Being the LGBTQ news source in Central Florida and Tampa Bay for almost 30 years, we know that there is no shortage of remarkable people in the community who are doing remarkable things all the time. What proves to be a difficult task for us here at Watermark every year is trying to whittle down the list of remarkable people who do remarkable things to just 20 individuals for our annual Remarkable People Issue.
After much discussion, we managed to get that list down to the 20 we needed — 10 in Central Florida and 10 in Tampa Bay — and what a list it is. It is filled with nonprofit leaders, politicians, entertainers, artists, athletes, hard workers, do-gooders and heroes who stand up for, love and honor our LGBTQ community.
For each remarkable person, we asked someone in the community who knows them to write a profile expressing why they feel the person is remarkable and present those in the Remarkable People Issue, which is still on newsstands. Unfortunately the printed page can only hold so many words and when you are asking someone to explain why an individual is so remarkable, the reasons can exceed all word counts. Fortunately the internet is a page that goes on forever, so here we present to you Watermark’s 20 Remarkable People of 2021 and the full profiles written for each. If you would like to find a print issue while it is still out, you can check out our distribution map here.
Congratulations to each of you for helping to take 2021 into a remarkable place.
Andrés Acosta Ardila, Contigo Fund community relations manager/Maven Leadership Collective program manager, written by Marco Antonio Quiroga, Contigo Fund executive director
Shea Cutliff, One Orlando Alliance board member/The R.I.S.E. Initiative founder, written by Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet, OOA board chair
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, written by Earl Crittenden, Jr., National Pulse Memorial board of trustees chair
Thor Falk, Winter Park PRIDE Project founder, written by Kellie Parkin, The Pride Chamber executive director
Ginger Minj, Orlando-based drag icon and entertainer, written by CeeJay Russell, TV Land production manager and Minj’s husband
Kim Murphy, Central Florida muralist, written by Andrés Acosta Ardila, Contigo Fund community relations manager/Maven Leadership Collective program manager
Tatiana Quiroga, Come Out With Pride executive director, written by Maia Monet, COWP communications director
State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, written by Ida V. Eskamani, Former Chief of Staff to Rep. Smith
State Sen. Linda Stewart, written by Eric Rollings, LGBTQ activist and environmentalist
Jen Vargas, Florida’s FilmSlam host and programmer, written by Jay De Los Santos, Florida’s FilmSlam co-programmer
David Foote, Grand Central District Association executive director, written by Carolyn Gambuti, Historic Kenwood news editor
Trevor James, PFLAG Tampa president, written by Nancy Desmond, PFLAG Tampa founder
Morgan Le Shade, Tampa Bay photographer, written by Aaron Arbo, his partner
Jordan Letschert, Project Pride president, written by Katie McCurry, Project Pride co-founder
Monica Sereda, Team USA Paralympic cyclist, written by Samantha Winterberg, Sereda’s partner
Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, American Stage producing artistic director, written by Anastasia C. Hiotis, American Stage board chair
Jay Miah, Tampa Bay entertainer, written by Laura Hartman, entrepreneur
Faith Moeller, PFLAG Riverview president, written by Cindi Grace Miller, Cindi Grace Inc. CEO
Priya Rajkumar, Metro Inclusive Health chief operating & programs officer, written by Brian Bailey, Metro Inclusive Health chief marketing & experience officer
Mickey Stone, ALSO Youth executive director, written by Mary Tavarozzi, ALSO Youth board president