LGBTQ cops talk about being out and proud in Central Florida and Tampa Bay

By : Jeremy Williams
Comments: 0

Tom Woodard had law enforcement in his blood. His parents were both officers; his mother was a detective for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and his stepfather was a major in the Winter Haven Police Department. Woodard wanted nothing more than to go into the family business, and in Oct. 1988, he got his wish. Woodard became a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) on Halloween.

Less than a year later, Woodard’s world would be turned upside down when a fellow officer outed him as a gay man.

Continue Reading >>

Jane Castor officially kicks off mayoral campaign

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Tampa | Tampa’s former chief of police and out LGBTQ advocate Jane Castor officially launched her campaign for Tampa mayor on May 17 to outline her vision for the city’s future.

“The message for the campaign kick-off is Tampa Strong,” Castor told Watermark ahead of the event, held at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor. Castor’s campaign will focus on a strong foundation for the city, including building stronger neighborhoods and a stronger economy.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Florida’s A-CARE-IUM

By : Anonymous
Comments: 0

The Florida Aquarium, in conjunction with the Tampa Police Department (TPD) and the City of Tampa, announced March 1 that it had officially been named as a safe space for victims of hate crimes and harassment in the city’s Safe Place Initiative.

“Life is vibrant and unique, and The Florida Aquarium is strongly committed to fostering and celebrating our planet’s diversity. Providing a safe refuge for community members across our diverse Tampa Bay region and beyond, we will always stand on the side of inclusion and justice,” the aquarium’s president and CEO Roger Germann’s statement reads. “We’re honored to be designated as a Safe Place by the Tampa Police Department as everyone is always welcome at The Florida Aquarium.”

Continue Reading >>

Badges of Courage: Local authorities across Central Florida and Tampa Bay aim in the direction of tolerance, not discrimination

By : Anna M. Johnson
Comments: 0

The Orlando Police Department Headquarters is tucked away inconspicuously on the Amway side of I-4. The “Ultimate Improvement Project” construction blocks most of the adjacent parking, leaving the closest available open spaces directly under the overpass. A stone staircase leads to the office.

Inside, all visitors are required to wear bright neon visitor passes. There is a small gift shop that sells police merchandise right next to the enclosed information desk. It is called the “Cop Shop.”

Continue Reading >>