Central Florida remembers the people and places we lost in 2019

By : Jeremy Williams
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There was a lot to celebrate in 2019. But even with the amazing people, places and organizations of the last year, we still had a few tearful moments as we lost some special people in the community and said goodbye to a few safe spaces for LGBTQ individuals.

That’s why, as we queried about your favorites in the local LGBTQ community, we also asked you to tell us some of the people and places you will miss the most.

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2019 was a year for the LGBTQ record books

By : Jeremy Williams & Ryan Williams-Jent
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Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Of course not! That’s why after a historical 365 days, Watermark has assembled our annual year in review.

2019 was a landmark year for us here at Watermark. In August, we proudly celebrated 25 years of serving Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s ever-expanding LGBTQ communities.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Carlos Guillermo Smith and Jerick Mediavilla

By : Marianella Falbo
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“When we met and we first started flirting, in my mind I couldn’t accept that someone so sweet, so kind, and so handsome would actually take an interest in me that had NOTHING to do with politics,” says Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

Carlos met Jerick Mediavilla at The Venue in Orlando during an event supporting the Latinx community impacted by the Pulse shooting in 2016.

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Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Jerick Mediavilla tie the knot in ceremony at The Venue Orlando

By : Jeremy Williams
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Love is love, and it was definitely in the air in Orlando this past weekend!

Florida House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and LGBTQ activist Jerick Mediavilla were wed in a ceremony at The Venue in Orlando Aug. 4, exactly two years to the day and in the same location that they first met.

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OYA and Parliament House’s Easter tradition continues with Babes in Bonnets

By : Abigail Brashear
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ABOVE: A sample of the bonnets auctioned off at the 2018 Babes in Bonnets event. Photo by Tabitha Widby

ORLANDO | The Parliament House will once again host the Easter holiday auction Babes in Bonnets, which fund raises for the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA).

Each fundraiser over the past several years has continued to surpass the one before it, with last year’s auction bringing in a record $32,171. The fundraiser itself has been around for 21 years and was started by the legendary drag queen Carmella Marcella Garcia.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Central Florida: Blue Star

By : Jeremy Williams
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Share this story:

AGE: 44

HOMWTOWN: Marietta, Ga.

IDENTIFIES AS: “Me, just me.”

PRONOUNS: “Me.”

SIGN: Aquarius

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Come Out With Pride announces intent to host WorldPride during Pulse 10-year mark

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced in a press conference at The Venue Jan. 23 that they plan to bid to host WorldPride in Central Florida in 2026.

InterPride, an international organization that ties Pride together globally, brings WorldPride to major cities across the globe every two to six years. This year WorldPride will take place in New York City to coincide with the 50-year mark of the Stonewall riots. Several members from the COWP board will be in attendance at the event this June.

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Issue 26.02: What’s Up, Doc?

By : Jake Stevens
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We look at some LGBTQ-specific healthcare concerns you should bring up with your doctor, Orlando’s Blue Star begins the search for The Venue’s new home, anti-LGBTQ activists target Pasco County Schools, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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01.23.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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The beginning of a new year is a lot like me sitting down to write this column every other issue. As the day approaches I am filled with so many thoughts and ideas; and then, when it actually comes time to do it, I spend far too much time staring into the void trying to clear out the clutter.

That is why my first New Year’s resolution of 2019 is to be more organized. More organized with my thoughts, more organized with my ideas and more organized with my desk. The stacks of papers, magazines and toys (yes, I have toys on my desk) are a bit overwhelming.

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Blue Star begins the search for The Venue’s new home as Ivanhoe shopping complex nears completion

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Central Florida entertainer and local business owner Blue Star announced Jan. 21 that she is looking to relocate The Venue, a theater space in Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village, after more than six years at its current location at 511 Virginia Drive.

The Venue’s location was part of a multi-acre purchase by Colliers International in 2015. The area is the future site for The Yard at Ivanhoe—a 31,000 square feet living, dining and retail space expected to open in fall 2019.

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PHOTOS: Equality Florida Action PAC hosts fundraiser for State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Equality Florida Action PAC hosted State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith’s final re-election fundraiser before the Nov. 6 general election at The Venue in Orlando on Oct. 23.

Dozens of Central Florida voters listened as The Venue owner Blue Star and Smith’s partner Jerick Mediavilla spoke about the importance of voting for the self-professed “proud progressive, liberal, feminist, gay, Latinx, democrat.”

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PHOTOS: COWP and QLatinx screen international short film ‘MAR’ at Reel Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | A week of Pride continued on Oct. 10 when Come Out With Pride, in partnership with QLatinx, presented the inaugural Reel Pride at The Venue in Orlando.

Reel Pride screened the international LGBTQ short film “MAR (The Sea),” directed by Portuguese-Canadian filmmaker William Vitoria. Vitoria was on hand for the event and held a Q&A session after the audience watched his film.

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