Jake Stevens defines a decade at Watermark

By : Rick Claggett
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img_9450-2016headshots_ppOrlando – February 8 marked the 10-year anniversary for Watermark’s art director, Jake Stevens.

Tom Dyer, Watermark’s founder and guiding light, remembers the day he met Stevens. “I’ll never forget Jake’s job interview. He radiated New England, down to the brown corduroy jacket. And he had this wonderful, ornery self-confidence. He wanted the job, and I could tell he would give it his all. That’s exactly what he’s done these past ten years, under four very different editors and two publishers,” said Dyer.

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Marginalized groups join forces to fight the Trump administration’s attacks on minorities

By : Billy Manes
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Orlando – On Jan. 29, amid of flood of hurried information and the confusion that comes along with it, more than 1,000 people of Orlando (and those who love them) convened upon the Orlando International Airport to voice their solidarity for their marginalized populations, LGBTQ and Muslim populations among them. As the gathered crowd was educated about the lines of peaceful protest against the backdrop of Lee Vista’s The Haven Bar – a site offered by the strip-mall’s owner (and former Libertarian Orlando mayoral candidate) Matthew Falconer for gathering – participants were instructed, in typical protest parlance, to not descend to the level of name-calling that has made anti-gay, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant conjecture the focus, an act that was sure to be offered at a high-profile event in one of the busiest travel meccas in the world.

“Do not engage with the opposition,” that was the key point. It will get you nowhere.

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Venezuelan, Cuban activists to speak at World OutGames

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Two prominent LGBT and intersex rights advocates from Venezuela and Cuba are scheduled to speak at a conference that will coincide with the World OutGames in Miami.

Tamara Adrián is the first openly transgender person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly. Juana Mora Cedeño is an independent LGBT rights advocate who met with former President Obama during his historic trip to Cuba in 2016.

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Pence dodges on anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ executive order

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday began an exchange on ABC’s “This Week” with an effort to affirm support for LGBT people, but subsequently dodged on whether he thinks a religious freedom executive order is needed that could undermine LGBT rights.

Pence said the Trump administration would reject discrimination under questioning from George Stephanopoulos about a White House statement affirming the president would leave intact an Obama-era executive order barring federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT workplace bias.

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Duke, NC State might host women’s tourney despite LGBTQ law

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Duke and North Carolina State were among the top 16 projected seeds the NCAA revealed Feb. 6 for the women’s basketball tournament in March, making them potential hosts in a state that’s lost several sports events because of a divisive law.

The NCAA pulled seven championships from North Carolina in September, including the first two rounds of the 2017 men’s basketball tournament, because of the law that limits protections for LGBTQ people.

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Supreme Court to hear trans student case March 28

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear on March 28 the case of a transgender student who’s suing his Virginia school to obtain access to the restroom consistent with his gender identity.

The court, which agreed to take up the case of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board late last year, announced it would hold arguments in the case on that date as part of its monthly calendar announcement.

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DeVos confirmed despite concerns over anti-LGBT donations

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Despite efforts from Senate Democrats and LGBT advocates to block the confirmation of Betsy Devos as education secretary, the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed on Tuesday President Trump’s pick to the head the Department of Education with no margin for dissent.

After the Senate was evenly divided 50-50 over the confirmation of the nominee, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the deciding vote to confirm DeVos. Observers say that marks the first time in history a vice president has had to cast tie-breaking vote to confirm a nominee to the president’s Cabinet.

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Gay men fight HIV/AIDS, taboos in Guatemalan town

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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(Top photo) David Meneses, left, speaks with Bryan López in El Tejar, Guatemala on Feb. 2, 2017.

EL TEJAR, Guatemala — The two volcanoes that rise from the countryside surrounding El Tejar, a town that is slightly more than an hour west of Guatemala City on the Pan-American Highway, were clearly visible on Thursday afternoon.

Children were riding their bicycles through a small park in the center of El Tejar as venders sold food and other items on the street. Bryan López, a 27-year-old nurse who lives in the nearby city of Chimaltenango, was talking about his efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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LGBT Equality Caucus doubles its membership

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The congressional caucus dedicated to LGBT issues has nearly doubled its membership, rebounding after experiencing attrition in recent years as a result of shifting to dues-based membership.

The LGBT Equality Caucus announced on Tuesday it has started the 115th Congress with 102 members, which is nearly double the roster of 53 members at the start of the last Congress.

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Gambian activists cheer exit of anti-LGBTQ leader

By : Wire Report
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP)- In August 2014, Jamu Camara was at home with her girlfriend in the Gambian resort town of Kololi when police arrived for a surprise raid, taking both women in for questioning.

“They just said they heard we are lesbians, blah blah blah,” the 21-year-old soccer player recalled. “I told them, ‘You have no right to detain me here. I’m not going to say anything because you don’t have your evidence.'”

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Transgender Nepali has her big moment on Indian catwalk

By : Wire Report
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NEW DELHI (AP)- It was her big moment. Anjali Lama sashayed down the catwalk in the swanky Mumbai auditorium. A fitted, cream dress highlighted her tall, slender frame. Her pulled-back hair showed off her high cheekbones.

Modeling at Lakme Fashion Week often seemed like a dream far beyond her reach, but Lama has become the first transgender woman to model at one of the top events on India’s fashion calendar and one sponsored by a top Indian cosmetics brand.

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Lady Gaga delivers a show big on flash and inclusiveness

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP)- Lady Gaga dropped from the top of Houston’s NRG Stadium to open her halftime show and dropped the mic at the end, offering a program that delivered high-energy hits and an inclusive theme.

With the nation on edge politically, the NFL had little taste for a show that would ruffle feathers, as Beyonce did in some circles last year with the Black Power messaging of “Formation.” Gaga plainly listened.

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