Watermark’s Remarkable People of 2023

Toward the end of each year, Watermark highlights local, unsung heroes who have gone above and beyond to show with action just how remarkable they are.

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, so it can prove to be a difficult task.

After much discussion, we managed to get that list down to the 10 we needed — 5 in Central Florida and 5 in Tampa Bay — and what a list it is. It is filled with local leaders, politicians, entertainers, artists and more; 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. You can read more about each individual below. If you would like to find a print issue while it is still available, you can check out our distribution map here. The issue is available until Dec. 20.

Congratulations to each of this year’s honorees for a truly remarkable 2023.


Darcel Stevens, Central Florida drag performer and Harmony Healthcare’s Marketing & Outreach Coordinator

Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner, District 4

Shea Cutliff and Robin Daily, Come Out With Pride’s Trans and Non-Binary Task Force Directors

Former Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida Senate candidate, District 17

John Paonessa and Mike Rogier, owners of Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando


Dustin and Daniel Johnson, Remarkable Fathers

Rachel Covello, OutCoast Publisher and FLOCC Founder

Jason Champion, Project Pride President

Alan Clendenin, Tampa City Council, District 1

Angelique Young, activist and entertainer

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