Gay migrants face violence, abuse as they escape turmoil in the Middle East

By : Wire Report
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Berlin (AP) – Alaa Ammar fled Syria to escape not just civil war but also the threat of persecution as a gay man. Yet when he arrived in The Netherlands last spring, he did not find the safe haven he craved.

He and four other gay travelers had to face newly arrived asylum seekers at a migrant center in the remote northern town of Ter Apel.

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5,000th Las Vegas area same-sex wedding on New Year’s Eve

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Las Vegas (AP) – Clark County partnered with the Las Vegas business community to mark a local gay marriage milestone on New Year’s Eve.

According to the county, Phoenix residents Ronald Bauman and Dumitru Alexeev received the 5,000th same-sex marriage license issued in Clark County since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of gay marriage in the state.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Baxter’s Lounge is getting a makeover

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Miss ASAP is Dunedin bound
The AIDS Service Association of Pinellas is shaking things up a bit this year with its annual Miss ASAP Pageant. The organization is taking the pageant north—at Blur Nightclub in Dunedin, to be exact. The annual pageant features female impersonators vying for the coveted title to represent ASAP for a full year. The move north pulls the annual contest out of St. Petersburg and stretches into the northern part of the county, where ASAP services many clients. Outgoing Miss ASAP Monica Moore will help organize and host the pageant and will also step down at the end of the night before crowning the next queen in the dynasty. For details or to enter, visit the Miss ASAP 2015 Facebook page.

Quench Lounge: The new Bear Cave
The Tampa Bay Bears finally have a home again! The social club for the hirsute and their admirers will meet every Friday at Quench Lounge in Largo for drinks and camaraderie. Bears president Mike Tobias told Watermark that he hopes the club will not only attract new members by having a new home, but that the group can schedule more outings and dinners throughout 2015 by having a common meeting place. The first official gathering of bears is Friday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. If you missed it, don’t worry, they’ll be back next Friday. The bears will also be the benefiting organization of January’s Watermark Wednesday event, held at Quench Lounge, at 6 p.m. Jan. 21.

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Watermark’s New Year’s Eve 2014 events roundup!

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What are you doing to ring in 2015? Watermark has you covered with a round-up of LGBT and LGBT-friendly options in both the Central Florida and Tampa Bay areas.

Feel free to leave a comment if you know about a great party we missed!

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Tell Watermark readers about your New Year’s Eve events!

By : Staff Report
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Is your organization or business doing something special for New Year’s Eve? Well, we want to know about it!

Watermark will be publishing a roundup of New Year’s Eve events happening in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

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Utah takes marriage equality fight to Supreme Court

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Utah took its fight against gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to suspend same-sex unions that became legal when a judge struck down the state’s voter-approved ban.

The heavily Mormon state wants the marriages to stop while it appeals a judge’s decision, which said banning gay couples from marrying violates their right to equal treatment under the law.

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Gay activist gives 96-year-old woman the gift of home

By : Susan Clary
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Orlando – They couldn’t be more different the 96-year-old African American woman who loves sitting home, chewing tobacco and watching soap operas and the 48-year-old openly gay activist, who dotes on his beagles and loves working in his yard.

Yet, Elizabeth Smith and Randy Ross sit together on a brand new couch in her renovated Carver Shores home smiling and laughing just before Christmas. Ross led the project, which he called “24 Hours for Mrs. Smith,” to raise money and donations for Smith, who lives on $500 a month.

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New Year’s Butch: Butchlesque brings in 2014 with Gulfport show

By : Greg Stemm
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Gulfport – Every year we face the same challenge: How do we say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new in a different and unique way. For those in Tampa Bay and Sarasota, there’s a new option that also helps support the LGBT community.

“Butchlesque” is a showcase of participants displaying their individual perceptions of the “butch identity.”  Through these interpretations, those participants open the door to possibilities that does not require renouncing one’s self in order to feel desirable and accepted.  As the women display their personal choices of attire and swagger, they reflect the spirit that has moved them to step out of expected roles and into their authentic lives.

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Weddings, marriage equality underway in Maryland

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Same-sex couples in Maryland were greeted with cheers and noisemakers held over from New Year’s Eve parties, as gay marriage became legal in the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line on New Year’s Day.

James Scales, 68, was married to William Tasker, 60, on Tuesday shortly after midnight by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake inside City Hall.

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Watermark’s picks to ring in 2013

By : Watermark Staff
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DADE CITY
Don’t want to celebrate the New Year in a bar? Spend First Night at Sawmill Resort and experience all of this; a rose parade, guest DJs, Sawmill Social Club, porn stars, beer bust and Frenchie Davis live! For more information, visit FLSawmill.com.

ORLANDO
In the mood to clown around? The cast of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba bend and tumble in two special performances of Cirque New Year. These exclusive shows will offer a unique holiday finale, a gift for each guest and champagne toast at midnight. Performances are 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. For more information and tickets, CirqueDuSoleil.com/LaNouba

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Issue 19.26: Remarkable People and Year in Review

By : Watermark Staff
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A Remarkable Journey: Despite losing a leg just before 2012 even started, Tampa’s Bill Kanouff embraced his new beginning, Meet Bob Poe, Orlando’s most remarkable person of 2012, Our Year in Review Issue, local news, celebrity interviews, and much more!

 On the Cover: In late 2011, Bill Kanouff of Tampa lost his leg following a motorcycle accident. A year later he’s not only walking again, but motivating others within and outside of the LGBT community. That’s why we recognize him as Tampa Bay’s Most Remarkable Person of 2012.
Watermark Issue 19.26// Dec. 20 2012-Jan. 2, 2013

Page 8 |Orlando News
Bob Poe is Orlando’s Most Remarkable Person of 2012, thanks to his detailed efforts in fundraising this election year; after 8-hour meeting, Orange County Schools vote to add gender identity and sexual orientation to its protections; 2012’s Top 5 stories; more.

Page 12 |Tampa Bay News
Bill Kanouff is Tampa Bay’s Most Remarkable Person of 2012; Pinellas County set to discuss a countywide partnership registry; 2012’s Top 5 stories; more.

Page 32 | New Year’s Eve
If the Mayans are wrong and we do indeed see life past Dec. 21, then you’ll want to usher in 2013 in style. We speak with dance queen Amber, who is headlining at Parliament House in Orlando as well as list a few notable events happening throughout the area..

Page 54 | Gallery W
Only in Florida can you incorporate beautiful weather in to a charitable fun run. Ybor City was home to the Third Annual Santa Speedo Run and we were sure to have photographers ready to catch the hot bodies and outrageous outfits.

Top 5 2012 LGBT Sarasota news stories

By : Watermark Staff
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Sarasota secures domestic partnership registry
Very little controversy surrounded the City of Sarasota’s Domestic Partnership Registry, which went into effect in early November. Same-sex and opposite-sex couples could register for protections within the city after a months-long push by area activists, namely former commissioner Ken Shelin. Sarasota is the first city in Sarasota county to enact the ordinance, and has a provision for those registered to be grandfathered into a possible future countywide ordinance.

Golden Apple closes doors, reopens for New Year’s
The Sarasota arts community was shocked to learn that it’s beloved, historic Golden Apple Dinner Theater was forced to close this fall. Owners had difficulty making the rent and a new owner of the historic building asked the Sheriff’s Office to post eviction notices. Fortunately, less than two months later, the home of local theater and drag queen bingo will reopen its doors in time for two-month run of Viagara Falls, which opens right before New Year’s Eve.

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