PHOTOS: Watermark Wednesday benefits PFLAG at Sirata Beach Resort

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Watermark’s bi-monthly Tampa Bay social Watermark Wednesday benefited PFLAG Tampa and PFLAG St. Pete at Sirata Beach Resort Sept. 18.

PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to uniting the LGBTQ community, their families and supporters. It has more than 400 chapters, including Tampa’s which formed in 2011 and St. Petersburg’s which followed in 2017.

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Lucas Wehle

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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27 | Transgender, Queer | He/Him/His

As the Trans Services Division Manager at Metro Inclusive Health, Lucas Wehle fights for the LGBTQ community daily.

Through the health care organization’s many services, he and his team of peers connect members of the transgender community to essential resources. His role with the company began four years ago, when he was hired to expand Metro’s transgender and youth programming. Wehle served as coordinator for their youth program for more than a year until the organization identified a need for a more comprehensive approach. He became their transgender care navigator, bridging the gap between clients and services.

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10 LGBTQ youth in Central Florida and Tampa Bay who are making a difference in their communities

By : Jeremy Williams & Ryan Williams-Jent
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We may be biased, but the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay are overflowing with passionate leaders, trend-setters and inspiring champions. That’s why each year we select the cream of the crop and name them as our Most Remarkable People of the Year.

As we looked around our community we noticed something interesting—that many of the community advocates standing up to be leaders, making a difference in the world and all-in-all being remarkable were getting younger and younger. That’s why we decided to recognize the tremendous work these amazing individuals are doing.

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Metro, James Haley VA, CAN hold second annual Trans Fashion Expo

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Metro Wellness and Community Centers, CAN Community Health and the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital will present the second annual Trans Fashion Expo at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Tampa Nov. 17 from 12 – 6 p.m.

LGBTQ+ veterans, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are invited to step into the inclusive space for the free event. They’ll learn about available resources from local community leaders, advocates and vendors as they participate in raffles and select clothing from a full, professional boutique of attire in a safe and affirming venue.

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Metro Wellness sees surge in Hormone Replacement Therapy patients

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Trans Care Coordinator Lucas Wehle (L) and LGBTQ+ Youth/Transgender Program Coordinator Cole Foust share Metro’s offerings at St. Pete Pride’s TransPride pre-party June 22 (Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent).

ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Wellness and Community Centers — currently providing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to 584 patients throughout Tampa Bay — has announced that nearly half of those patients have begun receiving care within the last year.

“We’ve had 275 new HRT patients and that’s without counting the 76 who are in another program that we offer,” Metro’s Trans Care Coordinator Lucas Wehle says. “Almost half of our patients have started HRT care with us within the last year… that’s huge. We’ve had a huge growth.”

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Lucas Wehle and Rachyl Carey

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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“It seemed the universe was intent upon us meeting,” says Rachyl Carey of her fiancé, Lucas. They met through Instagram, where Lucas was featured on a profile called “Barbells and FTMs.” Lucas told Rachyl she was pretty. Rachyl told Lucas she thought he was fine. It worked out.

Lucas says, “After a couple of days of conversing on Instagram, we learned that we had a few mutual friends, which was really random considering she was in the area – home from college for the summer – for the first time in seven years!” According to Lucas, there were probably a few times when the pair could have met otherwise, but they ended up coming together via social media.

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Parting Frames of Empowerment

By : Jake Stevens
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The tone of issue 23.17’s cover story, “We Are All Mercedes Successful,” is obviously pretty heavy. We’re discussing the murders of 19 members of the trans community. How can it not be?

Death is no easy topic to talk about, especially when it involves the murder of your peers. We asked a lot of our trans brothers and sisters who gave us themselves for the story. We asked them to go to that mental place and tell us about the times that they didn’t feel safe. We asked them to stand in front of a camera and present an image of a person who’s fate they could easily share. We asked them to unapologetically present their authentic selves to the world through our readership and demand to be noticed. We asked for a lot. For some, it was understandably just too much, and I am especially grateful for all the people that made the decision to be a part of this story.

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Issue 23.17: We Are All Mercedes Successful

By : Jake Stevens
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Haines City’s Mercedes Succesful is one of 19 reported transgender murders in the U.S. this year. When will this stop? Local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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