Tampa Bay Pride Band holds inaugural arts festival

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

The Tampa Bay Pride Band will hold their inaugural Pride Music and Art Festival March 3 from 5:00-9:00 p.m., a celebration combining the best in Tampa Bay’s visual and musical arts.

“The Pride Music and Arts Festival serves as the kick-off to a month of Tampa Pride events,” the organization shared via social media. “It allows us as an arts community to stand together and celebrate diversity through music and art!”

Continue Reading >>

Watermark’s Most Eligible – Tampa Bay: Daniel Stevens

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Share this story:

AGE: 30

HOMETOWN: Tampa, Fla.

IDENTIFIES AS: “Gay, like very.”

PRONOUNS: He/Him/His

SIGN: Libra

Continue Reading >>

PFLAG Tampa paves the way for love in Ybor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Watermark’s Most Remarkable People John and Nancy Desmond – community activists known for their work with Tampa Pride, PFLAG and more – have long shared their support for the LGBTQ community throughout Tampa Bay.

On most weekends, the duo can be seen on 7th Ave. in Ybor City proclaiming that support and love, pro-LGBTQ signs in hand across from religious protesters. Now, even if they can’t make it, the protesters will be greeted from below with a paver reading “I love my gay son, PFLAG.”

Continue Reading >>

We look back on 2018, a midterm year for a country that’s just living on a prayer

By : Jeremy Williams and Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

It’s been two years since we, as a country, entered into the reality that is the Trump Administration. The country feels more divided than ever and the phrases “fake news” and “it’s all a witch hunt” are commonplace.

The violence that seems to define who Americans are these days is also there, particularly in Florida, where there has been no justice for the five transgender women of color who were murdered and yet another mass shooting—this time at a high school in Parkland, Fla.—pulled the focus of the world to our state.

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: Tampa Pride gets wild for inaugural Pride-Zoo-La

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

TAMPA | Tampa Pride kicked off fundraising for its fifth year with the organization’s inaugural Pride-Zoo-La at ZooTampa at Lowry Park Nov. 17.

The evening began with a performance by the Tampa Bay Pride Band. Guests subsequently moved to an artists’ showcase highlighting local talent, participated in over 50 raffles and were given the opportunity to participate in a giraffe feeding with ZooTampa staff.

Continue Reading >>

Suncoast Softball League kicks off 26th year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

The Suncoast Softball League, organized in 1993 to promote a safe environment for gay men and women in the Tampa Bay area to play softball, kicked off its 26th year Sept. 16.

“It’s hard to believe! A small handful of us were here on opening day 26 years ago,” the organization shared via social media. “We never imagined how successful the league would become; what an impact in the community it would have; the people and critters we would help year after year.”

Continue Reading >>

Mama Bearings: Why I am here

By : Sylvie Griffiths
Comments: 0

Share this story:

“Why are you guys even here?” This was the very direct and rude question my husband was asked in March during this year’s Tampa Pride. We were sitting at a crowded table shared with friends, old and new, at Hamburger Mary’s Ybor. Our eight-year-old son Jake was with us.

My husband, being the kind and patient human being he is, answered in great detail. He explained to his interrogator that we were attending Tampa Pride in support of our youngest child, who identifies as transgender. Jake was even on a float and gave out beads in the parade. It was an important and magical day for us as parents seeing our little dude being himself. Celebrating diversity is one of my fondest memories with Jake so far.

Continue Reading >>

Lakeland’s ButchQueen and the Bad Habits stress punk rock equality

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Lakeland, Fla., may not be known for its punk rock drag queens, but the performance arts band ButchQueen and the Bad Habits aims to change that with “Bare Grits,” the group’s debut EP released May 5.

“In a conservative town, friction caused a blister which pressure-popped and neglect allowed to fester,” their official release reads. “ButchQueen and the Bad Habits take no prisoners and make no apologies. Fusing energetic live music with bizarre theatrical experiments, this group isn’t afraid of kicking up a little dust.”

Continue Reading >>

Jane Castor officially enters Tampa’s mayoral race

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Tampa | Tampa’s former Chief of Police and out local Jane Castor officially announced her candidacy for Tampa mayor on April 19.

Castor, who served as one of 2018’s Tampa Pride grand marshals and has a long history of LGBTQ community involvement, made the formal announcement via her new website “Jane Castor for Mayor.”

Continue Reading >>

Queerly Beloved: Let’s Not Forget, This Started with a Riot

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
Comments: 0

As the Tampa Pride celebration approaches, I am readying my family and my congregation for the festivities. Like many other LGBTQ-affirming organizations in the Tampa Bay area, my church is currently collecting our materials for the booth, gathering up beads to throw and buying new matching t-shirts for our contingent to wear in the parade.

I am honored to be one of the grand marshals for Tampa Pride this year. As a clergy person, the significance of holding a public role in Pride is not lost on me. I know that for some, seeing a religious leader at Pride is validating and empowering, but I know that for others it can be triggering and upsetting. As a faith leader, all I can do is offer love and compassion to everyone I encounter, especially at Pride.

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: Tampa Pride 2018

By : Maia Monet
Comments: 0

Tampa | The 4th annual Tampa Pride occured March 24 in all its glory on the streets of Ybor City. Leading things off in the morning was the Festival Marketplace on the campus of Hillsborough Community College Ybor. Filled with vendors, artisans, churches and theater groups, there was a lot to take in and enjoy for the rainbow-bedazzled public greatly enjoying the perfect early spring weather.

The action shifted in the afternoon to the Diversity Parade led by Grand Marshals Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw, Jane Castor and Christopher Sean. As the parade participants slowly made their way down 7th Ave. through the heart of Ybor City, they were met by thousands of cheering people dressed-to-express their LGBTQ pride and waving rainbow as well as transgender pride flags. Watermark was lucky enough to have a float in the parade and capture some of the sights for your viewing pleasure. Check out our pics after the jump below.

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: Project No Labels kicks off Tampa Pride at City Side Lounge

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Tampa | Project No Labels helped kick off Tampa Pride on March 23 at a transformed City Side Lounge for the group’s first Pride Legacy Awards.

The awards highlight local leaders, individuals and businesses who dedicate themselves to the LGBTQ community through time and/or resources. The night was hosted by area favorite Mayven Missbehavin’ and featured food from local restaurants, free shots from Tito’s Vodka and a wide array of entertainment.

Aerial artists, fire performers, vocalists and some of Tampa Bay’s best drag performers dazzled the crowd—and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. You can check out some of our photos below.

Continue Reading >>