Watermark’s local LGBTQ-friendly restaurant listings

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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Acclaimed playwright Terrence McNally dies at 81

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Terrence McNally (R) and husband Tom Kirdahy, photo via Equality Florida.

SARASOTA | Five-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally died March 24 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital from complications of COVID-19. He was 81.

McNally’s death was confirmed by spokesperson Matt Polk. The St. Petersburg native, who was openly gay, is survived by his husband Tom Kirdahy.

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PHOTOS: CAN Community Health’s 2020 Red Ribbon Gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | CAN Community Health welcomed supporters to the Ritz-Carlton Feb. 22 for the organization’s second annual Red Ribbon Gala.

The gathering raises awareness for CAN’s mission to provide a continuum of medical, social and education services to the communities it serves. The evening specifically benefited the organization’s youth initiative.

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Sarasota unveils ‘welcoming, inclusive’ crosswalk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The City of Sarasota unveiled a multi-colored crosswalk some residents see as LGBTQ affirming on Feb. 14.

“COLORFUL CROSSWALK,” the city shared via social media along with a video. “Our Public Works crew painted this vibrant crosswalk overnight in the 1500 block of Main Street. It’s part of our ongoing effort to enliven downtown and make it more pedestrian friendly. What do you think?”

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Michael Kors replaces Debra Messing for CAN Community Health gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Michael Kors, photo via CAN Community Health.

SARASOTA | Fashion designer Michael Kors will headline CAN Community Health’s second annual Red Ribbon Gala Feb. 22, replacing original headliner Debra Messing.

Messing, who was announced as the gala’s headliner Oct. 7, is best known for her role on NBC’s “Will & Grace.” CAN Community Health shared she would be unable to attend via video message Feb. 17 after the actress suffered an injury.

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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 Last Page: Samantha Ponzillo, photographer / filmmaker

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Last Page is dedicated to individuals who are making a positive impact on the LGBTQ community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

This issue, we check in with Samantha Ponzillo Media owner and #HashtagLunchbag Sarasota co-organizer Samantha Ponzillo. Keep an eye on this space to learn more about the movers and shakers of your community.

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Shannon Fortner, Harvey Milk Festival Founder/Executive Director

By : Grace Korley, Harvey Milk Festival Internship Supervisor/Grant Writer and Shannon's Partner
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Selfless. Focused. Resilient. Remarkable. These are the words that describe Shannon Fortner.

Shannon is the founder and president of the Harvey Milk Festival (HMF), a Sarasota nonprofit dedicated to sharing the power of the arts as a catalyst for social and political change. It celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, consisting of a history and art component, performance art and dance, and culminating with its annual music festival.

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The Last Page: Karen Atwood

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Last Page is dedicated to individuals who are making a positive impact on the LGBTQ community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

This issue, we check in with Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers owner Karen Atwood from Sarasota. Keep an eye on this space to learn more about the movers and shakers of your community.

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Venice Pride returns for second annual celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Pridegoers prepare for the inaugural Venice Pride’s pet blessing Nov. 3, 2018. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

Venice, Fla. | SunCoast Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) will hold the second annual Venice Pride on Nov. 2 to highlight Southern Sarasota’s growing LGBTQ community.

Suncoast MCC Senior Co-Pastors Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson and Rev. Vickie Miller will welcome attendees to the church’s five-acre campus from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The organization, which is described as a safe spiritual home for the LGBTQ community and its allies, hosted the inaugural Venice Pride in 2018.

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Watermark’s Sarasota Living with Pride Guide 2019

By : Dylan Todd
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Find all the greatest spots in Sarasota for arts and entertainment, dining, nightlife and much, much more!

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ALSO Youth executive director resigns

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Nathan Bruemmer, JD has resigned as the executive director of ALSO Youth effective Aug. 31, the organization shared Aug. 29.

ALSO Youth was founded in 1992 and exists to empower LGBTQ youth and their allies by creating inclusive communities. Bruemmer has served as executive director for two years.

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