Watermark giveaway: Win a pair of tickets to Next Fall!

By : Jamie Hyman
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Watermark is giving away a pair of tickets to the closing night of Next Fall at the Orlando Museum of Art.

The show’s final night is August 9. Find out how to win after the jump: 

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Florida man charged in death of transgender woman

By : Wire Report
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Fort Myers, Fla. (AP) – Police reports in southwest Florida indicate a man accused in the slaying of a transgender woman may have been angry she outed him on Facebook.

The News-Press of Fort Myers reports police arrested 45-year-old Terry Lynn Brady on Tuesday. Officers say Brady shot 31-year-old Yaz’min Shancez, then lit her on fire and left her to die behind a store on June 19.

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Broward judge to consider Fla. same-sex marriage ban

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Lake Worth, Fla. – Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen might be the third judge in Florida to rule the 2008 ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, but this time it stems from a divorce.

Heather Brassner wishes to dissolve her previous civil union to Megan Lade, who cheated on her and left her four years ago. Brassner and Lade divided up their belongings and separated, but Brassner is still locked into a civil union. Brassner wishes to be granted a divorce so she can seek a civil union with her current girlfriend, Jennifer.

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South Carolina same-sex couples ask for marriage licenses

By : Wire Report
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) – Six same-sex couples are going to ask the Greenville County Probate Court for marriage licenses.

The couples expect to be turned down July 30 morning because South Carolina’s ban on gay marriage still stands.

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Why Marriage Matters Ohio campaign releases TV ad

By : Wire Report
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A group supporting gay marriage in Ohio is airing its first television ad as a federal appeals court prepares to hear oral arguments on the issue.

The ad from the Why Marriage Matters Ohio campaign features a gay couple from the state who married last October in New York after 50 years together. The two men discuss their long-term relationship in the 30-second spot released July 30.

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Activists want gay rights on Africa summit agenda

By : Wire Report
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Human rights and gay rights activists on July 29 urged President Barack Obama to ensure that the issue of anti-gay discrimination in Africa is on the agenda at next week’s summit in Washington with more than 40 African leaders.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization, and Human Rights First, which advocates aggressive U.S. stances on human rights issues abroad, issued a statement depicting the summit as a “once-in-a-generation moment” to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Africans.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Mark your calendars for Tampa Pride!

By : Anonymous
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Tampa Pride set for March in Ybor
A version of Tampa Pride is returning to Hillsborough County in 2015! According to Carrie West of MC Film in Ybor City, Tampa Pride will happen on March 28, 2015, along 7th Avenue in Ybor City. The street festival will incorporate a parade along the historic roadway during the afternoon, which gives local bartenders and entertainers time to rest up from the previous night’s activities. Details aren’t finalized just yet, but West was excited to share the news with Watermark during the July 19 NeighBearHood Takeover party at The Social in Ybor City. Expect a lot of details to start hitting the media and soon, ways to register floats and vendor booths will be available online. We’ll keep you posted!

Speedos and bras
While we are still definitely in the dog days of summer (where’s the A/C?), it’s never too early to think about the holidays or, more specifically, fundraising programs over the cooler months. Jay Aller, outreach coordinator for the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, announced July 27 that this year’s Santa Speedo Run is set to return to Ybor City Dec. 14, and will incorporate Mrs. Claus in Bras. The newly expanded title of the one-mile run, Santa Speedo Run and Mrs. Claus in Bras, will hopefully increase female participation in the fundraiser. Last year, more than 150 people turned out for the run, which begins and ends in Centennial Park in Ybor City. Aller also announced the identity of of this year’s chairperson of the event—Watermark editor Steve Blanchard.

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Overheard in Orlando: Cloudy with a chance of ‘Twerkin’ in the Rain’

By : Anonymous
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Todrick Hall twerks his way on stage
YouTube sensation, singer and entertainer Todrick Hall had the crowd twerking with him as he performed at Hard Rock Live for his Twerk Du Soleil tour on July 18. The American Idol season 9 alum has also appeared on Broadway and worked as Beyonce’s choreographer. What he’s best known for today, however, are his Disney-themed parodies on YouTube and target flash mobs. Hall brought those videos to life on stage with “Beauty and the Beat,” in which Belle gets her hair done in the hood, and “Once Upon a Grime,” with his Judge Judy impersonation as Disney characters appear in court. Of course his big hit, “Twerking in the Rain,” was the big crowd-pleaser.

Sayonara Sassy
P-House show girl Sassy Devine will say farewell Aug. 9. Sassy has been a cast member of the Footlight Theater for the last 8 years and has certainly left a mark as one of Orlando’s sexiest and most genuine performers. Sassy may now focus on her true passion: art and interior design. Aside from her on-stage persona, she’s also known in the community as an accomplished artist with several local art shows under her belt. Sassy is leaving on extremely good terms with the world famous LGBT resort and has been advised by the owners that she’s more than welcome to return anytime.

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7.31.14 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_137x185Embracing marriage equality isn’t always easy. After years of hearing how awful we gay people are, it’s difficult for some to embrace shifting attitudes and accept, even respect, same-sex couples.

It can be done, and without infringing upon a person’s religious or personal beliefs. Call it evolution, call it common sense. But there is a right way and a wrong way.

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Charlie Crist would sign LGBT protections order first day in office

By : Wire Report
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St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP) – Former Gov. Charlie Crist says he will sign five executive orders on his first day back in office if he’s elected in November.

Crist made the announcement July 29. He said he would order agencies under his control to require that contractors pay employees at least $10.10 an hour.

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Sending a mixed signal: Statement from Orange Mayor sparks debate

By : Tom Dyer
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Orlando – In late July, same-sex marriage was advanced by two South Florida circuit courts. But the debate made an unexpected stop in Orange County Commission chambers.

Responding to queries from activists and the media, a majority of commissioners endorsed marriage equality.

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Guest column: Blood on a Beach

By : Richard Rosendall
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Richard Rosendall

Richard Rosendall

“It’s terrible,” my lover Patrick says by phone from Brussels about anti-Israeli demonstrators holding signs that say, “Hitler was right.” As a native of Congo, he is familiar with war. He knows that peace is not served by fomenting hatred.

The latest outbreak of war in Gaza gained plenty of steam from maneuverings by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but Hamas was all too eager to accommodate him. Netanyahu has made it clear he has no intention of giving up the West Bank. Hamas, meanwhile, wants to wipe the Jews from the map. Caught up in this are innocent children on both sides, though Israeli children are far safer thanks to Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

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