Watermark’s Most Eligible – Tampa Bay: Darlene Herrick

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Age: 45

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

How you identify: “Try-sexual”

What’s your sign: Libra

“I’m very passionate about my work,” Darlene Herrick says. “I love cooking. I love being a chef. I love creating.”

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Joey Arrigo leads Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA to Tampa

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Out aerialist, dancer and choreographer Joey Arrigo portrays the lead in VOLTA, Cirque du Soleil’s 41st original production, but his story with the largest theatrical producer in the world actually began at age 5 with a VHS tape.

He says he watched his parents’ VHS tape, which featured one of the company’s first shows, “so many times, not even really comprehending what it was and what it even took to get there.” More importantly, he asserts, it “sparked something in me.”

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Watermark Wednesday – January Social

By : Danny Garcia
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Come out to the first Watermark Wednesday of 2018 as we meet and mingle at Hamburger Mary’s Pub House in Ybor City. As always, light bites will be provided and your first drink is on the house. Bring cash for raffle prizes. Proceeds benefit Tampa Pride. See you there!

Anti-LGBTQ group files suit against Tampa’s conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa | An anti-LGBTQ group known as Liberty Counsel has filed a suit against the city of Tampa for banning the practice of conversion therapy on minors, citing a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The ban was first proposed by Councilman Guido Maniscalco in early 2017, and Tampa’s City Council voted unanimously on April 6 to ban the practice of attempting to psychologically change an individual’s sexual orientation.

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Study: Orlando second only to Vegas as most sinful city

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | WalletHub, a credit report website, named Orlando the second most sinful city in the U.S., behind only the self-proclaimed “Sin City,” Las Vegas.

The study looked at 182 cities in the U.S. across seven key dimensions: Anger & Hatred, Jealousy, Excesses & Vices, Greed, Lust Vanity and Laziness. Orlando ranked within the top 10 of Lust, Jealousy and most disturbingly, Anger & Hatred, where Orlando ranked fifth.

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Tampa Police chief leaves Safe Places for victims of hate crimes, bullying as he announces his retirement

By : Rachel Dececco
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TAMPA – Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward announced his retirement from the Tampa Police Department in a press conference with Mayor Bob Buckhorn July 6.

Ward has served 29 years with the TPD, the last two years as its police chief. Ward was appointed to replace former Police Chief Jane Castor in 2015. Castor was Tampa’s first female and openly gay police chief.

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With a ban in Tampa and a proposed ban in St. Petersburg, the Bay area is saying no to conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA – The practice of conversion therapy has not only been deemed ineffective, but has been called harmful by every major medical organization, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Even with all this opposition to conversion therapy, there is still no nationwide ban on the practice, so some state, county and city leaders have taken it upon themselves to get it banned at local levels, including right here in the Bay area.

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Watermark Giveaway: Tickets to see Bianca Del Rio’s “Not Today Satan” at the Straz Center in Tampa

By : Jeremy Williams
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Bianca Del Rio, the alter ego of comic Roy Haylock and season six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is a self-professed “clown in a gown.”

This hilariously hateful comic is known for her foul mouth and unapologetic humor, but her victims hardly have time to feel the sting before she zips on to the next topic, and now you and a guest have the chance to see it all live as Bianca Del Rio brings her eye of judgement to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa April 7 at 8:00 P.M. in her new global comedy tour, “Not Today Satan.”

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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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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Queer cities and pageant Queens

By : Anonymous
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Queer Bay

St. Petersburg and Tampa were named among the “Queerest Cities in America 2017” by The Advocate. What makes them so queer you may ask? Well lucky for you The Advocate gave the criteria they looked at to decide; everything from how many lesbian bars and Trans Pride parades the town has to how many theaters were showing Moonlight and hosting the music group Pwr Bttm.

Tampa came in at number 19, called Florida’s more “cosmopolitan” city (The Advocate hasn’t decided if Tampa is a Carrie or Samantha yet). According to The Advocate, this is where the young people flock to getting their education vibe on at the University of South Florida and Tampa University. They also mentioned the non-stop party of the GaYBOR district.

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Florida dispensaries aim to ‘normalize’ medical marijuana

By : Wire Report
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Vials of cannabis-laced sprays, lotions and tinctures line display shelves a few steps from handbags specially designed to tote marijuana products.

A stylish kitchenette and table is on the opposite side of this Surterra Wellness Center medical marijuana showroom, space used to host educational sessions on the merits of the drug — something legal only under very strict circumstances in Florida until Amendment 2 took effect last week.

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St. Petersburg and Orlando are very, very queer according to the Advocate

By : Billy Manes
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Though it may just be clickbait fodder for the nation’s beloved LGBTQ glossy the Advocate, we can’t help but take pride in the fact that both St. Pete and Orlando clipped into the highest of echelons in the Advocate‘s annual list of places where gays play the best.

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