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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Watermark is looking for the Most Remarkable people of 2016

By : Watermark Staff
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Every year, Watermark chooses stand-outs from the LGBTQ community – remarkable individuals who made a mark in the past year, whether through activism, generosity or beating the odds.

2016 has been a difficult year for all of us, both politically and personally, especially considering the marriage victory last year, so we’re looking to honor those who have made the most change, been the most inspiring and helped to make our LGBTQ community that much stronger in the face of adversity.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Kriseman at Mary’s, HRC on St. Pete and Chick-fil-A in politics

By : Anonymous
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Mary’s Grand Opening

While the new Hamburger Mary’s at Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg has been opened for a few weeks now, they made the entire thing official with a grand opening ceremony Oct. 13.

A huge crowd gathered in the kitschy, fun restaurant known for big juicy burgers and even juicer drag queens as St. Pete mayor and super politician Rick Kriseman, along with family in tow, cut the ribbon. Mayor Kriseman wasn’t the only local celeb there. The event was also attended by former Republican governor (and future Democratic Congressman?) Charlie Crist, Tampa Bay gay royalty Mark & Carrie and Mary herself as they all let their hair down and celebrated the newest location.

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Anti-LGBT Republicans Pence, Rubio speak at Tampa fundraiser

By : Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA Vice Presidential hopeful Mike Pence and Sen. Marco Rubio spoke at a Republican fundraiser in Tampa Oct. 15 spending most of the time attacking Hillary Clinton.

Rubio, like many in the party, appears to be trying to distance himself since the infamous Access Hollywood tape that was leaked where Trump spoke about sexually assaulting women.

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Pulse shooting survivor found dead at Tampa residence

By : Jeremy Williams
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Pulse shooting survivor Chris Brodman died in the early morning hours while attending a friend’s birthday party in North Tampa Sept. 11.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Brodman’s identity Sept. 13 after notifying his next of kin.

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GLSEN kicks off new school year with a new fundraiser

By : Chelsea Santiago
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School can be a challenging time for any student, and for those struggling with bullying, it can make school an even bigger challenge. LGBTQ students in the Tampa Bay area are finding some relief thanks to GLSEN.

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) is an organization that focuses on safe schools for all students regardless of gender identity.

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A small, vocal minority in Hillsborough County kept Commissioner Beckner’s LGBT Pride and History Month from even seeing light

By : Jeremy Williams
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Kevin Beckner was elected as an openly gay commissioner to the Hillsborough County Commission in 2008. He was then re-elected in 2012, and in his time as one of seven commissioners for the county, he has stood up for LGBT rights and equality.

Beckner was essential in getting the ban on recognition of LGBT pride lifted, amending the non-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity and creating a domestic partnership registry. With each of these,Beckner had the support and backing of most of his county commissioners, something he did not have at a council meeting July 20 when he proposed a discussion to declare June as LGBT Pride and History Month and to name a day of remembrance for the Pulse victims.

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7.28.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

There are certain things – scientific remedies, poems, friends, family, rhythms, compassionate beings, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, lovers and losers – that I personally hold dear. If I err on any side of this balance beam we call life, I tend to self-correct and help somebody else up off the ground before I turn turtle and pretend I don’t exist as somebody meant to be of service.

So when given the opportunity last week to cross the state on I-4 for Hillary Clinton’s event at the Florida State Fairgrounds on July 22 – oh, I know; we’re a little heavy on the Hillary this month, but it’s also the month of the convention and just weeks after a massacre, so please forgive our indulgences – I leapt at it. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of. To meet somebody who has done so much good yet taken so much shit peripherally is reaffirming in its own way. Yes, I’m with her. I’m allowed to be.

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Win tickets to see The Naked Magic Show in Tampa

By : Jeremy Williams
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Watermark is giving away a pair of tickets to see “Sleeves Up, Pants Down: The Naked Magic Show” at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa July 30.

To win, comment on this post and tell us what your favorite magic trick is.

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