12.13.2018 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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It’s here! That magical time of the year, kiddos—where the holidays are upon us and most people have a little more pep in their step and cheer in their voice.

It’s also that time of year when everyone is doing up lists. Santa has a list of nice and naughty children. Entertainment critics have lists of the year’s best films, shows and songs. Everyone has their list of all the personal changes they hope to make stick in 2019, me included. May the odds be ever in our favor.

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12.13.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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It occurred to me as I began to write this column that it would be my last in the year it began, 2018. It’s been a year I’ll never forget for a number of reasons, “chief” among them that I celebrated one year on Watermark’s staff Dec. 11.

My first column highlighted how writing full-time had always been my lifelong dream, something I’ve reiterated ad nauseam, but I’m still thankful that I get to do it and that I get to do it here. I’m very grateful for the family I’ve made at Watermark, for our readers and for our advertisers who make all of this possible. The stories of our ever-expanding LGBTQ community matter and have to be told.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Angie Folks and Lindsay Khanna

By : Aaron Drake
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Angie Folks knew she would marry her wife, Lindsay Khanna, after a trip the couple took to St. Augustine.

“We took a long weekend trip to St. Augustine, inadvertently around Valentine’s Day,” Folks tells. “We had some bad luck with our accommodations but rolled with it and still had the best time. I think we both knew then that we had something really special. About 18 months later, we got engaged.”

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LGBTI migrants in Tijuana ‘seek opportunity to live’

By : Yariel Valdés González OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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TIJUANA, Mexico| Melani Sofía Rosales Quiñones, a transgender woman from Guatemala City, was on her way home one night in July 2017 when she saw a group of homophobes waiting for her. She said good evening to them and that alone provoked an atrocious attack.

“They hit me with bats and sticks,” Melani now recalls. “They broke my jaw and left jaw bone. I was in a coma in the hospital for three days and 15 days later I had surgery to reconstruct my face. They put in plates and screws. It took me four months to recover.”

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Nick Cannon sees irony in the way Oscars handled Kevin Hart

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) | Nick Cannon isn’t just defending his friend and fellow comedian Kevin Hart over the Oscars hosting controversy. He’s also going after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself.

Cannon was one of many cheering the decision to appoint Hart as host of the Feb. 24 telecast but then with dismay watched as his friend voluntarily stepped down following an outcry over past homophobic tweets. Hart contended he’d already addressed those tweets and they no longer represented his views.

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Murder charge filed in death of transgender woman

By : wire report
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DETROIT (AP) | Authorities say the transgender status of a woman played a role in her fatal shooting in Detroit.

Albert Weathers of Sterling Heights was charged Monday with murder in the death of Kelly Stough, who was found dead on a Detroit street Dec. 7.

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Rep. Kennedy leads trans rights meeting as House Dems prepare for majority

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Ahead of Democrats assuming control of the U.S. House in the next Congress, the Congressional Transgender Task Force led by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) held a meeting on Capitol Hill on Dec. 12 with transgender rights supporters to outline priorities amid continuing anti-LGBT policies from the Trump administration.

The meeting was closed to the public, but Kennedy and other participants held a conference call immediately after the discussion to highlight key points, including oversight of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies and advancement in the House of the Equality Act, legislation that would bar discrimination against LGBT people.

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A modest Jared Polis prepares to govern

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Outgoing Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) claimed a significant victory for the LGBT community on Election Day by becoming the first openly gay person elected governor in the United States.

Today, he remains focused on the work ahead — and decidedly modest about his LGBT milestone.

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Florida Department of Health in Orange, Seminole to offer free hepatitis A vaccinations

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Florida Department of Health in Orange (DOH-Orange) and Seminole (DOH-Seminole) Counties announced they will offer free hepatitis A vaccinations to high-risk individuals, according to a press release Dec. 12.

Men who have sexual encounters with other men are among the list of high-risk groups, according to the DOH. Other groups include users of recreational drugs, those who are homeless, anyone with chronic or long-term liver disease and people with clotting-factor disorders.

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Southern Nights Orlando to host holiday benefit for The Trevor Project

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Southern Nights Orlando hosts the 11th annual Broadway Christmas cabaret, presented by Kai’ja Adonis and Jose Marrero and benefiting The Trevor Project, Dec. 20.

Adonis and Marrero began Broadway Christmas in the mid-2000s after they lost a friend to suicide.

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Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray apologizes for old anti-gay tweets

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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University of Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray has issued an apology for old homophobic tweets he posted when he was 14 and 15 years old.

Murray, now 21, received the Heisman Trophy on Saturday after helping his team win a 12-1 record. Hours after Murray was honored with the award, his old homophobic tweets began to circulate. The tweets were posted between 2011-2012 and included the words “queer” or “queers.” Most of the tweets have since been deleted.

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