DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) | Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and a staffer discriminated against the state’s then-commissioner of workers’ compensation in 2011 because he’s gay, and the ex-official is entitled to $1.5 million for emotional distress, a jury said July 15.
Polk County jurors found that Chris Godfrey not only proved the discrimination occurred, but also showed he was retaliated against in the form of a pay cut after refusing to quit.
Haines City, Fla. | The trial over the death of a Central Florida transgender woman concluded with her killer being found guilty of first-degree murder Dec. 20.
A Polk County jury deliberated for less than five hours before convicting 19-year-old Re’shaunte Jermaines Anglin for the 2016 murder of 32-year-old drag entertainer Mercedes Successful. Jurors also found Anglin guilty of robbery and tampering with physical evidence.
Sarah Fortney has been an educator and advocate for students and staff for over 30 years, fighting for their rights and creating the best learning environment for all.
Over three years ago, Sarah and I were attending an emergency staff meeting on the last day of school, and as we watched our school district lead a powerful change maker through a forced resignation, Sarah spoke up for the staff and the students. That was the day Sarah knew her efforts were not enough and began to consider what more she could do.
Munn Park in downtown Lakeland was the site of Polk Pride in the Park this past Saturday. A large crowd came out to be visible as members of the LGBTQ+ community and to show their support. Drag performer Kathryn Nevets hosted the entertainment, which included a rousing rendition of “This is Me” and closed with lesbian band Halcyon.
LAKELAND – Nestled on the I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa, many visitors don’t realize that Lakeland has quite an LGBTQ presence in Polk County.
“That was never more evident than that first year we held Polk Pride in 2015,” Dustin Shay, a Polk Pride executive committee member, says. “We were thinking we would have like 200 people and it ended up being 3,000. It was great. The following year Pride in 2016 we ended up having around 5,000, so this year we are really hoping to blow it out since we have gotten a little bit more exposure.”
“Eat the rich” is the common parlance for societal injustice mostly attributed to 18th Century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau; “Let them eat cake!” is but another foodie rallying call through political revolution that has often been (falsely) assigned to Marie Antoinette in a French Revolution fit – though it, too, has its roots in Rousseau’s philosophically hyperbolic oeuvre. At any rate, the message is clear: When we’re not voting with our ballots or simply our wallets, we are voting with our stomachs.
In this issue, Watermark takes on the daunting task of breaking down the politics of eating. Before you even flip to our cover story, “Love Bites,” please understand that we know that it is impossible for us to be absolute and comprehensive when there are restaurants, food joints – some even on wheels! – and means of masticating in nearly every urban peripheral glance. I’m sure we’ll catch hell for some exclusions, but let’s just consider this a starting point.
Gather the family together, because Polk Pride is coming back.
Polk County, nestled between two metropolitan areas with huge Pride celebrations of their own, has always been viewed as more conservative than its surrounding locations. So, it came as a surprise to some when the Lakeland Youth Alliance and PFLAG of Polk County came together in 2015 to throw a Pride celebration in Lakeland’s Munn Park.
Mulberry, Fla. – A Tampa Bay area high school teacher is charged with four counts of showing obscene materials to minors after students caught him looking at gay porn on his cellphone.
Vadi Velez-Gonzalez, a ninth grade reading teacher at Mulberry High School, is accused of having the pornographic images pulled up on his phone during class. Four different students saw adult male pornography on the 47-year-old teacher’s iPhone Oct. 28 which he had on his desk in plain view, according to a police report.
MULBERRY, Fla. – A Tampa Bay area high school teacher was charged with four counts of showing obscene materials to minors have students caught him watching gay porn on his cellphone in class.
Vadi Velez-Gonzalez, a ninth grade reading teacher at Mulberry High School, is accused of having the pornographic video pulled up on his phone during class. A female student observed Gonzalez’s phone while at his desk asking him a question.
The release of this issue of Watermark is a milestone for me. It marks the one-year anniversary since I officially became publisher of Watermark Media. The past 12 months have been an interesting ride – and, although I’ve been here more than a decade, I’ve recently learned a great deal about our staff, our readers and the big picture of LGBT news.
We were not without amazing stories this past year. It’s been a downpour of fantastic triumphs and outlandish setbacks. Here, on this special occasion, I will commemorate some moments that were tops in my book, as well as those populating the bottom of the barrel.
Watermark is a multi-faceted media company using opportunities and innovations to communicate and advance LGBT interests, with a corporate emphasis on professionalism while building strong relationships with our readers, customers and community.
Watermark Media was founded by Tom Dyer in Orlando in 1994, and expanded to Tampa Bay in 1995. Dyer is an attorney, former board member of the Metropolitan Business Association and Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and current advisory board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation.
Watermark prints up to 20,000 copies every other Thursday, and distributes them in more than 500 locations throughout Orlando, Tampa Bay, Sarasota and throughout the state. The newspaper donates more than $200,000 annually in free and sponsor advertising to worthy local and national LGBT non-profits.
Watermarkonline.com was launched in 1999. The award-winning newspaper currently maintains offices in Tampa Bay and Orlando and employs a full-time staff of 12, along with several part-time and freelance contributors.
Watermark Publishing Group, founded by publisher Rick Claggett, purchased Watermark in January of 2016. Rick Claggett is a long-time employee of Watermark Media and former board member of both the Metropolitan Business Association and Come Out With Pride.Read More...
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