Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Rock the vote

By : anonymous
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Voting for St. Pete Pride’s 2018 Grand Marshals has officially begun.

“Being named a Grand Marshal of the St. Pete Pride Parade is among the highest honors bestowed by the Tampa Bay LGBTQ community,” St. Pete Pride notes. “Individuals and organizations nominated for Grand Marshal have made significant achievements for LGBTQ rights and have made considerable contributions to the LGBTQ community at large.”

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Calling all marchers

By : anonymous
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Registration for 2018’s St. Pete Pride TransPride March is now open.

The march’s hope is “to inspire all trans and gender non-conforming people to realize a world where we are safe, loved, and empowered,” St. Pete Pride’s registration announcement reads. “We invite the entire community to come out and celebrate our Trans family by being a part of St. Pete Pride.”

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Tell them you love them

By : anonymous
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The Gay Men’s Chorus of Tampa Bay took the Amalie Arena by storm on March 31 when they joined Demi Lovato on stage for the final performance of her 20-city nationwide tour.

“No joke—this was us last night on stage,” the group shared on social media afterwards, posting video of their performance with the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum popstar. “It was such an honor for [the] Gay Men’s Chorus of Tampa Bay to back up singer and LGBT ally Demi Lovato in concert!”

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04.05.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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It’s often argued that one shouldn’t discuss religion or politics,

so I’d like to talk about both.

When I was in high school, I learned through friends in my Southern Baptist youth group that the deacons of my small-town, smaller-minded church were trying to pray my gay away. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.

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Central Florida Overheard: A film for “family”

By : anonymous
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“Love, Simon,” which opened in theaters March 16, is a teen dramedy about a high school kid named Simon coming to terms with being gay after starting an email conversation with another closeted gay teen from his school. The film is based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. It is also the first major studio release of a film that focuses on a teen gay romance, which is why celebrities across the country have been buying out screenings of the film and giving away tickets to anyone, particularly young LGBTQers, who want to see it.

Local celeb Sacha Kljestan, a midfielder for the Orlando City Soccer Club, and his wife bought out a screening at the Regal Winter Park Village for March 29 and packed the theater with kids from the Zebra Coalition. “The movie spreads the message of tolerance, acceptance and equality. We were inspired by other people who did this, so we just want to pay it forward and help spread the love to the people of Orlando,” Kljestan wrote on his Twitter. Kljestan is now a part of an impressive list of celebrities including Neil Patrick Harris, Matt Bomer and Kristen Bell who are spreading the word of love and acceptance through this amazing film.

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04.05.18 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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In many ways I’m just a big kid. Unless a collar shirt is forced upon me, you will almost always find me wearing a pair of baggy jeans and a t-shirt with some cartoon character or pop culture phrase on it.

If you ever have the chance to come by Watermark and sit in my office, you will be greeted by a shelf behind my desk that is littered with a Hillary Clinton action figure, a faux-Oscar, a Baby Groot doll, an Iron Man mask, Wonder Woman and Catwoman Funko Pop! toys and an array of knick knacks and trinkets—most of which were obtained from my monthly Loot Crate subscription or my occasional Happy Meal.

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Want your voice heard? Take Watermark’s LGBTQ community survey

By : Watermark Staff
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Dear Watermark reader,

We would like to invite you to take a new survey about your opinions and preferences, from an LGBTQ perspective.

There’s power in our Pride! Participating in this study helps open doors and minds around the world, and influences positive changes for our community. Previous surveys have yielded 45,000 respondents from 150 countries! You may have seen it quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, etc.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Hope (and Thoughts and Prayers) for Our Gun-Totin’ Future

By : STEVE YACOVELLI
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Steve Yacovelli

The Parkland shooting has yet again re-ignited the great American gun control debate. Both sides of the coin have brought out their best arguments for control/freedom. It’s sadly yet another repeat of the same ol’ “thoughts and prayers” responses we have heard time and time again: from Sandy Hook to Virgina Tech to Las Vegas to our own Pulse massacre. Yet this time something feels a bit different; it feels like a tipping point of sorts.

While there was ample focus after Pulse within our community and beyond to look at common sense gun control, sadly we were constantly met with that “thoughts and prayers” shenanigans from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Some – like Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Florida State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith – passionately reached out to lawmakers to change things. Groups like the Orlando chapter of Gays Against Guns and The Dru Project formed and shouted for gun reform. But nothing seemed to change. Some thought that, gee, if Washington wasn’t moved into action when kindergarteners were gunned down in their own classroom at Sandy Hook, maybe nothing could really turn the dial.

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Queerly Beloved: Let’s Not Forget, This Started with a Riot

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
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As the Tampa Pride celebration approaches, I am readying my family and my congregation for the festivities. Like many other LGBTQ-affirming organizations in the Tampa Bay area, my church is currently collecting our materials for the booth, gathering up beads to throw and buying new matching t-shirts for our contingent to wear in the parade.

I am honored to be one of the grand marshals for Tampa Pride this year. As a clergy person, the significance of holding a public role in Pride is not lost on me. I know that for some, seeing a religious leader at Pride is validating and empowering, but I know that for others it can be triggering and upsetting. As a faith leader, all I can do is offer love and compassion to everyone I encounter, especially at Pride.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Bye Bye Bri

By : anonymous
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Multiple WAVE Award-winning realtor and community advocate Brian Longstreth has announced a change in ownership for St. Petersburg’s Your Neighborhood Realty.

“Change in the Neighborhood! After 19 years as the Broker-Owner of Your Neighborhood Realty, it’s time to pass the reigns to Julie Apted-Longstreth,” Longstreth shared via social media in early March. “Julie and husband Jim are taking over with the opening of Your Neighborhood Realty Associates, Inc. in the same location at 2440 Central Avenue.”

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Central Florida’s Overheard: Remembering Billy Manes through activism

By : anonymous
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The Pride Fund To End Gun Violence’s Orlando Reception, held at The Abbey on March 14, was not only an event to kick off the Political Action Committee’s 2018 election efforts, but also to officially launch the Billy Manes Advocacy Fellowship.

“Billy was on our board and he had such a history of activism and advocacy when he passed away, in his honor we created Billy Manes Advocacy Fellowship,” says Pride Fund founder and executive director Jason Lindsay. “D.C. is where a lot of people love to go for their internships, which is great because they can gain valuable work experience there, but it’s expensive. Now most internships are unpaid, so we created a fellowship program with the specific goal of helping with that financial burden.”

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Welcome to the Fam

By : anonymous
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A new LGBTQ establishment, self-described as “Tampa’s hottest new gay club,” will soon open its doors at the former “Levi and leather” bar 2606.

The two-story Cristoph’s Tampa says the new locale will open at the end of March 2018 with an “epic” grand opening, having conducted interviews for drag performers and dancers on March 20.

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