Howard Cruse, pioneering gay cartoonist, dies at 75

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Howard Cruse (R) with future husband Ed Sedarbaum in younger years. Photo via Facebook.

Howard Cruse, a gay cartoonist whose groundbreaking underground comics were a strong influence on the succeeding generation of queer comic artists, has died.

Cruse first gained attention in the 1970s with his contributions to various underground publications, particularly for his series “Barefootz,” in which he included a supporting character named Headrack who was gay. In 1979, he became the first editor of “Gay Comix,” an anthology featuring comics by openly queer cartoonists, where he highlighted the work of lesbian artists like Roberta Gregory and Mary Wings. According to Cruse’s obituary in the New York Times, publisher Mike Kitchen says he had been adamant that women be given equal representation in the magazine from the very beginning.

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Federal court considers bathroom use by transgender student

By : wire report
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ATLANTA (AP) | A student has the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, a lawyer told a federal court Thursday, arguing that the issue is about the right of transgender students to “equal dignity.”

But the Florida school district that’s appealing a lower court order in favor of the transgender boy told three judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they should overturn the ruling and let the school district restrict students to the bathroom matching their at-birth sex to protect the privacy of other students.

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No romance for Finn and Poe in ‘Rise of Skywalker,’ say ‘Star Wars’ actors

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: John Boyega as Finn and Oscar Isaac as Poe. Image via Twitter.

Star Wars” fans hoping to see a romance between dashing fighter pilot Poe Dameron and heroic ex-stormtrooper Finn got some bad news today – it’s not going to happen.

At least, it won’t be happening in the upcoming “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” due to arrive in movie theaters on December 20, according to three people who should definitely know – actors Oscar Isaac and John Boyega, who play Poe and Finn, respectively, and the film’s director, J. J. Abrams.

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St Pete Pride and executive director part ways

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: St Pete Pride’s 2018 parade. Photo by Nick Cardello.

ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride confirmed Dec. 6 that Luke Blankenship will no longer serve as the organization’s executive director.

“Luke Blankenship is no longer employed by St Pete Pride,” St Pete Pride President Chrys Bundy shared with Watermark.  “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

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Philippines president appoints transgender woman to government

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, first row, third from left, with Dindi Tan, first row, fourth from left. Photo courtesy of Dindi Tan.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed a transgender woman to his government.

Dindi Tan, a long-time LGBTQ activist in the Philippines, is director of the country’s Department of Agrarian Reform. Tan had previously been the department’s assistant program manager.

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Netflix delivers trailer for RuPaul’s new show

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: RuPaul as Ruby Red in “AJ and the Queen,” photo via Netflix.

Netflix has dropped the official trailer for RuPaul’s new scripted series.

AJ and the Queen,” created by RuPaul with Michael Patrick King (“Sex and the City”), debuts on the streaming network in January, and although we’ve gotten a quick teaser trailer for it already, this is the first extended look we’ve been given to date.

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Watermark Giveaway: Tickets to see ‘A Drag Queen Christmas’ hosted by Nina West

By : Watermark Staff
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It’s the holidays and Watermark wants to gift you a pair of tickets to see some the most popular queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” this season!

“A Drag Queen Christmas” — hosted by Nina West and featuring Latrice Royal, Shuga Cain, Shea Coulee, William, Thorgy Thor, Lady Bunny and more singing seasonal classics and bringing that naughty holiday spirit — will be at The Plaza Live in Orlando Dec. 27 and the Straz Center in Tampa Dec. 29.

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Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Us – Flexing Your Leadership Courage

By : Dr. Steve Yacovelli
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Remember in “The Wizard of Oz” how the Cowardly Lion — when he got to see the Wizard — was like, “What? I already had courage? WTH?” I mean, it was kinda poopy that the Wizard made the poor cat go through that drama, only to say, “That gift you want? You already got it!”

Well, leadership courage is a lot like that. When leaders ask me, “How can I get more courageous in my leadership?” I share that — like the Lion — you already got this, just tap into it (or click your heels a few times like Dorothy)!

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Queerly Beloved: When “No” is the Greatest Gift

By : Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw
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It’s a painful reality that “the most wonderful time of the year” is often quite brutal. We get invited to events and parties and told to leave the essence of ourselves behind. Nothing says “happy holidays” like the reification of gender norms. Heteronormativity appears to be at the center of our holiday celebrations, whether of the religious or secular variety. Just because something is expected to be a certain way, does not mean it is right.

There is nothing sacred or holy that sets heterosexuality and gender normativity above queerness. We have been taught so many lies about ourselves, eventually we start to believe them. This is the time of year when self-doubt can run wild. Somewhere between the cheerful music and the shopping we can easily lose our resolve.

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Joseph Caldwell’s memoir ‘In the Shadow of the Bridge’ revisits 1980s New York, AIDS epidemic

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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New York was a different place in 1950, which is exactly why Joseph Caldwell loved it. The Milwaukee native, fresh from the Air Force and then 21, was finally ready to live openly as the young gay man he was. The city gave him that opportunity.

He found the home any New York-bound aspiring writer would want. It was an apartment “In the Shadow of the Bridge,” now the title of his memoir – which he saw published at age 91 this year.

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Saxophonist Dave Koz talks music, touring and the magic of Christmas

By : Lora Korpar
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Saxophonist Dave Koz is spreading the Christmas spirit this holiday season with a new album and his 22nd annual Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour.

The multiple Grammy-nominated, openly gay jazz artist has been in the music business for nearly 30 years, keeping busy not just with his music, but with radio shows, cruises, wine and more.

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What does Undetectable = Untransmittable mean for U?

By : J.D. Cerna
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Thomas’ libido was especially high that Thursday night. The Orlando resident, who prefers not to use his real name, met a man at his Grand Bohemian Hotel room on the dating application Grindr.

They became sexual rather quickly and Thomas, lost in the delirium of his sex drive, says he allowed the man to penetrate him without a condom. Thomas snapped, “Wait. I’m not on PrEP, pull out.”

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