PHOTOS: Come OUT St. Pete celebrates annual festival, parade

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) celebrated its third annual festival and second annual parade in the Grand Central District on Oct. 5.

The festivities began simultaneously at 11 a.m., welcoming more than 20 parade entries flanked by proud participants enjoying 100 vendors. The route began at 20th St. and moved west on Central Ave to 30th.

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Listen: Watermark, Metro, more discuss American Stage’s ‘Fun Home’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: (L-R) Mollie Posnik, Adrianna Hick and David Mann in American Stage’s “Fun Home.” Photo courtesy American Stage.

ST. PETERSBURG | American Stage has released the latest episode of “Spotlight: The American Stage Podcast,” a community conversation surrounding their production of “Fun Home” featuring representatives from Watermark, Metro Inclusive Health and more.

“Spotlight” exists to illuminate the artistry and ideas behind the theatrical stories American Stage produces. The company closed out its 2018-2019 season with the hit musical “Fun Home” on Aug. 18.

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St. Petersburg adds LGBTQ-owned businesses to small business program

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The City Council unanimously voted to recognize LGBTQ-owned businesses in St. Petersburg’s small business enterprise (SBE) program June 6.

The program certifies SBEs for contracting and procurement opportunities in construction, professional services, goods and supplies. Working in conjunction with The Greenhouse, the city’s facility for starting and growing local business, SBEs are provided business counseling, networking and specialized assistance with access to capital and credit for startups.

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St. Petersburg seeks to recognize LGBTQ-owned businesses

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The City Council will vote on a resolution June 6 to recognize LGBTQ-owned businesses in the city’s small business enterprise (SBE) program to promote a more inclusive economy.

The effort was led by St. Petersburg City Councilmember Gina Driscoll, an advocate for smart development including affordable housing and the city’s reduction of single use plastics. If passed, the resolution will recognize businesses which are at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by LGBTQ individuals and monitor the usage of LGBTQ-owned businesses in St. Petersburg’s procurement of goods and services.

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St. Petersburg issues Transgender Day of Visibility proclamation

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Mayor Rick Kriseman has issued a proclamation recognizing March 31 as Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) in St. Petersburg.

TDOV is an annual holiday celebrated worldwide, now in its 10th year. It is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and victories of transgender people while raising awareness of the work that is still needed to save transgender lives. 

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12.27.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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It’s hard to believe the end of the year is here. It’s cliche to say, but when you live your life in two week cycles across two metropolitan areas—time flies. 2018 zoomed by in the blink of an eye.

Watermark did well in 2018. We saw an increase in sales, so thank you to the businesses and organizations that support us and help us to continue bringing the latest in LGBTQ news to our readers—and congratulations to Senior Account Manager Sam Callahan who had a stellar year. We also saw an increase in distributions sites and are now available at over 600 locations in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and surrounding areas.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2018

By : Watermark Staff
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The LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay are resilient and resourceful. So many members of our community, along with our allies, proved that to be true in 2018.

They’re also remarkable. That’s why Watermark solicited readers for your suggestions of the year’s most impactful individuals in each area. From there, the editorial staff chose 18 unsung heroes and difference makers – nine from Central Florida and nine from Tampa Bay – to name them our Most Remarkable People of 2018.

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12.13.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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It occurred to me as I began to write this column that it would be my last in the year it began, 2018. It’s been a year I’ll never forget for a number of reasons, “chief” among them that I celebrated one year on Watermark’s staff Dec. 11.

My first column highlighted how writing full-time had always been my lifelong dream, something I’ve reiterated ad nauseam, but I’m still thankful that I get to do it and that I get to do it here. I’m very grateful for the family I’ve made at Watermark, for our readers and for our advertisers who make all of this possible. The stories of our ever-expanding LGBTQ community matter and have to be told.

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St. Petersburg to hold ‘We Won’t Be Erased’ transgender support rally

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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LGBTQ community leaders and advocates will gather Nov. 4 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at St. Petersburg’s Williams Park for the area’s “We Won’t Be Erased” transgender support rally.

Nathan Bruemmer organized the rally following reports that the Trump administration may attempt to define gender as an immutable condition determined at birth. Partner organizations include Equality Florida, TransAction Florida, Metro Wellness & Community Centers, St. Pete Pride and Project No Labels.

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PHOTOS: AIDS Healthcare Foundation opens new St. Pete healthcare center

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) opened its newest healthcare center June 25 in St. Petersburg to combat Florida’s growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

AHF hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate their St. Petersburg expansion, where AHF Tampa Bay Medical Director Dr. Jeanette Cancel was joined at the podium by AHF President Michael Weinstein, Southern Bureau Chief Michael Kahane and other AHF leadership. St. Petersburg Police Department LGBT liaison Markus Hughee, city LGBTQ liaison Jim Nixon, Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth T. Welch and other community leaders also spoke, thanking AHF for their commitment to St. Petersburg.

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AIDS Healthcare Foundation opens new St. Petersburg healthcare center

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) opened its newest health care center June 25 in St. Petersburg to combat Florida’s growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The Los Angeles-based AHF is a global nonprofit organization and the nation’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care. Its new healthcare center will provide services to patients regardless of their ability to pay and is located in the organization’s local flagship facility in the Skyway Marina District, first opened in May 2017. The facility also houses AHF’s pharmacy and their fundraising thrift store Out of the Closet, chosen as organization grand marshal for the 2018 St. Pete Pride parade.

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St. Pete receives perfect score in HRC’s Municipal Equality Index for third consecutive year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Under Mayor Rick Kriseman, the city of St. Petersburg  received a perfect score of 100 for a third consecutive year in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index.

The organization’s score, released in late October, represents how inclusive a city’s laws, policies and services are for the LGBTQ people who live and work there. Of the 18 Florida cities ranked by the Human Rights Campaign this year, St. Petersburg was only one of four to receive a perfect score. Orlando, Tallahassee and Wilton Manors rounded out the list of perfect scorers.

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