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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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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#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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Mama Bearings: New Year, New Name

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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It’s hard to believe that we’ve already entered the second month of 2020. Last year was full of big changes and a lot of learning for my family and me, and I’m constantly reflecting on that as we move forward.

I personally learned a lot from being single for the first full year in my adult life. My second marriage was over long before we separated at the end of 2018, but the end of any deep relationship hurts – and in my case, that relationship couldn’t be fully severed because we share children.

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Picking Berry: All My World was a Stage

By : Beneva Fruitville
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I love musicals. In fact, musical theater has been my hobby and lifelong career, a path I chose after I saw the musical “A Chorus Line” at 13 years old. In that one evening of music, dance, comedy and drama, I learned that performing was not only a viable career – but one that I, Berry Ayers, absolutely had to have.

I grew up in church and sang my first solo at the age of four with dreams of becoming the next Sandy Patti. That “Chorus Line” performance still hung in my memory like the first time I saw Dorothy step out into the colorful world of Oz, however; there were people on that stage talking about abuse, sex, hurt, anger, power and ultimately, love.

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The Tender Activist: Tips for surviving the political season

By : Scottie Campbell
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I’ll admit it. There are still people who I look at to this day and have a flashback to the 2016 election cycle and have to talk myself through not thinking of them as an idiot. Maybe you can relate: the choice seemed quite clear to me and I was repeatedly flummoxed by my friends and family not being able to see it. And here we are and it’s thanks to these idiots. Alright, they’re not idiots, but I have to talk myself through it.

I’ve shared in these pages how I cautiously approached this election, because the tender in my column’s name is no joke. I’m a fighter, don’t get me wrong, but my heart usually wins in the postmortem: Was that worth it? I truly am not sure. I tried last time around to engage and share and discuss. I worked harder to promote my candidate than ever before; I believed strongly. My behavior wasn’t always the best, I remember one inglorious exchange that ended with me telling the person to go fuck themselves. I’m not sure if they actually took my advice because they don’t talk to me anymore. As my marketing and public relations colleagues would say: It wasn’t a good look.

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Trans of Thought: Good riddance 2019

By : Maia Monet
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I almost killed myself two or three times in 2019. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is also true. I’m not saying this to garner sympathy, or even worse, elicit advice. Rest assured, I am taking the steps necessary to improve my state of mind. It is just that being trans can often feel like existing in a vat of acid eating away at your dignity and integrity. It is the rare trans person who hasn’t contemplated escaping the pain through drastic means. If you don’t believe me, find a trans person in your life you happen to be close to and ask them if they’ve ever created a suicide plan. Don’t be surprised if they have a ready answer.

Perhaps my first column of the year should be about looking forward with a sense of optimism, but that doesn’t reflect my life as part of the trans community. I sometimes wonder if cisgender people appreciate how difficult it is to be transgender in today’s world. They might be able to quote the suicide rate for trans people, but I suspect they are detached from the reality of our everyday lives. They don’t actually experience the emotional stress of hearing about yet another government policy meant to incrementally erase the legal status of trans people. They can’t comprehend the blinding fear of coming out as a trans woman to a cisgender heterosexual man who might decide violence is the appropriate response.

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High Fidelity: The Journey of Fitness

By : Miguel Fuller
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When I learned that the first issue of Watermark this year would focus on fitness, I could already feel my fingers banging on the keyboard. I have A LOT to say about fitness, especially as a gay man. Where do I begin?

Fitness for me equals journey. I’m still walking down this long, fun, frustrating road that I call my fitness journey. I can’t remember when I started calling myself fat. Maybe it was late in high school, maybe it was college, but at some point while growing up I started this vicious cycle of going to food for comfort.

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The Wonderful World of Wanzie: Wanzie wishes you an Eartha Kitt Christmas

By : Michael Wanzie
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If you were Voguing in the early 90s you likely associate “Santa Baby,” the iconic song of Christmas greed, with Madonna’s 1987 version. Those a bit younger might be more familiar with the more recent version by Kylie Minogue or Gwen Stefani.

No matter how enjoyable any of the enumerable covers may be, none holds a Christmas candle to the original 1953 debut so slowly and provocatively sung by that raspy-voiced enigma that was the late, great Eartha Kitt.

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The Other Side Of Life: American Boxing Day

By : Jason Leclerc
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Christmas, in 2019 America, is as much a secular holiday as it is a religious one. It caps the annual era of good feelings that starts with Thanksgiving and lasts until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 25.

We’ve often taken the interstice between Christmas and New Years as a celebratory dead zone, a time to recover and prepare for the seeing-out of the old year. History has proven that Dec. 26 has been a date with ups and downs, ranging from the revolutionary to the mundane.

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