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.
I have been captivated by some grave news in Tampa Bay – and yes, that pun is 100% intentional.
Since the late summer months there has been a flurry of news stories about long-abandoned and forgotten cemeteries discovered under schools, apartment communities and businesses in Tampa. Literally hundreds of coffins have been found using ground-penetrating radar technology and the possibility of even more forgotten burials is discussed almost every day.
As a child of the 1980s and 90s, I struggled to understand what it meant to be gay. I had heard the perspective of my church, of course, but that message was not exactly positive.
There was no Google search and there weren’t any websites for me to turn to for advice, opinions or factual information about who gay people were. So like many of those from my generation, I relied on the books on my parents’ shelves and the resources at the local library. And when I would read those I felt as though I was in a spy novel, sneaking out whatever information I could in short bursts before my curiosity was discovered.
In 2017, Nick Cardello and his husband, Kurt, became the international faces of same-sex relationships when they recreated a photo of themselves kissing at the March on Washington. That photo, which positioned the couple in the exact same pose as 24 years earlier, went viral and got worldwide media coverage. But for the LGBTQ community of Tampa Bay, Nick was already synonymous with our community.
Several years ago, Nick became a photographer for Watermark. Soon he was appearing at LGBTQ events on both sides of the bay with his trusty camera in hand. He shot numerous covers for the newsmagazine and soon became the official photographer for other LGBTQ organizations. The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival noticed Nick’s skills as did ASAP (which merged into EPIC). Nick also continues to shoot for Tampa’s Creative Loafing.
We’re not sure about you, but we’ve had a hell of a year!
In the forthcoming links of literature and reflection, you’ll see some of our highs and our lows as a community, but we’d be lying if we didn’t scream “we made it!” to the tune of ABBA’s “Happy New Year” at this point. There’s a lot in here, and, sadly, some that is not (comment and tell us what we overlooked, please!)
St. Petersburg – METRO Tampa Bay had a huge turnout for the Third Annual Gala held at the amazing Historic Train Station in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Art District Nov. 7.
As promised, Gala Rouge was “a true voyeur’s delight” with more than 200 people packing the venue to watch Femmes & Follies perform a seductive burlesque show, enjoy delicious eats provided by Stillwaters Tavern and of course, celebrate with an open bar.
St. Petersburg – The Third Annual METRO Tampa Bay Gala will be held at its new venue within the Historic Train Station in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District Nov. 7.
The event, headlined as Gala Rouge, will be a night of scantily clad men and women, delicious eats, hand-crafted beverages and a historic venue and is being called “a true voyeur’s delight” according to METRO’s website.
After a solid decade at Watermark, it’s time to say goodbye.
On one hand, it feels like I’ve been a representative of this newsmagazine my entire life. On the other, it seems like only a few months ago that I was a freelancer, frantically searching for the “LGBT angle” and the sources required of my assignments.
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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