in Lakeland

By : Jeremy Williams
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LAKELAND, Fla. | Kevin O’Brien, a local-area filmmaker, announced that he will hold a special sneak peek of his first feature-length film “At the End of the Day” at the historic Polk Theatre in Lakeland May 18.

“At the End of the Day” is a dramatic comedy that explores the tensions between the evangelical church and the LGBTQ community. Dave Hopper, played by Stephen Shane Martin, is a conservative professor at a Christian college who goes undercover in a gay support group to try and stop them from launching an LGBTQ homeless youth shelter in his small town.

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Central Florida Overheard: A film for “family”

By : anonymous
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“Love, Simon,” which opened in theaters March 16, is a teen dramedy about a high school kid named Simon coming to terms with being gay after starting an email conversation with another closeted gay teen from his school. The film is based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. It is also the first major studio release of a film that focuses on a teen gay romance, which is why celebrities across the country have been buying out screenings of the film and giving away tickets to anyone, particularly young LGBTQers, who want to see it.

Local celeb Sacha Kljestan, a midfielder for the Orlando City Soccer Club, and his wife bought out a screening at the Regal Winter Park Village for March 29 and packed the theater with kids from the Zebra Coalition. “The movie spreads the message of tolerance, acceptance and equality. We were inspired by other people who did this, so we just want to pay it forward and help spread the love to the people of Orlando,” Kljestan wrote on his Twitter. Kljestan is now a part of an impressive list of celebrities including Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer and Kristen Bell who are spreading the word of love and acceptance through this amazing film.

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Zebra Coalition

By : Jeremy Williams
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CENTRAL FLORIDA’S MOST EFFECTIVE LOCAL LGBTQ ORGANIZATION

Zebra Coalition embodies every bit of their 2018 WAVE Award title as the most effective local LGBTQ organization. They have a very simple and direct mission—support and inspire LGBTQ+ youth—and they have been very effective in doing so.

“It’s such an important mission,” says Heather Wilkie, Zebra’s Executive Director. “We serve LGBTQ+ youth here. We provide housing services, mental health counseling support and really wrap-around all-around services for the youth here in Central Florida. I think it’s a critical service and clearly the community agrees.”

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2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – CENTRAL FLORIDA

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner – District 4

Second: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Third: Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida House Representative – District 49

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Second: Anna Eskamani, Florida House candidate – District 47

Third: Darren Soto, U.S. House of Representatives – Florida’s 9th District

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2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Rock Hard Fitness

By : Jeremy Williams
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CENTRAL FLORIDA’S FAVORITE FITNESS CENTER

Let’s be honest, most people hate working out. Sure there are those friends of ours who love to feel the burn and can’t wait to tell you that it’s leg day, but for the average person gym time is the most dreaded time of the day.

Within the LGBTQ community, that dread may have as much to do with the environment as it does with actually having to sweat and lift heavy objects. The folks at Rock Hard Fitness know this.

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HRC hosts 5th annual Time to THRIVE conference on LGBTQ youth in Orlando

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Betty DeGeneres (L) and Zebra Coalition’s Robin Daily attending HRC’s fifth annual Time to THRIVE conference in Orlando. Photo courtesy Robin Daily.

ORLANDO | The Human Rights Campaign, in partnership with the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association, flocked to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Feb. 16-18 for the fifth annual Time to THRIVE conference which promotes safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth.

This year’s conference was attended by more than 800 youth-serving professionals including teachers, school counselors, administrators, social workers, mental health providers, pediatricians, religious leaders, recreational athletic coaches and youth development staff.

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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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