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DAYTONA BEACH • ORLANDO • TAMPA • ST. PETERSBURG • SARASOTA • ISSUE 19.03 • FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 • WATERMARKONLINE.COM

YOUR LGBT LIFE.

Will the new borders impact our voice?


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Love is a lot of work

DEPARTMENTS

and sometimes we 41 have to pull back!

6 // MAIL 9 // ORLANDO NEWS 11 // TAMPA BAY NEWS 16 // STATE 18 // NATION & WORLD 27 // ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 32 // EVENT PLANNER 35 // TAMPA BAY OVERHEARD 37 // ORLANDO OVERHEARD 44 // TAMPA BAY MARKETPLACE 46 // ADVICE 47 // ORLANDO MARKETPLACE 52 // CLASSIFIEDS 53 // SPORTS 54 // GALLERY W

PAGE

—LIZ LANGLEY, WHO WROTE THE BOOK CRAZY LITTLE THING, A COLLECTION OF REAL LIFE STORIES OF LOVE DRIVING PEOPLE TO DO CRAZY THINGS.

ON THE COVER

The powers that be in Tallahassee are wrangling new districts throughout the state that voters hope will remove special protections for incumbents. While it’s a Democrat and Republican issue, any final borders could directly affect LGBTs and our rights. Illustration by Jake Stevens

SCAN QR CODE FOR

WATERMARKONLINE.COM

Preview

PAGE

39

WEDDING MARCH: St. Petersburg couple John Thomas and Jan Lund are among thousands of same-sex couples who took advantage of New York’s same-sex marriage ruling last year.

W A T E R M A R K I S S U E 1 9 . 0 3 // F E B R U A R Y 2 - 1 5 , 2 0 1 2

ORLANDO NEWS

TAMPA BAY NEWS

STATE NEWS

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Read it online! In addition to a Web site with daily LGBT updates, a digital version of each issue of the publication is made available on WatermarkOnline.com

PAGE Advocates for a county-wide

09

domestic partnership registry are awaiting a decision from Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs on if an ordinance will be presented to commissioners; An OrlandoPresbyterian Church severs ties to the denomination because of its acceptance of gay clergy; Chase Smith is running for Orlando City Council, bringing the number of out candidates in local races to three.

PAGE Gasparilla invaded Tampa

11

Jan. 26-28 and LGBTs took advantage of all the revelry; King of Peace MCC once again spearheads Wine, Art and Heart, a fundraiser for Suncoast Hospice and this year’s event has a new location and a few surprises; A new thrift store in Pinellas Park that caters to the transgender community was robbed during its first week of business.

PAGE While lawmakers wrangle

17

over the details of new redistricting maps due to be finalized this month, local LGBT politicians seem to feel they’ll be unaffected; Patrons of a popular gay bar in Fort Myers say local cops used excessive force-including tasers; Delray Beach expands domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples.

PAGE The touring production

25 anniversary 28 ofof the Les Miserables is th

playing in Tampa and two heavy hitters in the production include a gay couple of 18 years; As always, Glenn Close is impeccable in her role as a woman pretending to be a man in her newest film, but unfortunately that’s not enough to save the story of Albert Nobbs.

THE 1980S CLASSIC ‘MANNEQUIN’ IS THE NEXT FILM TO BE LAMPOONED AT MOVIE’S OUT LOUD IN ORLANDO FEB. 9. GET YOUR TICKETS AT WATERMARKONLINE.COM/MOVIES-OUT-LOUD. FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Go, Gina, Go! I was thrilled to read in Watermark [Issue 19.02] that Gina Duncan is throwing her hat into the ring to become our next Orange County commissioner. I don’t know her personally, but everything I’ve read and heard about her is exemplary. She’s a moving force for the entire Orlando area and a role model for all of us who are part of the LGBT community. I count myself lucky to be a resident of District 5 and thank you for sharing Gina’s candidacy with your readers. I can’t wait to read the story about her win following the election. BARRY DONOVAN ORLANDO

Tampa needs DPR Orlando’s successful and widely popular Domestic Partnership Registry should be the motivation the Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Commission need to get on the same page and create a similar program here. It never ceases to amaze me that politicians [believe] an ordinance that brings legal recognition to committed couples could

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“I don’t know Gina Duncan personally, but everything I’ve read and heard about her is exemplary.” —BARRY DONOVAN possibly be a bad thing. I hope that civic groups here follow the advice presented by Equality Florida in your last issue [Issue 19.02] and start the campaign to protect gay and lesbian couples sooner rather than later. TERRY ZANA TAMPA

Late but deserved praise I know I’m late with praise but congratulations on the new look of Watermark. I was pleasantly surprised to pick up the recent issue with Alisa Summers on the cover [Issue 19.02] to see the reformatted design and layout. It’s easy to follow and the dedication to real news is refreshing when so many LGBT publications just stick with the photos of pretty boys in dance clubs. I’ve been a reader for years and rarely miss an issue. Thanks for

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FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

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keeping us informed. ADRIAN LERA VIA E-MAIL

Trans housing protections applauded The Obama Administration’s new federal rules strengthening housing discrimination protections for transgender and gay people is a major and urgently needed advancement in basic protections for transgender people. We are calling on other federal departments to follow HUD’s commonsense approach and use existing legal authority to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in the programs they fund and administer. We applaud Secretary Donovan and the Obama Administration for this much needed relief for transgender people. HARPER JEAN TOBIN NCTE POLICY COUNSEL


CONTRIBUTORS

editor’s

Steve Blanchard EDITOR

SteveB@WatermarkOnline.com

A

Desk

T THE END OF JANUARY WE WERE

once again surprised—or not so surprised— when a local Florida pastor was arrested for alleged indecent behavior at a public park.

The man, along with three others, was arrested after approaching an undercover police of�icer for a sexual encounter in a Polk County recreation area. It’s a story we’ve heard time and again, and it is taken in many ways, depending on your perspective. Some are disgusted that a married man of the cloth would behave in such a way while others revel in the news that a religious leader got busted for doing exactly what he “probably” preached against. Almost every television outlet in Orlando and Tampa Bay covered the arrest and slapped the man’s identity and face on their reports.

WATERMARK STAFF

One newspaper published the story online along with a photo of the man smiling with his wife and two small children—it was a photo be�itting a Christmas card that was pulled from the website of the pastor’s church. Facebook was abuzz with the story. People shared the links to the pastor’s plight along with comments like, “Another one bites the dust,” and “Practice what I preach, not what I do.” Watermark operates on a policy that does not identify those arrested for “victimless crimes” such as inappropriate sexual behavior in public. It’s a policy we adopted in the �irst part of 2011 and have adhered to ever since. I admit I didn’t support

Publisher: Tom Dyer • Ext. 305 • Tom@WatermarkOnline.com Chief Financial Officer: Rick Claggett • Ext. 108 • Rick@WatermarkOnline.com Administrative Assistant: Erik Caban • Ext. 100 • Erik@WatermarkOnline.com Editor-in-Chief: Steve Blanchard • 813-470-0899 • SteveB@WatermarkOnline.com Online Media Director: Jamie Hyman • Ext. 106 • Jamie@WatermarkOnline.com Proofreading: Ed Blaisdell Art Director: Jake Stevens • Ext. 109 • Jake@WatermarkOnline.com Production Assistant: Andrés Duputel • Ext. 107 • AdProduction@WatermarkOnline.com Sales Manager: Mark Cady • Ext. 103 [Orlando] • Mark@WatermarkOnline.com

the policy but I can abide by and respect it. If you can afford the time to go to a public park and look for a sexual encounter, then you can afford a $25 room at a No-Tell Motel for a few hours of down-low fun, out of view of public eyes. Translation: learn to keep it in your pants and your name will stay out of the newspapers. But I also understand concerns some of our readers expressed before we implemented the policy. Their arguments were about the unfair targeting of gay men by the police and punishing the lonely through public guilt. But back to the most recent story of the pastor in the park … As I watched the story unfold on the local news I know I smiled, thinking, “here we go again—another pastor who protests too much.” But then I started researching the arrested pastor online. While there wasn’t a lot of information out there, none of it was anti-gay—at least none of what I saw. I’ve never seen the soft-spoken pastor at Pride events holding hateful signs warning of the sins of homosexuality and I would remember if he’d posted a viral video or two about “sodomites,” a label so many rightwing evangelicals like to give us. I don’t know the pastor and for

all I know he’s held skinhead rallies and is best friends with Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. I don’t know what he preaches when it comes to LGBT issues since I’ve never graced a pew in his church. But I do know I feel pity and sadness for this man, who was so ashamed of his natural sexual orientation that he had to �ind samesex encounters in secluded areas of a public park in the middle of the week rather than with a regular partner or members of his own community. What he allegedly did is against the law and reports say that he made no secret of his identity when he was arrested by Polk Sheriff’s deputies. But rather than celebrating “another” pastor literally getting caught with his pants down or condemning him for allegedly doing something that too many in his profession preach out against, the LGBT community of Lakeland and its surrounding areas should reach out to him, offer him some guidance and yes, maybe even some support. This man will no doubt lose his ministry, which is his income, and the embarrassment felt by his wife and children will probably cost him his family and his home life. That’s not something to celebrate—that’s something to mourn. And if anyone can understand feeling like there’s nowhere to turn, it’s those of us in the LGBT community who have faced that very situation ourselves. |  |

I feel pity and sadness for this man, who was so ashamed of his natural sexual orientation that he had to find same-sex encounters in secluded areas of a public park.

Tampa Bay Sales: Anthony Barros Ext. 301 • 814-454-9064 • AnthonyB@WatermarkOnline.com Orlando Advertising Sales: Scott McCauley Ext. 302 • 407-256-9871 •Scott@WatermarkOnline.com Orlando Advertising Sales: Don Williams Ext. 102 • Don@WatermarkOnline.com Orlando Advertising Sales: Elizabeth McCarthy Ext. 105 • Elizabeth@WatermarkOnline.com Nat’l Ad Representative: Rivendell Media Inc. • 212-242-6863

ORLANDO OFFICE

P. O. Box 533655 Orlando, FL 32853-3655 TEL: 407-481-2243 FAX: 407-481-2246

TAMPA BAY OFFICE TEL: 813-655-9890 FAX: 813-849-2986

FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

DAVID MORAN

is the LGBTQ Services Graduate Coordinator at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he studied emerging media. Pages 9 and 11.

KEN KUNDIS

is a native Floridian who now lives and works in New York City. He has been a regular contributor to Watermark for more than 10 years. Page 21

Greg Burton, Erik Caban, Scottie Campbell, Amy Dees, Kirk Hartlage, Rev. Phyllis Hunt, Joseph Kissel, Ken Kundis, Mary Meeks, Stephen Miller, David Moran, Anthony Paull, Greg Stemm, Brett Stout, Louanne Walters, Stephen Warne

PHOTOGRAPHY NICK CARDELLO

is the owner of Cardello Photography and he lives and works in Tampa Bay. He is the official photographer for several area events and organizations, including the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and St. Pete Pride. He is a regular contributor to Watermark. Page 54

Nick Cardello, Angie Folks, Julie Milford, Travis Moore, Tom Eckert

DISTRIBUTION Debbie Oliver, Phil Garris, Ken Caraway CONTENTS of WATERMARK are protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced in whole or part without the permission of the publisher. Unsolicited article submissions will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Although WATERMARK is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Publication of the name or photograph of any person or organization in articles, advertising, or listing in WATERMARK is not to be construed as any indication of the sexual orientation of such persons or members of such organizations. WATERMARK is published every second Thursday. Subscription rate is $55 (1st class) and $26 (standard mail). The official views of WATERMARK are expressed only in editorials. Opinions offered in signed columns, letters and articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the newspaper’s owner or management. We reserve the right to edit or reject any material submitted for publication. WATERMARK is not responsible for damages due to typographical errors, except for the cost of replacing ads created by WATERMARK that have such errors.

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NEWS

SHARING DETAILS: OADO committee member Mary Meeks, standing with other local LGBT activists, briefed the media on a discussion of a domestic partner registry with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. Photo by Jake Stevens

More talk, no action Activists and Mayor Jacobs continue talks on Orange Co. Domestic partner registry Jamie Hyman

JAMIE@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

O

RLANDO | While the future of a domestic partner registry for Orange County remains unclear, one thing is certain: There will be more discussions. Ten key local LGBT activists— most of them members of the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Committee (OADO)—met with Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs on the morning of Jan. 26. Mayor Jacobs also brought in a few advisors, including John Dowless, former head of Florida’s Christian Coalition. No media were permitted to attend the meeting but the LGBT activists conducted a brie�ing afterward outside the county administration building. Local attorney and OADO member Mary Meeks called the meeting “positive and productive,” but it’s still not clear what path the proposed registry will take from here. Meeks stated several times during the brie�ing that Jacobs

committed to bringing a plan before the board in February, but did not name a speci�ic date and was unable to reveal what, exactly, that plan would be. “It is necessary to recognize that the February discussion remains to be seen,” Meeks said. “Mayor Jacobs will decide on the best proposal and then bring it to the board in February. It may be a domestic partner registry, it may be

David Moran DAVID@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

need for an ordinance in order to create a domestic partner registry, but has not clari�ied whether she speci�ically supports that ordinance. “I feel this is another step towards creating an ordinance in Orange County that supports our citizens when they place their trust in a loved one to make funeral, medical and other emergency decisions for them,” Jacobs said in a a statement. My goal is to introduce an ordinance in Orange County that meets the needs of our citizens without substantial risk of being successfully challenged in a court of law.” Jacobs did not specify any timeline or speci�ic action that would be taken in the future on the issue. Randy Stephens, executive director of The Center, said there was progress made at the meeting “but not as much as I hoped.” He con�irmed there would be a second meeting between Mayor Jacobs and LGBT activists but was unable to con�irm a date. Stephens said “the mayor has a hard time saying ‘domestic partnership’,” but pointed out that domestic partnerships were de�ined

“It may be a domestic partner registry, it may be something else.” —OADO’S MARY MEEKS

something else.” On Jan. 9, Jacobs alarmed LGBT activists when she proposed an alternative to the domestic partner registry: a downloadable form that would allow any individual to assign any resident—gay or straight—to make their important medical, endof-life and other decisions. Since then, Jacobs has acknowledged a

Chase Smith joins City Council race

orlando

Chase Smith

Continued on page 12 |  |

O

RLANDO | Another openly gay candidate has entered the race for Orlando City Council, bringing the grand tally of out City Council contenders to three. Chase Smith announced on Jan. 30 his intent to run for Orlando’s District 1 City Council seat. Smith will face Randy Ross, who is also gay, in the race for the District 1 City Council Seat. The city’s other out candidate is City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who is seeking re-election in District 4. Smith, who grew up in Wauchula, said his quali�ications for the job include 20 years of experience in local government as well as his existing relationships with both the City of Orlando and Orange County. Smith recently took a leave of absence from his role as Orange County Ombudsman and aide to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. Having lived in Orlando since 2004, Smith is running on a �iscally conservative, pro-business platform as he calls it. He is focused on streamlining city regulations, supporting private development projects, and not raising taxes. “I don’t think that it is the government’s role to dictate how private property owners use their land granted that it follows the city’s land use plan,” said Smith. “I support a private property owner’s right to develop.” Prior to working for Mayor Jacobs, Smith served as Sheehan’s aide for seven years. He is in a unique political position having worked with Sheehan, who was a supporter of the City of Orlando’s domestic partner registry, and for Orange County Mayor Jacobs, who has yet to fully embrace it. Smith views the domestic partner registry as a community necessity and a step in the right direction. “It shows that we are understanding. It shows that we are accepting,” said Smith. At the age of 18, Smith �irst ran for public of�ice. Though he lost the 1990 Wauchula City Council elections,

FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

Continued on page 12 |  |

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NEWS

Thrift store catering to T-community robbed Steve Blanchard EDITOR@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

GOING GANCHO: Organizers say the Second Annual Gancho Gasparilla circuit party was a success in Ybor City. Photo courtesy Tony LaColla

Gasparilla’s gay option Crowds and controversy follow Gancho to Ybor City David Moran

DAVIC@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

T

AMPA | Gancho weekend returned to Ybor City during the annual Gasparilla Festival and brought substantial crowds and plenty of controversy along with it. According to organizers, more than 1,100 tickets were sold to the second annual event, which returned with parties at The Ritz Ybor and other locations Jan. 2729. That, however, didn’t stop a feud from erupting on Facebook and through e-mails between party organizers and owners of Florida Entertainment Group, which operates neighboring popular LGBT hotspots G. Bar and The Honey Pot. The two entities shared barbs, personal attacks and accusations regarding their competing events. Despite that, both Gancho and local bars reported record-setting weekends. “This is something new for the Tampa Bay area,” said Gancho organizer Tony LaColla, adding that within �ive years he’d like

nominated DJs who have worked with artists like Madonna,” said LaColla. The Gancho parties also featured live performances by Miami-based New Century to see the dance parties become Dance Company. LaColla called part of the main attraction to the the performances “over the top” citywide Gasparilla Festival. “The and more like spectacles with a locals don’t know what to expect, “Cirque du Soleil-like” �lair. so we rely on the out-of-towners.” LaColla, along with his friends On its Facebok Page, Steam and business partners Manny Fridays at Honey Pot posted that Alvarez and Jose Garboza, its Jan. 27 “Circus, not Circuit” organized Gancho Tampa party was its “biggest night ever.” Gasparilla Weekend through According to Tampa Police, their event company J.A.M. more than 400,000 people Promo. LaColla calls Gancho a attended the 108th Annual labor of love more than a moneyGasparilla Festival, which includes maker at this stage of the game. a day-time pirate parade along “We don’t make any money off Bayshore Boulevard and an actual of this event,” LaColla said. “We haven’t put a dime in our pocket. The three of us live in Ybor City and just want to host a fabulous —TONY LACOLLA, AN ORGANIZER OF GANCHO party that makes Ybor City pirate “invasion” in Tampa Bay. a focal point during Gasparilla. LaColla said Gancho is meant Proceeds from Gancho go to the to be a gay-oriented option for Metro Wellness and Community Gasparilla party-goers whether Centers, which has locations in they want to go to the pirate Tampa, St. Petersburg and New parades, enjoy the gay nightlife or Port Richey. experience both. While J.A.M. Promo hopes to “[With Gancho], you are getting make Gancho one of the main a great experience featuring music by top-notch, Grammy-

“We just want to host a fabulous party that makes Ybor City a focal point during Gasparilla.”

Continued on page 14 |  |

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watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

tampa bay

P

INELLAS PARK | Within a week of it opening, a thrift store in Pinellas County catering to the area’s transgender community was robbed when a cash box holding $200 was swiped overnight. Transgender FORGE Executive Director Michael Keeffe noticed the missing funds when he went in to open Julio’s Closet one morning in January. “I had no idea anything was wrong until I went to look for the cash box,” Keeffe said. “There were several valuable items in the store that were untouched and nothing was moved. So I was surprised when I couldn’t �ind the box.” Keeffe said he �iled a police report and some �ingerprints were recovered, but they weren’t clear enough to give an identity to the possible culprit. Keeffe said he is using the loss as a lesson, and the store now has a secure safe. “My thoughts are that either a customer or someone who works in the community center took it,” Keeffe said. “But there’s no way of knowing and all we can do is just move forward.” Julio’s Closet is housed within the Community Connections Tampa Bay Center at 9945 66th St. North. The small 300-square-foot store is the �irst business past the entrance of the building and Keeffe said he wanted a non-LGBT home for the store to better bene�it transgender people who wish to remain stealth. “We picked a neighborhood location because the goal of many transgender people is to live comfortably in their neighborhood every day,” he said. “People know who we are and what we’re doing, but the goal of FORGE is to integrate into the community at large.” And so far the store has seen some success, despite the setback of the theft. Keeffe said through word-of-mouth, the customer base is growing and so is support. Keeffe explained that the name of the thrift store was chosen to honor Julio Silverwolf, a Pinellas County transgender man who died after a suspected suicide. “He was well-known in the transgender community and it’s a tragic loss,” Keeffe said. “It’s our way of honoring him.” The store is open Thursdays through Sundays and focuses primarily on larger sized women’s clothes and smaller sizes of men’s clothes. However, donations of all sizes are happily accepted. “We get a lot of foot traf�ic here from other businesses and the money raised goes to a good cause,” Keeffe said. “About 90% of the proceeds go back to FORGE and 10% goes to support this community center. It’s a win-win.” Julio’s Closet is also looking for volunteers to man the store. Anyone interested can speak with Keeffe at the store from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. |  |

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orlando

Orlando Presbyterians leave denomination over gay clergy Staff Report

NEWS

O

SHOW YOUR LOVE

“The Human Heart: An OUTright Love-In,” where marriage equality supporters gather and form a giant human heart, returns to Loch Haven Park this Valentine’s Day at 6:14 p.m. This year the organizers have added an art exhibition leading up to the event, Feb. 8–14 at Sip, featuring various artists’ visual interpretations of the theme “Love and Equality.”

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FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

RLANDO | Members of the First Presbyterian of Orlando voted 1759 to 185 to break away from the Presbyterian Church (USA) to join the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), far exceeding the two-thirds majority necessary. The formation of the new church comes as a reaction to a decision in July by the 2.3 million member PCUSA to permit gay clergy. “I actually belonged to First Presbyterian when I lived in Orlando—my one and only adult involvement with churchgoing,” said Lisa Van Damen, now living in North Carolina with her husband and two children. “I can’t believe some of the people I knew from there would be going along with this turn of events—if they’re still involved at all.” Presbyterians opposed to gay clergy split from the church on Jan. 26, announcing a new denomination called the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians. More than 2,000 Presbyterians from 500

churches witnessed the launch of the new group, said John Crosby, president of the order. “The problem is people are going to hell,” John Ortberg, a leader of the splinter group and minister at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California, said in a sermon to begin the events. Despite such pedestrian rhetoric, some LGBT leaders are considering the move a sign of progress. “It shows mainstream churches are moving in the direction of more acceptance. It’s a continuation of what we’ve seen in the Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church,” Randy Stephens, executive director of the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida in Orlando, told the Orlando Sentinel. ECO leaders speaking at the conference leveled other complaints against the Presbyterian Church, including excessive bureaucracy, complacency, declining membership and the tendency to become a “big tent” religion, accommodating all at the expense of their reading of scripture. |  |

|  | Orange County DPR from pg.9

|  | Chase Smith from pg.9

back in April 2011, when the commission approved domestic partner bene�its for county employees. Stephens said he’s “no less hopeful” that the county will have a domestic partner registry than before the meeting. In the post-meeting brie�ing, Meeks indicated that if Mayor Jacobs and OADO do not come to a consensus and Jacobs brings something other than a domestic partner registry to the board, that doesn’t mean the registry is dead in the water. “Mayor Jacobs will allow the board to consider alternatives to her proposal,” Meeks said. “If we can convince enough of the commissioners to support it, there will be a vote on a domestic partner registry.” Meeks said she believes Mayor Jacobs is envisioning a way for any two adults to designate each other for medical decisions and hospital visitations, whether or not they are romantically involved. Joe Saunders with Equality Florida con�irmed during the brie�ing that at this time, there is “no comprehensive plan” being proposed, calling the meeting “a greater articulation of things we’ve already heard.” |  |

he was elected two years later and became the youngest elected of�icial in Hardee County history. Smith went on to serve three, four-year terms. From 1998-2004, Smith worked as an administrator for a private medical practice before coming to Orlando to work for Sheehan. Smith calls the Lake Nona Medical City, which is located in District 1, one of his top priorities and a leading economic driver for the City of Orlando and the Central Florida region. He said if elected that he will be a constant champion for the medical complex. “I think Orlando’s major focus needs to continue to be on the [Lake Nona] Medical City. We need to ensure that it remains successful,” said Smith. “It is the best thing that has happened to Orlando in the last decade. The city boundaries of District 1 includes neighborhoods in the Conway/ Dixie Belle, Lake Margaret, Lee Vista, Lake Nona, and Southport areas as well as the Orlando International Airport. The City Council election is April 3, which happens to be Smith’s 40th birthday. A win, he said, would be the perfect gift. |  |

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tampa bay NEWS

|  | Gancho from pg.11

Wine and Art With a Big Heart

events of Gasparilla in the future, LaColla said his company also hopes to put Gasparilla on the map as a premiere circuit party venue. Once Gancho gets its groove, he also would like to see women’s party organized. Most of those attending Gancho over the weekend were gay men and LaColla said in his experience, gay men seem to be more willing to travel and experience circuit parties. About 50% of the ticket sales this year were purchased by outof-towners,, doubling last year’s numbers. The party has experienced growing pains, but LaColla said getting the word out was easier in the second year. “It takes time,” he said. For more pictures of the Gasparilla festivities, see Gallery W on page 54. More Gasparilla celebrations are on the way. A night parade is Feb. 18 in Ybor City and the annual Gasparilla Classic Softball Tournament is Feb. 17-19. |  |

Steve Blanchard

EDITOR@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

S

T. PETERSBURG | Leslie Belcher has a special place in her heart for the services of Suncoast Hospice. Her husband’s mother passed away last year and the endof-life care provided by the organization went above and beyond what she expected. That’s why she’s so excited to be the featured artist at this year’s Wine Art and Heart fundraiser for Suncoast Hospice at the Morean Arts Center for Clay on Saturday, Feb. 11. “I think everyone has been affected by the works of Hospice in some way,” the St. Petersburg-based artist said. “For me this is more of a commitment.” Belcher works with glass and focuses speci�ically on

jewelry. She participated in last year’s Wine Art and Heart event and plans to present nearly 50 pieces for sale and auction at this year’s celebration. According to Lillian Dunlap, who is on the organizing committee of the event presented by King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church, at least half of the proceeds raised Feb. 11 will bene�it Suncoast Hospice Foundation’s Stepping Stones program, which focuses on helping terminally ill children live normal, ful�illing lives “The church has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable causes and we’re committed to always giving at least half of what’s raised to a charity,” Dunlap explained, adding that the church’s monetary goal for this event is $50,000. “This event is the ‘Ticket to have’ and its an

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opportunity to taste �ine wine and food and interact with interesting people and enjoy some fabulous art.” More than 60 artists will be showcased and a majority of them are based in the Tampa Bay area, according to Valerie Scott Knaust, the Clay Studio Coordinator for the Morean Arts Center. Nearly all of the 36,000-square-foot facility will be open the night of Wine Art and Heart, giving attendees and artists plenty of room to network, eat and enjoy art. “We’re going to have people demonstrating pottery,” Knaust said. “We’ll be able to showcase exactly what it is we do here.” This marks the �irst time Wine Art and Heart has been held at the Morean Arts Center for Clay. The building on 22nd Street South and Fourth Street South is an old train station, converted into a historic yet modern center for the arts in

St. Petersburg. It’s a location that should easily house the 300 or so attendees and raise much needed funds for the Stepping Stones program. “I’m excited about the new location of the event,” said Bryn Warner, senior director of resource development with Hospice. “These community events are made up of friends helping out a cause in which they believe and it gives us a chance to reach out to people we normally wouldn’t meet.” Dunlap said that a team of a dozen or so committee members with King of Peace MCC organized the event and that a “very large” team of volunteers will be on hand to help Feb. 11. The audience expected is exactly the audience Hospice serves, according to Belcher, who has already received multiple phone calls about her artwork. Tickets to Wine Art and Heart are $50 and are available at the door or in advance at WineArtAndHeart.org. |  |

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NEWS

‘Milkshake’ to focus funds on Harvey Milk Festival Staff Report

S

ARASOTA | May 12 seems like a long way off, but it’s never to early to prepare for the annual Harvey Milk Festival. The �irst fundraiser of the year to support the festivities is Saturday, Feb. 11 and has been dubbed “The Milkshake.” It is at the Shamrock Pub in downtown Sarasota. Musical acts Geri X and The Jetties are scheduled to appear and Watermark contributor and local author Anthony Paull will serve as guest bartender. The event is free but donations will be accepted throughout the evening. Drink specials, raf�les, and free giveaways will mark the occasion and help raise money to fund the festival, which will celebrate its third year this May. “Harvey Milk focused on the community as a whole, while creating a

safe place for the queer community to be themselves,” said 2011 festival organizer Shannon Fortner during last year’s event.. “He cleaned up his district. He was a sounding board for equality and justice. He was a tremendous advocate of a world where people, gay or straight, would no longer need to live in fear.” Milk was the �irst openly gay elected of�icial in the country and was killed in San Francisco in the 1970s. Before leaving of�ice, California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger proclaimed May 22, the late city councilman’s birthday, as Harvey Milk Day. Now, cities across the country celebrate with festivals that focus on LGBT equality. The Sarasota Harvey Milk Festival is aligned with similar festivals across the nation and focuses on music, art, and �ilm. The Shamrock Pub is at 2257 Ringling Blvd. and the fundraiser begins at 9 p.m. Feb. 11. |  |

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state NEWS

Six Fla. mayors sign on to support gay marriage Gideon Grudo

A

national slew of mayors agree: Same-sex marriage is good for cities, good for communities, and good for economies. More than 100 mayors from around the country signed a ‘Mayors for the Freedom to Marry’ statement, a bipartisan effort by the Freedom to Marry organzization to get mayoral support for the cause. Six Florida mayors have signed on along with the mayors of Boston, San Diego and New York City. The statement is described as the “campaign to win marriage nationwide.” Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis, who signed the statement, said he couldn’t think of a reason not to do so. “If people want to get married, they should — simple as that,” he said. “Whatever people want to do — I’m okay with.” Other Florida signatories are Craig Cates of Key West, Joy Cooper of Hallandale Beach, Craig Lowe of Gainesville (the lone north Floridian thus far), Lori Moseleyof Miramar, and Jeri Muoio of West Palm Beach. |  |

Editor’s note: Gideon Grudo is a reporter with South Florida Gay News and this article is used with permission.

Delray Beach expands domestic partner benefits Staff Report

D

elray Beach | Domestic partners in Delray Beach have a new protection. The Delray Beach City Commission voted unanimously Jan. 24 to allow city employees to use family and medical leave to care for their domestic partners, just like married city employees may use

the leave to care for spouses. The Palm Beach County Human rights Council requested the amendment to the city’s Family and Medical Leave Policy. The Council has been working with the city on domestic partnership issues since 2006. “With this action, the City of Delray Beach now offers employees with domestic partners virtually all of the same family bene�its it provides to married employees,” said

Palm Beach County Human Rights Council President Rand Hoch. “The pro-family domestic partnership policies in Delray Beach are among the most progressive in the State of Florida.” More public employers in Palm Beach County provide domestic partner bene�its than in any other Florida county. Those employers include the county, school district, state college and Sheriff’s Of�ice. |  |

That’s when Robert Ortiz told reporters a deputy tased him in the parking The club owner told reporters no guns were �ired, and the other witnesses said deputies ran toward them, yelling and threatening to shoot if they didn’t get on their knees. Ortiz said he was unable to

follow the orders because of his tracheotomy. Another man was sent to the hospital when a female deputy slammed his head to the ground. A Sheriff’s Of�ice spokesperson said the men indicated they’d like to �ile a formal complaint about a week and a half after the incident, but the alleged victims have yet to follow through. |  |

Fort Myers bar patrons: cops used excessive force Staff Report FORT MYERS | Witnesses say one man was tasered and another wound up in the hospital after police used exessive force at the Of�ice Pub Jan. 7. Police were serving a warrant at a nearby club when they reportedly heard a gunshot from the gay bar.

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its

NEWS

COVER STORY

I had the most shifts in my boundaries 10 years ago, and I still won re-election. —ORLANDO CITY COMMISSIONER PATTY SHEEHAN

state

Kevin Beckner

Steve Kornell

Patty Sheehan

The Redistricting Puzzle Local LGBTs optimistic new boundaries won’t hurt re-election chances Joseph Kissel

Florida’s political districts are getting another partisan Republican makeover even though the people of Florida said “no” when it passed state amendments calling for an end to gerrymandering in 2010. Politicians across the state will likely see their constituent base shift somewhat, and that could mean opportunities for some and challenges for others. For our local LGBT elected of�icials, the concern of gerrymandered districts is real, although none expect it to directly affect their of�ices. Orlando’s out city commissioner Patty Sheehan may see the most impact from the redistricting. She’s lost 7,000

constituents as the boundaries of her District 4 have shifted quite a bit. “We did 10 public meetings and had many public maps submitted,” she said. “I think our process was the most transparent and had the most input.” Despite the changes, Sheehan is con�ident in her position. “I think if you do a good job, the changes don’t matter, as I had the most shifts in my boundaries 10 years ago, and I still won re-election,” she recalled. “Most of the public comment came from people who wanted to remain in my district. The state process has been very different, and I understand that there is the threat of legal challenges due to violation fair districts amendment.”

For Kevin Beckner, who became Hillsborough County’s �irst out commissioner in 2008, the �inalized maps won’t matter, since his District 5 seat is countywide. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen redistricting on the county level favor speci�ic candidates. “It’s very gerrymandered and not in keeping with the Fair Districts Amendments that passed,” he said. The process, which happens once a decade, redraws congressional and legislative districts across the Sunshine State. It is still undergoing �inalization in Tallahassee. Brian Win�ield of Equality Florida said there’s likely to be “a court battle” over whatever boundaries are �inally approved. The idea behind the 2010

amendments was to no longer draw up political districts based on keeping an incumbent in of�ice, but representing communities and keeping them in the tighter political districts. Some see opportunities, though. “I think there are many areas where an openly gay politician can run and win,” said Joe Saunders, Public Policy Director for Equality Florida. “There are opportunities in Miami-Dade, southeast Palm Beach to Key West and Monroe County and in the I-4 corridor. All of those places openly gay candidates have won on the local level.” He said the real test for breaking the “lavender ceiling” in Tallahassee is getting an LGBT person elected at the state level. “Right now everybody needs to be paying attention to the legislature’s drawing up of the maps,” Saunders said. “The temptation to draw up districts unfairly is very real.

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“People need the select a representative—not the other way around.”. St. Petersburg City Councilman Steve Kornell said the redistricting process won’t affect his chances of re-election, which he just won in 2011. But like others, he criticized the process, mostly its timing. “Why are they taking so long to get this done?” he asked. “It’s disappointing they can’t get this done quicker.” While no obvious concerted effort to attack LGBT rights through gerrymandering seems apparent, most agree that redistricting boils down to a Republican vs. Democrat issue. “When district lines are drawn to favor a certain partisan party,” Becker said, “whatever the value of that party impacts its legislative agenda, and is carried forward in the districts.” |  |

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

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nation+world

IN OTHER NEWS REP. BARNEY FRANK TO MARRY LONGTIME PARTNER Retiring Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, a gay pioneer in Congress, plans to marry his longtime partner Jim Ready of Maine. A spokesman for Frank confirmed Jan. 26 that the congressman’s wedding will be in Massachusetts, but said no date had been set. The Democrat announced last fall that he was retiring at the end of his 16th term.

MA CELEBRATES PASSAGE OF TRANSGENDER LAW Transgender people are celebrating a new Massachusetts law that prohibits discrimination against them in employment, housing, insurance and credit. Gov. Deval Patrick told a crowded Statehouse ceremony on Jan. 19 that he was happy to approve the bill as a “matter of conscience’’ and to protect the rights and dignity of an estimated 33,000 transgender citizens in Massachusetts. The measure, approved by lawmakers in November, also extends the state’s hate crime laws to cover transgender people.

NEWS

UN CHIEF: AFRICA LEADERS SHOULD RESPECT GAY RIGHTS In a Jan. 29 speech to African heads of state in Addis Ababa, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said African nations should stop treating gays as ``second-class citizens, or even criminals.” Ban told the African leaders gathered in Ethiopia’s capital for an African Union summit that discrimination based on sexual orientation ``had been ignored or even sanctioned by many states for far too long.’’

ECUADOR TO CRACK DOWN ON CLINICS THAT ‘CURE’ GAYS Ecuador’s health ministry announced Jan. 26 that it will investigate and act forcefully against any clinics found to use coercion in an attempt to get homosexuals to change their sexual orientation. Gay rights activists say four clinics that engaged in such practices have been closed down in recent months but dozens more are in operation. Ecuadoran clinics running ``de-homosexualization’’ programs often engage in physical abuse and torture to “cure” homosexuality and camouflage themselves by advertising that they treat such disorders as substance abuse.

IND. UNVEILS LICENSE PLATE FOR GAY YOUTH Indiana’s first specialty license plate that benefits gay causes is now available for purchase. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles says the Indiana Youth Group plate has been available since Dec. 28. The plate bears a logo with hands in rainbow colors reaching up out of a circle. $25 from sales of each $40 plate goes to the group serving LGBT youth.

WA REPUBLICAN SHUNNED FOR GAY MARRIAGE SUPPORT Republican attorney general candidate Reagan Dunn found himself shunned for supporting gay marriage in Washington State. The Seattle Times reports that Dunn’s decision prompted the Whatcom and Franklin county Republican organizations to withdraw their invitations to have him speak at their Lincoln Day fundraising dinners next month. Curtis Mohr, chairman of the Franklin County Republicans, told the newspaper, “We wish to send a strong message to those that oppose our political philosophy.’’

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watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

NJ gay marriage nears veto-proof support Wire Report TRENTON, N.J. | New Jersey Democrats believe they are within spitting distance of securing enough support to override a veto of samesex marriage legislation if Gov. Chris Christie chooses not to support it. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, one of the bill’s sponsors, estimated the chamber had between 24 and 27 supporters for legislation to allow for same-sex marriage in New Jersey. It takes 27 votes in the 40-member state senate to override a governor’s veto.

“I’m wishing and hoping,” said Lesniak, who also acknowledged that some potential supporters still needed “shoring up.” Lesniak, a Democrat representing Union County, counted up to 23 Democrats and four Republicans supporting gay marriage, but wouldn’t disclose speci�ic names of those he believes would vote to override a veto. Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver, a Democrat, has said that she has majority support for same-sex marriage legislation, and that she would work to garner the 54 votes necessary for a veto override in the

80-member Assembly. Still, Christie noted in a interview on Jan. 18 that the Legislature hasn’t been succeeded so far in passing a same-sex marriage bill, and emphasized that his opposition has been “very well publicized.” “I think this type of societal change is something we need to do very deliberately and have as much public input as we possibly can,” the Republican governor said. A new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found 52% of New Jersey voters favor gay marriage, the �irst time approval has topped 50%. |  |

remember his short life. “A sweet kind person like Phillip took it out on himself, he killed himself to get out of the pain,” said his grandfather, Paul Harris. “Because he was gay, he got mistreated physically, mentally by several people out there at the school, and I am very resentful as a result of it.” Phillip’s family said that they reported concerns over his bullying to Gordonsville High School, but the bullying got worse. His parents and grandparents say students at Gordonsville High School bombarded them with information after Phillip’s death. More than 100 teens told them the bullying was obvious, and some said they went to teachers about it.

“After he did what he did, we found out a lot that we didn’t know and there is a lot of bullying that goes on at the school,” said Paul Harris. Philip’s grieving parents want to know what was said to their son and more importantly, who said it. The Parkers want to know why no one from Gordonsville alerted them to the apparent bullying happening in the hallways. “We are going to �ind out who did it, we are going to get justice for Phillip and you will pay for what you did to my son,” said his mother, Gena Parker. An of�icial with Smith County Schools reported that the district is coming up with a plan to address the issue with students. |  |

Several Republican amendments were rejected, including one that would have sent the measure to the November ballot. “This is a signi�icant change in law,’’ said Republican Sen. Don Benton. “It will change our society in ways that nobody here can even foresee 30, 40, 50 years from now. Something that signi�icant should be placed before the citizens for their approval.’’ Committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Craig Pridemore of Vancouver, said the state should no longer

discriminate against gay and lesbian couples who want to get married. “In my opinion, this bill rights a longstanding wrong,’’ he said after the vote. Opponents of same-sex marriage have already promised a referendum battle at the ballot if the Legislature passes the bill and it’s signed into law. Washington State has had a domestic partnership law since 2007, and an “everything but marriage’’ expansion of the domestic partnership law since 2009. |  |

Parents: Bullying caused TN teen’s suicide Wire Report GORDONSVILLE, TENN. | The parents of a Middle Tennessee teenager say constant bullying over being gay led their son to kill himself Jan. 20. Parents and grandparents found 14-year-old Phillip Parker’s body that afternoon; minutes later they found a handwritten note in his trash can that read, “Please help me mom.” His grandmother, Ruby Harris, said the boy complained that he felt like a rock was on his chest and he “wanted to take the rock off where he could breathe.’’ More than 100 family members and friends of Phillip gathered the following day in Gordonsville to

Wash. senate committee approves same-sex marriage bill ire Report OLYMPIA, WASH. | A measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington State moved one step closer to passage on Jan. 26 as a Senate committee voted to approve it. The Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee approved the measure with a 4-3 voice vote split on party lines. The bill is expected to head to a �loor vote next, though a date has not yet been determined.

FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

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converted PREACHING TO THE

Ken Kundis KEN@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

A Southern Man

E

VER SINCE MY FIRST NEW

York-area move four years ago, I’ve heard something more than a dozen times. People up here are often surprised that not only am I not a native New Yorker, I am also not someone who has spent the majority of their life in the Northeast, or even in urban areas.

Truth is, my path is pointedly Southern, and if not ‘small town,’ then at least distinctly suburban. I was born at Winter Park Memorial Hospital in 1966. Back then, ‘Winter Park’ was a quanti�iably different place from ‘Orlando.’ Downtown to me meant Park Avenue. While I was born in Orange County, I lived and was educated in Seminole County. And in the 1970’s in Seminole County, Florida, with Disney’s footprint just beginning to stretch, the children of farmers, laborers and rural workers of all types were the company we kept, at least in my elementary and middle school. The cultural wrinkle for me was that when my parents moved to Winter Park—my mother pregnant with me,

with my father’s job as a civilian working for the US Navy on training simulators, they did so with the majority of their neighborhood. And so not unexpectedly, many of them landed and bought (unbelievably cheap) homes in the same neighborhoods. These transplants brought with them a good many of their Northeastern ways and in so doing, certainly changed my experience from those of other Seminole County children. Italian, Ukrainian, Polish and Russian names were as common in my elementary school as traditionally Southern, English names. But I still knew I lived in the South. While that ethnic diversity in my neighborhood broadened my perspective, I still was very much in the company of traditional southerners. Rednecks, if you will. My high school had an active Future Farmer of America chapter and a good many students whose families came from orange farming or tangential careers. From high school, I went to college in New Orleans, a place so steeped in Southern tradition that it’s almost a caricature of Southern life. And then returned home, not to leave again until age 41, when I �irst moved to New York. I of�icially don’t have a Southern accent, but to be honest, that was probably intentional. That said, I can still locate that Southern boy when in the right mood. My friend Skip, born and raised at approximately the same time in Titusville as I was in unincorporated Winter Park, didn’t really believe I was from Seminole County until he heard me after four shots of Patron. That’s the only time the Southern comes out— when I shoot too much tequila. I know it’s my pace that throws people off. I talk fast, I walk fast. I tend to think fast. I have a dry, sense of humor. So many people have told me—from lifelong friends to new acquaintances—that I seem like someone who should live in New York City. I get that and all that it means. I regard it as a compliment. So I’m right for the city. But the question begs: Is the city right for me? In many ways, I’m at home here, among all the noise and the lights. And there are, tangible, meaningful reasons for me to be here: my boyfriend chief among them, of course. But also my job, based out of Rockefeller Center,

My friend didn’t really believe I was from Seminole County until he heard me after four shots of Patron.

is truly a dream job and a 12-minute walk from my apartment. Plus, as many have correctly noted, the city and I are on the same RPMs. So have we arrived? The boyfriend, the job, the New York City life? Well…yes. And no. I can’t lie: I miss the verdant physicality of life in Florida. I miss owning property. Yes, I still own property in Orlando, but now from the distance of a landlord. My beloved Boris, who I suddenly, sadly had to put down in December, was certainly a freer animal in Florida. Critters everywhere to hunt, a lake to swim in just around the corner, and his own backyard de�initely spoiled him for the cold streets

of Manhattan, peeing on the street and wincing whenever a horn blew. And in his passing, maybe the last connective thread to actually living in Florida has been broken. But somehow I don’t think so. For me, it now, and always has, goes deeper than that. For all the outward appearances, and even my own protestations to the contrary, I am a Southerner by birth and the impression it left on me won’t ever leave me. Under the covers of this New York life, I am still a Southern man. That’s where I was born, and something tells me I’ll get back there some day. |  |

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Jamie Hyman ONLINE MEDIA DIR. JAMIE@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

Born this way? Irrelevant

S

O, CYNTHIA NIXON HAS HAD a hell of a week, huh?

For the uninitiated, Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon made big gay headlines in 2004, when she hooked up and began a relationship with a woman following a 16-year relationship with a man. She rocked the queer bloggers in late January this year when she shared with The New York Times Magazine her feelings about the origin of her sexuality. Her critics have been very fond of pulling just a portion of her quote out of context to rip apart. So for posterity, let’s look at the whole thing: “I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to de�ine my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we �lew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.” Responses were varied, many of them angry. The problem is that most of the criticisms are weak, irrelevant or incredibly insulting to the LGBT community. Gay blogger John Aravosis at AmericaBlog.com said

Nixon “needs to learn how to choose her words better, because she just fell into a right-wing trap, willingly,” and added, ““When the religious right says it’s a choice, they mean you quite literally choose your sexual orientation, you can change it at will, and that’s bull.” While I can sympathize with his frustration—no one likes to feel like an ally is handing ammo to the enemy—his viewpoint is idealistic to a fault. The fact is anti-gay bigots aren’t railing against gay rights because they believe gay people have made a foolish choice. They rail against gay rights because they hate gay people. It doesn’t matter to them whether gay people’s sexuality is a choice or genetic—their hatred trumps all. Another argument against Nixon’s words is that no one would willingly choose to be gay because it’s more dif�icult path, fraught with prejudice and pain. That stance is a disservice to the LGBT community and the bene�its that come with membership. Yes, being gay means people will hate because of who you love. But being gay also buys access to one of the most diverse, passionate and supportive communities in the world. I wonder if the “Why would I choose this?” crowd have ever stopped to think if handed the magic “Congratulations, you’re straight!” ticket, they might choose to remain within the warm embrace of their LGBT community. In an appearance on The Talk, out chef Cat Cora called Nixon’s words “dangerous,” because Cora said that she hated herself growing up as a gay person. She asked Nixon to reach out to gay youth and tell them it gets better. This argument smacks of the tired “Won’t someone think of the children?” hand-wringing. Does she believe Nixon saying she choose to be gay somehow invalidates young people’s struggle? Has Cora not considered that the population of gay youth is as diverse as that of gay adults? Or that it’s likely somewhere there’s a young lesbian herself because she knows she’s gay, yet fears she’s deliberately making a choice to follow that path? Do the gay youth who think they are choosing to be gay not deserve pop culture role models whose experiences mirror theirs?

Gossip blogger Perez Hilton looked to Lady Gaga for his response. “It wasn’t a choice for us. We were born gay. And millions of gay people around the world feel the same way,” Hilton wrote. Which is fair enough, but it’s not a zero sum game and Nixon’s words don’t somehow magically negate other people’s claims that being gay, for them, was not a choice. To say equality is deserved because gays don’t deserve to be gay is an increasingly dangerous point on which to hinge the entire equality movement If tomorrow, a scientist proves sexuality is a choice, does that somehow shatter the movement’s foundation and negate all the progress

activists have made? Of course not, and it’s time for the crowd who insists it’s not a choice to shift their message and assert that whether it’s a choice or not doesn’t matter. Gays are human and humans deserve dignity and equality. Unfortunately, Nixon felt the need to backpedal and clarify, saying she’s bisexual but her settling down with a woman was her choice. Many of her critics reacted with relief and wishes that Nixon had just said that in the �irst place. Those reactions don’t just miss the point, but they robbed the community of the chance to have an intelligent dialogue about how the choice vs. born this way debate is irrelevant. |  |

To say equality is deserved because gays don’t deserve to be gay is an increasingly dangerous point on which to hinge the entire equality movement.

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TALKING POINTS

I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact.

What I have ‘chosen’ is to be in a gay relationship. —FORMER SEX IN THE CITY STAR CYNTHIA NIXON TO THE ADVOCATE, CLARIFYING AN EARLIER REPORT IN THE NEW YORK TIMES ABOUT HER “CHOOSING” HER RELATIONSHIP.

100

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51%

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PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT WATERMARKONLINE.COM ON THE PROPOSED NEW HAMPSHIRE BILL ALLOWING PEOPLE TO REFUSED TO SERVE GAYS: “Maybe gays should refuse services and products from New Hampshire!” —ERIC BABCOCK “Will they be bringing racial segregation back as well? Very disturbing.” —CRAIG SCHUESSLER

ON A DOMESTIC PARTNER REGISTRY FOR ORANGE COUNTY: “We can already give anyone the right to make medical decision for us. It’s called a power of attorney. So what exactly is the mayor envisioning? Well besides keeping the bigots happy and pretending to do something for us I’m not seeing it. It’s meaningless double talk.” —RUSS WEBBER

I

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GLAMAZON INVASION

HEN TENNESSEE SEN. STACEY CAMPFIELD stopped by Bistro at the Bijou in Knoville, the Republican soon learned he wasn’t welcome to try anything on the menu. The Senator, who recently made national headlines as the sponsor of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was asked to leave the restaurant by owner Martha Boggs, who said he has “gone from being stupid to dangerous. It’s just my way of standing up to a bully.” While his bill is awaiting a house vote, Camp�ield continued to feed his bully status by blaming AIDS on men having sex with monkeys and claiming it’s “virtually impossible” to contract HIV through heterosexual intercourse. The day after the confrontation the sign in front of the Bistro read, “Today’s Special: Fried Chicken. Crispy Chicken Livers. No Stacey.”

NO DONKEY SEMEN FOR NBC

T LOOKS LIKE THE POPULAR REALITY SHOW FEAR FACTOR will have to �ind another way to up the gross factor. After public outcry, and a TMZ story seen by NBC execs, an episode featuring a stunt requiring contestants to drink donkey semen was pulled from the schedule. According to a media release from NBC Universal, the episode titled “Hee Haw! Hee Haw!” was replaced with a repeat of the Jan. 2 “Snake Bite” episode.

T

HE DIVA HERSELF WILL STOP AT SAWMILL CAMPGROUND ON SATURDAY, APRIL 7, as part of the gay community’s anniversary celebration. The Dade City campground announced the appearance “live” on Facebook and says the concert is the �irst American concert for the Glamazon this year. Cabins are apparently selling fast and several contests to meet the drag icon are in progress. Search for the event on Facebook to learn more.

WATERMARKONLINE.COM POLL A bill that would allow transgender athletes to play on sports teams of their presented gender recently stalled in California.

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SCAN FOR INFO AND TICKETS


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Master of the House: Richard Vida, standing, plays ‘Thénardier’ in Les Miserables. Photo courtesy Sarah Voisin

Les Miserables’ music conductor and ‘Thénardier’ juggle their long-term relationship with the 25th anniversary touring production Steve Blanchard EDITOR@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

I

T USUALLY SURPRISES FELLOW CAST AND CREW

to learn that Robert Billig and Richard Vida are partners. It could be that their roles as musical director and ‘Thénardier,’ respectively, are removed from each other just enough that people don’t see their interaction—or that after 18 years together, the two men are comfortable staying focused on their respective careers. “Working with your partner is always a challenge but we really come up with a good balance,” says Billig from the show’s stop in Naples. “We keep those two lives separate. We have our professional life and then our personal life at home or in the hotel or wherever.” Both men have extensive Broadway resumes and actually met on the New York stage when they were both involved in the Broadway �lop The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, a sequel to Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. “I always tell people that I met him in a whorehouse,” jokes Vida. “That was in 1994 and we’ve been

together ever since.” Vida credits their individual, successful histories in the arts prior to the relationship for maintaining the nearly two-decades long relationship. “Because we met while working we understand what each of us does,” Vida says. “He’s the conductor of music and I’m the actor. So we’re on different sides of the business.” Surprisingly, the touring production of Continued on page 30 |  |

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Red Tails Starring Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Screened Out MOVIE REVIEWS

Hollywood’s Holiday Gifts

A

LBERT NOBBS (CLOSE) IS AN

Albert Nobbs

Stephen Miller

STEPHEN@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

Starring Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Brendan Gleeson, Brenda Fricker, Mia Wasikowski

odd, wispy little man, a waiter in a fancy 19th century Dublin hotel. He spends his days quietly studying and servicing the whims of rich guests. His evenings are spent locked in his stark room counting out his tips, making tiny plans, and hiding the fact that he was born a woman.

Life in the hotel is �illed with intrigue, but these stories don’t really involve Nobbs. We catch a glimpse of a young viscount sleeping with one of his male friends. A doctor guest (Gleeson) dallies with a maid. The shrewish hotel owner (Fricker) prances about and terrorizes her staff like a despot queen. One day, a manly painter (McTeer) shows up and has to share Nobb’s bed. Also, a young mechanic starts to woo the chambermaid (Wasikowski) Nobbs has

never admitted to having a crush on. Still, Nobbs watches, asks himself questions, ponders, panics. His is a dull, sexless life, so it’s not a very lively �ilm. One feels that any bit of daring the el�ish, strained Nobbs could exhibit would just end in horri�ic tragedy. In fact, the whole thing—beautifully acted and rich in art direction—is insistently grim and overly static. It would’ve been groundbreaking 20 years ago, before Boys Don’t Cry. Close and McTeer commit to their characters—and apparently this is worth a couple nominations. The polite little plot, however—especially nowadays—is oppressively pedestrian. |  |

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

One of the �irst lines in this movie Staring Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, is “Germans! Let’s get ‘em!” From Sandra Bullock, Max Von Sydow there, it gets more cliché. The brave and groundbreaking Tuskegee Airmen A boy (Horn) wanders around deserve way better than this. In fact, Manhattan with a key. It’s a clue, he they got it in 1995 with an awardsays, the only sign he chose to follow, winning HBO miniseries. left by his father who died in the 9/11 Producer George Lucas was attacks. whining that no distributor picked up Horn is an odd young man. He Red Tails because Hollywood is racist. says he was tested for Asbergers; the I think it was actually because tests were inconclusive. He’s the dialogue stinks and the certainly smart—in fact, he character development is seems too engaging to be RATINGS GUIDE nonexistent. Lucas wouldn’t riddled with all the ticks, know eloquent writing if it phobias and paranoia he also �lew over him and strafed him exhibits. He hates strangers, Overflowing with bullets. he’s afraid of machinery, and with glittery The Tuskegee Airmen were tall buildings �ill him with fabulousness a World War II experiment, dread. Yet, to �ind answers, a corps of black pilots. With he has to expose himself to their service, they disproved Pretty damn all these things. Papa Hanks good, but it’s no racist “�indings” about revisits the boy in �lashback; Sunset Boulevard performance and bravery. mama Bullock grieves. Other Here, though, colonel than that, Horn wanders the Terrence Howard goes around island trying to �ind the lock An entertaining giving inspiring speeches enough flick that �its the key. with perhaps backed by orchestra. Major Directed by Stephen a few holes Cuba Gooding Jr. squints and Daldry (The Hours, Billy chews on a pipe. One hot dot Elliott), there is much to be pilot picks �ights with white loved. But despite wonderful Ever so slightly guys and disobeys orders. watchable, just performances, EL&IC feels There’s also a �light leader for that hot actor slightly off. Perhaps there are who drinks to calm his nerves. too many �ilmmaker tricks That’s it, nothing else. meant to convince us of the Two hours of This got me to thinking: We boy’s condition. The boy your life you’ll could make a drinking game never get back does over-narrate the story. any time Howard ponti�icated. Parts of the mystery are too We could also get good and easy to �igure out, while other parts go soused if we drank any time Gooding completely unanswered. Jr. �iddled with that damn pipe. If we The biggest problem, though, is took a slug every time someone said that this movie could’ve gone from something clunky and unnatural, we’d merely good to amazing if it’d been less be drunk in the �irst 10 minutes. manipulative—the shots of the towers Honestly, that might be the only burning, the insistent music, the weird way to get through Red Tails, a.k.a “the characters. It tries too damn hard to worst script of 2012.” |  | make us cry. |  |

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|  | Les Mis from pg.27 Les Miserables, which lands in the Straz Center for the Performing Arts through Feb. 12, is only the third time Vida and Billig have worked together professionally. “We don’t come as a package,” Vida points out. “We have our own careers and our own representation. Occasionally, we have the great fortune of working together.” So far, the couple has enjoyed six months of mixing their professional and personal lives on the road. Billig began the tour as musical conductor on January 2011. Vida joined the cast last August. Besides working with his partner, Billig has other reasons to be excited about the touring 25th Annivesary Les Miserables—he conducted the original version in 1987. “The two productions are very different,” Billig explains. “This production has been redirected and redesigned and the directional approach is different. The story is clearer and there are new orchestrations so the sound of the show is different.” Die-hard fans of the classic musical set during the French

Revolution shouldn’t be worried, though—the message and story remain intact throughout the 25th Anniversary production. “It’s more focused and told in a better fashion,” Vida says. “The �irst thing the audience will notice is that there’s no longer a turntable on stage. Technology has surpassed what we had 25 years ago so the new set design is just amazing and the lighting is incredible.” The touring production is about 20 minutes shorter than its original version and so far, the changes have proven to be popular with audiences. “We’ve been selling out theaters across the country and we get standing ovations every night,” Vida says. “We’ve had people meet us at the stage door and say things like, ‘I’ve seen Les Miserables 38 times, and this is my favorite version.’” Both men seem to be excited about the tour—but neither was excited about the tour when it was forming. “When I was asked if I’d be interested in coming in for this I immediately said ‘No,’” recalls Vida. “I didn’t want to be in some newfangled version of a classic. The revival had fallen short on Broadway and I had seen that, so I had little

Touring relationship:(L-R) Richard Vida and Robert Billig, partners of 18 years, hold major roles in the touring production of Les Miserables. Photo courtesy Richard Vida

interest. But I happened to see the tour in Cleveland and actually called my agent during intermission. I told him not only was I interested, but that part is mine. I was blown away.” For Billig, the thought of rejoining Les Miserables was exhausting. “I had been touring with Young Frankenstein, which is lighter and shorter than this is,” Billig says. “As the conductor of Les Miserables, you are driving the whole show— it’s powered by the music and there really are no breaks. Young Frankenstein has book scenes where

you can sit down for a few minutes. That doesn’t happen in Les Mis.” But when Billig received a call from producers to consider conducting, he was eventually swayed when he saw the revamped version. “I was blown away by this production,” Billig says. “This show will always have a special place for me and it’s always had its challenges. But this is my favorite show.” Billig adds that it took him a while to get comfortable with the 25th Anniversary production,

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especially since he was so involved with the original. “I can say I’m honored to be a part of this production and I can say this newly directed version is right on the money,” Billig says. “I think its not only a great homage to the original, but it surpasses the original.” Vida and Billig didn’t say how long they planned to stay with the tour, but did say they were proud of their home state for passing marriage equality last summer—a new law of which they have yet to take advantage. “We haven’t been home enough to really do anything about a wedding,” Vida explains. “And we haven’t even talked about a date. We’ve been together 18 years and consider ourselves husbands and we’re thrilled that New York has �inally come into the 21st century. We just have to see if it makes sense for us to follow through with an actual wedding.” |  |

MORE INFORMATION

WHAT: Les Miserables 25th Anniversary WHEN: Through Feb. 12 WHERE: Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa


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Event Planner QUICK PICKS Clearwater Memphis

FEB. 7-12 Ruth Eckerd Hall RuthEckerdHall.com 727-791-7400

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25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee FEB. 3-26 Bay Street Players BayStreetPlayers.org 352-357-7777

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ARASOTA | The ongoing popularity of Altar Boyz surges into Venice Stage Feb. 3-March 4, and its take on contemporary Christian boy bands proves why it’s one of the longest running off-Broadway musicals of all time. The Sarasota production, directed by well-known out director Steven Flaa, is a highenergy pop musical that lovingly pokes fun at those boy bands of the 1990s and 2000s and the ridiculousness of teen celebrity. Flaa also directed the production

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for American Stage in the Park in 2009, to rave reviews. As an added bonus for LGBT audiences, a tale of coming out and dealing with one’s faith is thrown in for good measure.

Penn & Teller The touring spectacular of Penn & Teller is supposed to rival their Las Vegas show, but audiences have learned to pay more attention to what the two men have to say rather than to what they do. With the political climate as it is, audiences at the King Center in Melbourne and at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg are sure to get a heavy dose of politicallyfueled opinionated rants along

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

with a heavy dose of magical illusions. The funnymen have pronounced their support for same-sex marriage equality on more than one occasion and their popular show Bullshit had a strong LGBT following. Penn & Teller appear in Melbourne on Thursday, Feb. 9 and in St. Petersburg on Friday, Feb. 10. For tickets and details, visit KingCenter.com or MahaffeyTheater.com. |  |

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Expect to see a few familiar faces on the stage, since two of the young stars appeared in the St. Petersburg production in 2009. Altar Boyz opens in the

Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre and tickets range from $12-$27.For details, show times and tickets, visit VeniceStage.com or call the box of�ice at 941-488-1115. |  |

ORLANDO

Billy Elliot For 11 days, the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center will house the critically acclaimed Broadway musical Billy Elliot as part of its second national U.S. tour. The musical chronicles the story of a young boy as he learns the art of ballet, while juggling his life as a young miner and boxing protégé in a coal mining community in 1980s Northern England. The stage production has spectacular dance sequences and

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several show-stoppers. The show opens on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and runs through Feb. 26 and brings Broadway legend Faith Prince back to the role of Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy’s ballet instructor. Mix that with a score penned by Elton John and you have a perfect mix of LGBT in�luences to make this a must-see night of theater. For tickets, show times and more information, visit BillyElliotTour.com. |  |


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Tampa Bay 1- GOLDEN IDOL: A stunning Amy Demilo poses with a “golden” camel at the “Circus not Circuit” party at Honey Pot on Jan. 27. Photo courtesy Carrie West 2- BIRTHDAY GIRL: (L-R) St. Petersburg’s Emily Stone celebrated her birthday with partner Allison and friends at the Crab Shack on Gandy Jan. 28. Photo by Steve Blanchard

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3- DEBUTANTESS OF THE SOUTH: RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Shangela performed to a packed house at Throb Nightclub in Sarasota Jan. 28. Photo by Stephen Warne 4- OUR X-FACTOR: Former X-Factor contestant and Tampa resident Jay Pagan wows the crowd of Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City during a recent karaoke night. Photo courtesy Carrie West 5- MASKED MAN: This masked crusader got plenty of attention during the Gancho Dance Party at The Ritz Ybor on Jan. 27. Photo courtesy Nick Cardello 6- GOODE VIBRATIONS: Judy B. Goode and Paul Thomas entertain at Liquid Lounge in Ybor City Jan. 21. Photo courtesy Carrie West 7- DANCE DARLINGS: (L-R) Manny Alvarez shares a smile with Jose Garboza at the Gancho Dance Party at The Ritz Ybor Jan. 27. Photo by Nick Cardello 8- WHITE ON WHITE: Betty White and, uh, Betty White, partied with dozens of women during Sarasota Pride’s “White on White” fundraising dance Jan. 21. Photo courtesy ProSuzy.com

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OVERHEARD Local Sashays Away on Drag Race Hopes were high for Tampa Bay’s entry in Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. After all, St. Pete’s Alexis Mateo �inished in the top three last year. And Orlando’s Tyra Sanchez took the crown in Season 2. But alas, Alisa Summers’ stay on the Mt. Olympus of drag was short-lived. Despite being described as “beautiful and talented” by Ru herself, the regular performer at the Honey Pot in Ybor City was the �irst to be eliminated in the premiere episode Jan. 30. Contestants were asked to design a “zombie drag” out�it for the “Rupocalypse.” Week one winner Sharon Needles created a knock-out meth corpse look complete with spitting blood. Summers’ heart-shaped pasties confused Ru and the judges, including Elvira and celeb photographer Mike Ruiz. And when forced

to “lip-synch for her life,” Summers allowed the aptly named Jiggly Caliente to steal the spotlight. It was too soon for Summers to sashay away. It would’ve been fun to watch her develop throughout the season. Fortunately for us, we can catch her in person every weekend in Ybor City.

‘A-Listers’ grace Georgie’s

As more proof that reality television will remain popular until at least the Mayan Calendar expires this December, swarms of LGBTs �locked to Georgie’s Alibi in St. Petersburg Jan. 27 to meet The A-List New York’s Austin Armacost and Derek Saathoff. The handsome yet picked-on Austin and ‘Tansexual’ business owner Derek spoke with locals, performers and shared a few dances with fans and new friends. One person reported to Watermark that Alibi was so

crowded for the meet and greet that people were literally lined out the doors. We hear it was the same kind of crowded schmooze-fest at Pulse in Orlando the following night. If you missed your chance to see the handsome Logo stars, don’t fret, they’ll be back in our area in April when they join the entire cast of A-List New York at Sawmill Campground. That’s RuPaul weekend, for those of you following that development in Dade City, and it includes other reality-based celebs from Logo. For details on that, see page 25.

Shaking things up at LGBT Live

There are some substantial changes happening at LGBT Live these days. The once weekly web-based talk show featuring Arica Love and Esme Russell is changing formats and adding programming. According to Love, Russell is no longer af�iliated with the

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project and the two parted ways amicably in mid-January. Love will continue to make on-camera appearances to talk about local news and happenings, but new shows are in the works on the mini-network. Shows in production include a �itness segment with young, handsome St. Petersburg �itness trainer Jamarcus Mosely, among others. Details are forthcoming and Love says a schedule will be released on the brand new LGBTLive.com website, created by Love’s business partner, Joshua Beadle of Beadle Media. Love added that every one of her previous shows will remain on the website and anyone wishing to catch a missed show or see a favorite episode with Esme are just a click away. Until the new schedule is announced, Love is staying busy throughout Tampa Bay and Sarasota, where she’s typically raising money for worthy LGBTfocused charities. Russell can be seen at Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City. |  |

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ORLANDO

1– LEATHER LUST: (L-R) Central Florida Leatherman 2012 judges Erik Caban, CB Kirby, Brian Humphries, Chris Light and Sir Ben Carter show their leather pride Jan. 29 at Parliament House. Photo courtesy Randy Sullivan 2– WAITING PATIENTLY: (L to R) Billy Manes, Linda Stewart and Randy Ross wait outside the county administration building Jan. 26 for an update on a countywide domestic partner registry. Photo by Jake Stevens

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3– LATINA LESBIANS: HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Marquez (right) and pictured with her partner and Randy Stephens met with a Latina Lesbian group at The Center. Photo courtesy of The Center 4– SOCIAL NETWORKING: (L to R) Brei Taylor, Rev. Lisa Heilig, Sharika Mohammed, Hank Lewis and Michael Freeman met at UCF’s 18th Joseph C. Andrews Mentoring Breakfast.

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5– CHIEF CHAT: President Barack Obama talks with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer aboard Air Force One en route to the Magic Kingdom Jan. 19. Photo courtesy Pete Souza 6– IT’S OFFICIAL: Patrick James and Hunter Daffin registered as domestic partners Jan. 25. Photo courtesy Patrick James 7– SUNDANCE SPOTTING: Actor Edward James Olmos (left), pictured with Watermark contributor Carlos Archilla, was among the award presenters at Sundance 2012. Photo by Mark Cady 8– TRIVIA TRINKETS: Doug Bowser prepares to hand out his prizes to some lucky winners at Hamburger Mary’s trivia Jan. 18. Photo by Jamie Hyman

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OVERHEARD MrSisters Becomes Sin-ful Soon, Orlando will have it’s own SIN. Due to open March 23, the former home of MrSisters will have a new look and a new name. The owners of SIN Nashville say the club will have a new �loor plan and a cutting edge lighting system. A food menu will remain and owners are slowly leaking information at Facebook.com/SinOrlando.

Everything Must Go. Even Brian Feldman.

Brian Feldman, the award-winning Orlando-based conceptual artist, announced his �inal three Orlando projects before relocating to D.C. Feb. 13. Feldman has performed and produced more than 100 time-based art projects, including marrying a stranger in 2010 to demonstrate the absurdity of the law allowing almost perfect

strangers to marry, yet denying committed partners from marrying simply based on gender. Before moving he’ll complete his �inal three Orlando projects; “48hYardSale,” “The Skill Crane Kid 1st Birthday Party,” and “Brian Feldman’s Under the Covers.” For more info visit BrianFeldman.com/Projects.

Hot Leather

Central Florida Leatherman 2012 blazed through Orlando with a vengeance Jan. 29. More than 125 people turned out for this year’s competition held at Parliament House. For the third year, contestants competed in a number of categories, including “Physique,” “Gear,” and “Best fetish scene.” In the end, Drew Arch took home this year’s title. “This turned out to be the most entertaining, successful and hottest leather event in Central Florida history,” boasted producer Randy Sullivan. South Florida Leatherman

reported that this year’s producers, “Randy Sullivan and Griff Morgan have revived Central Florida’s leather community in one night.” While the producers are already gearing up for Central Florida Leatherman 2013, Drew Arch will prep to compete at S.E.C.C.(Southeast Conference of Clubs) in Augusta, Ga., and will potentially go on to International Mr. Leather in Chicago.

My Fair Lidy’s Big Debut The big screen debut of the Leigh Shannon �ilm, My Fair Lidy will be Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Valencia College East Campus in the Performing Arts Theater. The �ilm centers on a blue collar worker who has fallen on hard times and, after a chance meeting with Miss Sal, a successful Drag Performer, he is exposed to a new career opportunity. He undertakes a strange journey of becoming a Marlene Dietrich Impersonator. Local stars in

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the �ilm include Rus Blackwell, Tom Nowicki, Michele Feren and drag personalities Darcel Stevens, Melissa Mason, Susan Whitney, Tia Devine, Page King and Lady Guy.

Summer Breeze… makes me feel �ine

“Soft Southern Breezes,” featuring Key West artist Michael Palmer’s acrylic and ink work, opens at the Bowersock Gallery in Mount Dora, with an artist’s reception Friday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. The exhibit runs through March 13 and is believed to be the �irst publicized exhibit by an out artist in Mount Dora. Best known for his sense of color and form and intriguing unusual perspectives, Palmer’s pieces are frequently “shot” from above or below a scene and a clear, individual hand. The Mount Dora location is the second for Bowersock and partner Michael Sanger. The original location is in P-town, Mass. |  |

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IN-DEPTH

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Members

MARRIAGE

of both families attended the Niagara Falls wedding of Tampa residents John Thomas and Jan Lund. Photo courtesy John Thomas

Wedding March

For one Tampa couple, New York’s marriage law brings their relationship full circle

Joe Kissel JOE@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

“T

HE NEW YORK ASSEMBLY DID WHAT

we thought we’d never see,” says Tampa resident John Thomas, referring to the historic vote last summer to legalize same-sex marriage in one of the country’s largest states. A trip to the Buffalo, N.Y., to beat the heat and visit family was already planned. So when they legally married in August 2011, Thomas and his partner Jan Lund became one of the �irst Florida couples to tie the knot in the empire state. “The timing of it was tremendous,” says Thomas. “It was the day before Pride. You’d think he’d be smarter after 28 years together and said ‘no,’ but I caught him off-guard.” Like many before them, and most famously recently the characters of Jim and Pam from The Of�ice, the longtime couple decided to tie the knot at

Niagara Falls. “We wanted to create enough of a ceremony for it to be special but we also kept it simple,” says Thomas, referring to �lowers, tuxedos, vows and dinner. “We would have been happy with a domestic partnership,” Thomas says, “but the term ‘marriage’ is important in many profound ways, and one of them is in getting real equality.” Both families of the grooms had always been accepting throughout their relationship, but their marriage and ceremony brought them even closer together.

Independent of each other, the mothers of both men asked their new son-in-law to refer to them as just that—“Mom.” “And another relative that I thought very homophobic embraced us and gave us a well-wishing that turned into a very profound moment for us,” Thomas says.

A PERFECT SETTING

On the brink of the historic Falls, John and Jan found a break in the grass and created their own ceremony. “We found somebody to of�iciate for us,” Thomas says. “We wanted to be right up against the Falls and the roar of the mighty Niagara River rapids at Terrapin Point on Goat Island.” Even his 13-year-old niece and 16-year-old nephew attended, which came as a surprise to Thomas. “It was a little awkward because I don’t get to see them as much as I should, and thought they would

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Continued on page 42 |  |

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TELLER OF TALES: Orlando

writer Liz Langley researched and interviewed several couples for her book, which tells tales of love taking control over actions— sometimes to disturbing results.

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IN-DEPTH LOVE

Photo courtesy Liz Langley

Crazy Little Thing Love is strong, and its proven to drive people to the edge ||

Steve Blanchard EDITOR@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

A

S EWAN MCGREGOR’S CHARACTER IN

Moulin Rouge exclaimed: “Love is a many splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love.”

But he may have forgotten the most important thing about love—it can make you do some crazy things! In her new book, Crazy Little Thing, Why Love and Sex Drive us Mad, Orlando author Liz Langley interviews a dozen or so couples that have experienced the crazy side of February’s most popular emotion. “We get this impression that love is effortless, and we get that from stories from when we’re tiny,” Langley explains. “I was unprepared the �irst time I fell in love—it was so consuming for me. I thought it was all fun and easy, but love is a lot of work and sometimes we have to pull back!” Langley explains that love is a

chemical response and like with any other chemical, we can get addicted to the dopamine triggered in our brain when we �ind love. As many people know, not everyone can handle addiction well. “Our reactions to the stresses of break-ups or unrequited love can trigger other chemicals like adrenaline or cortisol, a stress chemical that triggers the �ight or �light mechanism,” Langley says. “But there are psychological components, too, reasons why we might like people who appear to be dangerous or that we keep falling for the same faulty type of relationship repeatedly.” In her book, Langley interviews

a dozen or so people who have been driven to madness by their feelings for signi�icant others. And, while most of the stories center around heterosexual relationships, love is love, she says, regardless of orientation. “There is no difference in the way people fall in love,” Langley says. “I interviewed Helen Fisher in the �irst chapter and her research moved me to do this book. She showed me to think of love from another angle— from the angle of chemical reactions. That helps you understand it better.” Fisher’s research subjects were placed in MRIs and shown pictures of either their signi�icant others or of ex-lovers. The chemical responses on the brain were the same across the spectrum, Langley says. “The reaction of fear, joy and love comes from the same places in the brain,” says Langley. That explains why we can’t pick who we love—it just happens. It also explains why people go crazy when they’re head-over-heels. But who

Other stories featured in her research include Nadine and Bob, a former nun and priest who had both devoted their lives to the church and never considered any other life until they met one another. And the story of Le Van, a 55-year-old father of seven who slept on top of his wife’s grave after she died in 2003. When de�ines “crazy,” and how can we keep his kids found out and prevented ourselves from crossing that line?” him from visiting the graveyard, he “I think there is certainly some brought her home and slept beside wiggle room,” laughs Langley. “If her there. someone said to me that they text It’s so easy for those on the their partner 10 times a day, I’d outside looking in to see unhealthy say, ‘If he’s texting you back, it’s not behavior, but it’s dif�icult for crazy. If it’s mutual, it’s �ine. But if those living it to understand our you’re texting someone who doesn’t perception. want to talk to you, that’s an issue.” Langley suggests staying Texting is one thing, but other compassionate and let those habits obviously cross the line, like presenting “crazy” tendencies talk murder. about their feelings. In her book, Langley interviews “If you say, ‘you’re acting like an Nikki Reynolds, who is in prison for idiot,’ the danger is they will shut killing her mother. That is the most you out,” Langley says. “If they don’t haunting piece in the collection, have friends to help them, then who Langley says. will?’ “Nikki was 17 when she went to jail The best way to broach the and 30 when I interviewed her,” she subject of seemingly crazy behavior says. “I wanted to talk to someone in a friend who is broken hearted or who had gone over the edge—after desperately in love with the wrong person? One simple phrase: “You don’t seem happy to me.” “If you say it gently, they’ll talk to you about —LIZ LANGLEY, ON SIGNS OF IRRATIONAL it,” Langley BEHAVIOR FUELED BY LOVE says. “I was in a situation like that all, we all think ‘I could just kill soand a friend told me, ‘You’re no fun and-so.’ But it’s just words and we anymore.’ That’s when it hit me like will never go beyond that. Nikki a shovel in the face. But I couldn’t see did and it all stemmed from her it before then.” |  | relationship with a high school boyfriend.” Langley says she wanted to know MORE INFORMATION what it was like for Nikki after the tragedy and if the prisoner was still WHAT: Crazy Little Thing in love. WHO: Liz Langley “Nikki can de�initely tell you the WHERE: Amazon.com consequences of letting an obsession or Barnes and Noble get out of hand,” Langley says.

“If you’re texting someone who doesn’t want to talk to you, that’s an issue.”

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It’s in a name

C

REATING LEGALLY matching names proves troublesome for lesbian couple Joseph Kissel Sarasota “It’s been much more dif�icult than I thought,” shares Sarah Riezenman. The Sarasota-area resident is trying to get her last name changed to match her partner’s, which is “Thomas.” Sarah and her partner were married in August, 2010, in Manchester, New Hampshire. They got married in Manchester, N.H., in August 2010. “We bought the least expensive ticket to where we could get legally married, and six months later we had a ceremony at Indian Rocks Beach with friends and family,” she says. “It’s been �ive years but it feels like forever,” she says. The women have had very little dif�iculty merging their lives—which has been much easier than changing a last name. When Riezenman began the process, the State of Florida wanted to know employer she worked for, took her �inger prints and did a criminal background check. After waiting several weeks for veri�ication, a court hearing followed. “I just want to have my name changed so by the time we have a child we have the same last name,” she says. Riezenman’s wife is a physician practicing osteopathic medicine. “I have to prove I’m not hiding from anyone or running away from the law,” Riezenman says. “I’ll be taking my marriage license to the court hearing. I’ve heard other couples have done that.” The future Thomas’ do not have a lawyer at the moment. “We didn’t expect it to be this dif�icult, but so far it has been.” Unfortunately, other same-sex couples married out of state are having similar trouble legalizing their new last names. In November, a Tampa Bay lesbian couple tried to change |  |

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IN-DEPTH MARRIAGE

I think it’s important for even little kids growing up to know

its okay and that same-sex marriage is out there. —JOHN THOMAS, WHO WED HIS PARTNER OF 28 YEARS, JAN LUND, IN NEW YORK LAST SUMMER

 LOOK MOM!: John Thomas and Jan Lund cut their wedding cake with the help of their respective mothers after their New York wedding last summer. Photo courtesy John Thomas

 PLANNING: The happy couple look at areas near the falls to share their vows. Photo courtesy John Thomas

|  | New York Wedding from pg.39

�ind some excuse to be with their friends.” Instead, they got to experience a piece of civil rights history. “Hopefully, it was a watershed moment that New York sets a higher standard for civil rights,” Thomas says. “But it’s strange that we can travel in New York or through Spain and anything that might happen, people or at least the law respects our relationship. But not back home. It should be respected.” The newlyweds got their marriage license in Williamsville, N.Y., and that the town clerk said they were the �irst gay male couple to receive a license there, but that they were preceded by several lesbian couples. “There were some young children there—seven or eight years old—and they looked over when they heard us saying ‘marriage license,’” Thomas says. “I

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

think it’s important for even little kids growing up to know its okay and that same-sex marriage is out there.”

More than a ceremony In terms of marriage equality, there are many practical matters. “Once when Jan got a really severe nose bleed I dropped him off at the emergency room door and I parked the car,” Thomas says. “By the time I got back, he was already inside. The attendant asked who I was and I answered honestly and said ‘partner.’ My life �lashed in front of me when I thought they weren’t going to let me in.” But the attendant had a heart and buzzed him through. Still, Thomas is tired of his civil rights being at the mercy of individuals. Even though his marriage isn’t recognized in Florida—“yet,” he ads—it’s had the effect of rejuvenating the men’s relationship. “Most people get married for

FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

the �irst time when they are in their 20s,” Thomas says. And that’s when John met Jan while attending the University at Buffalo and Jan was living in nearby scenic Lewiston—just minutes from the Falls. Besides cementing their relationship, the marriage brought their families closer together. “There were some awkward moments when, as a gay man, I was aware we were breaking some new ground here,” Thomas says. “But it’s important that we have to lead the dance, take a leap and throw your wings on the way down. We need to take a proactive and leadership role in helping families realize what it means to be gay.” Thomas is involved in video production and marketing while Jan is retired from the post of�ice. Both men spend a lot of time together now because of their schedules, which has also helped increase the strength of their relationship. Thomas also sees his marriage

watermarkonline.com

as an important component from an intellectual perspective. “I’ve never worn a ring, and now I do,” he says. “I’m not sure if it changes the way I feel but I am very proud of our relationship and all the things we’ve gone through over the years.” Both men are hopeful that samesex couples across the country will be recognized of�icially soon—if not by their states, than by the federal government. Thomas points to the progress he has seen in the past three decades, and says he’s hopeful for the future. “The Defense of Marriage Act will go away eventually,” he says. “When I was in college, if you wanted to �ind a book about anything gay you needed to use the index card system and look under ‘h’ for homosexual. “We may lose some battles but I believe in the long-term direction we are headed.” |  |


Show Your Love Readers share their Valentine’s Day greetings to loved ones

I

T’S FEBRUARY, WHICH MEANS

Christmas is a long-ago memory and the focus is on candy, �lowers, hearts and love.

As in years’ past, we invited you to place your special Valentine’s Day greeting in our “Love” issue and again you didn’t disappoint. We even spotted a marriage proposal in this year’s batch! Is it directed at you? For more greetings, visit WatermarkOnline.com. To: Daniel Thank you for being an amazing boyfriend! I love you, and you are the BEST boyfriend EVER! —Gilbert

To: Luis Hilson If not now, when? They may love you good, but I will love you better, better, better, better! Xox —Logan To: My Sweet Young Prince The ability to trust, fuels the ability to Love. How far will our love take us? —Your Ray of Loving Sunshine

To: Allyson It’s been 8 years. So let’s do it. Let’s get married. Ally will you b my wife? I nub u. Bemineforever? —Amy “Peter”

To: Kris I love you more today than a random day in October, 2001. It’s only just begun, Dear... —Marshall To: Dave Lindsay Happy Valentines Day! —Mac McGowan

To: Phoenix I love you to the moon and back... Happy Valentines Day Boo Bear!!! —Slayor To: Pete I love you honey and am so happy to share this first Valentine’s Day as parents with you. —Niki To: Sameer You are my sunshine! Ten plus years and counting. I love you! —Stan

To: Anthony Murphy As each year that goes by, I fall deeper and deeper in love with you. You and our little family we created is all I ever wanted. Love you with all my heart. —David Aiello To: Angie To my wife, my best friend, & my baby momma, almost 10 yrs & I love you more every day! Happy V Day! —Tanya

To: Soul Wreckless Roses are red, roller skates have wheels; It’s Valentine’s Day, you know how I feels. Derby love! —Ivana Crushyu To: Jake To my favorite valentine: I like you today & I love you today. My life is amazing with you in it! —Lyssa To: Chainsaw Chelsea, Strangeness Monster, and Hips of Steel You are the best derby wives a skater could ask for. Love you all! —Alexis DeLarge

To: Brian 15 years this year! You are my world, my everything. Happy Valentines Day! Love you. —Mike

To: Bobby Edington in Anna Maria Hey Bobby, I wish you a Happy Val Day. Lots of wet kisses. Love J —Jason Shieffield

To: Brian “B”... On this day...I remind you... you have my heart...and I love you! You are the “1”:) —Randy To: Ed Leonhard A hundred hearts would be too few To carry all my love for you. Happy Valentines Day! —Anthony Barros To: Pumelgranite Thank you for being my derby rock. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing wife! :) Happy V-Day! —Venus Deathtrap To: Peter Patterson I am so glad you married me in NYC! I love you more every day. I love being your husband! —Mark Hardin

To: Ben Thanks for being the big jizzy to my lil’ teezy. ;) —Carin To: Erin Luckey Thank you for all you do and for all that you are. Love you! Happy Valentine’s Day! —LuLu Rivera To: John Stein The last 3 yrs have been amazing! I can’t imagine going on without you by my side forever. WILL YOU MARRY ME? OXOX —Emanuel Santos

To: Lauren Happy Valentines Day Peaches! Here’s to many more, love you! —Christina To: Venus Deathtrap Best derby wifey ever, Happy Valentines Day! So glad you said yes to be mine! Much love to you! —PumelGranite To: Todd Being with you is like wearing my favorite pair of jeans. They fit just right! I love you and for the first time in my life I feel I’ve found a man who loves me as much as I love him! PS: You’re so darn hot! LOVE YOU! —Bob To: Jeffrey Shanks You’ve had my heart for 13 years. Happy Valentines Day Baby! I LOVE YOU!!! —Bobby Robinson To: Brandon Fogarty You make everyday special and I am so happy you have come into my life. Happy Valentine’s Day! —Paul Leary To: Antonio Tapia Tony, Life with you is a kind of heaven. Thanks for being amazing. Love you. —Scotty To: Matt Thank you for fixing all the crap I break and putting up with my crazy. You are my best friend forever and ever. —Tucker

To: Bella Lei mi fa sentirsi come la ragazza pia fortunata nel mondo largo ed intero. sempre mi baci la buona —Lino

watermark goes

IN-DEPTH

To: Macrae & Aston Happy Valentines To the sweetest men in my life. Love you. —Mom To: Bobby M. Happy Valentines day to my valentine. 26 great years! —Richard M. To: DavieDawn We miss you and love you and can’t wait to see what you do next! XOXO —J&G To: Greg You are the love of my life and you have made the last 24 years incredible for me. Thank you! —John To: Tomm M. Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Love Ron, Chiquita, Maggie, Lexxi and Jack. —Ron P. To: Chris P. My love, we are, each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another... Happy Valentine’s to the one who own my heart my lovely Chris, I love you so much!!! —Wuilmark

LOVE

To: Kory Thank you for sharing 9 years of your liife with me and showing me what love is truly about! Every day you take my breath away even more! I love you —Yahira To: Philip We have been together for 33 years, and been through many ups and many downs which has made us stronger, would not have it any other way, I love you.... —Gianni To: Rafe My hairy little chorizo, you’ve made me smile every day for nine years, and I hope for ninety more. —Stuart To: Keith Kelly Thanks to you for all you do for me. Words cannot express my love and devotion to you. You mean the world to me and look forward to new adventures with you. —Michael Kelly |  |

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GOOD TIMES ROLL: (L-R) St. Petersburg couple and Gypsy Productions’ management team Daryl Epperly and Trevor Keller, pictured on a cruise last fall, celebrate another anniversary on Feb. 13.

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& Reply to Ads!

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CHANGE-OF-LIFE COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS Congratulations Orlando teacher Derek Cavilla and partner Terry Roberts celebrate their anniversary on Feb. 11. Orlando’s Shelbie Press celebrates its 19th year in business this month. Congratulations Debbie and Michelle! MC Film Festival owners/GaYbor District Coalition founders and Tampa power couple Mark Bias and Carrie West celebrate their 34th anniversary on Feb. 3.

Passings: Rosemari (Sunni) Hansen of St. Petersburg passed away Dec. 27 after a lengthy illness. Hansen was an original contributing writer to Womyn’s Words when her then-partner Ann Miller started the publication. She was well known for her column “News Notes from Sunni.” Ray E. Gullett III, 36, died suddenly Jan. 22. The Orlando man is survived by his father Ray Gullett, Jr., step-mother Susan Gullett, brother Jonathan Gullett, sister Katherine Rosenbloom, and paternal grandmother Vernette Gullett. David Johnson, known to many as “Dita,” passed away Jan. 23 at the age of 48. Johnson was a resident of Orlando and was the visual director at the Parliament House for many years. David is survived by his partner of 13 years, Paul Enderle. Jerald James Johnston of West Palm Beach died suddenly Jan 17. Johnston was a Principal Staff Engineer at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is survived by his partner Michael Fowler, his siblings and extended family.

Michael Ross, dance manager at The Boardwalk Bar in South Florida, died Jan. 12. Ross is survived by close friend and drag performer Nikki Adams, the South Florida drag community, and his family and friends at Boardwalk.

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Local Birthdays Tampa entertainer Daphne Ferraro, handsome and friendly Flamingo server Ryan Smiley, Gulfport performer, theater addict and Watermark contributor Rob McCabe and Tampa licensed massage therapist, Reiki master and karaoke performer David Allin (Feb. 3); TIGLFF programmer extraordinaire Margaret Murray and Tampa Sister of Perpetual Indulgence Monica MuffDiver, AKA Scott Ryan (Feb. 4); Brandon sales rep and beach bum Jim Beaton and 1st Dance Studio owner and St. Petersburg dance instructor Julia Meyerovich-Neighbors (Feb. 8); co-owner of Orlando’s Hamburger Mary’s, Mike Rogier (Feb. 9); Creative Tile Design of St. Petersburg owner Tom O’Keefe and St. Petersburg hair stylist and cyclist Ric Castro (Feb. 10); Suncoast Hospice honcho Mike Bell, Xia Adonis from the House of Adonis, LaToya Little, Tampa schools media specialist and activist Bart Birdsall and Suncoast Hospice Executive Director Mike Bell (Feb. 11); USF Vegetarian Society President and St. Pete Resident Mark Weber and Tampa Suncrest Home Health director Portia Weiss (Feb. 13); Ybor’s Honey Pot manager and straight ally Ernie Webb and St. Petersburg performer Jaeda Fuentes (Feb. 14); St. Petersburg’s The Queen’s Head co-owner Darren Conner ((Feb. 15); gorgeous O-Town dancer, choreographer, DJ and nightclub impresario Blue, Tampa activist Chris Goldsmith and Tampa Bay Bears president Keenan Rose (Feb. 16).

Are you making a Transition? Having a birthday or anniversary? Did you get a new job or promotion? See your news in Watermark! Send your Transition to Editor@WatermarkOnline.com or go to WatermarkOnline.com/Submit-a-Transition - it’s that easy!

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Do This! SAGE ADVICE FROM ‘THE TRUTH’

Money and friendship don’t always mix DEAR TRUTH,

A

bout a year ago I loaned $800 to my friend, Walter, to cover his rent. Walter was going through a really tough patch �inancially due to a lapse in health care coverage (not his fault), so I didn’t hesitate when he came to me for help. He is a standup guy and he works really hard, and he’s been struggling to pay his bills ever since, so I’ve been reluctant to ask for the money back. About two months ago, Walter started dating a guy who I think is covering most of his medical bills and expenses, but Walter is too proud to admit it. When I asked him about the loan last week, he seemed embarrassed and said his expenses were eating up his income and he didn’t know when he would be able to repay me. I could really use the money to get caught up on my own bills, but I don’t want to offend Walter by telling him I know he isn’t paying his own way. Any suggestions how to resolve this? —Land O Lakes Lender Dear LOL L, You ‘think’ his new man is covering his bills but you don’t know? The ambiguity in your knowledge base complicates my answer. If he is genuinely in dire �inancial straights, as he reports to be, you should probably give him a pass on the $800 temporarily, if you can afford to do so (it sounds like you can). But if you have tangible evidence that he is, in fact, being subsidized by the boyfriend, you are within your rights to demand that money back immediately. In either case, you need to ascribe an expiration date on your largesse. In your very next conversation with Walter, let him know that you don’t want money to get in the way of your friendship, and so

to that end, you should conclude business together and he should repay you the money he owes you by X date. That date can be a week or a year, but at least with a conclusion in sight, the pressure will be less on your friendship.

DEAR TRUTH,

M

y boyfriend, Thom, and I have been dating for almost seven months. We are both in our 20s, employed and our sex life is fantastic. When Thom and I �irst met, we bonded over our love of fashion, and I thought that I had really found my soul mate. Now that we’ve been dating for a while, I’m learning that Thom’s idea of “fashion” is to dress up in the most ridiculous out�it he can �ind (think Lady Gaga or Prince Poppycock), go clubbing and behave like a pompous ass. I’ve asked him to tone it down but he insists that he is just being true to himself and I should embrace it. Most of the time I like Thom’s daring sense of style, but when we go out I’m embarrassed to be seen with him. I’m beginning to wonder if this is a deal breaker. What do you think? —Piqued in Pinellas Dear Little Monster’s Partner, The most important sentence in your letter, actually the most important phrase, is “I’m embarrassed to be seen with him.” Honestly, that’s sort of terrible. The other terrible part is that he acts like a ‘pompous ass.’ Look, you’re young. It sounds that at this phase in your life, you may not be entirely compatible. His clubbing pursuits are a source of expression for him. It would be awful to deprive him of that. Maybe you should bow out gracefully. |  |

The most important phrase, is ‘I’m embarrassed to be seen with him.’ Honestly, that’s sort of terrible.

46

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if this were your ad, thousands of readers

would have just seen it.

270 S. Northlake Blvd, Suite 1004 Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

407.951.7575 arcpointlabs.com/altamonte_springs

orlando marketplace

Call for rates

407-481-2243


real estate

physician

WE KNOW

Piñero Preventive Medical Care

THIS TOWN

VOTED ONE OF WATERMARK ’S

FAVORITE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

FOR THE LAST 4 YEARS!

New patients welcome Dr. Rafael E. Piñero, M.D.

BOARD CERTIFIED FAMILY MEDICINE We’ve expanded to serve WE PROUDLY PROVIDE... Physical Exams you better and we are Well Visits still right where you’ve UrgentWomen Care Visits always found us... Echocardiograms HOURS: MON-FRI 8A-6P | SAT 9A-1P

AIDA R. MARTIN

NATALIE ROSARIO

BROKER

SALES MANAGER

CELL: (407) 222-0930 CELL: (407) 468-7465 aida@midtownrealty.com OFFICE: (407) 481-0900 aidamartin12@gmail.com natalie.rosario@gmail.com

We Specialize In: • Residential • Commercial • Development • Management

Ultrasounds

PROVIDING PRIMARY CARE FOR ALL TYPES OF FAMILIES

W W W. MID T O W NR E A LT Y.COM

plastic surgery

website

407.857.6261 Trust your face and body to a board certified plastic surgeon

George H. Pope, MD, FACS

• Gynecomastia reduction • Liposuction • Laser hair removal • Sculptra®, Botox®, Radiesse®, Juvederm® • Laser skin rejuvenation • Rhinoplasty • Facelift & eyelift • Cosmetic breast surgery • Professional skin care • Accredited in-house surgical suite

Voted Best Plastic Surgeon by Orlando Magazine readers

www.OrlandoPlasticSurgeryCenter.com 3872 Oakwater Circle at South Orange Avenue

youth group info@OrlandoYouthAlliance.org

407-244-1222 Peer-to-peer support group and social activities for LGBTQ youth ages 13 – 24.

For and in-depth listing of LGBT businesses visit

the Purple Pages on

WatermarkOnline.com!

Call 407-481-2243 FOR MORE INFORMATION

orlando marketplace

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[CLASSIFIEDS] central florida

407-481-2243 • Deadline for classifieds is January 27, at 5:00pm. Visit WatermarkOnline.com for Brand New Listings Every Day!

real estate for sale

HOUSEMATE TO SHARE - N.W. Orlando, Rosemont, 15 Min. to downtown or Universal Studios. Gay males, masculine, nudist partners, seek single, social, gay male, 35+ to be responsible housemate, sharing 3 bedroom, home with all amenities. Clean, quiet(most times), cable, nude privacy gardens, sundecks, hot tub. No pets, Smoker OK - outside porch. Vehicle/ references. $500Mo. Call George for appt. (407)298-5678

employment offered Chair Rental in Winter Park- Chair Rental available in Professionally managed Full Service Salon.$200 plus Tax a week. Great parking in front of Salon. (407)7748448 or (407)325-3410 for more info. Gerard Barnard Salon, 713 Clay St., Winter Park.

personal services

Should there be a swimsuit competition for Realtors??

Sure that may seem silly but what is your criteria for selecting an agent to represent you with the most expensive asset you will probably ever own? Although my swimsuit days are over, my real estate career is still in full force. If you are thinking of buying selling or investing in real estate; think of me first. Stan Madray–Keller Williams Realty (407)928-7791 / www. StanMadray.com My commitment to you! •Communicate Effectively - Answer calls, respond to emails and keep you informed. •Be Knowledgeable - Know the market place, follow the trends and track the numbers. •Have Fun - It’s not just about the destination; It’s also about the journey. •Keep Integrity - Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. •Seek the Win-Win - Negotiate effectively to meet our needs and our objectives. Making real estate dreams come true! *BTW... If you do require your prospective agent to compete in talent, I will be twirling a fire baton to “Half-Breed” by Cher.

ENJOY A RELAXING MASSAGE BY CAESAR - Deep tissue, light tissue. Great rates on Sundays & Mondays. Showers available. College Park, North Orange & Virginia. In & Out, Hotels. (321)527-9436.

VIZCAYA LUXURY CONDO Lakefront 2 bedroom, 2 bath. Over 1800sf located in exclusive gated community, walking distance to Sandlake Road Restaurant Row. Relaxing lake views from all windows. Incredible opportunity! SHORT SALE priced to move at $279,000. Danny Veal, Realtor Coldwell Banker (407)496-2662 / www.DannyVeal.com

bathroom. French doors leading out to patio. Cable & all util inc. $600/mo. No Pets. (407)352-3410.

personal services HEAD-TO-TOE BODYRUBS - Session includes: Hot oil rubdown, Great hands, $50 In only: Call Ken 941-720-1731. Sarasota/ Bradenton.

***New Year’s Special $499 Moves You In*** Includes deposit & first month’s rent. Quiet 1 BR community. Pool & Laundry, water included. Close to bus line and Downtown. Call Cord at 407-580-3403

ORLANDO TOWNHOME - 3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath, 2 Car Garage, Private Patio & Pool, Gated”. $1200/mo. (321) 297-1084

ADVERTISING SALES - If you

are retail & customer-focused, computer literate & proficient, web knowledgeable & a self-starter with inside or outside sales experience, then we might be a match! Watermark Media, the gay & lesbian news source for Orlando & Tampa Bay, is seeking an experienced sales professional to help us grow our business by helping businesses in the Tampa Bay area grow. You would call on potential clients, guide their advertising campaigns and make a very good living. Watermark Media is a great company offering a competitive compensation package that includes salary, commissions and health benefits. Send your cover letter and resume to Chief Financial Officer Rick Claggett at Rick@watermarkonline.com or fax to (813)849-2986.

personal services

real estate for rent

Curry Ford/Crystal Lake Area

employment offered

GBLT Florida licensed therapist full time or part time. Good salary & benefits. Send resume to hr@ metrotampabay.org

House Cleaning - Free estimates, Reasonable rates, No contracts. Call John at 407-592-8774.

Quiet country...Sorrento, Mt.Dora area 1/1 with w/d, very private with great kitchen and screened porch, gated estate. $700/ mo. + sec. Util. incld. (352)267-4068

tampa bay

Room for Rent - Own suite w/

sarasota

TOP GAY REALTORS WWW.GAYREALESTATE.COM Instant Free Access to Florida and the Nation’s Top LGBT Realtors. Online WWW.GAYREALESTATE.COM or Toll Free 1.888.420.MOVE(6683)

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

roommates

MAN-TO-MAN - very friendly, masculine, good looking man with solid athletic body. Total relaxation & stress reduction. Rick 813-349-6789

Danny Veal, Realtor GRI,CLHMS & CDPE - I made

a commitment to provide a high level of professional services by securing a strong educational foundation in significant areas of real estate to better serve and protect my clients. My designations: GRI - Graduate REALTOR Institute, CLHMS - Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, CDPE - Certified Distressed Property Expert. Please feel free to contact me with any of your real estate needs. www.DannyVeal.com

Everyone Needs to Be Touched - 1 - 1 1/4 hours full body workout. Also body shaving. Discount rates for students & ethnic. By appt. only - Call Jim 727-698-9505

Muscles kneaded by rugged, hairy, Italian- Well-built all over. Friendly,

Did you know you could be in your new home in 45 days or less?

respectful & no attitude. All Man 4 Man. Straight/Bi welcome. Bill (727)278-5774

Call me to find out how! Buyer services are FREE! CENTURY 21, (321)293-2240

professional services BODY SENSATIONS - WHERE YOUR KNOTS BECOME NOT! MASSAGE FOR MEN HEALTHY IN MIND & BODY. SLENDER WITH STRONG SOOTHING HANDS, HOT TOWEL. RELAXATION TO REJUVINATION. GREAT RATES.TIM 813*352*7814. MA-56731

Watermark does not knowingly print advertisements for sexual services. Beyond printed content, Watermark does not inquire into the nature of personal or professional services advertising. Payment for sexual services is illegal in the State of Florida, and respondents to classified advertising should govern themselves accordingly. As required by law (Florida Statute 480.0465), Licensed Massage Therapists include their license number in all advertising.

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Stirring more controversy

Weir to return to skating Wire Report

Wire Report

S

YDNEY, AUSTRALIA | When tennis legendturned-minister Margaret Court voiced her opposition to same-sex marriage shortly before the Australian Open, she quickly drew the ire of out tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King. Now the minister has stirred more controversy by claiming that homosexuality is the result of abuse in a recent interview. The three-time Wimbledon champion told the Sunday Herald Sun that “many, many” gay and lesbian people she knew of had “been abused, “and this had led to their sexual orientation.

The senior minister of Perth’s Victory Life Centre also said that pushing for gay marriage was trying to “legitimize what God calls abominable sexual practices.” She was taken to task by activists on the issue and by tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. Navratilova wrote an open letter to Court that ran in the Herald Sun during the closing weekend of the Australian Open. “Giving gays and lesbians the right to marry isn’t just a gay rights issue; it is a human rights issue,” Navratilova said. “It is about equal rights and protection under the law for all human beings. Quite simply, it is the right thing to do. It most certainly is a secular issue and not a religious

L From the court to the pulpit: Tennis legend Margaret Court, now a minister, has taken strong opposition to same-sex marriage in Australia.

one. Navratilova went on to say that love is not dictated by religious faith, and cited the rights of atheists to marry. “Marriage can be and often is a religious celebration but legally speaking, it is a contract between two people who promise to love each other,” Navratilova continued. “You say it is a choice to be gay; do you mean to say you had feelings for women as well as men and chose men? That might explain your certainty on the issue. |  |

ong-time �igure skater and Olympic medalist Johnny Weir announced his return to competitive skating with a goal to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The out and proud star, who married his boyfriend with a New Year’s Eve ceremony in New York, announced his big news on Twitter. “The bitch is back!” he tweeted. “So excited to do this with you all on my side. I promise to try my best to make you proud.” Weir elaborated at a news conference in Manhattan. “I wanted to do this while I still have the time,” the three-time U.S. champion said. “I didn’t want to be 50 years old and look back and say, ‘Oh, those last two years before Sochi I kind of let them go doing other things.” Weir seems serious. Other than plans to skate at a Japanese bene�it in March for victims of last year’s earthquake and tsunami, Weir said he’ll be focused on training and taking care of his health. “I won’t be able to spend Saturday night drinking in a corner booth with my friends,” he said. “I’ll be sleeping.” |  |

sports

Former tennis great cites abuse as ‘cause’ for homosexuality

THE ORLANDO FRINGE & HARD ROCK CAFE PRESENT

February 27th, 2012 7:00 - 10:30 PM at Hard Rock Live Orlando! THE CENTRAL FLORIDA SOUNDS OF FREEDOM COLOR GUARD & COLORMEBLUE PRESENT

To purchase tickets call 407-351-5483 or visit Ticketmaster.com

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PHOTOPGRAPHY

Galleryw

Photography by Nick Cardello, David Moran, and Tony LaColla

P

IRATES INVADED TAMPA AGAIN as part of the annual Gasparilla festivities Jan. 2729 and LGBTs didn’t miss the opportunity to dress up, hit the parade on Bayshore Blvd and get down at the parties in Ybor City.

More Gasparilla photos at watermarkonline.com

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•FREE ESTIMATES

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W. Thomas Dyer

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LICENSED & INSURED • VISA & MASTERCARD ACCEPTED ANDY PRIETO • GREENALERTINC@YAHOO.COM

THE HIRING OF A LAWYER IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION THAT SHOULD NOT BE BASED SOLELY UPON ADVERTISEMENTS. BEFORE YOU DECIDE, ASK US TO SEND YOU INFORMATION ABOUT OUR QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE.

John R. Dickson,

OW N ER

A N D TA K E YO U R P E RS O N A L T R A I N I N G B U S I N ES S TO N E W H E I G H T S AT FLO R I DA FI T N ES S CO N C E P T S! V I S I T W W W. F L O R I D A F I T N E S S C O N C E P T S . C O M /N E W T R A I N E R

TO H I R E A N FFC T R A I N E R O R FO R M O R E I N FO, V I S I T

W W W. FLO R I DA FITN ESS CO N C E P TS .COM FEB. 2 - FEB. 15, 2012 // ISSUE 19.03

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Watermark Issue 19.03: Redistricting // Love