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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Central Florida Overheard: The Minx says goodbye

By : anonymous
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About six years ago a pair of talented drag queens, along with an entire bunch of local performers, came to the Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando on a Sunday to entertain diners during a quiet brunch. Those queens were Ginger Minj and The Minx. They, along with their Broadway Brunch Bunch, have gone back every Sunday performing a send-up to live theater and making Hamburger Mary’s Broadway Brunch one of the most successful and beloved brunches across the country.

Ginger Minj left Broadway Brunch after appearing on season seven of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and now the announcement has come that the other half of Broadway Brunch’s original dynamic duo is leaving as well. In a Facebook post, Hamburger Mary’s owner wrote “I am sad that we will be losing one of the most talented, and more importantly one of the nicest people I have ever met.”

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Babes in Bonnets sets record in fundraising for OYA

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Babes in Bonnets, The Parliament House’s annual Easter fixture, set a fundraising record bringing in $32,171 for the Orlando Youth Alliance March 26.

The previous record was set last year when Babes in Bonnets brought in $28,000 for OYA.

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2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – TAMPA BAY

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor

Second: Nadine Smith, Equality Florida CEO

Third: Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Mayor

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor

Second: Joanna Garcia Parkin, ESQ., St. Petersburg attorney

Third: Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Mayor

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2018 WAVE AWARD WINNERS – CENTRAL FLORIDA

By : Watermark Staff
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST

First: Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner – District 4

Second: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Third: Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida House Representative – District 49

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY

First: Buddy Dyer, Orlando Mayor

Second: Anna Eskamani, Florida House candidate – District 47

Third: Darren Soto, U.S. House of Representatives – Florida’s 9th District

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PHOTOS: WAVE Awards Party 2018 Tampa Bay

By : Jake Stevens
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Hamburger Mary’s Tampa was the sight of the 2018 edition of Watermark’s annual WAVE Awards Party. Helping us celebrate with the WAVE winners you selected as Tampa Bay’s favorites, was a bevy of beauties. Amy DeMilo hosted a show that featured our WAVE award winner for favorite local performer Alexis De La Mer, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 10 contestant Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, singer Jennifer Real and drag queens Jasmine Jimenez, Esme Russell and Desiree A. DeMornay.

Check out our pics of their performances, as well as the party-goers and Watermark staff who were lucky enough to be on hand to enjoy the festivities.

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PHOTOS: WAVE Awards Party 2018 Tampa Bay – Step and Repeat

By : Jake Stevens
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Watermark held our WAVE Awards party for 2018 in Tampa Bay at Hamburger Mary’s on March 8. Some of Tampa’s award winners and fans came out to celebrate with us and pose for our cameras.

Check out the rest of the photos after the jump.

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