10.31.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I’m nearly two years younger than the educational organization D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and my early schooling reflects that. Preventative programming was all the rage in the early 90s.

D.A.R.E. was designed to provide students with the tools to resist drugs, alcohol and other high risk behaviors. It still exists today, albeit without the same fanfare, led by police officers in thousands of classrooms across the country. Among other things, it’s committed to helping students from kindergarten through grade 12 “resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.”

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Hamburger Mary’s Tampa files suit against Dept. of Health

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Hamburger Mary greets guests at Mary’s Brandon in Feb. 2019 before its closure. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

TAMPA |Former Hamburger Mary’s franchise owner Kurt King is suing the Florida Dept. of Health (DOH) in Hillsborough County and Director Dr. Douglas Holt for discrimination after the closure of his Brandon, St. Petersburg and Tampa restaurants.

King is seeking damages in excess of $15,000. He alleges that in Oct. 2018, the DOH and Dr. Holt falsely reported a positive case of hepatitis A in a Hamburger Mary’s Tampa employee—a highly-contagious liver infection—because the establishment was LGBTQ-owned and operated.

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PHOTOS: Hamburger Mary’s Broadway Brunch gets ‘Disney Twisted’ for RED Shirt Pride Days

By : KathleenHarper
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In honor of RED Shirt Pride Days, Hamburger Mary’s Orlando’s Broadway Brunch Bunch showed their villainous side with a special Twisted Disney-theme show on Sunday, June 2.

The show – hosted by Angel and The Sphinx – had performances from the wickedly delightful Winifred Sanderson of “Hocus Pocus” and Maleficent. The show also featured a few heroes including “The Little Mermaid” herself Ariel, street rat Aladdin and more!

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Orlando’s Broadway Brunch Bunch takes their hit show from the dining room to the main stage

By : Jeremy Williams
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If you have been to Hamburger Mary’s Orlando on a Sunday for its Broadway Brunch then you already know that no one does Broadway like drag queens do Broadway.

Each week for nearly the last seven years a team of drag queens, singers, dancers, actors and comedians—collectively known as the Broadway Brunch Bunch—put on one of Central Florida’s best shows all while their audiences “eat, drink and be Mary.”

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The Last Page with Creative Assistant/Photographer Dylan Todd

By : Rick Claggett
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Dylan Todd has been Watermark’s Creative Assistant and Photographer for nearly three-quarters of a year, but his quest to join Watermark’s staff began well before that.

In 2015, Dylan was impressed with the quality and community nature of Watermark and wanted to be a part of that mission. He logged onto WatermarkOnline.com and emailed the domain asking how his photography services could be used in the newspaper. He then posted the same inquiry on Facebook. At the time, a position was not open.

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Hamburger Mary’s Brandon, St. Petersburg announce impending closure

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Hamburger Mary’s Brandon and Hamburger Mary’s St. Petersburg will permanently close on or before March 31, owner Kurt King shared late Feb. 26.

“Kurt King regretfully announces that the Hamburger Mary’s locations in Brandon and St. Petersburg will close for good on March 31, 2019 or possibly sooner,” King shared via Facebook.

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We look back on 2018, a midterm year for a country that’s just living on a prayer

By : Jeremy Williams and Ryan Williams-Jent
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It’s been two years since we, as a country, entered into the reality that is the Trump Administration. The country feels more divided than ever and the phrases “fake news” and “it’s all a witch hunt” are commonplace.

The violence that seems to define who Americans are these days is also there, particularly in Florida, where there has been no justice for the five transgender women of color who were murdered and yet another mass shooting—this time at a high school in Parkland, Fla.—pulled the focus of the world to our state.

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WatermarkOnline’s Top News Headlines of 2018

By : Watermark Staff
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WatermarkOnline.com had its largest number of visitors in 2018. Hundreds of thousands of readers came to the website throughout the year for the stories that impacted the LGBTQ community in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and across the country.

Below, we have complied the top five headlines from each of our LGBTQ news sections: Central Florida News, Tampa Bay News, State News and Nation & World News. The sections top headlines are based on the number of clicks on each story.

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UPDATED: Department of Health in Central Florida to offer free hepatitis A vaccinations

By : Jeremy Williams
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UPDATE: This story has been updated to include Osceola, Lake and Brevard Counties.

ORLANDO | The Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Brevard Counties announced they will offer free hepatitis A vaccinations to high-risk individuals, according to a Dec. 12 press release.

Men who have sexual encounters with other men are among the list of high-risk groups, according to the DOH. Other groups include users of recreational drugs, those who are homeless, anyone with chronic or long-term liver disease and people with clotting-factor disorders. The DOH also recommends that all children at age one year, people who have direct contact with those who have hepatitis A, travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common should be vaccinated as well.

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Mama Bearings: Why I am here

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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“Why are you guys even here?” This was the very direct and rude question my husband was asked in March during this year’s Tampa Pride. We were sitting at a crowded table shared with friends, old and new, at Hamburger Mary’s Ybor. Our eight-year-old son Jake was with us.

My husband, being the kind and patient human being he is, answered in great detail. He explained to his interrogator that we were attending Tampa Pride in support of our youngest child, who identifies as transgender. Jake was even on a float and gave out beads in the parade. It was an important and magical day for us as parents seeing our little dude being himself. Celebrating diversity is one of my fondest memories with Jake so far.

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PHOTOS: Hamburger Mary’s Broadway Brunch Bunch get into the Gay Days spirit

By : Jake Stevens
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Hamburger Mary’s Orlando held its Gay Days-inspired Broadway Brunch, with hosts Nicky Monet and Angel Sheridan and the Broadway Brunch Bunch, June 3.

The show featured  great song and dance numbers, deep cuts from the 90s, fabulous costumes and more than few hilarious sharp barbs traded between the hosts. All in all, a really fantastic way to cap Orlando’s Big Gay Weekend.

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Parliament House kicks off Gay Days with traditional PI@PH

By : Danny Garcia
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The world famous Parliament House got its Gay Days started with its PI @ PH celebration.

P House’s annual tradition featured amazing drag performances, the hottest music and a fantastic show from Hamburger Mary’s Broadway Brunch Bunch.

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