The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Florida heat and summer schools

By : Michael Wanzie
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Why is it when a svelte, smooth-chested, swimmer-type guy goes jogging shirtless on a scorching Orlando summer day, it is said of him that his luscious perspiration, glistening in the sunlight, gleefully beckons adoring tongues to lap up his liquid masculinity from a bronzed canvas of sensual, sun-drenched flesh, but when a big boned (read: fat) guy like me does the same thing the only thought it brings to anyone’s mind is, “Christ that tub of lard sweats like a fucking pig!?”

Never mind your snarky answers. It was a rhetorical question to which I already know the answer all too well—and thus Summer is in full stride in Central Florida. Thus continues my annual stint of carefully navigating my way into various pools at various parties with my shirt still on because I have body issues regarding my man boobs. Too much information? OK then, we’ll move on.

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Fit for Print: Stop weaponizing religion

By : Steve Blanchard
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From a very young age it was drummed into me that there was a right way to act and a wrong way to act. I’m talking, of course, about my days in church.

Fortunately, the church I attended wasn’t a fire and brimstone kind of place. There were plenty of messages about kindness, doing unto others and helping those who are less fortunate. But every message had the same footnote: “By the way, stay on the straight and narrow and avoid an eternity in the fiery pits of hell. Do what you’re told to do and the big man in the sky who spends all of his time spying on you won’t have a reason to punish you forever.”

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Trans of Thought: May I ‘Pose’ a question?

By : Maia Monet
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“Pose” on the FX channel recently completed its inaugural season run and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Every week we were treated to the largest cast of transgender women ever assembled in one show, strutting across our screens with their improvised catwalks, to the beat of glorious 80s music.

We dove into the lives of their characters and saw their struggles with poverty, family, the men who fetishize them, sex work and living with HIV. We felt their hurt at yet another rejection and relished their triumphs in the face of adversity. In a way not too often seen on television, we were centered in the story and humanized.

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The Other Side of Life: Standing with Kneelers

By : Jason Leclerc
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Another football season is upon us. Thank God. Thank America.

I stand for the National Anthem. Even at sports bars, if the sound is turned up, I’m that guy who feels compelled to slide off my stool and remove my ball cap while “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays. I’m, admittedly, obnoxious that way. For the dozens of other people around me who don’t partake in this symbolic ceremony, I have no judgment. This, though not hidden, is a private act: a moment of reflection. I know that for those in fields and stadiums and parks and for other hoppy-fruity patriots in other bars, the moments that precede kickoff—including humming or mouthing along to this sonorous anthem—are as important to me as touchdown dances, chest bumps and the high drama of red zone defensive stands.

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Ladyfingers: U-Haul Lesbians and other stereotypes

By : Sabrina Ambra
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I always knew Justin Bieber was a lesbian. Engaged after a couple months of dating, that son of a douche (let the record reflect that I’m referring to his father; please feel free to Google).

We are all aware, and have heard of at least one, of the lesbian stereotypes that are driven by everyone who isn’t a lesbian: one acts like the man in the relationship, lesbians always scissor, it’s just a phase, all lesbians hate men, etc. They’re comically untrue and I personally can find the humor in the stupidity more often than not. What baffles me, and what I’d like to go over with you here, are the stereotypes within the lesbian community that are totally true and kept alive by our lesbo-brethren. You guys, the “U-Haul Lesbian” has its own fucking Wikipedia page! Did you know it’s also referred to as “U-Haul Syndrome?!” You do now. We both do. Hence the Justin Bieber reference because we can agree he has a beautiful lady face. Now the small circle is completed and we can move forward.

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High Fidelity: Brunch Bubblies

By : Miguel Fuller
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I’m going to say something that may come off as a little harsh, a little mean. I believe it needs to be said: gay brunch needs to die.

Okay, let that sink in. Feel it a little bit. What exactly does it mean that gay brunch needs to die? I recently saw a funny meme that went around about gay brunch. It was a cartoon of several champagne flutes that had come to life and were blabbing about gay brunch stuff. The title of it was “If Your Gay Brunch Could Talk.”

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Fit for Print: The warm familiarity of the rainbow flag

By : Steve Blanchard
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Recently, and for the first time in my life, I traveled to another country. My husband and I spent two weeks in Ireland, where we toured historic sites, drank plenty of Guinness and mingled with the locals in several of the country’s beautiful cities and towns. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Ireland is a welcoming country and was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote back in 2015. Knowing that marriage equality was voted into place by the citizens of the country, I knew that we would be welcomed and respected as a couple. In fact, we didn’t see or hear any negativity toward the LGBTQ community during our travels.

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The Other Side of Life: Independence Day

By : Jason Leclerc
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As holidays go, Independence Day is my favorite of the secular American celebrations. Other holidays, equally important in their own ways, like Veterans Day and Memorial Day are patriotic derivatives: without a nation, we wouldn’t have the heroes to honor.

Without that Declaration on July 4, 1776, we wouldn’t have a nation. Situated perfectly in the middle of the year, bookending Yuletides, we as a people are reminded that, like long summer days, the sun doesn’t want to set on our celebration of independence. America is not merely a “City on a hill” but, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, “shining” so: a beacon of hope to the world.

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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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