Dining Out For Life supports Tampa Bay HIV/AIDS efforts

By : Felicia Roopchand
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TAMPA BAY – Dining Out For Life is a charity event both your stomach and your wallet can get behind. In cities all across the world on April 27, selected restaurants will be participating in the event by donating at least 25 percent of their proceeds from that day to the licensed HIV/AIDS service agency in their city. In exchange for their financial support, restaurants are listed in a citywide marketing campaign in an effort to increase customer traffic. The Tampa Bay area will be among the various cities included.

“You know, Gulfport kind of comes in with a vengeance. All the restaurants in Gulfport participate and we’ve got a couple of new restaurants coming on over towards the Tampa side. I think we’re going to have a really good year.” said Joy Winheim, executive director of Empath Partners in Care (EPIC).

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Tampa Bay celebrates Watermark’s 2017 WAVE Awards at Flamingo Resort

By : Jeremy Williams
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Watermark celebrated with the Tampa Bay winners of the 2017 WAVE Awards at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg March 9.

The Flamingo Resort hosted the event in their new Blu Room Theatre with flowers designed by The Flower Centre of St. Petersburg. First place winners took home awards in beautiful frames courtesy of Tyrone’s Frame and Mirror.

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2017 WAVE Award winners – Tampa Bay

By : Jeremy Williams
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FAVORITE LOCAL POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST
First: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman
Second: Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith
Third: Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner

GREATEST STRAIGHT ALLY TO THE LOCAL LGBTQ COMMUNITY
First: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman
Second: U.S. Representative for District 14 Kathy Castor
Third: St. Pete Pride President Scion Provenzano

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As sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, the battle for LGBTQ sex ed in schools is more important than ever

By : Samuel Johnson
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Another tale of twin cities is encapsulated in twin counties, both nestled on the Tampa Bay. St. Petersburg occupies the southern borders of the bay and Tampa hugs the northern shoreline; Pinellas County and Hillsborough County respectfully.

Like most twin cities, these twin counties are dealing with some of the same civic and social challenges: shared infrastructure or shared natural resources or even shifting residential patterns. Another aspect that these twin counties share is the startling rates of sexually risky behavior among their youth, which manifests itself in high rates of sexual infections and diseases.

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Watermark’s 2017 WAVE Awards – nomination round

By : Watermark Staff
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It’s that time of year again, time to do the WAVE!

Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, best known in these parts as the WAVE Awards, look to award the best in both the Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area LGBTQ community in the realms of activism, service, fun and more.

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Tampa Bay drag queen star Natasha Richards dies at 44

By : Chelsea Santiago
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Renowned Tampa Bay drag performer Natasha Richards, who lit up every stage she stepped on, died Dec. 2.

The Clearwater-based performer won dozens of titles in local and national drag pageants, including Miss National 2003 and Miss Gay USofA 1996.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Streisand at Amalie and Equality Florida at UT

By : Anonymous
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Hello Gorgeous!

Most people at the age of 74 are kicked back in retirement, sipping on a cocktail and enjoying the warm weather of a tropical climate such as that in Florida, but most people aren’t Barbra Streisand. Babs has had a year that would exhaust a person in their twenties, but this Funny Girl has been globetrotting to promote her new album Encore and looking flawless along the way.

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ASAP, Francis House merger makes Empath Health largest HIV/AIDS services provider in Tampa Bay

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST PETERSBURG – Empath Health announced that AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Hillsborough County’s Francis House will merge in order to expand the HIV/AIDS services available to the Tampa Bay region.

The two non-profits signed an initial memorandum of understanding and will operate under a newly-named member of Empath Health.

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Equal Time: Looking back, staring forward

By : Nadine Smith
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NadineCapWas the young man who fired a semi-automatic rifle into a crowd of more than 300 people at an Orlando gay bar an ISIS terrorist? Was he a closeted gay man lashing out explosively in the ultimate act of self-hatred? Was it both?

These were the questions I fielded from reporters in the days and weeks following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Activism “reigns”

By : Jamie Hyman
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Poetry in motion
Poet Steven Reigns made quite the name for himself in the Tampa Bay area before heading to the west coast to expand his craft and activism. A product of the University of South Florida, Reigns was not only a well-known poet and artist, he was also a leading activist. He was the Literary Director for the GLBT Center of Tampa for two years, headed up an outreach program in Pinellas County offering up HIV testing and education for minorities in the inner city and was even named as “Someone to Watch” by the Advocate. Reigns didn’t slow down once he took up residence in Los Angeles as he is one of the nominees for West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board’s awards in recognizing those who have made a significant contribution to our community. Well done!

Raising the bar
If you didn’t make it to the 2016 Tampa Gala at the TPepin’s Hospitality Center, then you missed out on an amazing evening with 600 of your closest friends. I mean, they had artwork as a part of the silent auction that featured a painting of Ted Cruz almost as terrifying as the real thing and an array of penis portraits of varying shapes and sizes that would have sparked hours of conversation at any Republican debate. Aside from the art, guests heard from two of Tampa Bay’s most inspiring and motivating leaders: Voice for Equality award winner Ed Lally and EQFL’s Executive Director Nadine Smith. The best news, though, is that of the numbers EQFL’s Mark Puskarich announced that the Tampa Gala brought in $355,000, a gala record. Now that would buy a lot of penis portraits!

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Sordid Lives creator Del Shores wants the dating world to know that it is hard out there for a “minor gay celebrity” in his 50s

By : Jeremy Williams
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Few filmmakers write LGBT stories with equal parts humor and heart and even fewer are able to take that story to cult status, but one who seems to do it with ease is Del Shores, writer/director of the successful 2000 cult film Sordid Lives. Shores is heading to The Cuban Club in Ybor with his one man show, SINgularly SORDID, where he talks about politics, religion and returning to the dating world after getting divorced in his 50s. Tinder and Grindr and Scruff, oh my! Shores was gracious enough to speak with Watermark ahead of his Tampa Bay show about Oscar diversity, election coverage and a much talked about sequel in the Sordid franchise.

SINgularlySORDID is your one man show that you are bringing to Tampa. What can we expect to see from you?
I always consider myself a storyteller or a humorist: I observe, I sometimes steal from my own life and other people’s lives and talk about it on stage. This piece has become very personal, because I have gone through a divorce in my 50s and getting back into the dating scene has been crazy, so a lot of that is the SINgularly Sordid part of this. I just tell tales about Leslie Jordan and Dolly Parton and people I have had encounters with, good and bad. I love politics and controversy. My dad was a Southern Baptist preacher, so we’ll cover religion.

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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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