04.02.20 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I had been in the U.S. Air Force for seven months when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened.

It being nearly 20 years ago since that life-changing event happened, I can’t remember everything that occurred in my life after Sept. 11, 2001; however, I do remember people being shocked and scared. I remember my family and friends being worried and not knowing what was coming next.

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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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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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Ladyfingers: Oh My, Corona

By : Sabrina Ambra
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By a show of recently washed hands, who is fucking exhausted of hearing/reading/saying the word “coronavirus?”

I think the only person who is slightly thankful for this shit show of a pandemic is Ozzy Osbourne, who has relinquished his title of “guy who bit off a bat’s head” and given it to its new, rightful owner: Patient Zero. Speaking of silver linings, with this influx of facemask purchases I’d like to imagine that there is a big percentage of folks finally getting a whiff of their stank-ass breath they had previously been sending directly into our nostrils. Mortgage rates are at lifetime lows, the stock market is plummeting, toilet paper is nowhere to be found. Take it all in, my friends, and then chase that with a dollop of hand sanitizer in your mouth or whatever.

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03.19.20 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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The problem with running a bi-weekly newspaper is timing. Even before social media this was an issue. Watermark goes to press roughly 40 hours before it hits the stands, leaving a window of uncertainty. There have been instances where something in our pages was obsolete by the time the articles were in the hands of our readers.

More often, a story we worked on would change at the last minute, leaving the editorial team to scramble to replace it. Such is the case with this issue. We had planned to report to you the amazing events and good times coming our way with Tampa Pride. Unfortunately, and quickly, societal norms changed and forced a postponement of the annual event.

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Cutler’s Caucus: Blue No Matter Who

By : Dave Cutler
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Every election is important, from choosing your local city council or commission all the way up to selecting the president of the United States.

This election is the most important in the last 100 years of our nation, however, if not in the country’s entire history. That’s because Donald Trump and his administration have systematically undone or threatened all of the progress made under President Obama for LGBTQ Americans.

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Your Queer Career: Work Advice from ‘The Gay Leadership Dude’ – Should I Come Out At Work?

By : Steve Yacovelli
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In his new column, Dr. Steve Yacovelli, (a.k.a. “The Gay Leadership Dude”) shares his expertise on submitted workplace questions from members of the LGBTQ+ Community. Have a question? See below!

Hey GLD: I have a simple question: should I come out at work? I’ve been at my job for over a year. I’m doing pretty well, but just don’t feel like I’m being my true self at work. I avoid personal discussions with most co-workers, watch my pronouns when people do ask what I did last weekend and keep work people very separate on social media. It’s not horrible, but feels like a light dull headache every day. Should I or shouldn’t I? — Closet Cubicle

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03.05.20 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I saw myself in Pete Buttigieg. I know that some people had concerns with him, and he was by no means the perfect candidate, but it is not something I can say for any other presidential candidate in the current presidential race, or any presidential race I have voted in before.

Since Mayor Pete made his historical announcement that he would run to be the next president of the United States I have had my eyes — along with my support and vote — locked on him. I like his calm, cool and collected manner. He doesn’t take a stage yelling and waving his arms around frantically. He doesn’t belittle and demean anyone, unlike the current Commander-in-Chief. Pete is smart, articulate and is well prepared every time he takes a debate or town hall stage.

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03.05.20 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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One of the interesting things about my position as Tampa Bay Bureau Chief, a self-enforced rule more so than a mandated one, is that I work diligently to check many of my personal positions at the door.

It isn’t always easy when you’re writing a column. This space exists so that we’re able to connect with readers; so that to a certain extent you’re able to know us as we work to know you. I’m thankful to have this column for that reason, even if it’s the most self-scrutinized thing that I write, because I care deeply about our community.

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#LoveHandlin: Oppression

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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In my previous collaborations, I have navigated general topics with an underlying personal touch that speaks to how we can address a specific issue with love and compassion. These are, by no means, a way to simplify, much less minimize, how someone experiences different phases of their lives. On the contrary, one can only value more and more the intrinsic differences with which everyone can tell their own story about love, life, family, circumstances and letdowns; and that is a beautiful freedom most of us can share.

I say “most of us” because we can never be entirely certain that “everyone” has had the same privilege, freedom or experience that many of us have. It keeps bringing me back to one of Martin Luther King’s most memorable quotes: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

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The Other Side of Life: Fighting Deficits

By : Jason LeClerc
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Resources are, by their nature, scarce. In fact, value or price for a resource is derived from its relative scarcity: how much we have of something we need or want versus how much we need or want it.

We vote with our dollars. In America, we vote with our votes. This applies to fresh drinking water during a hurricane, watches and, apparently, presidential candidates. In a free (unfettered) market, the supplier of a resource produces as much of that resource as they expect to sell at a reasonable profit; the consumer of the resource will continue buying it until the price becomes prohibitive. This is equilibrium.

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02.20.2020 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’m not a SWIFTIE. That’s to say I’m not a fan of Taylor Swift’s music. In fact, I had to ask Google what her fans are called because I know so little about her. No offense to her or to her fans, it’s just not my bag and simply subjective. Also, consider the source: my favorite music is Air Supply.

Having said all of that, I can’t keep Taylor Swift out of my mind lately. “You need to calm down” has become the voice inside my head. This usually happens while I’m driving, and I drive a lot. I’ll be heading down I-4 at a nice 79 mph pace when a car driving at least 100 mph swerves around me. Suddenly I find myself snapping my fingers and singing, “You need to calm down! You’re driving too loud!” Sometimes Swift’s lyrics come to mind when my dog is yelling at me or when I’m overwhelmed with work vs. volunteering, but mostly I think “You need to calm down!” when I’m on Facebook reading political opinions.

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