Orlando, St. Pete, Tampa receive perfect HRC scores

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Nov. 19 that the cities of Orlando, St. Petersburg and Tampa each received a perfect score of 100 in the organization’s eighth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI).

The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are for LGBTQ people who live and work in the 506 cities rated. The score is based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.

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Judge strikes down Tampa’s conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Pride 2018. Photo by Russ Martin.

TAMPA | U.S. District Judge William Jung issued a ruling Oct. 4 striking down Tampa’s ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is widely opposed by prominent health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.

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PHOTOS: Lizzo brings the juice to Tampa

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | More than 7,000 of superstar Lizzo’s ever-expanding fanbase—which she affectionately refers to as her Lizzbians—filled the Yuengling Center Sept. 10 for the singer’s sold-out stop of her “Cuz I Love You Too” tour.

Ari Lennox opened for the iconic LGBTQ ally, who subsequently performed 16 songs. Lizzo began with “Heaven Help Me,” making her way through “Cuz I Love You,” “Boys,” “Like A Girl” and ending with her megahit “Juice.”

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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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Issue: 26.15 LGBTQ Blue

By : Dylan Todd
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LGBTQ cops talk about being out and proud in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, Orlando LGBTQ pioneer Joel Strack passes away at 59, Flamingo Resort St. Pete announces imminent closure, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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PHOTOS: Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber welcomes Mayor Jane Castor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Community advocates and allies gathered at the Centre Club June 6 for the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC)’s annual luncheon featuring keynote speaker Mayor Jane Castor.

The gathering featured the luncheon’s first marketplace expo, highlighting local LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly businesses as over 150 attendees networked and dined.

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Jane Castor sworn in as Tampa’s 59th, first openly LGBTQ mayor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Jane Castor was officially sworn into office in a historical ceremony at Armature Works May 1, becoming Tampa’s 59th and first openly LGBTQ mayor.

The gathering began with a procession of Mayor Castor and her family, including longtime partner Ana Cruz and sons Sergei and Seely. Her oath was administered after an invocation, several performances and the swearing in of Tampa’s city council members Joseph Citro, Charlie Miranda, John Dingfelder, Bill Carlson, Orlando Gudes, Guido Maniscalco and Luis Viera.

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VIDEO: Mayor Bob Buckhorn says goodbye, thanks city for eight years

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn thanked the city for his eight years in office in a video released April 18.

“Thank you, Tampa, for allowing me the amazing honor to be your Mayor,” Buckhorn shared via social media. “There may be other mayors that are better than me, but I know that there will never be a mayor that loves this job as much as I do. I hope I made you proud.”

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The Other Side of Life: Jane Castor and American Exceptionalism

By : Jason Leclerc
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LGBTQ is not a qualification. Woman is not a qualification.

These are genetic characteristics, inscribed on a human’s chromosomes at conception (or, in a religio-metaphysical sense, since the conception of the heavens).

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Castor, Straz move to Tampa mayoral runoff election

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Jane Castor and David Straz will face one another in a runoff election to become Tampa’s next mayor, just over 20 percent of the city’s voters determined March 5.

Had any of the seven candidates for mayor obtained over 50 percent of the vote, Tampa would have avoided the April 23 runoff. According to unofficial returns from the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, Castor received 47.99 percent of the vote and nearly won the election outright. Straz, who received the second largest result, garnered 15.47 percent of the vote.

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Equality Florida, LGBTQ Victory Fund endorse Castor for Tampa mayor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa mayoral candidate Jane Castor has received the endorsements of Equality Florida Action PAC and LGBTQ Victory Fund, the equality-focused organizations shared ahead of the city’s municipal election March 5.

Equality Florida Action PAC is Florida’s largest political committee dedicated to electing pro-equality candidates. LGBTQ Victory Fund is the only national organization focused on increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government, which would include Castor.

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Watermark’s Most Eligible – Tampa Bay: Daniel Stevens

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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AGE: 30

HOMETOWN: Tampa, Fla.

IDENTIFIES AS: “Gay, like very.”

PRONOUNS: He/Him/His

SIGN: Libra

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