PHOTOS: Tampa Bay shows its Pride with the Rays’ Pride Night

By : Jake Stevens
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St. Petersburg | The Tampa Bay Rays faced off against the Seattle Mariners June 8 at Tropicana Field for the team’s 13th annual Pride Night.

LGBTQ organizations from across Tampa Bay gathered their own groups to attend to the game, and baseball and pride enthusiasts who purchased tickets ahead of the June 7 cutoff received a special Tampa Bay Rays pride-themed hat, seen above. While the Rays didn’t win the game, Project No Labels was a big winner: the organization was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the team for their dedication to the LGBTQ community.

Watermark was on hand to help celebrate this year’s Pride Night — and you can check out some of our photos after the jump.

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“Hollywood Medium” Tyler Henry on communicating with celebrities and “the other side”

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tyler Henry came out twice: first as gay and second as a spiritual medium, the latter of which he says was harder.

At 22, Henry says his sixth sense, not to be confused with the film of the same name, allows him to communicate “messages from the other side,” something that began at just 10 years old. It’s a claim that’s led to his memoir “Between Two Worlds,” multiple seasons of E!’s “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry” and “5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from the Departed,” his national tour.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Michael Scranton and Rick Vail

By : Aaron Drake
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The two met by happenstance during Christmastime in 2003. James “Rick” Vail shares the special moment he knew Michael Scranton was the one for him. “For me, it was when I saw him behind the bar at Alibi in Fort Lauderdale at a Christmas party. That was the first time we met. The next week I drove to St. Pete to see him again. He says I stalked him,” Vail jokes. “It worked!”

“For Mike, it was the first day he saw my beautiful face and butt,” Vail adds.

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Lawyer seeking Pinellas-Pasco judgeship reiterates anti-LGBTQ views

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Pinellas-Pasco circuit judgeship candidate Donald McBath is standing by his anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim commentary ahead of Aug. 28’s primary election.

“If the homosexual continues committing that sin of sodomy, his soul faces ETERNAL damnation,” McBath shared via Facebook Feb. 25, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times May 30. “Abstain, if you really have that mental illness. It’s not love.”

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Watermark Giveaway: Two sets of tickets to see Tampa Bay Rowdies Pride Night Game

By : Maia Monet
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The Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer club are holding their Pride Night game on Friday, June 22 at 7:30PM. Come see the first professional sports team in the Tampa area fight it out against Penn FC at their home Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg and show your rainbow colors as you kick off St. Pete Pride!

To win the tickets, comment on this post and tell us the name of your favorite soccer player.

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Metro Wellness and Community Centers announces program director changes

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Nate Taylor has been named the director of LGBTQ+ programs for Metro Wellness and Community Centers. Image from Facebook.

ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Wellness and Community Centers has announced that Nate Taylor will serve as the organization’s director of LGBTQ+ programs and that James Keane will serve as its director of development.

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Tampa VA’s pride program spotlights aging LGBTQ vets

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital will hold its annual pride event June 27 to highlight the intricacies of caring for aging LGBTQ veterans.

The event is organized by the hospital’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion in conjunction with its LGBTQSA special emphasis program. According to the hospital, the latter exists “to identify and address barriers, stereotypes and other related issues in the workplace,” to “foster allies, increase awareness of health care issues” and to “advocate for a caring, respectful and welcoming environment for our LGBT veterans, family members and employees.”

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PHOTOS: UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality hosts Florida LGBT-Allies Summit

By : Maia Monet
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The 7th annual Florida LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit was held this past Friday at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality. Companies from across the state sent representatives to attend panels on “LGBT Equality and Civil Rights” as well as “Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace.”

The morning began with a panel on “Allyship: Voices of the LGBTQ Community” made up of George Wallace the Executive Director of the LGBT+ Center Orlando, Jennifer Walls the Senior Vice President/Area Sales Director for Lee Hecht Harrison, Marco Antonio Quiroga the Program Director for the Contigo Fund, and Kellie Parkin the Executive Director of MBA Orlando – LGBT Chamber of Commerce answering questions on the challenges and benefits of LGBTQ visibility at work. As noted by Parkin, it is estimated that 50% of employees are still in the closet and need support. Walls added that there are still large companies with annual revenue of $100M+ who believe that they do not have LGBTQ employees.

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LGBTQ community to gather for Tampa Bay Rays Pride Night

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | The Tampa Bay Rays will face off against the Seattle Mariners tonight, June 8 for the team’s 13th annual Pride Night.

Multiple area LGBTQ organizations gathered their own groups to attend to the game, and baseball and pride enthusiasts who purchased tickets ahead of the June 7 cutoff will receive a special Tampa Bay Rays pride-themed hat, seen below:

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Out comedian Kevin Allison brings award-winning podcast to Tampa and Orlando

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Comedian Kevin Allison knows a thing or two about coming out. As one part of the hive-mind behind MTV’s cult classic sketch series “The State,” Allison publicly came out in the mid-’90s. He says it was an easy decision because he knew he was gay with his first conscious thoughts.

Since then, he’s dedicated his life to helping others come out, not just as a member of the LGBTQ community, but about anything—utilizing his award-winning live show and podcast “RISK.” With over two million monthly downloads, it highlights real people (and the occasional celebrity) as they share real stories in public that they never thought they’d dare to discuss.

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Watermark Giveaway: Two sets of tickets to see Tyler Henry the Hollywood Medium

By : Maia Monet
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Tyler Henry the Hollywood Medium is coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall! His new live show “5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From The Departed” on June 21 at 7:30PM will showcase how his unique gift have affected his everyday life and will also include an audience Q&A. Star of “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry,” he is highly sought after by celebrities who wish to communicate with loved ones who have passed and find closure. Watermark will be picking two winners who will each receive two tickets!

To win the tickets, comment on this post and tell us who you would like to communicate with through Tyler if given the chance.

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Out actor Thanos Skouteris swings into Tampa with “The Sound of Music”

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Out actor and singer Thanos Skouteris is touring North America with the newest stage production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” a show he’s been familiar with for most of his life.

He’s certainly not alone. The show’s Tony, Grammy and Academy Award winning score, featuring “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi” and of course, “The Sound of Music,” has captivated audiences for decades. Watermark spoke with Skouteris about his work as a swing and understudy for the new tour and what makes “The Sound of Music” so relevant today.

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