Keeping It Real: Advocacy for a reason, a season or a lifetime?

By : Nathan Bruemmer
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I’ve been racking my brain lately to try and remember the first advocate I was introduced to as a child. As a good Catholic, I’m pretty sure it was St. Francis of Assisi. He was the patron saint of animals.

I was introduced to a long line of other saints in Catholic school, but in the secular world I found so many more. I learned from and was inspired by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela and so many more.

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ALSO Youth executive director resigns

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Nathan Bruemmer, JD has resigned as the executive director of ALSO Youth effective Aug. 31, the organization shared Aug. 29.

ALSO Youth was founded in 1992 and exists to empower LGBTQ youth and their allies by creating inclusive communities. Bruemmer has served as executive director for two years.

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Keeping It Real: Grit, grace and gaps across our LGBTQ+ generations

By : Nathan Bruemmer
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Pride Month is a wrap. This year was monumental—50 years since Stonewall.

What began as a single confrontational event that turned into a one-day march, grew into a weekend and then blossomed into a weeklong festival, has matured into a month of non-stop activities for all ages. However, we can’t seem to agree on how we define Stonewall. An uprising? Protests? Riots? What happened and who was there continues to be debated. But 50 years ago, the world changed.

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Local leaders, Lisa Loeb strengthen St Pete Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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“Florida’s largest Pride celebration belongs to everyone in St. Petersburg,” St Pete Pride President Chrys Bundy says ahead of the 17th annual St Pete Pride. It’s the result of year-round dedication from LGBTQ community members, advocates and allies.

That was evident with last year’s successful Sweet 16, which welcomed 250,000 attendees over Pride weekend—around 15,000 shy of St. Petersburg’s entire estimated population. It was a feat that longtime LGBTQ ally and Pride supporter St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman welcomes yet again.

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Harvey Milk Festival holds 10th annual celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | The Harvey Milk Festival (HMF) will hold its 10th annual celebration May 9-11, honoring the life and legacy of activist Harvey Milk by fostering the arts as a catalyst for change.

“It feels comforting,” founder and HMF Executive Director Shannon Fortner says of entering the festival’s 10th year. “I feel proud of our community that we’re able to sustain festivities.”

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St Pete Pride announces third annual TransPride March

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG |Registration for St Pete Pride’s third annual TransPride March is now open, the organization announced March 31, also Transgender Day of Visibility.

The TransPride March was launched in 2017, leading the St Pete Pride Parade to celebrate the diverse transgender and gender-expansive community. The 2018 march exceeded 750 participants, the organization shared in a press release.

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St Pete Pride announces new leadership

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Following its successful 16th year, St Pete Pride announced Nov. 19 that the organization’s board president, vice president and secretary would transition and that its treasurer had been re-elected.

“St Pete Pride voted in new leadership, including three newly-elected officers from various backgrounds,” the organization shared, highlighting Chrys Bundy-Brennan’s election as president. Bundy-Brennan follows Scion Crowder’s four-year term which oversaw St Pete Pride’s largest period of growth.

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PHOTOS: St. Petersburg holds ‘We Won’t Be Erased’ transgender support rally

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | LGBTQ community leaders and advocates gathered Nov. 4 at Williams Park for St. Petersburg’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 included Equality Florida, TransAction Florida, Metro Wellness & Community Centers, St. Pete Pride, the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce and Project No Labels. “We rally for our rights, for our future and for our lives,” Bruemmer shared with Watermark ahead of the event. “These rallies are happening all over our country right now. I hope the politicians who need to hear this message do so and act.”

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Fifth black transgender woman murdered in Florida this year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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North Port, Fla. | North Port police are investigating the murder of Londonn Moore, 20, the fifth known black transgender homicide victim found in Florida this year.
Moore’s body was discovered Sept. 8, miles from her hometown of Port Charlotte in a remote area of Sarasota County’s North Port. Local outlets and law enforcement have repeatedly misgendered Moore and utilized her dead name, prompting criticism from community advocates.

Equality Florida and other national organizations released a call for urgent action Sept. 14, citing the 2018 Florida murders of Sasha Garden, Cathalina Christina James, Antash’a English and Celine Walker. Along with Moore, their deaths account for a quarter of all reported anti-transgender murders nationwide.

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman issues Transgender Day of Visibility Proclamation

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | Mayor Rick Kriseman issued a proclamation on March 8 declaring March 31, 2018 as the city’s Transgender Day of Visibility.

Transgender Day of Visibility is “a holiday which celebrates transgender representation, activism, and equality,” St. Pete Pride’s statement on the proclamation reads. “The mayor honored this international holiday locally because he felt it was crucial to honor the bravery of the many transgender individuals who live, work, or play in their authentic gender in the Sunshine City.”

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2016 was the worst year ever, and 2017 was the year we found our footing

By : Jeremy Williams
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In these very pages one year ago we proclaimed 2016 to be the worst year ever. It started off with so much promise and optimism, with the official passing of the torch as the former owner of Watermark turned the reins over to new owner Rick Claggett and Watermark Media became Watermark Publishing Group.

President Barack Obama was heading into the final year of his second term and everything seemed in place for another torch to be passed, that of the first black president passing the country off to the first female president.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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In a year filled with many setbacks and obstacles, the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay have met those challenges with amazing resilience and resisted all forms of discrimination.

The individuals selected as Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017 come from many walks of life but all share one thing in common, they all were truly exceptional this year.

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