The Last Page with Founder and Guiding Light Tom Dyer

By : Rick Claggett
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Founder Tom Dyer sold Watermark two years ago, but remains and will forever be the newspaper’s guiding light. His law office is next door, so we see him several times a day when he crosses the parking lot to raid our refrigerator and steal office supplies. Always the diplomat, he offers opinions when asked and reassurance when needed.

Tom first envisioned Watermark back in the spring of 1994. “I was in Atlanta having lunch at a restaurant in Virginia Highlands, where everyone seemed to be reading Southern Voice,” Tom recalls. “I started fantasizing about people sitting in cafes in Thornton Park reading Central Florida’s LGBT newspaper. The idea was so invigorating that I drove to Southern Voice’s offices and asked to meet its publishers. They loaded me down with all kinds of information, and for the next several months it was all I could think about.”

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Ladyfingers: Curing the V-Day Blues

By : Sabrina Ambra
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There is something to be said when a holiday is commercially manufactured to emit feelings of love and adoration, yet has the capability of garnering feelings of the complete opposite.

It’s quite remarkable, especially for something that is not technically a public holiday in any country. That’s right, folks. Valentine’s Day is upon us and that means the pressure is on. The levels and layers of standards and expectations will either make you dizzy or have you reaching for the bottle and/or a vibrator. I’d say the majority of my past Valentine’s Day celebrations have been spent feeling shitty about myself and scoffing at anyone and everyone who wasn’t self-loathing with me. Can you blame the bitter? We didn’t bring this upon ourselves! That’s like having no prior weightlifting experience and showing up to a CrossFit competition. I can’t even confirm that CrossFit competitions actually exist because I am that far away from a life of fitness regimes, especially branded ones.

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High Fidelity: Welcome to Buffalo, New York!

By : Miguel Fuller
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“Welcome to Buffalo, New York!!!”

That’s the phrase I heard for five days over my holiday break. This Southern boy, who was born in Atlanta and has lived the past 10 years of his life by the beach (in some form) in Florida, was spending Christmas in one of the coldest places in our union. Why was I so out of my comfort zone? I had gone to meet the parents, family and friends of my boyfriend. 

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Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will host Winter Olympics closing ceremony

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will help host NBC’s coverage of the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Sunday, according to Deadline.

Lipinski and Weir will be joined by NBC sportscaster Terry Gannon.

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The Bookworm Sez: ‘Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution’

By : Terri Schlichenmeyer
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It had to start somewhere. Someone had to make the first step, to pave the way, to stick a fork into the ground and say, “Here, now.” Someone had to be the first so that others could follow, and in the newly updated book Transgender History by Susan Stryker, you’ll see where we go next.

Opening a history book with a chapter on terms and words might seem odd but, says Susan Stryker, “remarkable changes” over the last decade demand it. Thus begins this book, with new language for what is an old lifestyle.

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Tampa Bay’s Vanessa Vanjie Mateo sashays onto RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay’s Vanessa Vanjie Mateo has sashayed her way onto the upcoming tenth season of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The upcoming season’s queens were “ruvealed” in a promo following the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 3 late Thursday, Feb. 22, as well as the show’s official Twitter account:

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Petition calls for separating LGBT materials in Iowa library

By : wire report
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ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — Residents in northwest Iowa are fighting over a petition that calls on the public library to separate material dealing with LGBTQ issues and to request public input before acquiring such material.

Some expressed support for the Orange City Public Library’s integration of LGBTQ materials at a library board meeting Tuesday, the Sioux City Journal reported .

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Mississippi town’s first Pride Parade denied; organizers consider legal action

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Starkville, Miss., home to Mississippi State University, rejects request for historic Pride Parade. Photo by Ted Eytan; courtesy Flickr.

LGBT group Starkville Pride is considering legal action after its request for the town’s first ever Pride Parade was denied.

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Melonie Diaz cast as lesbian sister in ‘Charmed’ reboot

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Melonie Diaz has been cast as the first magical sister in the “Charmed” CW reboot, according to Deadline.

Diaz, 33, will portray Mel, the middle sister and a witch whose power is time-freezing. Mel experiences a tragic accident that leaves her “angry” and “even violent” causing rifts with everyone around her. She is also a lesbian who is dating female Detective Soo Jin.

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Pence brags about ‘promises made and promises kept’ — and LGBT advocates agree

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday promises made by the administration are being kept after more than one year of President Trump in the White House. In terms of anti-LGBT commitments, LGBT rights supporters are agreeing with him.

In a speech before the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, Pence gave Trump high marks for staying true to commitments made on his campaign trail.

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No recommendation from Mattis yet on trans military service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Defense Secretary James Mattis is poised to make recommendations to the White House this week on transgender military service, although that hasn’t happened as of Wednesday afternoon despite a deadline of that day, a defense official said.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the Mattis recommendation is forthcoming, but not yet submitted.

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The 49 Fund is accepting applicants for second annual scholarship award

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Barry Miller (L) announces the first set of scholarship recipients at the Orlando City Hall Rotunda June 10, 2017 as City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Mayor Buddy Dyer look on. Photo by Jake Stevens.

ORLANDO | The 49 Fund announced that they are now accepting applications for its second annual scholarship awards.

The fund will award up to 10 local LGBTQ students with a $4,900 scholarship to help pay for college tuition.

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