PHOTOS: Lizzo brings the juice to Tampa

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | More than 7,000 of superstar Lizzo’s ever-expanding fanbase—which she affectionately refers to as her Lizzbians—filled the Yuengling Center Sept. 10 for the singer’s sold-out stop of her “Cuz I Love You Too” tour.

Ari Lennox opened for the iconic LGBTQ ally, who subsequently performed 16 songs. Lizzo began with “Heaven Help Me,” making her way through “Cuz I Love You,” “Boys,” “Like A Girl” and ending with her megahit “Juice.”

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Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival launches 30th year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: TIGLFF 29’s launch party in Sept. 2018. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

TAMPA | The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) will kick off its 30th annual celebration with its launch party at the Rialto Theatre Sept. 12 from 7-9:30 p.m.

The festival’s launch party is an annual tradition first organized 12 years ago. TIGLFF Co-President Ed Lally, who has chaired the event since its inception, calls it the organization’s largest fundraiser.

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PHOTOS: Watermark celebrates its 25th anniversary in Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Watermark celebrated its 25th anniversary in Tampa Bay on Aug. 30 with an evening at Metro Inclusive Health.

Ahead of the gathering, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman proclaimed Aug. 30, 2019 as “Watermark Newspaper’s 25th Anniversary Day” in St. Petersburg. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor joined him, proclaiming it “Watermark Publishing Group Day” in Tampa.

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Metro announces LGBTQ+ Career Fair participants

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Participants in Metro Inclusive Health’s second annual LGBTQ+ Career Fair. Graphic via Metro Inclusive Health.

Metro Inclusive Health has announced the keynote speaker and roster of participating companies for the organization’s second annual Metro LGBTQ+ Career Fair.

Metro held its inaugural gathering in 2018, after recognizing a need for an LGBTQ-inclusive career fair in Tampa Bay. Hundreds attended to seek advice, career opportunities and expertise from leading employers from throughout the area.

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EPIC raises $17K with Balance Tampa Bay, becomes 5K beneficiary

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Balance Tampa Bay presents EPIC with $17K. Photo courtesy EPIC.

TAMPA | Balance Tampa Bay (BTB) and Empath Partners in Care (EPIC) announced Aug. 29 that their annual masquerade ball raised $17,000 for the latter organization’s fight against HIV/AIDS.

The gathering raised $16,000 last year and has raised more than $80,000 for the nonprofit’s essential services since its inception. The fifth annual event, “Fearless: An Unmasquerade,” was held July 27 at the Tampa River Center.

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Tampa Bay lawmakers lead fight for statewide LGBTQ protections

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) and Rep. Jennifer Webb (D-St. Petersburg.) Graphic via Equality Florida.

ST. PETERSBURG | Equality Florida announced Aug. 28 that Tampa Bay lawmakers intend to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA) with bipartisan support in 2020, extending statewide civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community.

The FCWA prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, housing and public accommodations. It would amend the Florida statute currently prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex national origin, age, handicap and marital status.

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ALSO Youth executive director resigns

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Nathan Bruemmer, JD has resigned as the executive director of ALSO Youth effective Aug. 31, the organization shared Aug. 29.

ALSO Youth was founded in 1992 and exists to empower LGBTQ youth and their allies by creating inclusive communities. Bruemmer has served as executive director for two years.

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Watermark celebrates its silver anniversary with a look back at the LGBTQ headlines of the past 25 years

By : Jeremy Williams
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For 25 years, in nearly 700 issues, Watermark has been telling the stories of Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ communities.

First premiering in Orlando in 1994, and then expanding into Tampa Bay in 1995, Watermark now covers more than a dozen counties across the state. We can be found in many Florida cities including Daytona Beach, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Sarasota—and thanks to WatermarkOnline.com, we have developed an international audience which relies on us for news, politics, sports, arts and entertainment as it pertains to the LGBTQ community.

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G St Pete announces imminent closure

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | G St Pete shared Aug. 19 that they will close Aug. 24, just three weeks after celebrating their one-year anniversary.

“We are sad to announce that this coming weekend at G. St. Pete will be our final weekend,” they advised via social media. “We love St. Pete but just couldn’t make it work in our location.”

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Metro Inclusive Health, CAN break ground on Tampa expansion

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Leaders including Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois (4th, 5th from L) break ground in Tampa Aug. 15. Photo courtesy Metro Inclusive Health.

TAMPA | Metro Inclusive Health, CAN Community Health and Alliant Partners began the restoration of Tampa’s German American Club for their Tampa expansion Aug. 15.

The partners announced their plans for the expansion in April after acquiring the historic venue, located at 2105 N. Nebraska Ave. Metro and CAN currently lease space at 1315 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor.

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Sarasota Pride skips 2019, announces January 2020 celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Sarasota Pride, Inc. announced Aug. 15 that its next PrideFest will be held Jan. 25, 2020 rather than in 2019, a departure from the organization’s traditional celebrations held in October.

Sarasota Pride aims to promote visibility and self-esteem among the LGBTQ community in Sarasota and throughout Florida. Chairman Cindy Barnes led the organization into its 29th year on Oct. 20, 2018 at J.D. Hamel Park.

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Tampa recognizes LGBTQ-certified businesses by executive order

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor presents her executive order to recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses at the 2019 NGLCC conference Aug. 14. Photo courtesy Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

TAMPA | The city of Tampa will formally recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses in contracting and procurement opportunities, Mayor Jane Castor announced Aug. 14 during the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business & Leadership Conference.

The conference, held at the Tampa Convention Center Aug. 13-16, is the largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world. Castor, Tampa’s 59th and first openly LGBTQ mayor, detailed her executive order directing the city to formally recognize LGBTQ businesses during a luncheon interview with NGLCC President Justin G. Nelson.

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