02.07.2019 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Love is in the air and I’m a sap. In fact, I’m an Air Supply listening, rom-com loving, “This Is Us” crying sap. You have to be pretty close to me to see it, but it’s there. When 90 percent of your social life is work related, it’s easy to have work-mode walls up. What may seem like an all-business exterior is really just all mush inside.

I can’t say where this love of love stems from. My earliest memories are of growing up with little means in Houston, Texas. There were five kids, my parents and an uncle in the house. Making ends meet and raising a herd of kids didn’t leave a lot of room for romance. Although, my parents did go on a date to see Willie Nelson’s New Year’s Eve concert every year and I thought that was sweet.

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Mama Bearings: Self Love

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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2019 is here. It’s officially a new year and as I always do, I try to come up with goals to make a new and improved me.

Last year was a mixed bag. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA in my MBA program, had financial success within my salon career and I made amazing connections and new friends. My nine year-old transgender son started at a new school and is having an amazing second chance at his third grade year—and my other kids are doing well and growing into amazing young adults.

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Trans of Thought: Trans people aren’t debates

By : Maia Monet
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One of the more mentally and physically exhausting aspects of being transgender is, in fact, not the transition, but the aftermath of living in a world with—and I am being generous here—an imperfect understanding of why we exist.

Ignorance of the reams of scientific data to date that support transgender identities means we are constantly called upon to defend our validity to those without the motivation to self-educate. More exhausting is that there is no safe haven for us even within the LGBTQ+ community, as there appears to be an expectation that trans people must be ready to provide this defense to all cisgender people on command. Of course, engaging in these debates is a losing proposition because it inherently starts from a position of doubt. One where we must entertain that “no” is a possible legitimate answer to the question of “are trans people REALLY who they say they are?”

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01.23.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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The beginning of a new year is a lot like me sitting down to write this column every other issue. As the day approaches I am filled with so many thoughts and ideas; and then, when it actually comes time to do it, I spend far too much time staring into the void trying to clear out the clutter.

That is why my first New Year’s resolution of 2019 is to be more organized. More organized with my thoughts, more organized with my ideas and more organized with my desk. The stacks of papers, magazines and toys (yes, I have toys on my desk) are a bit overwhelming.

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01.23.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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To celebrate the 25th year of Watermark and my first column of 2019, I want to share an exclusive with readers. It’s something that you’ve likely never read anywhere else, so feel free to take a moment and mentally prepare because this is big.

Smoking is bad for you.

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Ladyfingers: How Sabby gets her booty back

By : Sabrina Ambra
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I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll just say it: I have recently come to the realization that I lost my booty. I’m not sure how or when; I can only assume at some point in the last few years it happened. I just know now that it’s definitely lost.

You’re probably just itching to find a full body shot of me from 2011 on the internet right now, aren’t you? Spoiler alert: it ain’t big, but there was, in fact, a time when I could truly shake what my momma gave me.

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High Fidelity: Out for the holidays

By : Miguel Fuller
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I told your grandma you are gay.” That statement didn’t come from my mom when I came out in high school, when I had my first boyfriend in college or when I was honored as Grand Marshal of St Pete Pride in 2016. My mom called and told me that a couple of months ago. After being open and honest in my personal and professional life since high school I was still nervous to tell grandma.

There are a couple of reasons why the timing of this statement was so important, like I was deciding if I should finally bring my longtime boyfriend to meet my family. In my 33 years of life I had never taken anyone home for the family to meet. Now I was a few months away from the holidays and I was struggling on what to do. My mom knew that I was nervous about talking to my very religious grandmother about my sexuality. To add to it, there was more stress on my shoulders because I’m African-American and my boyfriend is white. So without ever having had that conversation with my grandmother, I was about to introduce her and the rest of my family to my white boyfriend. 

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01.10.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Everything I need know about drugs I learned from Nancy Reagan. Don’t smoke cigarettes as a kid or you’ll end up a homeless junkie scrounging for next dime bag of crack.

Don’t smoke pot or you’ll end up dead on the street with a needle in your arm. Don’t drink underage or you’ll find yourself pushing everything you own around in a shopping cart, dumpster diving for food and keeping warm with trash can fires.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: What I learned from 2018

By : Michael Wanzie
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With the New Year upon us the impulse to write some sort of “Year in Review” column is, of course, pressing upon me, but to do so would only result in me exceeding my allotted word count a fraction of the way through my list of ways in which President tRump has screwed the American people and diminished our standing as a world leader while aiding the interests of enemy nations in 2018.

I want to greet 2019 with hope and optimism. The only way to do that is to hold fast to the promise of Robert Mueller’s investigation — even though I have no doubt that if the report were to say tRump murdered someone, let alone that he conspired with the Russians regarding election interference, every imaginable step and challenge will be enacted in an effort to suppress the findings.



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Fit to Print: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By : Steve Blanchard
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Christmastime is my second favorite time of the year. My favorite holiday has always been Halloween, but all of the cliches during “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” put me in the jolly spirit every November and December.

I enjoy shopping for gifts (which may be in large part to the miracle that is online retailers), spending time with those closest to me and I am always proud to have one of the brightest homes on the block. I feel like I’m finally the adult that I always wanted to be.

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12.27.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s hard to believe the end of the year is here. It’s cliche to say, but when you live your life in two week cycles across two metropolitan areas—time flies. 2018 zoomed by in the blink of an eye.

Watermark did well in 2018. We saw an increase in sales, so thank you to the businesses and organizations that support us and help us to continue bringing the latest in LGBTQ news to our readers—and congratulations to Senior Account Manager Sam Callahan who had a stellar year. We also saw an increase in distributions sites and are now available at over 600 locations in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and surrounding areas.

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The Other Side of Life: More Effs

By : Jason Leclerc
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Last month, I walked into the temple and called out the Republican Sadducees. I toppled tables and scattered thousands of years of ill-gotten treasure.

I called for a bottom-up revolt against ingrained patriarchy and traditional oppressive masculinity. Bordering on a lamentation, my essay may have been interpreted (especially among my more generally optimistic readers) as a dire representation of history in light of the present. For column-inch purposes, I edited out the obvious ironies inherent in Christian America’s normalization of the effers who’ve gamed the system in their own favor and in direct conflict with Jesus’s own abstention from the (physical, sexual) act of effing.

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