Susan Gore, LGBTQ Resource Center and Circle of Friends Chair

By : Greg Stemm, LGBTQ Resource Center Board Member
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Susan Gore has become the de facto “Miss Gulfport Library,” serving as the chair of both the Circle of Friends and the LGBTQ Resource Center.

The Circle of Friends is the philanthropic group that supports the Gulfport Public Library. When they started the LGBTQ Resource Center about five years ago, they had no idea it would lead the library into two prominent and prestigious national awards in just one year.

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LGBTQ Resource Center celebrates Pride Month with events through June

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Gulfport | The LGBTQ Resource Center has announced a series of Pride events beginning May 31 and culminating June 24 at the St. Pete Pride Festival.

The resource center is a project of the non-profit Circle of Friends, the organization which supports the Gulfport Public Library. In February, the American Library Association awarded the library with the Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence for serving the LGBTQ community for its dedication to programming and awareness.

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Positive Living: LGBTs in Gulfport helping to redefine what a library can be

By : Greg Stemm
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In a normal community, if you want to find gay people you might visit a bar or go to a gay pride celebration.

But Gulfport is far from being a “normal” town.

If you want to meet gay people in this small artsy community, virtually surrounded by our bigger but just as gay cousin St. Petersburg, you visit the Gulfport Public Library.

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Wedding Bells at Watermark: Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Melissa Crispo and Candace Salemi“My favorite thing about Candace is she has a beautiful heart,” Melissa says. “She has so much love in her, and not just for me but for everybody—and it just shines.”

Candace Salemi, who is a senior higher education specialist, and Melissa Crispo, who is a musician/songwriter and paramedic, hung out in the same circle of friends for 15 years. Candace came to see Melissa perform regularly, but they only ever considered themselves acquaintances.

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Gulfport Library plans to create LGBT resource center

By : Greg Stemm
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Gulfport – The nonprofit Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library announced its intention to create a LGBTQ Resource Center at the Library. The project brings together books, periodicals and other media in a special collection to serve as a community resource for Pinellas County and Florida. The Resource Center would be the first of its kind for a public library in the State of Florida.

“Every library in Pinellas County has adopted a certain specialty,” said Roger Turner, chairman of the subcommittee. “Because Gulfport has such a large LGBT community — and because as far as we know there are no other public libraries in the state with a dedicated commitment to building and maintaining a large collection of LGBT-themed work — we think this is an appropriate thing for our library and our community.”

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4.10.14 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshot_137x185Before this issue of Watermark went to press, I celebrated another year on this planet.

It wasn’t one of those “milestone birthdays” with an “0” or even a “5” after the first number. But it was a landmark to me, nonetheless.

This birthday was especially poignant for me because the year of my life that just came to a close was one of change. It saw the end of a long-term relationship, the death of—not just one—but two—elderly pets, and the beginnings of a move to a new address.

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World AIDS Day 2013

By : Rick
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Organizations around the state plan to commemorate World AIDS Day in the upcoming weeks.

See a full listing of events after the jump.

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Spring Reading! Find the right gay read for the warmer months

By : Gregg Shapiro
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As the weather warms up, more of us will flock to the pools or the beaches with our books or Kindles in hand. And, as with most springs, 2013 brings a wash of LGBT-centric books that will make getting that tan a little bit more enjoyable. Here’s a look at a few new releases:

SpringReadingPoetry in motion
Multi-award winning lesbian poet Maureen Seaton’s eighth solo poetry collection Fibonacci Batman: New and Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon, 2013) draws on six of her full-length books (including Iowa Prize and Lambda Literary Award-winning Furious Cooking). Comprised of more than 60 poems, the book gives readers a firsthand look at the ongoing evolution of Seaton’s work.

Straight ally, and a frequent collaborator of Seaton’s, Denise Duhamel returns with her 10th full-length book of poetry Blowout (University of Pittsburgh, 2013). Anyone who has been through a difficult divorce or break-up (is there such thing as an easy one?) will appreciate Duhamel’s insightful handling of the subject matter, put forth in her distinctive style.

Queer publisher A Midsummer Night’s Press has two new titles available for the season. Gay poet, editor and educator David Bergman’s Fortunate Light (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013), part of the press’s Body Language series, pulsates with sexuality. Deleted Names (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013) is by Lawrence Schimel, the press’s prolific publisher.

Queer voices
Consisting of interviews with queer youth, as well as essays by the author, In A Queer Voice: Journeys of Resilience from Adolescence to Adulthood (Temple University Press, 2013) by Michael Sadowski chronicles an unheard community and provides some of them with a forum in which to speak their minds.

Author and film expert B. Ruby Rich, the woman behind the term, New Queer Cinema, revisits the subject in the fittingly titled New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut (Duke University Press, 2013). In it she writes about LGBT film festivals, what makes a “good gay film,” analyzes queer filmmakers (including Todd Haynes, Jonathan Caouette, Gregg Araki and Gus Van Sant) and examines films such as Go Fish, The Watermelon Woman, Itty Bitty Titty Committee and Brokeback Mountain.

In the new edition of Inside The Vortex (, 2013), Naked In New York City blogger Justin Hernandez reflects on his personal journey from actor/dancer to stripper/sex worker. From “Drinking the Kool-Aid,” to “Coming Clean,” Hernandez frankly tells his story, sharing what he learned so that we may also learn something from his experience.

On a more academic note is The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love (Select Books, 2013) by Gilles Herrada. Among the book’s “controversial claims” are the lack of biological and anthropological data to support the existence of a single “gay” gene, the inaccuracy of the claim that gays and lesbians can’t or don’t reproduce and that modern homosexuality was made possible by the Judeo-Christian world.

Straight ally and outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage and parenting Anne Lamott co-authored Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son (Riverhead, 2012/2013) with her son, San Francisco-based Sam Lamott.

Australian feminist/queer theorist Annamarie Jagose gets up close and personal with the illustrious and elusive orgasm in Orgasmology (Duke University Press, 2013). Jagose elevates the material beyond sex and sexual orientation, venturing into “agency, ethics, intimacy, modernity” and more.

Under “homosexuality” in the general index of The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2013 (World Almanac Books, 2013), readers will find information about civil unions, the gay rights movement, military policy, marriage, the Matthew Shepard murder trial, the New Hampshire bishop election and even more than that.

Not for the faint of heart, American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men (Akashic, 2013) by David McConnell is a detailed exploration of hate crime motivated murders of gay men, from 1999 to 2009. McConnell adds his own personal analysis and reflections on the crimes and links them together in a terrifying and all too familiar way.

Fictional accounts
Published last year, A Horse Named Sorrow (Terrace Books, 2012) by award-winning gay novelist Trebor Healey is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, to be presented in June 2013. It’s not too late to read this acclaimed novel, set in San Francisco in the 1980s and `90s.

“Sister Spit superstar,” Ali Liebegott’s latest novel Cha-Ching! (City Lights/Sister Spit, 2013) is set in the 1990s, following “down-on-her-luck queer girl” Theo’s relocation from San Francisco to Brooklyn, where her new circle of friends includes her roommate, her girlfriend and a rescued Pit Bull named Cary Grant.

Monica Nolan, author of Lois Lenz, Secretary and Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher is back for more pulpy and steamy Sapphic fun with Maxie Mainwaring, Lesbian Dilettante (Kensington, 2013), set in the fictional Bay City in the carefree mid-1960s.

William Klaber’s debut novel The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell (Greenleaf Book Group, 2013), is a fictionalized memoir based on the true life story of pioneering American lesbian Lucy Lobdell. Lobdell, who, beginning in 1855, lived her life dressed as a man, even managed to have what would have been the first same-sex marriage when she wed Marie Louise Perry in Klaber’s fictional telling.

Can’t get enough queer historical fiction? Consider Fortune’s Bastard or Love’s Pains Recounted (Chelsea Station Editions, 2013) by Gil Cole. Cole’s novel tells the tale of young Antonio, who in an effort to escape Renaissance Florence’s “religious hysteria” sets sail on the Mediterranean and encounters a series of adventures, including the opportunity to pursue his desires for other men.

Musician-turned-novelist Steven Jordan Brooks also takes us back in time, to the 1970s, with Hollywood The Band (Authorhouse, 2013). Subtitled “A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll,” the book touches on the sexual revolution, gay and women’s issues, as well as racial and civil rights matters.