Equality Florida honors community heroes at 2017 St. Pete Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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Equality Florida had another successful St. Pete Gala at The Mahaffey Theater as the celebration the 20th year of the LGBTQ rights organization continues.

The evening honored Tampa Bay Rays President Brian Auld, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith, attorney Joanna Garcia Parkin and volunteer Karen Goforth.

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2.23.17 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

I had a friend threaten to kill herself this week because she was tired of breathing. I had a collapsing roof that needed to be fixed with haste and all of the nailing and banging and visceral management that comes along with contractors trying to make your life better for thousands of dollars. I watched a famewhore grab a spotlight and run with it, tumbling beneath his own Milo significance, falling somewhere near his pretty little lying face and whatever hair color or sociocultural mythology or, let’s be honest, pedophilia could buy him a headline.

I gazed at the moon; I stared at the ground. And for a few minutes there, I gave up. I mean I really gave up. I won’t even bring up too much of Donald Trump’s scorching of the earth here, because that’s something you all should have expected when you, oh no, hated Hillary for being a woman. My problems get lost in their own translations, and I own my terrors however weak they may be. It’s been a rough patch, to say the least.

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‘Daughters of the Dust’ gets 25th anniversary release

By : Brian T. Carney of the Washington Blade, courtesy of National Gay Media Association
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Timing is everything. Just ask Tim Lanza, vice president and archivist of the Cohen Film Collection. Last spring, he and his team were working on the restoration of Julie Dash’s ground-breaking 1991 film “Daughters of the Dust” for its 25th anniversary.

Then Beyoncé suddenly dropped her visual album “Lemonade,” which included many visual references to Dash’s groundbreaking film, and interest in the restoration project soared. The anticipated home video release grew into a limited theatrical release, the first since the film premiered in theaters in 1992.

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George Takei thinks it ‘unfortunate’ that his Star Trek character is now gay

By : Jeremy Williams
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Star Trek’s first Mr. Sulu, George Takei, is not happy that the character he originated will be gay in the latest film of the successful science fiction series.

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Roddenberry]’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”

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Jason and deMarco to Perform at SunCoast Cathedral MCC

By : Krista DiTucci
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As part of their “Anything is Possible” tour, contemporary pop worship artists Jason and deMarco will be performing live at SunCoast Cathedral MCC in Venice on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. The concert will be a free-will offering and coincides with the church’s 21st anniversary.

Susie Brenner, SunCoast MCC program developer, says she is excited about their music and the message they bring.

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2016 Watermark Reader Valentines

By : Watermark Readers
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Watermark readers are a loving bunch – at least that’s how it seems each year when we ask for your Valentine’s Day greetings.

You delivered in a very big way this this year, and we’re happy to showcase so many happy couples in our midst. 

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Stephen Gibson and Rob Johnson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Rob Johnson and Stephen GibsonStephen Gibson, 45, who oversees vacation rentals and entertains as “Stephane Blair,” and Rob Johnson, 54, who is a graphic designer by trade, met online toward the end of 2007. Stephen noticed they had a lot in common,so he decided to message Rob.

“I got this message and email, and it said it was this guy from Florida,” Rob says. “And I was like ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to meet anybody from out of town.’ He and I started talking, and it got to the point where we would send messages back and forth online all the time, then we started talking on the phone and then we started talking on the phone every day.”

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Watermark looks back: When marriage equality came to Florida

By : Jamie Hyman
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Happy anniversary! One year ago Jan. 6, same-sex couples around Florida legally, joyfully were married.

Watermark staffers spent the day hopping from mass wedding to mass wedding interviewing couples, taking photos, eating cake and shedding more than a few tears.

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Watermark Wedding Bells: Brad and Zadin Lawson

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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“Zadin is genuine,” Brad says.“He sees the best in everybody; he sees the best in every situation.”

Brad Lawson, who is a nurse at South Lake Hospital in Clermont, and Zadin Lawson, who is a clinical IT at Leesburg Regional Medical Center, met online. They texted and emailed back and forth for a while, but Brad had to go out of town to take care of some family business in a place that had no cellphone reception and no access to a computer for three weeks. He was nervous at first that Zadin thought he was just flacking out on him because he really liked him.

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Nearly 300 Alaskan same-sex couples married in past year

By : Wire Report
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JUNEAU (AP) – About 285 same-sex couples have married in Alaska in the year since a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional, according to the state health department.

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the decision striking down a 1998 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Except for a brief period last October, during which the state unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, couples have been able to apply for marriage licenses since.

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Ellen coming out picked as one of the most influential pop culture moments by Entertainment Weekly

By : Jeremy Williams
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Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out episode on the ABC series Ellen is one of the most influential pop culture moments of the last 25 years, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The unofficial bible to many who worship pop culture turns 25 this year, and to celebrate this milestone, EW is releasing a 25th anniversary issue listing the 10 most influential pop culture moments since 1990.

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Kansas group plans to commemorate 50th anniversary of gay rights meeting

By : Wire Report
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City group is making plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a national gathering of LGBT activists that is credited with helping to kick off the gay rights movement.

In February of 1966, the activists gathered at a downtown Kansas City hotel. The meeting led to the “The Phoenix Society for Individual Freedom,” which opened an LGBT community center and began a publication that was distributed nationally.

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