GIW KRAZE

By : Jamie Hyman
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Packed dance floor, jungle girls, DJs and drinks, Girls in Wonderland brings it to House of Blues for their annual Saturday night party, KRAZE.

A couple thousand women packed the club June 4 to take over the dance floor and party into the night for GIW’s signature event.

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Climax Party at Cheyenne Saloon

By : Jamie Hyman
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Yee-haw!

With it’s stained glass and ornate carved wood, Cheyenne Saloon on Church St. made a beautiful backdrop for Girls In Wonderland’s annual Friday night party, Climax.

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Sarasota’s annual Harvey Milk Festival returns with activism, anger and hope

By : Krista DiTucci
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“It’s a fine balance of visual art and social commentary,” performance artist Belaxis Buil Buil says. “I’ve used galleries and museums as a way to speak to people and discuss something that’s taking place in society. If I present it in a visual format, they will pay attention in a different way and respond. It’s like they walk out completely awakened.”

That’s what Harvey Milk was about.

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The other side of life: Elect oral

By : Jason Leclerc
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Jason Leclerc

Jason Leclerc

As I canvas America, meeting those friends and colleagues with whom – just a couple years ago – I could engage in raucous political debates, I find that the “Establishment” is strong and coalescing. The Clinton-Bush conglomerate that has delivered America to its current, unprecedented level of economic, social, and technological greatness (wealth disparity, esoteric-last-stand-anti-trans-HBs, and ISIL notwithstanding), is fighting to reclaim its rightful place as the unifier of the world’s splintering resolve against entropy.

Reasonable Republicans and daring Democrats, having fought like spoiled siblings over manufactured and overwrought issues for three decades since the Reagan coalition collapsed, are looking more like a ‘90s-era Parliament House “heads and tails” foam party. We’re quietly groping each other, agreeing that oral is acceptable.

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Italian Senate approves bill to allow civil unions

By : Wire Report
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ROME (AP) – Italy’s Senate voted Feb. 25 to grant legal recognition to civil unions, as the last holdout in Western Europe took a compromise step to give some rights to gay couples after a bitter, years-long debate.

Premier Matteo Renzi described the passage of the bill Thursday as “historic.” But gay and lesbian groups denounced the watered-down legislation as a betrayal because Renzi’s Democratic Party sacrificed a provision to allow gay adoption in order to ensure passage.

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You are invited: 2016 WAVE Award parties

By : Jamie Hyman
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Watermark is celebrating the 2016 WAVE Award winners with two great events, and YOU are invited!

Find out the details after the jump: 

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2.25.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

I pull my shirt off and pray.

It’s a bit of a conundrum, this political primary. Though Florida’s presidential-preference primary parade won’t hit the pavement until March 15, so-called Super Tuesday is blowing up in our faces on March 1, meaning, of course, that we have to sound our golden horns, decorate our cars and reach for the sky, or engage in something else that screams “occasion.”

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi“My favorite thing about Candace is she has a beautiful heart,” Melissa says. “She has so much love in her, and not just for me but for everybody—and it just shines.”

Candace Salemi, who is a senior higher education specialist, and Melissa Crispo, who is a musician/songwriter and paramedic, hung out in the same circle of friends for 15 years. Candace came to see Melissa perform regularly, but they only ever considered themselves acquaintances.

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Will Gulfport elect an openly gay mayor or a straight, gay-friendly mayor?

By : Greg Stemm
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In an election year fraught with unusual circumstances and candidates, one local Tampa Bay area election has put a difficult decision to the voters of Gulfport on whom to elect as their new mayor. One candidate, the incumbent, is a well-liked progressive straight mayor with undeniably strong support for LGBT issues and the challenger who is an openly gay woman and a respected business owner in the community.

According to the latest census about a third of the residents of this small Tampa Bay area city of about 12,500 residents identify themselves as LGBT. Gulfport has long prided itself in taking lead roles in the fight for LGBT rights and equality. It was the fourth and smallest city in the state to pass a Human Rights Ordinance, the first in Pinellas County to do so, and it is to date the most comprehensive in the state. It was the first city in Pinellas County to pass a domestic partner registry and it has taken strong official positions in support of marriage equality and ending workplace discrimination. The city’s library hosts the state’s only publically supported LGBT resource center. Many Gulfport residents take pride in being a role model to other communities on how gays and straights can work effectively and even joyfully together.

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Orange County DEC Legacy of Action awards reception

By : Jamie Hyman
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At their Legacy of Action Awards reception, the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee celebrated the lives and legacies of local grassroots activists Feb. 19 at Elixer in downtown Orlando.

The DEC presented the Harris-Namey-Waxman Lifetime Legacy Award, Cannon-Porta Woman of Action Award and The Bill Nelson Activist in Government Award in honor and celebration of exemplary service, patriotism and dedication to the values of the Democratic Party and the people of Central Florida.

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Italian Prime Minister ready to push civil union legislation

By : Wire Report
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ROME (AP) – Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is considering resorting to a risky confidence vote in the Senate to ensure the passage of a bill allowing civil unions, but not marriage, for gay couples.

He told his Democratic Party members he is `’ready” to use the tactic on the bill if needed.

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Georgia Senate approves LGBT service-refusal bill

By : Wire Report
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Atlanta (AP) – Georgia’s state Senate approved a bill allowing faith-based organizations to refuse services to same-sex couples without government penalties, including loss of grants or other taxpayer funding.

Senators voted 38 to 14 on party lines Feb. 19, despite fear about damage to the state’s economy expressed by the state’s influential business community and opposition from gay-rights advocates.

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