04.02.20 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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If my 35 years on this planet and love of ridiculous memes have taught me anything, it’s that life comes at you fast.

The last few months have certainly reminded me that’s the case. “I’ve never had a particular affinity for cars,” I wrote in this very column Feb. 6, a lifetime ago now that the world is grappling with COVID-19. “I’ve always been grateful to own the ones I have … I’ve just never been one to covet the latest make or model to move about town.”

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LGBTQ people urged to ‘get counted’ in Census

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The National LGBTQ Task Force is encouraging supporters to “Queer the Census.” Photo via the Task Force’s Facebook page.

The D.C.-based National LGBTQ Task Force has announced it will celebrate Census Day on April 1 by “mobilizing LGBTQ people across the country to get counted in the 2020 Census.”

The Task Force is part of a coalition of national civil rights and progressive advocacy groups that launched the “Queer the Census” campaign last year to encourage members of marginalized communities to make sure they are counted in this year’s Census.

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Equality Florida virtually honors Transgender Day of Visibility 2020

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Equality Florida will host a virtual gathering March 31, photo via Equality Florida.

Equality Florida will mark International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) 2020 on March 31 at 4 p.m. EST with a virtual town hall honoring the transgender community.

TDoV is an annual holiday currently in its 11th year. It celebrates the accomplishments and victories of transgender and gender non-conforming people across the globe while raising awareness of the work still needed to save their lives.

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Tampa Bay community champion Robert Barnum dies from COVID-19 complications

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Robert Barnum, photo via Barnum’s Facebook.

ST. PETERSBURG | Tampa Bay community champion and realtor Robert “Bob” Barnum died March 27 from complications of COVID-19. He was 64.

Barnum’s death was among three coronavirus-related deaths confirmed by the Florida Department of Health of Pinellas County March 28. The announcement brought the county’s loss to four residents.

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Watermark’s LGBTQ-friendly restaurant listings – Tampa Bay/Sarasota

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Watermark has been the leading source of LGBTQ news in Central Florida and Tampa Bay for more than 25 years. We intend to continue our service to our community in this rapidly changing world.

As Florida has suspended on-premises dining and alcohol consumption statewide in response to COVID-19, limiting establishments to takeout and delivery orders only, we have compiled a list of Central Florida locations offering these services.

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Metro Inclusive Health hosts virtual ‘Coping through COVID-19’ event

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Metro Inclusive Health will host “Coping through COVID-19” on Facebook March 27 from 6-7 p.m., a virtual event featuring Director of Behavioral Health Laura Rosenbluth.

The organization, which offers more than 100 health, wellness and pharmacy services throughout Tampa Bay, has implemented a number of precautions to protect the community it serves. Its LGBTQ programming went virtual beginning March 18.

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Subscribe to Watermark today for home delivery

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark has been the leading source of LGBTQ news in Central Florida and Tampa Bay for more than 25 years.

We intend to continue our service to our community in this rapidly changing world, offering local, state and national news and more. In addition to our distribution throughout Florida, we can also deliver to your home.

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Tampa Bay performers announce unofficial, digital Tampa Pride weekend

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: (L-R) Francis Queerbot 9000, Mr. Tampa Pride 2020 Kirk DaVinci and Juno Vibranz, photos via Kirk DaVinci/Tampa Pride.

TAMPA | Tampa Pride 2020 entertainers have planned a weekend of digital performances March 27-29 following the event’s postponement.

The sixth annual gathering was originally scheduled for the same weekend. It was moved to May 30 in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

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Fit to Print: Life is Change

By : Steve Blanchard
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Change, they say, is good. I can think of no better or more timely example than the changes that unfolded right before our eyes in Tampa and Hillsborough County, ultimately giving rise to today’s version of Tampa Pride.

In the not-too-distant past, Hillsborough County was seen as backwards and frustrating to most of the LGBTQ community and a large portion of the country. While Tampa has had a long history of LGBTQ-friendly mayors, they were sometimes overshadowed by the hateful rhetoric of county officials who couldn’t bring themselves to respect every individual in their area, especially those with sexual orientations or gender identities that they considered foreign.

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Coronavirus concerns impact Central Florida and Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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An estimated 60,000 people filled the streets of Ybor City for Tampa Pride last year, celebrating Tampa Bay’s growing LGBTQ community. It’s a record that organizers were expecting to break this year until March 12, when they postponed their sixth annual outing originally scheduled for March 28.

Since Tampa Pride’s return to Hillsborough County in 2015, attendees, vendors, parade participants and community sponsors have grown year after year. Its expansion is made possible by its supporters, Tampa Pride President Carrie West says.

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Local performer Philip Ancheta talks about his first national tour, ‘Miss Saigon’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando performer Philip Ancheta will always remember the day he got the call that changed his life.

“I was with my friend Heather when they called and I just screamed at the top of my lungs ‘Heather, I’m going on tour,’” Ancheta recalls. “I just sat down and cried. It was such a surreal experience and she hugged me on the ground and we cried together.”

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Help Watermark bring readers and restaurants/bars together

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark has been the leading source of LGBTQ news in Central Florida and Tampa Bay for more than 25 years. We intend to continue our service to our community in this rapidly changing world.

As Florida has suspended on-premises dining and alcohol consumption statewide in response to COVID-19, limiting establishments to takeout and delivery orders only, we have compiled a list of  Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Sarasota locations offering these services. Check out the links below for your area to get the information.

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