2019 was a year for the LGBTQ record books

By : Jeremy Williams & Ryan Williams-Jent
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Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Of course not! That’s why after a historical 365 days, Watermark has assembled our annual year in review.

2019 was a landmark year for us here at Watermark. In August, we proudly celebrated 25 years of serving Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s ever-expanding LGBTQ communities.

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12.12.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Welcome to Watermark’s annual Remarkable People issue. This is, hands down, my favorite issue of the year. We take a handful of people in our local communities, 19 for 2019, and showcase why they are remarkable through the eyes of those closest to them.

Some of those recognized will be well known to you, as they have been champions of our community for many years. Others will be less known, those who work behind the scenes making magic happen, someone whose single act of kindness set them apart or those whose talent was so great it made them rise to the top in places LGBTQ people have not gone before. Whatever their accomplishment, I hope you will join Watermark in celebrating our remarkable people of 2019.

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11.14.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Progress, not perfection: One of the many mantras for those in a 12-step program. The idea is that no one is perfect; therefore striving for or searching for perfection is futile. One should simply try to do the next right thing, work toward being better one day at a time. It sounds nice on paper, but putting it in practice is much more difficult. It takes tools and time to train your brain to think this way.

I can’t say if this is the way things have always been or if I am just opening my eyes to it in the wake of information overload, but our society seems too preoccupied with perfection — giving way to an all or nothing culture.

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Tampa Pride kicks off 2020 fundraising, names grand marshals

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Pride President Carrie West, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, her longtime partner Ana Cruz and Tampa Pride Vice President Mark Eary enjoy Pride Zoo-La Nov. 2 at ZooTampa. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

TAMPA | Tampa Pride kicked off its 2020 fundraising Nov. 2 at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, welcoming supporters and unveiling next year’s grand marshals.

More than 350 attended Tampa Pride’s “Wild Carnavale,” the organization’s second annual Pride Zoo-La. Guests enjoyed a silent auction, special performances and interactions with zoo animals, including a giraffe feeding.

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Recipes for a couple delicious Halloween treats

By : Barbara Leach & Rick Claggett
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Halloween Sugar Cookies

From Central Florida judicial candidate Barbara Leach

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PHOTOS: Watermark celebrates its 25th anniversary in Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Watermark celebrated its 25th anniversary in Tampa Bay on Aug. 30 with an evening at Metro Inclusive Health.

Ahead of the gathering, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman proclaimed Aug. 30, 2019 as “Watermark Newspaper’s 25th Anniversary Day” in St. Petersburg. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor joined him, proclaiming it “Watermark Publishing Group Day” in Tampa.

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Watermark celebrates its silver anniversary with a look back at the LGBTQ headlines of the past 25 years

By : Jeremy Williams
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For 25 years, in nearly 700 issues, Watermark has been telling the stories of Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ communities.

First premiering in Orlando in 1994, and then expanding into Tampa Bay in 1995, Watermark now covers more than a dozen counties across the state. We can be found in many Florida cities including Daytona Beach, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Sarasota—and thanks to WatermarkOnline.com, we have developed an international audience which relies on us for news, politics, sports, arts and entertainment as it pertains to the LGBTQ community.

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Watermark 25: Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Watermark began covering Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community in 1995, not long after its 1994 founding in Orlando.

It was more than a decade before I would move to Florida and more than two before I would be fortunate enough to become Watermark’s Tampa Bay Bureau Chief, but it’s a decision I’m very thankful that our founder Tom Dyer made just the same.

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Watermark 25: Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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With this issue Watermark celebrates 25 years of publishing, 25 years of sharing information and helping to build a community. I am beyond proud to be a part of this organization.

As I sat down to write this column, I visited the words of Founder and Guiding Light Tom Dyer as he shared his thoughts on the 20th Anniversary of Watermark. It’s funny to see how much has changed, and how little has changed. We still operate with a small, dedicated staff who are as passionate about their work as they are talented. Watermark still focuses on local community news in its pages, offering a voice to stories other publications will not; and at times we still walk the fine line between financial gain and commitment to community partnerships.

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Watermark, LGBTQ organizations among Good ‘Burger Awards finalists

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: The 6th annual Good ‘Burger Awards at State Theatre Aug. 30, 2018. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce has announced its list of finalists for the seventh annual Good ‘Burger Awards, including Watermark Publishing Group which has been nominated as a cool small company.

A “Good ‘Burger” refers to a business, organization or individual in the greater St. Petersburg area that makes a positive impact in the community,” the chamber explains. The awards are named in honor of a former mayor who referred to his citizens as “burgers,” as in “St. Petersburgers.”

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PHOTOS: Tampa Bay Business Journal celebrates the Business of Pride 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The Tampa Bay Business Journal presented the 2019 Business of Pride awards at The Italian Club of Tampa June 20.

The annual awards, presented in partnership with the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce, recognize individuals and companies who work to advance LGBTQ equality in the workplace. Watermark Publishing Group was honored as an LGBTQ-owned company.

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05.30.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Hi! My name is Rick and I am queer. How does that make you feel? Does the word queer invoke anger or fear? Or is it something you embrace? Is this a generational question?

I understand and respect completely that the word queer is a trigger for some. I vividly remember being asked if I was queer when I was younger. It was usually accompanied by some snarl-faced look that let me know being queer was not a good thing in their eyes. Not knowing what queer meant, I would answer “no,” which would result in my gender being questioned or chased around the playground. By the time I was called “as queer as a three dollar bill,” I knew what they were saying.

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