Wonderful World of Wanzie: Watermark Style Guide “Gay Correlation”—Wanzie Style

By : Michael Wanzie
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I’ve been happily writing for Watermark for some time now. With the coming of this past New Year, a message went out to all contributing writers—from the desk of the publisher of this fine publication—instructing us that moving forward all Viewpoint submissions were to have a “correlation” to gayness.

In my particular case the point was made that if I’m going to write a rant about tRump, then I need to make a point as to how and why the topic of my column should also be of concern to the gay community. I was admonished— in a totally civil manner— to do so because, in the words of the publisher, “After all, this is a gay publication.”

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Positive Living: Pride Made Me an Activist

By : Greg Stemm
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I remember the very first time someone called me a “gay activist.”

Fortunately that jarring epiphany didn’t come while I was alone. Just prior to the first St. Pete Pride celebration, we founders were sitting around a table having one of our last-minute board meetings. Since there had never been a gay pride celebration of any size or merit in St. Pete before, understandably the Tampa Bay Times (actually it was still called the St. Petersburg Times back then in 2003) was following our planning process very carefully.

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Trans of Thought: Love and Transphobia

By : Maia Monet
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In two weeks I will be attending my 25th college reunion at Princeton University. As you can imagine would be the case at one of this country’s oldest institutions of higher learning, Princeton prides itself on its traditions, and “Reunions” as the alumni body call it, is one of our most cherished.

The plural is purposeful as well because all major and minor reunion classes gather on campus to meet and consume alcohol in quantities, or so the legend goes, second only to the Indy 500 for a singular event in the United States. Reunions is serious business and there are alumni who return every year, which allows for the highlight event of the weekend, P-rade, to take on fascinating detail.

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Fit for Print: History isn’t always pretty, or straight

By : Steve Blanchard
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I am a history nerd.

I love visiting historical places, reading up on history and even enjoying a book or film classified as historical fiction.

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Lady Fingers: Baby Talk

By : Sabrina Ambra
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I’ve really never understood the concept of the “biological clock,” nor have I tried. At the ripe age of 28 (by the way, I can still say that as of this writing) I am very aware that a good portion of my peers have popped-out at least one, if not four children. While that has not personally inspired me to start breeding, it has been a pretty amazing experience to watch my friends become incredible mothers. It seems like just yesterday I was the one projectile-vomiting on them, and now it’s the fruit of their loins that is doing the yacking.

I don’t necessarily feel any pressure to have children, which I find interesting considering that like most women for the last two centuries, I have been and will continue to be asked if/when I’ll have children. I still get asked in some shape or form, but not as frequently and I think I know why.

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High Fidelity: Talking It Out

By : Miguel Fuller
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I am not a psychologist.

I am not a therapist.

I am not a counselor.

I’m just a human being who over the past 10 years has had the great fortune to sit back and listen to thousands of people spill their innermost secrets and tawdry scandals on the radio about their relationships—the good, the bad and definitely the scandalous. Most memorable is the story about the woman who called up to win a TV and told us a secret that could have put her behind bars for years. I’ll get to that in just a bit.

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Positive Living: Puppy Love

By : Greg Stemm
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For the past several years I’ve been asking God for a husband. Instead she gave me a puppy.

Now far be it from me to question God’s will. Although, I do have to wonder about the benefit analysis she might have gone through in making this decision. I adore my new 4 month old chiweenie girl named “Joy,” but I thought I’d do my own comparative analysis to see if a puppy or a husband was a better choice. I thought I’d look at six categories to see which won out on each. I’ll be honest with you, as I begin this column I have no idea who will come out on top in the end. Let’s see:

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Keeping It Real: No, it’s not over yet

By : Nathan Bruemmer
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So, how many days until summer vacation? After spring break all across this nation, this is one “critical” question most middle and high school students would probably get right. While kids beam with pride when they recite the exact number of days, parents across this nation fall back into shock and awe that another school year is about to end.

Why aren’t we asking our youth a truly critical question—Do you know about HIV and AIDS? April 10th is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. This year we celebrate the fifth annual observance of a day created to educate about the impacts of HIV and AIDS on youth.  According to the CDC, 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses were in young people aged 13-24 years, but only 10 percent of high school students have ever been tested for HIV. That means there is a significant gap between those who have it and those who know they have it. Without knowledge, you cannot prevent transmission. But where do our youth get their education on HIV and AIDS?

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The Tender Activist: Two decades

By : Scottie Campbell
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I’ve been fortunate in my life to have deep relationships and friendships. I’m the kind of guy who reflects on the significance of people in my life, what I’ve learned from them, what we’ve learned from each other. So it is not without consideration that I say the person who has made the deepest impact on me was Sidney Vincent Chase.

That’s not because Sid was my first true love, though there is that sweet reality. It is because in the fall of 1997, just a few days shy of his 30th birthday, Sid sealed himself up in a garage and asphyxiated himself on the fumes of a Jeep Cherokee. He was found a couple of days later by a friend of the family; it was her garage, he had been living with her. It was terrible.

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Positive Living: LGBTs in Gulfport helping to redefine what a library can be

By : Greg Stemm
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In a normal community, if you want to find gay people you might visit a bar or go to a gay pride celebration.

But Gulfport is far from being a “normal” town.

If you want to meet gay people in this small artsy community, virtually surrounded by our bigger but just as gay cousin St. Petersburg, you visit the Gulfport Public Library.

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The Tender Activist: The problem with inclusive language

By : Scottie Campbell
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If we’ve only recently met, it isn’t likely I will call you by name. It isn’t that I don’t want to extend that courtesy, it’s that I don’t want to get it wrong.

I might not ask about your significant other, unless I’m absolutely certain you’re still together. It’s not that I don’t care; I’m afraid I’ll put you in an awkward position if something has changed. When I say I’m afraid of these things, I mean that sincerely. The potential embarrassment is debilitating for me.

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The Other Side of Life: Olympic Meddling

By : Jason Leclerc
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Every four years, the world’s eyes train upon humanity’s greatest specimens with hope and awe. National pride and accolades rain upon those whose lifetimes are dedicated to representing fellow citizens. Thank goodness we have the international spectacle of the Olympics to distract us from the current four-year cycle of politics in America. Thank goodness we have charismatic stars like Adam Rippon to rally round. Thank goodness we can separate good citizens from bad regimes.

While we may have entered a new gilded age as expressed by the gold-plated largesse of a billionaire president, American oligarchs still look to international comrades—other oligarchs from Russia to the Middle East—for fraternity. We, the proletariat and middle class, are frozen out of corrupt markets that swirl around metals like uranium and black gold. The rest of us look on with disgust as those same oligarchic fraternities are openly hostile to their own Adam Rippons. Besides the Chechen LGBT purges and their “gay propaganda” laws, there are many reasons for Americans to be abhorred by Russian norms. Their systematic cheating in international sport is emblematic of their arrogance: sins against decency, if not against democracy.

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