10.17.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s time for me to see a therapist. In fact, it’s long overdue. I don’t say this because something is wrong; therapy isn’t about having a problem. Really, everyone should see a therapist. It is sad to me that there is a negative connotation to doing so. Communication is so vital and that includes communicating with yourself.

I’ve been a couple of times in my life. My first visit was when I came out to my mom at the age of 16. She wanted to make sure we both had our heads wrapped around the concept of me being gay. The second was a result of my drinking problem, years before I admitted I had one. I had no-called, no-showed to work after a night of binge drinking and then headed back to the bar when I woke up at three in the afternoon. Hindsight’s 20/20, amiright?

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Positive Living: For me, it’s Buttigieg in the primary

By : Greg Stemm
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We LGBTQ folks have an unprecedented opportunity to vote for one of our own in the upcoming 2020 election cycle. Our candidate’s name is Pete Buttigieg—he’s openly gay, married to his husband and he is seeking the nomination to become the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

I plan to vote for Buttigieg in the primary, and as members of the LGBTQ community I urge you to do the same. If he has the guts to run, we should have the fortitude to support him. Now is the time for community unity.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: What’s behind door number 3?

By : Michael Wanzie
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“Remember, if it doesn’t say Amana it’s NOT a Radar Range!”

How clearly I remember that advertising slogan from my youth. That tag line was always touted whenever the new-fangled contraption would be awarded to winning contestants on TV’s “Let’s Make A Deal” or “Truth or Consequences.”

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10.03.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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In 2016, Evan Minton was scheduled to receive a surgeon-approved hysterectomy at a faith-based hospital in California. After disclosing his transgender status, they canceled the procedure.

Minton filed a lawsuit claiming that his civil rights had been violated, which the courts dismissed. He appealed the ruling and his suit was revived in late September.

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10.02.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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It’s October, which means it’s that time of the year when I climb into the attic, dust off the boxes that read “HOLIDAY CRAP” and start figuring out how I am going to decorate for… Christmas! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Yes, I know that we have a couple more months and several other holidays to get through before the big, jolly elf brings me a bunch of stuff that I will love and play with for five minutes before moving on to making a fort out of the boxes all that junk came in, but I can’t help it. I love Christmas and, to be honest, I’m not a big fan of Halloween. I know, that is sacrilegious to say being gay but it doesn’t carry the same joy for me that it does for all the other L’s, G’s, B’s, T’s and Q’s I know.

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The Other Side Of Life: Working out Libertarianism

By : Jason LeClerc
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If you ever want to understand why Libertarianism, the political belief that weak government and strong markets best allocate resources and protect rights, doesn’t work in practice, spend an hour at a semi-public gym with Tim Tebow.

Here you’ll witness a cross section of citizens—most, far more ordinary than Tim Tebow—who expect equality. Here you’ll see members who, regardless of ideology or religion or income, represent diverse gym-communities: meatheads, moms, wandering first-timers, lean-queens, college kids and earnest elderlies.

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Sweet Divinity: The Cost of Paying Attention

By : Divine Grace
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Hello, Dolls!

Every day. Every. Single. Day. Every day and each morning brings with it some sort of fresh new Hell. Every sunrise is greeted by the orange Goblin King and some dementia-laden tweet from the First Toilet at five o’ clock in the morning. Who’s the Emperor mad at today? Bette Midler? Maybe it’s John Legend. Perhaps he’s pulling a classic from the stacks and “crooked Hillary” will reprise her role as the Disney Witch trying to demolish the castle he’s building out of a deck of cards.

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09.19.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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During the life of this issue, Mother Nature will officially unleash fall. Some of us mark the start of fall with the return of pumpkin spice everything. For others it’s designated by cooler temperatures, orange and brown decor or new episodes of their favorite stories. For me fall brings with it a special anniversary of sorts: sobriety.

Oct. 1 will mark four years since I stopped drinking. Fitting in a way, as Oct. 1 also launches LGBTQ history month. I am a history fan, always have been. Perhaps that’s why I find my career path so fascinating. At Watermark we share stories, mark truths and archive them so we can look back to see whether we improve; whether we learn from where we came from. I often say we need our past to understand our future. That is true as a community and as an individual.

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Queerly Beloved: Seriously, It’s Not Pie

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
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Back in the day, when I was just a newly-out, wee, little, baby queer, we used the code word “family” to talk about LGBTQ folks. As in, “Oh, he’s cute, is he ‘family?’”

I sometimes still hear that term, but I have noticed that it is far less common today. Back then, in my baby queer days, I longed to find that magical LGBTQ family. I thought this family would pluck me out of my mundane teenage existence and take me away to a place where I felt affirmed and loved all the time.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Positive Thinking: Not Being a ‘Glass Half-Fool’

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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I confess, I try to be a glass-half-full kinda guy. But these days it’s getting tougher to see that glass of [insert your beverage of choice] as being half-full versus half-flippin’-empty. There’s so much negativity in our world today, so much polarization, too many 24/7 news outlets needing to pull in our eyeballs and get our clicks. It gets exhausting looking at your Twitter feed, Facebook wall, your Instagram pics or tuning into the evening news and seeing or hearing so much “downer fodder.”

There’s a heap of studies out in the world that tell us that negativity—specifically negative thoughts—can greatly impact your physical and mental well-being. From lowering your immune system to impacting your ability to focus to creating severe depression, chronic negativity can be a disaster for us humans. I see this in the “resilience to change” workshops I do. Studies show time and again that those who have a more positive view of the world tend to be more resilient or “bounce back” in the face of changing times, especially negative times. Even in those more “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days”; if we force ourselves to see the good things that happened we tend to see the broader world in a more “silver lining” kind of way.

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09.05.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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When my husband and I meet our friends on the weekend and I happen to partake in enough libations to get a bit tipsy, I tend to find myself grappling with one of three levels of intoxication.

Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often, but the first is “Disney drunk” when it does. It leads to a whole new world of one-man productions featuring every animated classic under the sea. The second is “drive-thru drunk,” in which I spend ridiculous amounts of money on food that goes straight to my hips.

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09.05.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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Sheryl Crow has a special place in my heart. She found her way there when I was in high school and I heard her belting out “If It Makes You Happy” from the car radio for the first time.

She had a huge hit in “All I Wanna Do” two years prior but that song did not have the same punch the first single from her second album had on me.

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