Jane Castor poised to become Tampa’s first openly LGBTQ mayor

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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As Tampa highlights its diversity with the fifth annual Tampa Pride March 30, Jane Castor—the celebration’s two-time grand marshal and arguably one of the city’s most stalwart servants—will continue her journey to become Tampa’s first openly LGBTQ mayor.

Castor, who will face retired banker and philanthropist David Straz in Tampa’s runoff election April 23, is familiar with firsts. Ahead of her 31 years of service with the Tampa Police Department, which she began as a beat cop patrolling the city in 1983, she was elected the first female president of a Tampa Police Academy class.

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The Last Page with Senior Account Manager Russ Martin

By : Rick Claggett
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“I have newspaper in my blood and have worked in the industry for nearly 20 years,” says Russ Martin.

Russ began working for Watermark as a part time account manager in March of 2018. Within a few months Russ, and Watermark, realized the demands of managing marketing accounts were not conducive with a part-time schedule. Russ informed Watermark that his then current schedule would not allow him the time he needed to perform his tasks to the best of his ability, and he tendered his resignation.

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Washington’s Newseum features Watermark, other LGBTQ publications in new exhibit to honor Stonewall 50th anniversary

By : Jeremy Williams
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WASHINGTON | Newseum, a museum located in the nation’s capitol dedicated to increasing the public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment, will unveil a new exhibit dedicated to the LGBTQ community March 8.

“Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement,” will explore the modern fight for LGBTQ equality. It began 50 years ago when a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village turned into riots and protests from the community due to the treatment by local police.

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The Last Page with Jason Leclerc

By : Rick Claggett
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What kind of writing do you do for Watermark?

Opinion and editorial.

When did you develop a passion for writing?

First grade. I won a creative writing contest for “Stinky, the Skunk that Didn’t Stink.” I understood what it meant to be different before there was a word in my vocabulary for it.

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Watermark’s 2019 WAVEs – Tampa Bay/Sarasota nomination round

By : Watermark Staff
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Welcome to 2019! Fresh off the historic blue wave that swept progressives into political offices in Central Florida, Tampa Bay and across the country; we bring you a wave of our own … the purple WAVE!!!

The Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, or the WAVEs for short, recognize the best in Tampa Bay and Sarasota’s LGBTQ community in the areas of activism, service, entertainment and more.

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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
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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.

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George Wallace: Current LGBT+ Center of Central Florida Executive Director

By : Michael Wanzie
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Michael Wanzie

I may not be aware of all that George Wallace has done to make him a hero of 2018 specifically, but I do know that George has been my personal hero for many years.

Firstly, as a healthcare advocate for special needs individuals. Secondly, as a person who has helped countless individuals in need—on a personal level, well beyond the scope of any employment mandate, and he has done so often and without fanfare or public recognition. Thirdly, as one of the true visionaries and hardest working people who dedicated every fiber of his being to help make The Orlando Fringe Festival the resounding success it is today.

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#FreePress: We are not the enemy of the people; we are the people

By : The Watermark Editorial Team
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Beginning Aug. 16, prompted by The Boston Globe, over 400 news outlets nationwide shared their support for the free press and their opposition to Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on it.

“A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather ‘The enemy of the people,’” the outlet wrote. “This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. We asked editorial boards from around the country – liberal and conservative, large and small – to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words.”

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Watermark is hiring: Multimedia Assistant

By : Jeremy Williams
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Watermark is seeking a full-time multimedia assistant. The multimedia assistant will maintain, as well as create, content for our website, WatermarkOnline.com. They will handle all Watermark social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.), organize and promote Watermark contests and support the business manager with administrative duties.

This is an on-site position at our Orlando office. This is an entry-level position for a self-motivated, multi-faceted worker seeking to thrive in a challenging, fast paced environment. Position includes health insurance benefits, dental and 401K options.

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Vote for your Orlando Fringe favorites in the second annual Watermark Splash Awards

By : Watermark Staff
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Orlando Fringe has officially kicked off and this year’s festival is already buzzing about some amazing shows and brillant performances.

Just as we started last year, we want to know what are readers think about the shows and which ones are the best of the beat in LGBTQ-themed theater, so here we are back with the second annual Watermark Splash Awards.

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4.19.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I haven’t always loved my job. Who loves anything all of the time? Even a parent who loves their child might want to slap them “into the middle of next week” occasionally. So I hear. I don’t have children, but I have adorable dogs that drive me crazy as much as they warm my heart.

I remember I was at a low point in 2004 with my career at Watermark. The repetition of an administrative assistant position with a local niche newspaper was taking its toll on me. I was young, stupid and combative. Up to this point, I never held a job for more than a year and a half and I was currently over two years at Watermark. I was starting to get antsy, so I looked for another job. Walt Disney World accepted me to their entertainment team as a production assistant and I took a few days off at Watermark to enroll in the Disney training class known as Traditions. The only thing left to do was put in my notice and leave.

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The Last Page with Founder and Guiding Light Tom Dyer

By : Rick Claggett
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Founder Tom Dyer sold Watermark two years ago, but remains and will forever be the newspaper’s guiding light. His law office is next door, so we see him several times a day when he crosses the parking lot to raid our refrigerator and steal office supplies. Always the diplomat, he offers opinions when asked and reassurance when needed.

Tom first envisioned Watermark back in the spring of 1994. “I was in Atlanta having lunch at a restaurant in Virginia Highlands, where everyone seemed to be reading Southern Voice,” Tom recalls. “I started fantasizing about people sitting in cafes in Thornton Park reading Central Florida’s LGBT newspaper. The idea was so invigorating that I drove to Southern Voice’s offices and asked to meet its publishers. They loaded me down with all kinds of information, and for the next several months it was all I could think about.”

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