The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Penguins, same-sex couples and making babies

By : Michael Wanzie
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Do gay penguins provide the example same-sex human couples should emulate when it comes to their desire to raise a child?

It’s just a question to pose for which I have no clue as to the answer. I am not being critical or taking a particular stance on the subject, I am but musing. In this column I’m going to ask an indelicate question that is likely to raise the ire of same-sex couples who have enlisted the assistance of a surrogate to bring a child into the world or who have borrowed a little sperm to get the job done.

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Positive Living: Ruby slippers, raising a flag and serious questions

By : Greg Stemm
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I recently had the wonderful experience of participating in the inaugural Gulfport Friends of Dorothy march, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It began a month-long whirlwind of events sponsored by the award-winning LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Public Library, of which I am privileged to serve on the board of directors, to celebrate Pride season.

As I was marching up Beach Blvd. in a rainbow wig, ruby slippers and with several hundred members of my Gulfport “family,” I couldn’t help but reflect on the significance of what Stonewall started and what it has meant to the LGBTQ community in the past 50 years. I was most moved by the fact that the carriers of the lead banner were an openly gay vice mayor and an openly gay state representative. That would have been unthinkable in June of 1969.

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06.27.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Here we are again, the keystone of Pride around the world. We’ve celebrated Pride in Kissimmee and Polk County, and are still reveling in the joy that St Pete Pride brings. Now we turn to the event that started it all, Stonewall. This year is special, though. Stonewall turns 50 and the world is set to celebrate and honor the brave people who began a movement that would change lives for half of a century, with no signs of slowing down.

Stonewall 50 is going to be a massive event. The parade itself is expected to last longer than the average workday with over 150,000 participants and millions of spectators. My, how far we have come!

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The Other Side Of Life: Hashtag Amity

By : Jason LeClerc
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I was recently honored to be a guest of Pulse founder Barbara Poma for an intimate talk and tour of the interim #PulseMemorial organized by Equality Florida. As regular readers of this column know, I’m Watermark’s token conservative columnist: a red soul in a sea of blue, even as I have advocated for a just-right-of-center, nuanced approach to political discourse that I call Radical Centrism.

Arguing from a position of empathy and fact-driven rationality in favor of such positions as climate change resiliency, justifiable local taxation and the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, I have riled members of my own Party. In the age of Trump, I’ve become a bit of a #RINOsaur. While there are members of the current Republican power structure who are ready to revoke my membership card for some of my #RadicalCentrist positions, my attendance of an Equality Florida event would likely push them further toward apoplexy.

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Sweet Divinity: An Open Letter to Homophobes during Gay Pride

By : Divine Grace
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Hello, Dolls!

I am fully aware that the only thing more annoying than a sore loser is a sore winner, but you’ll please pardon me today as I gloat, full-blast.

50 years ago, the Stonewall Riots took place in New York City, and the gay liberation began in earnest. For the next five decades, we gays have struggled to be recognized as more than the second-class citizens that you detractors would have us labeled as.

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06.13.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I was recently asked by a fellow member of the LGBTQ community if my husband is transgender because he dabbles in drag.

While I often point out jokingly that he didn’t don drag until after we were married, something I’ve mentioned here before, I have a tremendous amount of respect for his craft. It’s one thing to be handsome, which he is, but it’s just a work of art to be beautiful on top of that. Which she is.

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06.13.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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It was the late 1980s and I was hanging around the house with my brother and our friends. My brother and I are only 11 months apart so we shared everything—clothes, friends, a bedroom—I basically had nothing of my own until I was into my 20s.

We were all in the family room watching TV. The movie “Teen Wolf” was on. For those unfamiliar,“Teen Wolf” is a 1985 film where heartthrob Michael J. Fox turns into a werewolf and plays basketball really well. The movie is very 80s, right down to the nonchalant use of the word “fag.”

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Fit For Print: Stop It with the Elitism

By : Steve Blanchard
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We live in a weird time. That may be the understatement of the year if I were talking about the political world here and abroad or even the amazing technological advances that seem to make it into the headlines almost every day.

I’m talking about the odd social world that permeates our everyday lives, either in person or through our computer and cell phone screens. This new (or maybe not so new) elitist trend of making a public point of sharing our dislike of popular things and making a big deal about it has got to stop. It’s exhausting and a waste of energy.

One case in point: HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us: The top 6 leadership competencies every LGBTQ+ leader (yes: that’s you!) should know and grow

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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We’ve all seen them in the breakroom or on some cool workplace swag: somewhere in your workplace there’s a list of your employer’s “core values” that anyone within the workplace should embody. You’ll likely see things like “integrity,” “team work” and “customer focus” listed. This is the social contract that anyone working for your organization should abide by.

Regardless of what those values are, it’s showing time again—especially in today’s modern workplace—that there really are six fundamental competencies that any LGBTQ+ leader—regardless of workplace, profession, level within the business or role—should focus their energy on if they want to not just survive but thrive in today’s workplace. And the best part, as a member of the LGBTQ+ Community, you probably already have an awesome handle on most of them.

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Rainbow Housing Coalition launches LGBTQ needs assessment

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The Rainbow Housing Coalition of Pinellas, committed to developing and providing affordable housing for the disadvantaged, is seeking responses to an online LGBTQ+ Housing Needs Assessment.

“LGBTQ+ people and disabled persons are challenged by the search for welcoming and inclusive housing options,” the organization has shared. “These individuals face discrimination and even abuse when looking for retirement communities, assisted living and/or long-term care options. We aim to enhance the overall quality of life for LGBTQ people by connecting them with safe and friendly housing.”

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‘Paris is Burning’ viewing benefits St. Petersburg VFW

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The LGBTQ-owned and operated Bambu the Eco Salon is hosting a two-part experience to educate, entertain and raise money for St. Petersburg’s VFW Post No. 39 beginning June 7.

The salon will present the 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning” at 7 p.m. The must-see film chronicles New York City’s 1980s ball culture and the African American, Latino and LGBTQ communities involved in its rise. During a brief intermission, performers will provide a history of the ball scene and demonstrate fabulous and fierce voguing techniques. 

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05.30.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Hi! My name is Rick and I am queer. How does that make you feel? Does the word queer invoke anger or fear? Or is it something you embrace? Is this a generational question?

I understand and respect completely that the word queer is a trigger for some. I vividly remember being asked if I was queer when I was younger. It was usually accompanied by some snarl-faced look that let me know being queer was not a good thing in their eyes. Not knowing what queer meant, I would answer “no,” which would result in my gender being questioned or chased around the playground. By the time I was called “as queer as a three dollar bill,” I knew what they were saying.

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