Growing up there were a lot of things I wanted to do with my life. I remember my mom telling me stories about when I was a kid telling her I was going to be the President of the United States. Well that didn’t happen, and at this point I don’t think I would want that office.

I developed a passion for writing not long after that. When I was a young teen that passion for writing turned into a passion for journalism after I saw the movie “All The President’s Men” on HBO. If I couldn’t be President, maybe I could be one of the guys who brought one down.

One thing I was certain I would be when I grew up was a parent. I have many nieces and nephews who I enjoyed watching grow from small, drooling piles of neediness to independent, talented little adults. Nothing in this world makes you feel prouder, or closer to death, than being there when a person comes into this world and then — in what feels like the blink of an eye — seeing them drive a car, graduate high school and join the workforce.

I am not a dad yet, but that’s ok. As I have gotten older I have realized I not only love being able to help mold young minds, but I also like being able to give them back when I need some me time. With the help of Watermark, I am able to be a father figure to groups of University of Central Florida journalism interns.

My predecessor, Jamie Hyman, created Watermark’s internship program with UCF several years ago and I have carried it on, helping to birth new baby journalists into the world. This semester we have four bright-eyed, bushy-tailed reporters scurrying about Central Florida to bring you the LGBTQ headlines, so I thought I would introduce you all to them.

Colton Adkins is a fantastic writer who loves fashion and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

“This has been my first Pride month going out,” he told me. “My favorite memories this month were seeing Alaska, Aquaria, the Vixen and Miz Cracker with my boyfriend at Parliament House for Gay Days.”

Jeremy Brener is the “Sporty Spice” of our little intern group, so please direct all sports-related questions to him. Also, because he is such a good intern, I am now pulling for Argentina in the World Cup.

Like many of us, Jeremy struggled with being gay, but this Pride month helped solidify that coming out was the best decision he could have made.

“A friend of mine that I met during Pride said something that put everything in perspective. He said, ‘Who knew that what you once hated most about yourself could be the one thing that would eventually bring you the most love,’” Jeremy says.

Layla Ferris is my Lois Lane-in-training. She is eager to prove herself and isn’t afraid to go get a story or let the boss know when he got something wrong (in a professional manner, of course). She keeps me on my toes and is already a damn fine journalist.

“I love having the opportunity to meet new people and be trusted to tell their stories in an honest and engaging way,” Layla says on why she wants to be a journalist.

Kathy Ruiz already has a jump on the competition, even before starting her internship. Kathy started QCF, UCF’s LGBTQ magazine under the Pride Student Association.

“There was no cohesive place for UCF’s queer community to find LGBTQ resources and events on campus,” Kathy says. “So since there wasn’t anything like it yet I decided to do it.”

These kids make me a proud papa every day and have already made a difference here in the community. I can’t wait to see what else they do.

Speaking of proud parents, in this issue we look at drag families in Central Florida and Tampa Bay in our in-depth section. In Arts & Entertainment, Scottie Campbell speaks with author Sally Kohn about her new book and Gregg Shapiro has a one-on-one with Erasure vocalist Andy Bell. In Central Florida news, Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf calls out Disney’s support of Adam Putnam. In Tampa Bay news, AIDS Healthcare Foundation opens a new health center in St. Pete.

Share this story: