New doc honors owner of legendary gay bar

By : Brian T. Carney of the Washington Blade, courtesy of National Gay Media Association
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The title character in “Jewel’s Catch One” is Jewel Thais-Williams and “Catch One” is the Catch One Disco, the world-famous club she ran from 1973-2015.

During the economic downturn in 1972, Jewel started to look for a recession-proof business opportunity. She noticed that the bar across the street from her failing dress shop was for sale. Although she faced serious obstacles (her lack of bartending experience, an all-white male clientele and a California law that banned women from tending bar), Jewel raised the money she needed to buy the club.

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As sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, the battle for LGBTQ sex ed in schools is more important than ever

By : Samuel Johnson
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Another tale of twin cities is encapsulated in twin counties, both nestled on the Tampa Bay. St. Petersburg occupies the southern borders of the bay and Tampa hugs the northern shoreline; Pinellas County and Hillsborough County respectfully.

Like most twin cities, these twin counties are dealing with some of the same civic and social challenges: shared infrastructure or shared natural resources or even shifting residential patterns. Another aspect that these twin counties share is the startling rates of sexually risky behavior among their youth, which manifests itself in high rates of sexual infections and diseases.

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Gay men fight HIV/AIDS, taboos in Guatemalan town

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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(Top photo) David Meneses, left, speaks with Bryan López in El Tejar, Guatemala on Feb. 2, 2017.

EL TEJAR, Guatemala — The two volcanoes that rise from the countryside surrounding El Tejar, a town that is slightly more than an hour west of Guatemala City on the Pan-American Highway, were clearly visible on Thursday afternoon.

Children were riding their bicycles through a small park in the center of El Tejar as venders sold food and other items on the street. Bryan López, a 27-year-old nurse who lives in the nearby city of Chimaltenango, was talking about his efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Heavenly Grace: Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson closed an important chapter in 2016

By : Krista DiTucci
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Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson has served as vigilant civil rights activist and a voice for the LGBTQ community through her 44 years of ministry with the Metropolitan Community Church. Throughout her career, she has fought for LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, HIV/AIDS awareness, racial injustice and climate change.

Rev. Wilson, who hails from Long Island, says she knew she wanted to be involved in ministry since she was 13 years old. She moved to Sarasota in 2001 to serve as Church of the Trinity MCC pastor, became the MCC Global Moderator in 2005 and retired this year. Rev. Wilson says her longest pastoring career was in Los Angeles from 1986 to 2000 during the worst years of AIDS.

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Issue 23.24: That was then, this is now

By : Jake Stevens
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World AIDS Day reminds of what was and what can never be again, The B-52s, The Contigo Fund, post-election hate crimes in Tampa Bay, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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12.1.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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We have a lot to live up to. Thirty-five years ago, a snowball of desperation mixed with activism – with more than a dash of medical data and personal tragedy – drove the LGBTQ community down the mythic mountain of seemingly inevitable, plague-like demise; in 1988, the first World AIDS Day was held. This week, we still memorialize the disease which has taken so many of our friends and our family.

After decades of a growing sexual revolution, of which the gay community was at least a tangential part, the “gay cancer,” or “GRID,” or “HIV/AIDS” rose out of the headlines, into our faces, and, eventually permeated our culture and the bodies that populate it. Did we sit down and shut up? No. We marched in streets, arms locked, and shut down businesses, trying to learn what even doctors didn’t yet know: How to Survive a Plague. The book of that name by David France – which follows in the wake of the award-winning documentary and was just released in hardcover – dives even deeper into the unthinkable depths of what would come to define a generation of driven LGBTQ individuals.

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World AIDS Day reminds of what was and what can never be again

By : Billy Manes
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Thom Bland, 54, sits across the table from me at a downtown eatery. His signature shovel beard and glasses speak very much to the currency of fashion – we’re all dialing our time machines backward these days – but his cadence is certainly rooted in the trauma that brought him here. There are tears.

“I knew Patient Zero,” he only half-jokes. Bland is HIV-positive and, though his numbers may read “undetectable,” he’s fallen into the gray area – even the blackest of holes – that has picked off his friends and much of his history indiscriminately. He once woke up from anesthesia while having his lungs scrubbed for Kaposi Sarcoma. He has seen the worst. Bland was diagnosed in 1991.

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Tampa Bay AIDS Walk & 5K Run is coming to town

By : Chelsea Santiago
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ST. PETERSBURG – It’s that time of the year again – waking up early in the morning for fun with family, close friends and a close community; and cheering for that jolly man in the red suit. A track suit, of course.

The Tampa Bay AIDS Walk & 5k Run is coming to town again Dec. 10.

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Felipe Rose on his legacy with the Village People, the crash of disco and moving on

By : Billy Manes
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Some of the faces may have changed, but the Village People remain a constant in parties – especially wedding parties – nearly 40 years after the first spangled crowd-participation extension of arms marking the chorus of the group’s signature hit “YMCA.” The band rode the zeitgeist of the sexual revolution, specifically the gay fringes of said movement, into the living rooms of families who had no idea what they were signing up for. Subversive? Yes. Important? Indeed.

Watermark spoke with founding member, he of the Native American feathered headdress, Felipe Rose in advance of the group’s current incarnation performing at the Aspire Health Partners gala on Oct. 29 in Orlando.

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Tampa Bay HIV/AIDS service organizations ASAP, Francis House to merge

By : Jeremy Williams
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Empath Health announced that AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Hillsborough County’s Francis House will merge in order to expand the HIV/AIDS services available to the Tampa Bay region.

The two non-profits signed an initial Memorandum of Understanding and will operate under a newly-named member of Empath Health.

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Florida leads states in new HIV infections

By : Staff Report
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Florida is the top state for newly-diagnosed HIV infections.

That’s according to new numbers released by Centers for Disease Control, which states Florida had 5,377 new HIV cases in 2013 and 6,147 new HIV cases in 2014.

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President Obama touches on gay issues during final State of the Union

By : Jamie Hyman
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On Jan. 12, 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address. He touched on issues of concern to the gay community twice.

Within the context of discussing American leadership on a global scale, President Obama talked about ending HIV/AIDS. 

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