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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Watermark celebrates its silver anniversary with a look back at the LGBTQ headlines of the past 25 years

By : Jeremy Williams
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For 25 years, in nearly 700 issues, Watermark has been telling the stories of Central Florida and Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ communities.

First premiering in Orlando in 1994, and then expanding into Tampa Bay in 1995, Watermark now covers more than a dozen counties across the state. We can be found in many Florida cities including Daytona Beach, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Sarasota—and thanks to WatermarkOnline.com, we have developed an international audience which relies on us for news, politics, sports, arts and entertainment as it pertains to the LGBTQ community.

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Sarasota Pride skips 2019, announces January 2020 celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Sarasota Pride, Inc. announced Aug. 15 that its next PrideFest will be held Jan. 25, 2020 rather than in 2019, a departure from the organization’s traditional celebrations held in October.

Sarasota Pride aims to promote visibility and self-esteem among the LGBTQ community in Sarasota and throughout Florida. Chairman Cindy Barnes led the organization into its 29th year on Oct. 20, 2018 at J.D. Hamel Park.

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The Last Page with Senior Account Manager Russ Martin

By : Rick Claggett
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“I have newspaper in my blood and have worked in the industry for nearly 20 years,” says Russ Martin.

Russ began working for Watermark as a part time account manager in March of 2018. Within a few months Russ, and Watermark, realized the demands of managing marketing accounts were not conducive with a part-time schedule. Russ informed Watermark that his then current schedule would not allow him the time he needed to perform his tasks to the best of his ability, and he tendered his resignation.

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