The Other Side of Life: Effs to Give

By : Jason Leclerc
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Quite aside from our traditional definitions of masculinity within an institutionalized top-down order, we have built our own prejudices into our supposedly diverse LGBTQ community. The striations inherent in our growing acronym are still built upon prejudices in which some of us eff while others of us get effed.

In our case, it’s literal. As a totem to the wider society, the idea of effing versus getting effed is as much an idea as it is its own reality. For the most powerful among us, simply grabbing another’s genitals or exposing one’s own is its best own display of power: simply hinting that the power gradients are so ingrained in our social order is enough to reify that order.

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102 LGBT leaders ‘enthusiastically endorse’ Nancy Pelosi for speaker

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of The National LGBT Media Association
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Amid uncertainty over whether House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be elected speaker next year despite a Democratic majority in the House, a group of 102 LGBT leaders have come out to “enthusiastically endorse” her to become presiding officer of the chamber.

The leaders expressed support for Pelosi in a joint statement Nov. 16 asserting they “understand that the progress we have made is progress we must protect.”

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Venice announces first ever Pride Festival

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Venice’s LGBTQ community and its allies will celebrate diversity and visibility during the inaugural Venice Pride Nov. 3.

The celebration will be held on the five-acre campus of SunCoast Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church, described as a safe spiritual home for the LGBTQ community and its allies, from 1-5 p.m.

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Central Florida and Tampa Bay prep to eat, drink and be scary this Halloween

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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From the fierce to the freakish, Halloween is a celebration of self-expression. It’s a chance for those of any age, gender identity or sexual orientation to live exactly as they are—or should they choose, to become someone or something else entirely.

For those reasons and more, so many in the LGBTQ community have gravitated toward Halloween throughout its hallowed history. But deeper meanings aside, it’s also fun. How can you go wrong with costumes, candy, parties and puns?

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Betty Who headlines the Come Out With Pride festival concert

By : Melanie Ararat
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Betty Who is a 26-year-old Australian singer-songwriter best known for her infectious dance songs. Her singles “Human Touch,” “Somebody Loves You” and “I Love You Always Forever” have all hit No. 1 on the U.S. Dance charts.

Who also opened the Australian leg of Katy Perry’s “Prismatic World Tour” and Kylie Minogue’s “Kiss Me Once Tour,” as well as headlined her own worldwide tours in 2015 and 2017.

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Watermark is hiring a Tampa Bay Advertising sales representative

By : Meghan Sweeney
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For more than 24 years, Watermark has been the premiere source for LGBTQ news across Central Florida and Tampa Bay and we are expanding our Tampa Bay sales team.

Now you can be part of the team that brings the news to the LGBTQ community.

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Fit for Print: Stop weaponizing religion

By : Steve Blanchard
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From a very young age it was drummed into me that there was a right way to act and a wrong way to act. I’m talking, of course, about my days in church.

Fortunately, the church I attended wasn’t a fire and brimstone kind of place. There were plenty of messages about kindness, doing unto others and helping those who are less fortunate. But every message had the same footnote: “By the way, stay on the straight and narrow and avoid an eternity in the fiery pits of hell. Do what you’re told to do and the big man in the sky who spends all of his time spying on you won’t have a reason to punish you forever.”

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Florida’s drag families prove Mum’s the word

By : Ryan Williams-Jent, Divine Grace
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Drag culture is intrinsically tied to the LGBTQ community, from Stonewall to the life-dependent lip-syncs now featured weekly on VH1. Now more than ever it borders on the mainstream, with the art form highlighted (and contoured) on televisions worldwide and available now on iTunes.

As drag paints itself even further into the history of pop culture, it can be easy to forget that it has its detractors, often found in the safe spaces drag performers share. It can lead to camaraderie amongst entertainers as they gravitate toward one another for belonging and assistance, creating both a sense of family and of home.

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Fit for Print: The warm familiarity of the rainbow flag

By : Steve Blanchard
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Recently, and for the first time in my life, I traveled to another country. My husband and I spent two weeks in Ireland, where we toured historic sites, drank plenty of Guinness and mingled with the locals in several of the country’s beautiful cities and towns. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Ireland is a welcoming country and was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote back in 2015. Knowing that marriage equality was voted into place by the citizens of the country, I knew that we would be welcomed and respected as a couple. In fact, we didn’t see or hear any negativity toward the LGBTQ community during our travels.

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June passes with no Pride Month recognition from White House

By : Jeremy Brener
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Pride Month came and went, and Donald Trump stayed silent for his second June in office.

While this did not come as a surprise to many LGBTQ leaders, it adds to the frustration the community has felt toward a President who has failed to acknowledge LGBTQ people since taking office even after making promises to stand for the community during his campaign.

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Madonna lip-syncs to Demi Lovato, sends Pride message to LGBTQ community

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Madonna sent a special Pride message to the LGBTQ community in an Instagram post over the weekend.

In the video, Madonna lip-syncs to “Solo” by Clean Bandit featuring Demi Lovato.

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PHOTOS: St. Petersburg raises Pride Flag for fifth year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | The city of St. Petersburg once again shared its commitment to the LGBTQ community by raising the Pride flag above City Hall June 21.

Community leaders and advocates gathered for the short ceremony, led by Mayor Rick Kriseman. “This is the fifth time that we have raised the rainbow flag above City Hall,” the mayor began, “and each time  that we have done so has been special.”

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