3.4.10 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotIt seems like all we talk about these days is marriage.

The minute we get the right to marry in a state voters in that state decide to overturn that right. Other states say we can’t get married within their borders, but their governments will recognize same-sex unions legalized in other states.

My frustrations with marriage inequality turned into confusion while pulling together this Marriage issue of Watermark. Keeping the legalities of it all straight—no pun intended—can really give your mind a workout. And laws surrounding the controversial subject of two men or two women marrying seem to change daily.

As the editor of a large, regional LGBT newspaper, I constantly find myself immersed in LGBT news, events and gatherings. That’s not a complaint, although there are times we need to take a step out of the rainbow spotlight to see things from a different perspective.

Sometimes my bubble of gayness becomes so commonplace that I forget about the motivations behind the deep-rooted views of those who oppose us.

In February, my husband and I visited my family and my in-laws. Both families are full of conservative Focus On The Family-following people whose feelings against same-sex marriage are just as strong as my feelings for it. While there were a few awkward moments, the trip went very well. My parents have yet to totally accept our relationship, but they did allow us into their home for several meals and extended conversations. We opted to stay with a friend and took the comfortable dinners as a major step forward in our relationship with my folks. My sister, however, did not visit with us, despite my two young nieces pleading with her to see me, their only uncle on our side of the family.

While visiting my in-laws, my husband and I shared a bed and acted completely as ourselves. It gave me hope that if this family, which at one time completely opposed homosexuality, could come around to accept their son and his partner, families everywhere could do the same.

When we returned home, my partner’s brother-in-law was unhappy to learn that while he was out of town, I visited his three children, who are 12 to 26 and who happen to call me “Uncle Steve.” He informed us that while my partner will always be an uncle to his children, I never will be.

At first that comment stung, but then I realized this poor guy was judging me based on what he had seen on television and one three-minute meeting with me two years ago. He, like so many Americans, needs a reality check.

In order to truly win the fight for marriage equality, we have to be true to ourselves and to our families. Too many people are opposed to LGBTs because they don’t know any. I find that truly hard to believe. The reason people say they don’t know any LGBTs is because we don’t tell them we’re nearby.

I’m committed to changing my brother-in-law’s mind, and the minds of those who think like him.
And constantly talking about marriage equality is the only way to make that change a reality.

In February, producers for Dennis Talk Revolution invited me to be a guest on the new LGBT-themed show, the format of which is similar to The Tonight Show. When I walked into the non-descript building on Fifth Avenue South in St. Petersburg. I was pleasantly surprised. A familiar face greeted me and led me inside to a newly renovated studio with seating for more than 70 people and a decorated stage complete with knick-knacks, a desk, a coffee table and two chairs. This was indeed a real talk show.

My role was to sit down and chat with host Dennis Esposito about LGBT life in Florida and, of course, Watermark’s role in covering our community. Producers hope this one-of-a-kind show gets picked up by a major network or at least makes it into mainstream syndication later this year.

Granted, Dennis Talk Revolution hasn’t officially played on any television stations yet, but the potential for it to do so is very real. If you live in Tampa Bay or are visiting over the weekend, I encourage you to check out DennisTV.com to get free tickets. It’s a taste of Hollywood right here in our own back yard.

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