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DAYTONA BEACH • ORLANDO • TAMPA • ST. PETERSBURG • SARASOTA • ISSUE 20.17 • AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 • WATERMARKONLINE.COM

YOUR LGBT LIFE.

PINELLAS COUNTY ENTERS

TRANSGENDER

PROTECTIONS DEBATE

LAKE COUNTY VOTE AFFECTS

GSA’S FUTURE

Jami EMBRACING

After decades as a male rocker, Sarasota’s Jami Gee redefines herself, and her career


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Copyright Benson 2013. All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced.

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If there are political tensions PAGE arising, it wouldn’t be the first time 45 before an Olympic Games.

DEPARTMENTS 6 // MAIL 14 // ORLANDO NEWS 18 // TAMPA BAY NEWS 22 // STATE 24 // NATION & WORLD 33 // ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 41 // EVENT PLANNER 43 // TAMPA BAY OVERHEARD 45 // ORLANDO OVERHEARD 46 // TAMPA BAY MARKETPLACE 47 // TRANSITIONS 48 // ORLANDO MARKETPLACE 53 // SPORTS 54 // GALLERY W

—GREG REEDIE, IOC VICE PRESIDENT

ON THE COVER

PAGE

PAGE Sarasota guitarist and

Jami Gee is 33 musician photographed at Bayfront

Park in Sarasota.

Photo by Jake Stevens

Preview

36 STAYING FABULOUS:

The Fabulous Independent Film Festival returns to Sarasota for its third year. The three-day festival features nine LGBT films that will show at Burns Court Cinema downtown Aug. 23-25.

WATERMARK ISSUE 20.17 //AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013

ORLANDO NEWS

TAMPA BAY NEWS

PAGE Come Out With Pride

PAGE As St. Petersburg residents

STATE NEWS

GALLERY W

Read it online!

SCAN QR CODE FOR

WATERMARKONLINE.COM

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

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has announced its 2013 headliners, and they include Steve Grand, who’s All American Boy video skyrocketed on YouTube in July; Rollins College is the proud new owner of it’s very own hotel, which is overseen by a lesbian; more.

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head to the polls for the Aug. 27 Primary, city council candidates Amy Foster and Darden Rice are poised to make history; Pinellas County will debate whether or not to include transgender protections in its human rights ordinance.

PAGE Broward Sheriff’s deputies

22

have charged porn star “Joshua Logan,” AKA, John Snavely, with the 2010 murder of south Florida businessman Sam Del Brocco; Alan Greyson joins 90 other Florida lawmakers in expressing concern over Russia’s anti-gay laws and the upcoming Olympics; more.

PAGE With part of the Defense of

Act repealed and 54 Marriage Proposition 8 in California in

the history books, a local photographer brings a new perspective to the fight for equality. Using nude models, Les Jinques puts a new spin on the iconic red and pink equality symbol.

RUSSIA’S NEW ANTI-GAY LAWS ARE MAKING THE 2014 WINTER OLYMPICS A HOT TOPIC. KEEP UP AT WATERMARKONLINE.COM. AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR A RELATABLE COVER STORY

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THANK YOU SO MUCH TO GABE ALVES for sharing his experience with reparative therapy in Watermark [Issue 20.16]. I too experienced the so-called ex-gay therapy programs of several organizations, and rather than helping me heal, I found myself at the end of my rope, literally. The program was so demeaning that after my fourth attempt to “cure” my homosexuality, I decided to end it all. Fortunately, someone or something was watching out for me and my now-ex wife found me in time to get me the medical attention I needed. Those who believe in these so-called therapies need to take a hard look at facts and realize that gay people are not projects that need to be broken. We are part of society and, thankfully, we are gaining acceptance throughout the country. Your incredible cover story struck very close to home. JORDAN MARTA MAITLAND

A CONFLICTED CHAMBERS

I

FOUND YOUR INTERVIEW WITH THE FORMER DIRECTOR OF EXODUS INTERNATIONAL informative, yet very disturbing [Issue 20.16].

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“Walking the street and being black, and for us, LGBT, means we are being profiled.” —BILLY GLOVER

While Alan Chambers seemed to be apologetic for the harm he caused to so many people while promoting reparative therapy, he seems to continue doing harm to himself. The answers he gave to your reporter were elusive at times and at other times, he protested a bit too much. Why is this gay man married to a woman? Simply because his God tells him that he must be? Reading that story made me sad. I hope he truly �inds happiness one day and can accept who he is, whether or not his religious friends can accept him or not. MICHAEL CHASE VIA E-MAIL

WE’RE PROFILED, TOO

B

LACK AMERICANS, NO MATTER HOW THEY FEEL OR THINK ABOUT THE ACQUITTAL OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, see and know that it is a lie that racism, and the “stand your ground law,” were not an issue in the case. Walking the

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street and being black, and for us, LGBT, means we are being pro�iled. I think of the people I worked with in the movement as thinkers, who didn’t latch onto one theory or aspect and limit their thinking to it. Of course when the founders started there was no special group working on legal, or religious, or health issues, and they knew that we had to learn about sexuality and reject the lies told about us. I guess it is possible to gain our rights and never understand about ourselves, but I doubt it. I do not believe we would be where we are today if we had not �irst gotten rid of the belief/lie that we were criminal, sick and sinful. But, as the trans issue shows, we need to understand sexuality as much as the other 90%, and if we don’t know ourselves, we can hardly blame the bigots for not knowing who we are. BILLY GLOVER VIA EMAIL


editor’s

Steve Blanchard EDITOR

SteveB@WatermarkOnline.com

I

Desk

COULD HAVE EASILY CHANGED A

regrettable moment in my past by simply commenting on a speci�ic style of shoe. But because of surprise, or maybe a sheer lack of balls, I remained silent and have been embarrassed by my inaction ever since.

The cover of this issue of Watermark, featuring the incredibly talented Jami Gee, brought back a vivid memory from inside a St. Petersburg Payless Shoe store. Being a larger guy, shoes near my size tend to be at the end of the men’s selection, which in this instance butted up against the women’s department. While one column of shoes hosted men’s styles, the next column had larger women’s shoes, including high heels. While I quietly tried on several pairs of men’s shoes to see which would �it me better, another man,

WATERMARK STAFF

close to my age and accompanied by a woman I assumed to be his wife and a teenage boy, hunted for shoes next to me. The boy needed a new pair, and when the woman accidentally pulled a box of women’s heels off the shelf, they laughed, and the man commented about how he would never allow his younger male counterpart to slip even a toe into a woman’s shoe! The level of the offense in his voice was surprising, despite the laugh that accompanied his statement. It was an opportunity to address an issue that is so important

Publisher: Tom Dyer • Ext. 305 • Tom@WatermarkOnline.com Chief Financial Officer: Rick Claggett • Ext. 108 • Rick@WatermarkOnline.com Admin. Assistant: Stephanie Saylor • Ext. 100 • Stephanie@WatermarkOnline.com Editor-in-Chief: Steve Blanchard • 813-470-0899 • SteveB@WatermarkOnline.com Reporter: Susan Clary • 104 • Susan@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

and so close to so many of my friends. I wanted to tell this man that what style of shoe a boy—or a girl for that matter—wants to wear is no re�lection on that individual’s character. I also wanted to share with him that a number of my friends, who were born male but transitioned to female, have absolutely no problem trying on the shoes that best represent their gender. But I disappointed myself. I found my dress shoes, walked to the register, handed over my debit card and left the store. The more I thought about it, the more I wish I could have relived the moment. I’d like to think the person I am today would handle the situation much differently. Over the years, my perspective, interactions and opinions on the issue of gender identity disorder and it’s directly related evil sibling— transphobia—have evolved. I can’t understand what it’s like to have GID, or what the experience of transitioning from one gender to the other is really like. It’s a �irst-person perspective that can’t be understood or even learned. But what can be learned is acceptance. And fortunately, that acceptance toward the transgender community is growing, both within

the LGBT community and the overall community. Which brings me to this: things are about to get interesting in Pinellas County once again. Recently, the Pinellas County Commission voted to move ahead with a public forum concerning protections for transgender residents of the county. In other words, the county is wondering whether transgender individuals deserve the same rights and protections as the rest of us. It’s amazing to me that this is even a question. Why wouldn’t we want to protect our transgender residents? Why wasn’t this accomplished �ive years ago when sexual orientation was added to the ordinance? Unfortunately, especially in politics, not everything is so cut and dry for everyone. An upcoming Aug. 20 meeting will bring out those who are “terri�ied” of transgender people using the “wrong” public restrooms and hoping to lure children into a lifestyle of cross dressing fabulousness. Not to make light of the situation— but that is essentially what those opposing adding protections for transgender people in regards to housing, job termination and public accommodations argue. The Stonewall Democrats, Equality Florida, Trans*Action Florida and a number of other LGBT advocacy groups plan to speak out for protections of our transgender neighbors at that open meeting, and I hope a large number of private citizens do, too. Afterall, this isn’t a case of “if the shoe �its,” or even “walking a mile in someone’s shoes.” It’s a case of “we all wear shoes—its style doesn’t matter.” |  |

The meeting will bring out those who are ‘terrified’ of transgender people using the “wrong” public restrooms and hoping to lure children into a lifestyle of cross-dressing fabulousness.

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AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

CONTRIBUTORS ZACH CARUSO

is a musician and journalist from New Jersey who now lives in St. Petersburg. He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and an MA in writing. Page 35

MICHELLE RINACA has

been a freelance writer in Sarasota for nearly two decades. As a single mother, her life revolves around her three children. Page 33

Greg Burton, Scottie Campbell, Zach Caruso, Amy Dees, Kirk Hartlage, Rev. Phyllis Hunt, Joseph Kissel, Ken Kundis, Mary Meeks, Stephen Miller, David Moran, Gregg Shipiro, Greg Stemm, Brett Stout, Jim Walker

PHOTOGRAPHY LES JINQUES

is a retired theatre teacher and director who now does glamour and boudoir photography and fine art. He works from his home studio in Orlando. Page 54

Nick Cardello, Angie Folks, Tom Eckert, Julie Milford, Travis Moore, Chris Stephenson, Lee Vandergrift, Tinkerfluff

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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orlando NEWS

GSA supporters left with uncertainty following Lake County School Board vote Susan Clary SUSAN@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

T

AVERES | With less than a week before students return to classes, the Lake County School Board had its second and �inal vote August 12 to put an end to the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) saga—for now. The board voted 3-to-1 to only allow clubs in middle schools that “promote business, athletics, �ine arts or critical thinking.” It is unclear whether GSAs could meet the criteria. The Superintendent would be the �inal arbiter. For supporters of GSAs, it was a defeat, but not unexpected. The board initially voted 4-to-1 in May to put the new criteria in place. After nearly a year of back and forth, the item was �inally placed on the agenda for the �inal vote. The club controversy began in November 2012 when Bayli Silberstein, then a 14-year old student at Carver Middle School in Leesburg, applied to create a GSA. The district ignored her application. Two months later, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida sent a letter to Lake County School Board Attorney Stephen Johnson demanding action. The club, it said, “confronted bullying, educated the school community, promoted acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. “ Instead of considering Silberstein’s application, the board proposed a plan to ban all non-curricular student clubs rather than allow GSA. In March, with the threat of litigation looming, the board reversed itself and voted 3-to2 in favor of non-curricular clubs. It would have paved the way for GSA, but a month later the decision was tabled. It became clear what caused the delay. Two of Lake County’s School Board members, Tod Howard and Bill Mathias, had been lobbying the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee to change state law. Their efforts were successful. Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 1076, which went into effect July 1. It potentially no longer requires middle schools to adhere to the federal Equal Access Act. It will have to be challenged. In May, the ACLU of Florida �iled a lawsuit claiming the School Board, District Superintendant and Principal of Carver Middle School violated Silberstein’s rights under the Equal Access Act and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A day later, the School Board entered into a consent decree to allow Silberstein to form the club for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year. Silberstein will enter Leesburg High School on August 19 and said she plans to form a GSA there. During its �inal decision on middle schools, the School Board also approved the formation of non-curricular clubs in high schools, with the Superintendant’s approval. High schools will not have to meet the same strict criteria required of middle schools. Elementary schools are only permitted to Continued on page 16 |  |

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NEW MANAGEMENT: Deanne Gabel is the general manager of The Alfond Inn at Rollins College, which officially opens its doors on Aug. 18—a week before classes. PHOTO BY LONNIE THOMPSON

A welcoming space Deanne Gabel welcomes guests to The Alfond Inn at Rollins College Susan Clary

SUSAN@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

W

INTER PARK | As soon as Deanne Gabel graduated from high school in Oregon, she �lew to Hawaii and took a job as a lifeguard at the Intercontinental Maui. She knew then that she wanted to work in hospitality. She was 19. On Aug. 11, the career that has taken her from Seattle to Palm Springs to New York and all around the world, has led her to an unique and exciting resting place—The Alfond Inn at Rollins College. Gabel, 57, is the General Manager of the much-anticipated Alfond Inn, which sits in the space long-occupied by the Langford Resort Hotel on New England Avenue across from campus. It opens on Aug. 18, just a week

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

before classes begin on Aug. 26. “I call it the trifecta of good things which are incredibly important to me,” Gabel said. “I’ve always been in the convention and hotel business and I wanted to run a boutique hotel that would allow me to add my own hospitality and �lair.” Gabel and her partner, Nancy

recently as a Senior Vice President for Wyndham Worldwide, had taken time off and was thinking of retirement. But she knew she couldn’t say “No” to Rollins. Gabel moved to Orlando in 1996 to work for the Walt Disney Company. She earned her MBA at Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business and later served on the Board of Overseers. Gabel interviewed with Olympia Management, the Maine company that runs the Inn. With a strong referral from the school, she was offered the job. “I knew the school and the players,” she said. “It was important in this unique situation to know how the school operates.” The Alfond Inn is quite different from the other hotels where Gabel has worked, including the Four Seasons in Maui and the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City’s Times Square. The Yacht and Beach Club has 1,200 rooms, 10 restaurants and

“This is like inviting someone into your home and entertaining them.” —DEANNE GABEL Tobin, 62, a freelance photo editor, were at their home in Punta Gorda working on their sailboat when Gabel received the call from Rollins College of�icials asking if she would be interested in the position. Gabel, who had worked most

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Continued on page 16 |  |


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orlando NEWS

|  | Lake County School Board Vote from pg.14 have school-sponsored clubs and students must receive parental consent to participate. Superintendent Susan Moxley, who approves the applications, has expressed her desire to keep GSAs out of middle schools. The club vote was overshadowed at the meeting by protests from parents over the board’s decision to cut courtesy busing for 4,300 students, who live within two miles of their home schools. Angry parents �illed the chambers to express concern that students will be forced to walk dangerous routes with no sidewalks. The ACLU of Florida said it will continue to watch closely the issue of GSAs in Lake County Schools and will consider representation of students who face push-back from school of�icials who ignore their applications or refuse their formation. |  |

Filmmaker John Waters will headline Come Out With Pride

ROOMS WITH VIEWS: The views from the Alfond Inn overlook the Rollins College campus. PHOTO BY LONNIE THOMPSON

Staff Report ORLANDO | He has been called the Pope of Trash and the Prince of Puke, but John Waters remains one of the most iconic �ilmmakers of our time. His obsession with violence and gore has captivated audiences for decades. In 2006, he released the documentary “This Filthy World,” about his origins in the trash genre and his successful career navigating Hollywood. That �ilm also became a one-man show. As part of Come Out With Pride Orlando, Waters will appear Thursday, Oct. 3 at The Abbey. The director, who became widely known for �ilms like Hairspray and CryBaby, will participate in “An Evening with John Waters” as part of the Out in the Open Film Festival. Waters is one of many acts slated to perform at the event from Oct. 1-6. The slate of performers features a mix of music, comedy and entertainment geared to appeal to a broad crowd. “We have a little bit for everyone,” said Come Out With Pride Executive Director Mikael Audebert. “That is exactly what we wanted to do as our community is a wonderful collage that needed to be represented through our weeklong celebration.” Country singer Steve Grand, who recently came out, will perform during Opening Ceremonies at The Cheyenne Saloon on Oct. 3. Grand’s recent hit is “All American Boy.” A day later, a coalition of businesses led by Church Street Station and Hamburger Mary’s will highlight a Block Party featuring Diva Martha Wash and comedians and singers Amy and Freddy. On Pride Day, Oct. 5, Singer Taylor Dayne will serve as one of seven Pride Color Marshals and will also perform at the Parliament House. The theme for Come Out With Pride Orlando is Pride Takes Center Stage. Orlando DJ Chris Cox will highlight an After Party in Winter Park. Organizers are keeping the main stage entertainment a secret and plan to announce more acts in early September. For information and tickets to events, visit ComeOutWithPride.com. |  |

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watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

COMFY STAY: Each of the Alfond Inn’s 112 rooms have comfortable accommodations. PHOTO BY LONNIE THOMPSON

|  | Deanne Gabel from pg.14 more than 100,000-square-feet of meeting space. By comparison, the Alfond Inn has 112 guest rooms, one restaurant and 10,000-squarefeet of meeting space. But there are many things that make this new hotel in the middle of Winter Park a special place. It started with Gabel’s hiring of 120 staff members. She interviewed each one and hired exclusively from Central Florida. “This is like inviting someone into your home and entertaining them,” she said. “I wanted them to feel a sense of belonging and ownership and that’s what you have when you hire local people.” Chef J. Christopher Windus was hired away from Todd English’s Bluezoo at the Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin to head up Hamilton’s Kitchen, named in honor of Hamilton Holt, the 8th president of the college.

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The restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and its accompanying bar, will be open to the public. The Alfond Inn was built with a $12.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Barbara and Ted Alfond, who graduated from the college in 1968, have also provided the artwork for the Inn. The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art will be shared on a rotating basis with the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. With a tip of the hat to the City of Winter Park and its brightlycolored Peacock logo, the entire interior of the hotel lends itself to teals, blues, grays, browns and hues that resemble the bird. The peacock design can be found in the hallway carpet and the accent pillows on the beds. The rectangular pool and �itness center are on the roof of the Inn’s second Floor. Piped in music and lounge chairs lend to a relaxing atmosphere. The entire

watermarkonline.com

hotel has free wireless for guests and 24-hour room service. Every room has a mini refrigerator and coffee maker with Tazo Tea and Seattle’s Best coffee. The restaurant has a casual dining feel with exposed wood beams, varying mismatched chairs and burnt orange place mats. The Inn is pet-friendly, welcoming four-legged family members in designated rooms and suites. Pets can expect water bowls, a puppy gift basket and signature treats at turn down. The welcome rate for the Inn is $99 for a limited time. In addition, to family and friends visiting students at Rollins College, the Inn has meeting rooms, conference areas and a large ballroom for business conferences, training and weddings throughout the year. Because of the limited parking in downtown Winter Park, the Inn offers Valet parking to the nearby Rollins garage. Park Avenue is two blocks west of the Inn. Probably Gabel’s favorite feature about the gorgeous new hotel is that it bene�its a Rollins College scholarship fund. The net operating income from the Inn will be directed to the Alfond Scholars program fund over the next 25 years or until the endowment principle reached $50 million, whichever comes later. “Education is the answer to the future and so I love that all this will help students,” Gabel said. “I believe in trying to effect world peace and we have to do it one step at a time.” |  |


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tampa bay NEWS

Pinellas to hear arguments for trans protections Steve Blanchard & Susan Clary EDITOR@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

C

LEARWATER | Nearly �ive years after the Human Rights Ordinance was passed in Pinellas County, there is hope transgender people will be included in its legal protections. Commissioners will vote Aug. 20 on whether to replace the term “sexual identity” with “gender identity” in the wording of the ordinance. That small change in language would expand protections to transgender people if they face discrimination such as job termination, denial of housing or if they are banned from public accommodations simply because of whether they identify as a man or a woman. “This will be an important vote because we don’t want to leave anyone behind,” said Susan McGrath, President of the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County. “We owe that to the people who are transgender, there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to have the same protections as everybody else who is in Pinellas County.” When the Human Rights Ordinance was passed in 2008, the Commission opted not to include the term “gender identity.” In the �ive years since, three new commissioners have taken of�ice. The Pinellas County Chamber of Commerce has provided a letter of support. Commissioners voted unanimously Aug. 6 to move forward with the discussion of a change in the ordinance, but that doesn’t mean they will all agree with the �inal vote comes to pass. Commissioners Karen Seel and John Morroni voted against the measure in 2008. Commissioner Norm Roche, a conservative who was not on the commission then, has expressed tentative support. Critics of the change say it might adversely impact businesses if they are expected to accommodate transgender individuals by adding unisex bathrooms. However, the county has said people will use the restroom that corresponds with the gender they identify with. If it passes, Pinellas County would be the fourth government to provide protections following in the footsteps of Gulfport, Dunedin and Tampa. Most Fortune 500 companies consider it important. “This makes great business sense,” McGrath said. “I’m optimistic that it’s a sign we are moving forward.” Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, expressed her thanks to the commission for their unanimous vote on Facebook. “Kudos to the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners,” she said. She also encouraged people who support the ordinance to attend the meeting. Continued on page 20 |  |

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watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

HISTORIC VOICES: District 8 candidate Amy Foster, left, and District 4 candidate Darden Rice could add more women’s—and LGBT—voices to the St. Petersburg City Council.

Eyeing history Two out candidates could make history in St. Petersburg council election Steve Blanchard

EDITOR@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

S

T. PETERSBURG | On Tuesday, Aug. 27, voters in St. Petersburg could take the �irst steps toward adding two openly gay women to the City Council’s roster. Both Darden Rice and Amy Foster are seeking the District 4 and District 8 seats, respectively. If they survive the primary, both would go on to the general election in November. If they win there, they could join Steve Kornell on the council. Kornell became Pinellas County’s �irst openly gay elected of�icial when he won his �irst term in 2009. This is Rice’s third time running for public of�ice and she is often in the spotlight throughout the community through a number of organizations. Earlier this year she stepped down as the president of the League of Women Voters, a post she held for three years, she’s the chair of the legislative committee of the PSTA transit board and has been

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

active in the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network. Both women are con�ident that their sexuality is not an issue for voters, who are more concerned about day-to-day issues of the city, like the Pier, the Tampa Bay Rays and shear economics. “I think it’s really important for our city to grow, because if people don’t feel safe, then as soon as they have kids, what happens—they move to Clearwater, they move to the suburbs,” Foster told Watermark in June. “There’s this energy here, it’s really amazing.” Foster is the vice president of St. Pete Pride and faces Robert Davis, Alex Duensing and Steve Galvin in the race for Jeff Danner’s position. Danner can’t seek re-election due to term limits. Davis, 53, is a library assistant and Duensing, 39, is an adjunct USF poetry professor who made media headlines when he prepared for the Mayan Apocalypse from his rooftop last December. Galvin, 55, is a music producer. Foster is optimistic and feels

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that a strong female presence on the council would be very bene�icial to the city. “It’s that collaborative nature, and �iguring out a winning outcome for everyone at the table, and that is part of a woman’s nature,” she said. “Having someone who is little more able to see all sides and �igure out what the middle ground may be is very bene�icial, and I think that’s one of the strong suits of having a female presence. Rice is seeking the seat being vacated by councilwoman Leslie Curran, who cannot run for reelection because of term limits. “The main reason I’m running is to make St. Pete strong,” Rice told Watermark in March. “I have a plan called St. Pete Strong that focuses on three areas.” Those areas are strong business and jobs, strong communities and neighborhoods and strong city services, she said. “The role of City Council and City Government is the ensure that businesses have the resources they need for job growth; that neighborhoods and communities re�lect a desirable place to live work and play, and that City Services are lean and effective,” Rice said in her

Continued on page 20 |  |


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|  | St. Pete City Council |  | Pinellas Trans Protections from pg.18 Opponents of the policy, especially those aligned with conservative religious groups, are expected to voice their opinions during the public comment portion of the meeting. But commissioners have been vocal about ensuring religious freedoms in the ordinance, meaning that the law would not apply to religious institutions. It would also not affect businesses with fewer than �ive employees or public schools. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Pinellas County Courthouse on the 5th Floor at 315 Court Street in Clearwater. |  |

Woman at center of anti-gay claim Baker Acted

NEWS

Staff Report

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DAVENPORT | The Davenport woman whose account of her son being assaulted and called an anti-gay slur in a Walmart went viral this month has been transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center under the Baker Act. Kathleen Rebekkah Carpenter, 30, posted her story to The Huf�ington Post Aug. 2, describing an incident she claims happened Aug. 1 in a Walmart near her home. Carpenter, who penned the piece under the name “Katie Vyktoriah,” describes her 2-year-old son Dexter, whose favorite color is pink. According to Carpenter, Dexter wore a pink “lace �lower headband” into the store and after being laughed at by two teenage girls, faced a much scarier confrontation where a large man teased her son, then removed the headband and tossed it to the ground. She alleged he called the child an anti-gay slur. The story’s anti-gay hook and description of a “villain” picking on a child proved irresistible for a number of other online media outlets, and sites such as Gawker, Queerty and Buzzfeed quickly published the piece. In the meantime, some online posters raised questions about the story’s veracity, questioning why Carpenter didn’t report the assault to the police or a store manager. According to Donna Wood with the Polk County Sheriff’s Of�ice, on Aug. 3, a deputy spoke to a man who reported his wife and son were harassed at a Walmart the previous week. “It was determined the incident occurred within Lake County and that the man needed to contact the Lake County Sheriff’s Of�ice,” Wood said. “No PCSO report was written.” On Aug. 5, Polk County deputies returned to Carpenter’s home. Carpenter “made suicidal statements �itting the criteria for a Baker Act,” and was transported to the medical center. According to police, Carpenter has received more than 11,000 emails since the story was posted online. “At this time, there are no charges against the unidenti�ied male and we were unable to obtain video of the incident,” states the police report. |  |

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

Election from pg.18

plan. “With this focus, our city will realize its greatest purpose and opportunity, to continue to thrive and be the vital community where people come to live, work and play.” So far this election, Rice’s sexuality has been barely mentioned at campaign stops. But it has been noted in several publications, mostly in a historic context. Rice and her partner, Julie, live in St. Petersburg, so the future of the city is important to her, she said. “My partner and I want to live long lives ahead together in the city we call home,” Rice said. “I think what makes St. Petersburg special is its offerings, its location, its diversity and the arts. But all of that depends on a city that fosters and encourages a strong job base.” Rice faces Richard Eldridge, Carolyn Fries and David McKalip in the primary. Eldridge, 51, works as a taxi driver and received his biology degree from the University of South Florida. He was among 10 candidates who ran for mayor in 2009. Fries, 45, is a former Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association president. And McKalip, 47, is a neurosurgeon who in 2009 made headlines after forwarding an e-mail depicting President Barack Obama as a witch doctor at the height of the Affordable Health Care debate. Rice believes voters will look at the issues, rather than her sexuality, when they enter the polls on Aug. 29. “The world changes, people think about these issues,” she said. “When they think about fairness and ending discrimination, we generally prevail. It speaks to how much the world has changed.” Both women have been endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County and by Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, that county’s �irst and only out elected of�icial. Only voters residing in Districts 4, 6, and 8 may vote in the primary election. The names of the two candidates receiving the most votes per district will be placed on the Sept. 5 general election ballot.

SEEKING A MAYOR

Voters will also narrow the �ield for St. Petersburg mayor during the Aug. 29 Primary. Mayor Bill Foster, former City Councilman Rick Kriseman and local activist Kathleen Ford are all seeking the of�ice and

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

are seen as the frontrunners in the race. Anthony Cates and Paul Congemi are also on the ballot. While none of the candidates for mayor are gay, the LGBT community has centered quite prominently in the campaign process. Foster, who heavily defeated Ford in 2009, has slowly embraced the LGBT community by approving a domestic partner registry, extending bene�its to same-sex partners of city employees and becoming the �irst mayor of the city to ever sign a proclamation recognizing St. Pete Pride. He continues to say, however, that St. Pete Pride is too adult-themed and refuses to attend. During the July 9 debate, Foster was asked about that position, but answered by pointing out some of his accomplishments as mayor including navigating the city’s �inances through one of the most dif�icult �inancial years in memory, securing greater private

full of extraordinary people and my leadership will re�lect that,” he said. As far as Pride, Kriseman, who drafted the �irst proclamation naming June Gay Pride month in St. Petersburg when he was a councilman in 2003, simply said that the impact of the event on the city had been “huge” and noting that he has attended and when appropriate ridden in the parade every year since its inception. He said he would march if he were elected mayor. Ford did not attend the debate, but both men were asked what additional things St. Petersburg could go to become even more friendly to the LGBT community. Foster said that he had surprised some people by supporting initiatives like passing a domestic partner registry and a human rights ordinance in St. Petersburg. “I can’t think of a better city than St. Petersburg when it comes to showing respect for diversity,” he said. “I will continue to support anything that treats people with respect and shows the world that our city is committed to equality.” Kriseman said he hoped that the city’s marketing department could be called upon to do a better job of promoting St. Petersburg as a gay-friendly destination for visitors. “I don’t think we are doing anything along those lines right now and I think we should be,” he said. Kriseman also said he though it was very important that the mayor march alongside the gay community in the annual Pride parade. Ford, who spoke to Watermark during the St. Pete Pride festival in late June, said she supports the LGBT community and plans to be a part of the parade if she’s elected mayor. “Certainly, it would be nice to have the mayor of St. Petersburg march in the parade,” she said. “I always have and I will when I’m mayor. I think it’s important to recognize everyone in the City of St. Petersburg.” All registered voters living within the city limits of St. Petersburg can vote in the Mayor’s race. If a candidate receives a majority of the votes (50%+1), he or she wins. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the names of the two candidates receiving the most votes will be placed on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. |  |

“It’s that collaborative nature, and figuring out a winning outcome for everyone at the table, and that is part of a woman’s nature.” —AMY FOSTER investment and a strong city focus on the arts and cultural events. He pointed to the numerous cranes in the city skyline as proof of positive economic development. Turning to Pride, he praised the economic impact of the event, which he noted has been shown to be about $10 million. He said the event helps new people get the “vibe” of St. Petersburg and he praised the event’s impact on drawing visitors and residents together. However, he kept to the party line he has been quoted on frequently that he will not march in the parade because he believes the event is too adult-oriented. Kriseman followed the same format as Foster, �irst giving an opening statement saying he felt that in his role as a state representative he saw that in Tallahassee that partisanship was often more important than policy, a position he said he doesn’t see in St. Petersburg. He mentioned that while he often disagreed with former mayor Rick Baker on some issues it didn’t get in the way of him helping move the city forward. “This is an extraordinary city

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state NEWS

Porn star charged in 2010 murder Sergio Candido SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS

Staff Report

F

ORT LAUDERDALE | The Broward Sheriff’s Of�ice announced on Aug. 8 that it has arrested the man allegedly responsible for murdering a South Florida businessman almost three years ago. According to authorities, John Snavely killed Sam Del Brocco, 60, who had brought Snavely home for a likely sexual encounter. BEHIND BARS: Police Snavely performed in gay arrested John Snavely for the 2010 murder of Sam Del porn �ilms as “Joshua Logan.” Broccos. Del Brocco was found stabbed to death at his Pompano Beach home in September 2010. The slain businessman’s body was found not long after he was last seen having dinner alone at Kelley’s Landing in Fort Lauderdale. Del Brocco, raised in South Florida and a graduate of Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory in Hollywood, had at different times in his life also been a school psychologist and part time entertainer. Snavely, 26, is currently in jail in Saint Lucie County on violation of probation charges. He faces one count of second-degree murder for his involvement in Del Brocco’s murder.|  |

Editor’s Note: This story appeared in the South Florida Gay News and is used with permission.

Trinity MCC of Gainesville turns 30 Staff Report

G

AINESVILLE, FLA. | For 30 years the Trinity Metropolitan Community Church of Gainesville has provided LGBT people with a place to worship, and now the church is ready to celebrate. On Aug. 17, Trinity plans to hold a celebration of Trinity’s outreach as well as take time to look ahead for the next 30-plus years of ministry of Trinity, according to Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt. The church will partner with the Gainesville Area AIDS Project and offer a special concert of inspirational music beginning at 6 p.m. on Aug. 17. A love offering will bene�it GAAP and a silent auction, held at the same time, will help fund the ministry of Trinity MCC. Everyone in the community is invited to attend, not just church members. On Sunday, Aug. 18, Merritt said that a 10:15 a.m. Anniversary Worship Service will include guest preacher Rev. Pat Bumgardner, who is the pastor of MCC New York and the executive director of the Global Justice Institute. A lunch celebration will continue at the Sweetwater Branch Inn. Tickets are $35 at the church and at the door. |  |

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Florida leaders concerned for safety of LGBT athletes at 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

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s the hate speech against gays escalates in Russia, the fear of reprisal during the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics against athletes and spectators has increased. Safety concerns have led four Florida Congressional Democrats to sign their names to a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. The letter, dated Aug. 2, is signed by nearly 90 members of the U.S. Senate and House including: Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings of Fort Lauderdale, Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, and Rep. Ileana Ross-Lehtinen of Miami. The letter asks Kerry to respond with the diplomatic measures the State Department plans to take to ensure American LGBT athletes, staff, spectators and their supports are not arrested detained or otherwise penalized during the Sochi Games. On June 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that “will penalize any individuals or groups found to be publicly supportive of LGBT equality. Punishable offenses might include public acknowledgment of one’s orientation, displays of affection between same-sex partners, statements in support of LGBT rights, and the use

HEIGHTENED CONCERN: Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando is one of 90 Florida lawmakers who signed a letter expressing concern over LGBT athlete’s safety at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. PHOTO BY JAKE STEVENS

of symbols such as rainbows that are attributed to the LGBT community. Foreign nationals found to be in violation of the law could be arrested and detained for up to 15 days,” stated the letter. After the International Olympic Committee promised athletes they would not be affected by Russia’s anti-gay laws, a St. Petersburg (Russia) leader publicly said all laws should be enforced no matter who is breaking them. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice who authored the letter, said in a statement that while this is the most recent and most

extreme codi�ication of Russia’s maltreatment of its LGBT citizens, it is also part of a larger trend of anti-LGBT actions in Russia. The letter to Kerry reads: “We urge the State Department to determine the appropriate course of action to assure the safety and well being of LGBT and LGBTsupporting individuals involved in or attending the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Paralympics. We look forward to hearing from you regarding what efforts have been undertaken, especially efforts undertaken in coordination with other foreign governments, and are committed to working together with you on this issue.” |  |

other U.S. Senators and House members in signing the letter, which expresses concern with the timeline of the work. The American Medical Association adopted a resolution opposing the Food and Drug Administration’s current lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men in favor of using individual risk factors rather than sexual orientation. The Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability, a non-partisan group of scienti�ic

experts convened by the HHS, currently has three studies and a task force ongoing. Additional reports, white papers and studies are due to be released in 20132014. Elected of�icials plan to use the information gathered to make policy decisions. The letter, written by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), asks Sebelius to provide information regarding what work has been done to reassess the blood ban this past year and the agency’s future plans. |  |

Two Florida Congressmen demand accountability in research on gay blood ban Susan Clary SUSAN@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

Two Florida Democratic Congressmen have signed on to a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding accountability for research into the ban on blood donations by gay men. Representatives Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Alcee L. Hastings of Fort Lauderdale joined 82

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

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nation+world NEWS

IN OTHER NEWS SOCIAL SECURITY LIMITS PAYMENTS TO SAME-SEX SPOUSES The Social Security Administration announced Aug. 9 that it will process claims for married same-sex couples, but only those who are currently “domiciled,” or live, in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. The decision means claims made by legally married same-sex couples who live in a state that does not recognize such marriages will have their applications put on hold for the time being.

EX-GAY GOSPEL SINGER REMOVED FROM MLK CONCERT A gospel singer who says God delivered him from being gay was removed from a concert lineup at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial after a request from Washington, D.C., mayor Vincent Gray. “Ex-gay” singer Donnie McClurkin was scheduled to perform at the concert Aug. 10 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Several gay rights activities objected to his participation ahead of the event.

N.J. JUDGE TO HEAR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASE ON DOMA RULING A New Jersey court case headed for oral arguments this week is among the first to test what a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act—the law barring federal recognition of samesex marriage—means in states. Six same-sex couples and their children sued the state two years ago, arguing that its civil union law didn’t give them the same legal protection as married couples. A hearing before a Superior Court judge is scheduled for Aug. 15 in Trenton.

BRAZIL ARMY MUST RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX CIVIL UNION A court has ordered Brazil’s Army for the first time to recognize a same-sex civil union between a sergeant and his partner. Judge Elio Siqueira said in his ruling that the couple is entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples in terms of things such as alimony and retirement benefits because the two have been in a stable civil union for three years. In May, the country’s National Council of Justice ruled that Brazilian notary publics must register same-sex civil unions as marriages if requested.

GROUP: JAMAICA MUST PROBE TRANSGENDER TEEN SLAYING Human Rights Watch on Aug. 1 called for Jamaican authorities to send an ``unequivocal message that there will be zero tolerance for violence against LGBT people” in their investigation into the mob killing of a transgender teenager. Sixteen-year-old Dwayne Jones was found dead on July 22 near the northern city of Montego Bay after being stabbed multiple times and shot once by a crowd of people while attending a dance party in women’s clothing.

ILLINOIS POLITICIANS OFFICIATE GAY WEDDINGS Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and Congressman Mike Quigley are officiating mock same-sex weddings during a festival in one of Chicago’s gay neighborhoods. Simon attended Northalsted Market Days Aug. 11, and Quigley performed about one dozen ceremonies Aug. 10. Both Democrats support marriage equality, but efforts to pass legislation in Illinois have stalled.

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Gay couples get hitched in Minnesota, Rhode Island Wire Report

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ROVIDENCE, R.I. | In public celebrations and intimate ceremonies, gay couples exchanged vows Aug. 1 in Minnesota and Rhode Island as the number of places where same-sex couples can wed grew to more than a quarter of U.S. states. Dozens of gay couples got married at the stroke of midnight in Minnesota, the largest Midwestern state where it is now legal to do so. In Rhode Island, the last New England state to allow same-sex marriage, weddings began at 8:30 a.m., when municipal of�ices opened.

Zachary Marcus and Gary McDowell were married at Providence City Hall by Mayor Angel Taveras. McDowell, 28, a Harvard Medical School researcher, was born in Northern Ireland. The recent Supreme Court decision striking down a law denying federal bene�its to married gay couples means he can petition for permanent residency. “It was important for us that it be the �irst day,’’ said Marcus, 25, a Brown University medical student. “It’s a personal day for us, and it’s also a great political victory.’’ As of Aug. 1, same-sex couples can marry in 13 states and in Washington, D.C. The national gay

rights group Freedom to Marry estimates that 30% of the U.S. population now lives in places where gay marriage is legal. In Minneapolis, an estimated 1,000 people packed into City Hall at midnight to celebrate 46 same-sex weddings of�iciated by Mayor R.T. Rybak. Several Hennepin County judges performed 21 more in the City Council’s chambers. Gov. Mark Dayton had proclaimed Aug. 1 to be ``Freedom to Marry Day’’ in Minnesota. Celebrations in Rhode Island were more muted, which advocates said was probably because so many nearby states already allow same-sex marriage. |  |

they can marry legally. The memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to top defense leaders, if implemented, would reverse an earlier plan that would have allowed the same-sex partners of military members to sign a declaration form in order to receive limited bene�its, such as access to military stores and some health and welfare programs. The recent Supreme Court decision extending federal bene�its to legally married same-sex couples eliminates the need for such a plan, Hagel said in the draft. ``As the Supreme Court’s ruling has made it possible for same-sex

couples to marry and be afforded all bene�its available to any military spouse and family, I have determined, consistent with the unanimous advice of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the spousal and family bene�its far outweigh the bene�its that could be extended under a declaration system,’’ Hagel wrote. According to a U.S. of�icial, the memo is under legal review by the Justice Department, and the Pentagon will not be able to take any action until that review is �inished. |  |

recognized when it comes to health insurance, taxes and other bene�its. ``Our philosophy has always been that we would never go to another state to pursue marriage, that marriage would have to come to us,’’ said Virginia ``Ginny’’ Perrine-Wilson, 45, of Lansdowne in neighboring Delaware County, who picked up the 100th license Friday. ``We decided this is about as close as it gets.’’ The American Civil Liberties Union is trying a different tack to bring gay marriage to Pennsylvania, the last holdout state in the Northeast. The ACLU has �iled a federal lawsuit to challenge the state’s 1996 marriage act, which

de�ines marriage as between a man and a woman. That suit could take years to wind through the courts. In the meantime, 30 samesex couples have married since Montgomery County awarded the �irst license July 24. Their actions amount to civil disobedience, one Temple University history professor believes. ``They’re acting in that long tradition of dissent: women �ighting for suffrage, blacks �ighting for civil rights,’’ said Professor Ralph Young, who teaches a class on and has a book on dissent in America. ``They’re trying to force the government to do something.’’ |  |

Same-sex spouses may get military benefits Wire Report WASHINGTON, D.C. | Same-sex spouses of military members could get health care, housing and other bene�its by the end of August under a proposal being considered by the Pentagon. But earlier plans to provide bene�its to gay partners who are not married may be reversed. A draft Defense Department memo obtained Aug. 7 by The Associated Press says the department instead may provide up to 10 days of leave to military personnel in same-sex relationships so they can travel to states where

Pa. county grants 100th same-sex marriage license Wire Report PHILADELPHIA | A suburban Philadelphia county defying Pennsylvania’s marriage law issued its 100th same-sex license Aug. 9, just weeks after opening the courthouse door to gay men and women. Montgomery County Democrats behind the quiet rebellion said they want to be on the right side of history. However, it’s not clear the new unions will survive a legal challenge from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration. And it’s even less clear whether they will be

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

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Are we the new San Francisco?

Greg Stemm GREG@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

HE FIRST TIME I EVER

heard St. Petersburg described as the “San Francisco of the East” was on an episode of Queer As Folk a few years ago.

One character considered a vacation to Florida and another one asked him where he was going. When he responded “St. Petersburg.” the other character said something like “You should have fun, I’ve heard that city is so gay it’s becoming the San Francisco of the East.” I admit I did a double take when I heard that. At the time it seemed to me that was a bit of a stretch, but recently I wonder if it wasn’t accurate after all. When I moved to the Tampa Bay area from Ohio in the summer of 1983, St. Petersburg was busy living up to its reputation as the “land of the newlywed and nearly dead.” Gay life was—well, there really wasn’t much in the way of gay life at all except for a couple of dingy bars. In fact one, the Engine Room on Fourth Street South, had a dirt �loor. If you wanted anything even remotely connected to being gay you pretty much had to make the trek across the old Howard Franklin Bridge to Tampa. The city Gulfport was a rundown little �ishing village that didn’t have much to offer except to the bikers who frequented the rough bars along the dilapidated

waterfront. At that time pretty much everyone thought that the future of the LGBT community would be focused on our bigger compatriot Tampa. After all wasn’t it always the big city that attracted gay people? And a big city would be the one that would put on a regional pride celebration, or lead the way in legislation that would help put an end to discrimination, right? Since that episode of QAF, things have gotten a whole lot nicer and a whole lot “gayer” in Pinellas County and surprisingly, Hillsborough turned into a huge disappointment. Several factors have transformed St. Petersburg/Gulfport into a growing gay Mecca: Our political activism, our commitment to restoring and rebuilding neighborhoods or whole communities, our Pride celebration, the gay resorts, international recognition, and a strong commitment from both cities to the arts and education. To see how far we have come, let’s look at the current race for St. Petersburg city council seats. There are two openly gay candidates in contention, which would have been �irst page news in 1983. Plus, if both candidates win, they will join Steve Kornell, who is already serving as an openly gay council member. That would make three of the nine seats held by “family” members. That’s more than San Francisco, where only two of the 11 member Board of Supervisor seats are held by openly gay representatives. As an additional aside, if Amy Foster is elected, we will have the current co-chair of St. Pete Pride sitting in a position of power in city government. That should be even more interesting if current mayor Bill Foster is re-elected. Will he continue to maintain his ridiculous argument for not participating in Pride with the co-chair sitting right next to him? St. Petersburg’s transformation won’t be complete until we have a mayor who rides in the Promenade. At this year’s Pride, I met a man from New Orleans. He had come from the Big Easy speci�ically for our event. I knew we had captured the attention of Floridians, but to attract someone from the home of Southern Decadence is quite a compliment. He stayed at the Flamingo Resort. That hotel, and earlier the Suncoast Resort, had huge impacts on transforming St. Petersburg into a growing gay destination for visitors. But many don’t know that the city has a history with gay tourism going back

40 years. Way back in the 1970s, the Wedgewood Resort attracted all sorts of visitors and was an architectural treasure with Greco-Roman statues and fountains on its garden grounds. Since the women of our community discovered it and transformed Gulfport into an artist community, it has taken the lead in passing LGBT-friendly legislation. It was the �irst to pass a human rights ordinance (still the most comprehensive in the state) and �irst in the county to pass a domestic partner registry. St. Petersburg followed and the laws went countywide shortly thereafter. There’s no question San Francisco

remains the heart and soul of our community. It is a beautiful city, and while the fog is romantic, it’s a bit chilly and damp for my tropical tastes. Give me our beaches and sunshine any day. I’m not suggesting it’s a competition, but when you look at how St. Petersburg/Gulfport has changed over the last three decades, it’s easy to see how we could be seen by outsiders as a “San Francisco of the East.” St. Petersburg’s “nearly dead” days are gone, but if Florida ever gets its act together with marriage equality, the “newlyweds” may be back even stronger in a brand new way! |  |

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perspective

PUBLISHER’S

A Mexico City moment in Sochi

Tom Dyer TOM@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

O

NE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC

political statements made during my lifetime took place at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. It was an unexpected, jaw-dropping moment of dignity and grace, reviled at the time and lauded in retrospect. As a 13-year-old watching on television, I’ll never forget it. American sprinter Tommie Smith won the 200 meter dash in world record time. Australia’s Peter Norman �inished second, and Smith’s American teammate, John Carlos, placed third. The Americans were tall, handsome, goateed and proudly black. After the race, the three athletes approached the podium to receive their medals. Smith and Carlos were shoeless, wearing only black socks to signify black poverty. More signi�icantly, the Americans each wore a single black glove. And when “The Star Spangled Banner” began they raised their gloved �ists toward the �lag and bowed their heads. Smith and Carlos remained in the recognizable Black Power salute throughout the anthem, and when it was over boos echoed throughout the stadium. Their silent protest—just six months after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—de�ined the 1968 games and became headline news worldwide. I hope something similarly courageous occurs

next February at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This time the message won’t be Black Power, but LGBT Equality. It could happen. Russia is proudly homophobic and trending retrograde. Although homosexual acts by men were decriminalized in 1993, a 2013 survey found that 74% of Russians believe homosexuality should not be tolerated—up from 60% in 2002. Russia’s government recently enacted a federal bill banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” around minors. Offenders can be jailed for up to two weeks. Nine in 10 Russians support the ban. Foreign tourists have reportedly been arrested for discussing gay rights. And gay-bashing is epidemic, fueled by anti-gay pronouncements from government of�icials like Dimitri Kisilev, Deputy General Director of Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting. “I think that just imposing �ines on gays for homosexual propaganda among teenagers is not enough,” he said to applause before a live television audience. “They should be banned from donating blood and sperm, and in the case of an automobile accident their hearts should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life.” Any wonder a young Volgograd man was recently beaten to death after being sodomized by beer bottles? The spotlight will be on Russia for two weeks next February, and this homophobic pig apparently has no intention of dressing up; not for thousands of athletes from 38 nations, nor even the swarm of international media. More than one Russian government of�icial has clari�ied that the propaganda ban will be enforced in Sochi. Most disheartening, the International Olympic Committee appears to be lining up with their winter hosts and against free expression. When Gay Star News asked the IOC about athletes wearing rainbow pins or holding hands during opening or closing ceremonies, an of�icial replied, “The IOC has a clear rule. No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic venues.” Remarkably, prominent members of America’s religious right have aligned themselves with the Russians. In these post-DOMA days in which equality is being celebrated throughout much of the nation and world, the optics

This homophobic pig has no intention of dressing up.

couldn’t be more striking. “Russia is not being homophobic, it’s being homo-realistic,” said the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. “The Russian government is trying to establish public policy to contribute to public health, as this lifestyle is as risky as drug abuse.” Fischer also suggested that people from the West might begin emigrating to Russia for their “model profamily society.” Republicans, I ask you: Whose side of this issue are you on? Vladimir Putin’s? At present, the IOC seems indifferent to the impact Russia’s restrictive laws will have on gay athletes. “I don’t think you’ll �ind a single athlete who’d disagree with the notion that you perform better when you don’t have to hide who you are,” observed New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, who is openly gay. Talk of a boycott has been discouraged by President Obama. But he has spoken out strongly and used the issue to tweak Russian President Putin, with whom he is feuding. “Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you’ve been seeing in Russia,” Obama said last week on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

My hope is that the U.S. Winter Olympic Team, under cover of a President that will take delight in supporting them, will make a statement. It’s likely too late to change uniforms, but not to add a jaunty rainbow scarf worn by all 300-or-so athletes. And my fantasy is that supportive athlete’s in that gayest of events— �igure skating—will adopt a common musical them: gay anthems. Imagine sequined skaters, gay and straight, performing one-after-the-other to Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” The Village People’s “YMCA,” k.d. lang’s “Constant Craving,” Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” The Weathergirls’ “It’s Raining Men,” ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” and Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow.” The highlight would be �lamboyantly gay skater Johnny Weir—who is trying out but has yet to make the team. Weir married his half-Russian boyfriend in 2011, and recently said he’s willing to be arrested in Sochi. Imagine him posed at center ice, waiting for the opening notes to the greatest gay anthem of them all: “I Am Who I Am.” That’s an Olympic protest for the 21st Century. |  |

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TALKING POINTS

I can finally get married!

Yay government! So proud of you. —RAVEN-SYMONÉ COMING OUT ON HER TWITTER FEED

24%

OF AMERICANS say the U.S. should boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia to protest its anti-gay laws —According to a poll by TheLaw.TV of 500 Internet users

ORANGE ACTRESS:

MORE SAME-SEX COUPLES ON TV

A

CTOR LAURA PREPON, WHO PLAYS LESBIAN DRUG-DEALER ALEX VAUSE in Orange is the New Black, wants to see more gay relationships on television. The former That 70s Show star hopes the comedy drama series on Net�lix will pave the way for the portrayal of more same-sex relationships. Prepon told Canada.com, “For me, I’ve never played a lesbian before and I think it’s awesome. As a learning experience playing this love for someone on camera and having it be a women was very interesting because I’m straight and I’ve only done it with men on camera… There is a big gay and lesbian community out there and it’s good to have more relationships on television that they can relate to and I’m glad we could be a part of that.” |  |

FINDING BIG ‘MEMBERS’

L

OOKING FOR A NEW PLACE TO LIVE? Want a man with a large penis? (Who doesn’t, right?) You might consider a move to New Orleans, Washington D.C., San Diego, New York City or Phoenix. A recent study by Condomania lists them as the top 5 of 15 cities for wellendowed men. More than 27,000 agreed to be measured ranging from 3 to 10 inches (with the medium size about 5 to 6 inches). Alas, if you hope to stay in the Sunshine State, Miami was the only Florida city on the list, coming in at number 12. |  |

MARINES LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN…

PEOPLE ARE TALKING AT WATERMARKONLINE.COM ON THE STORY ABOUT THE ALLEGED HARRASSMENT OF A YOUNG CHILD AT WALMART “The story didn’t ring true the first time. Now it seems even more likely to be a fabrication by a woman with some mental issues.” —YIRMIN “I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, because I know there are ugly people in the world who would do something like that to a kid, and I hate to think she would exploit her kid for cheap publicity. Even if she is lying, it doesn’t justify the threats and personal attacks against her. That’s horrible.” —ALEX SAWYER

ON STEVE BLANCHARD’S EDITOR’S DESK REGARDING FORGIVENESS FOR TIM HARDAWAY: “Orson Scott Card’s mind was made up long ago. If he does change his mind, it’s only because he needs to convince as many people around the world to see his movie. Card has been a bigot (in print) for at least two decades. He’s not going to change.” —RED SNOW

ON ALLIED STRAIGHT COUPLES CONTINUING WITH THEIR WEDDINGS NOW THAT DOMA HAS FALLEN: “I think that straight couples should marry when they want and not hold out for same-sex legislation. We say

that we don’t affect their marriages, so let’s not. It’s a personal choice and hopefully soon the LGBT community will have that choice nationwide, also.” —SANDY GOLDCROSS

ON WHETHER THE U.S. SHOULD BOYCOTT THE 2014 OLYMPICS IN RUSSIA: “I strongly believe that Gay Olympians should not be put in harm’s way, nor should they have to deny their being and go into the closet while in Russia.” —KEN KAZMERSKI “No we shouldn’t. A boycott would be an open invitation to let the Russians do whatever they please to oppress a minority.” —ARLENE GUTIERREZ

‘Q’ COMES OUT

A

CTOR BEN WHITSHAW, WHO BRILLIANTLY PORTRAYED JAMES BOND’S HIGH TECH GURU “Q” in the movie Skyfall, has of�icially come out. Whitshaw, 32, married his partner, Australian composer Mark Bradshaw, 30, in Sydney. The couple met on the set of Jane Campion’s 2009 �ilm Bright Star. Whitshaw played writer John Keats and Bradshaw composed the score. |  |

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ON CRAIGSLIST

W

E CAN ALL IMAGINE IT GETS LONELY when you are shipped off to war. The Marine Corps Times reports that U.S. soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are using Craigslist to arrange casual sexual encounters with other servicemen. Though some of the ads speci�ically say the poster is looking for a woman, the majority of users are seeking other men. The Times says both troops and of�icers are posting ads in the “Casual Encounters” section. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, soliciting sex on community websites is not a punishable offense. |  |

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ARTS &

L R I G

ENTERTAINMENT

AFTER DECADES AS A

ROCK ’N’ ROLL GUY, JAMI GEE

RE-LAUNCHES HER MUSICAL CAREER AS A WOMAN

S

Michelle Rinaca MICHELLE@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

ARASOTA | WHEN YOU MEET JAMI GEE

it isn’t hard to pick her out of the crowd. Wearing a short pink mini skirt you can’t help but notice her long legs and high heels. She embodies femininity. She nervously bites her polished lips while thinking, and when she talks about men she leans in close, like a teenage girl about to share some juicy gossip.

PINK GUITAR:Jami Gee shows off

her pink guitar, complete with neon pink strings, at Bayfront Park in Sarasota.

|

This is only surprising because up until recently, she was known as Jimi. Known for more than three decades around Sarasota as a rock ‘n’ roll guy, it is surprising to some people that this hip married man is really a transgender woman. As a man, she has taught hundreds of people over the years to play guitar and probably performed four times that many musical gigs across the country. So the real question becomes, why didn’t the 58-year-old come out sooner? The simplest answer: risk.

And just as she imagined, when she �inally got the courage to become Jami, it came at a cost. “I lost jobs,” says Gee, who is a senior instructor and performer at The Guitar Center. “The fact that Guitar Center gives me this chance to play is amazing. They even have a gender neutral bathroom that has a picture of a man and a woman and we all joke that it was made for me.” The impetus for Jimi to take the

Continued on page 39 |  |

PHOTO BY JAKE STEVENS

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CLOSING NIGHT: In Hot Guys with Guns, Pip gets drugged and robbed at an orgy and his sexy, sex-boyfriend turned P.I. in training is on the case in this comedy.

Staying Fabulous FILM/CINEMA

The 3rd Fabulous Independent Film Festival returns to Sarasota

S

Zach Caruso ZACH@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

ARASOTA | FLORIDA’S CULTURAL COAST

is preparing for the third annual Fabulous Independent Film Festival to open its doors and show some of the best independent LGBT �ilms from around the country. Running from Aug. 23-25 and held at Burns Court Cinemas, the festival will show more than a half-dozen feature length �ilms over the course of the weekend. 36

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“We’re really lucky to have, for the second year in a row, the Sarasota Film Society sponsoring our event, so we have a venue that is very �ilm-friendly,” says festival director Magida Diouri. Diouri spent many years working as an artistic director for the Sarasota Film Society, and when she moved on from her position with the organization, she sought to branch out on her own and try something different. “I like the idea of diversity,”

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she says. “Being a foreigner, being born in Belgium and then coming to the U.S., I can appreciate diversity, so I felt that a great way to celebrate that was with a �ilm festival geared toward the LGBT community.” In 2010, she launched the �irst ever Fabulous Independent Film Festival at the Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. “The �irst year it was a little rough because we had the whole event in one day,” she says. “And the venue was amazing, Florida Studio Theatre is great, but it’s more geared toward live shows rather than �ilm.” By the second year, the Sarasota Film Festival came on board as a sponsor and Diouri had a new venue for the event. With that growth came expansion. Not only did attendance rise by the second year, but the number of �ilms that were screened started to increase as well. “I’m surrounded by bad in�luences!” jokes Diouri. “Our team wanted to add more �ilms and so I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’” The �irst year, the festival

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“We don’t choose how we are born, where we are born, or what we are born; we are what we are, let’s celebrate it.” —MAGIDA DIOURI screened three �ilms. This year there will be nine feature length �ilms. “There isn’t really a formal submission process,” says Diouri. “We did have some submissions but due to time constraints I wasn’t able to add them. However, there is one short �ilm by a local �ilmmaker Anthony Paul that will be screened.” She goes on to explain the selection process for the event. “When I worked with the Sarasota Film Festival, there was a submission process, a screening committee, and a group of us deciding what was going to get played,” she says.


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OPENING NIGHT: The Fabulous Independent Film Festival’s opening night film, GBF, chronicles the

fight for supremacy among the three most popular girls at school and the unexpected turn of events when one becomes the school’s first openly gay student.

“In this case, it’s a small event compared to other �ilm festivals, so we will look to some of the bigger �ilm festivals in the country and see what they have been screening, focusing mainly on the big programs such as opening and closing night, centerpieces, that sort of thing. Because we only have three days for our event, we pick the best of what they have and screen them, pick out which ones would be the best �it for Sarasota, then we put in a request and hope we can secure the �ilms to be shown.” Diouri also says that the increased sponsorship has helped the festival expand and grow. “We’re lucky to have the sponsors that we have now, because they really help make it happen, with the �ilm costs, venue rental, that sort of thing,” she says. “The �irst year there wasn’t really much sponsorship. The second year, I sent out another press release and wasn’t expecting anything, but I started getting calls saying, ‘We would like to sponsor you.’ And I said ‘You do? Cool!’” she says with a laugh. “It’s remarkable to me that we are going into the third year, I’m blown away. It has a life of its own and it is taking me along with it.” Looking ahead, Diouri has high hopes for the years to come. “I’d like to maybe add another day, get some national sponsors, maybe even have a budget big enough to �ly people and �ilmmakers down for the festival.” While Diouri’s passion for �ilm is evident, she feels there

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is a bigger message that she hopes people will take away from the festival. “We don’t choose how we are born, where we are born, or what we are born,” she says. “We are what we are, let’s celebrate it.” The Fabulous Independent Film Festival will be held Friday Aug. 23 through Sunday Aug. 25 at the Burns Court Cinemas in Sarasota. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit FabulousIFF.com. |  |

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obstacles she has had to overcome. “I knew Jimi when only little pieces [of Jami] were on display” said Fogts. “Am I surprised? Yes and no. She has always made it work for her. Now that she is embracing it, I don’t think it’s hurting her at all. I think her audience admires her musical ability. That has trumped all that other stuff and music has been her bridge.” While most people are accepting, Gee claims there are two groups of people who really show hatred towards her. The �irst are people whom she believes wish they could come out and be open like her. The second are musicians who don’t like that she is transgender and different, yet such a good musician. She has also had a fair share of death threats tossed her way. One harassing individual went as far as posting a picture of Gee’s home online with slurs about being a “pervert,” “faggot” and “child molester.” Gee credits her friends and family for coming to his defense. “I just want to live my life without people snickering or saying things” says Gee.

|  | Jami Gee from pg.33 leap of faith to �inally become Jami was unexpected. It came from a group of students. While Gee encourages everyone just to be themselves, the students turned the tables, asking Gee why she didn’t effectively put her money where his mouth is and just be herself. Once they opened the door, Gee sauntered through it, coming to class in make-up and eventually, dresses. It may be hard to fathom but this younger, more accepting generation of students became the teachers.

JAMI HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE

Growing up, she always knew she was different. She can recall memories back to her childhood when her late father told her, “Don’t sit like a girl,” or “You run like a girl”. She never really understood why it was wrong because she was just being herself. Even as young as seven, she can remember trying on her sister’s clothes and feeling pretty. As Gee grew older, she would be stereotyped in school and pegged as “gay.” Ridiculed and mocked by teachers, she just assumed that it was the title that �it best. But it never felt quite right either. “You grow up and you think, maybe you’re just a queer,” says Gee. “And then you try that and you think, this really sucks because I’m into girls.” It is confusing—especially for Gee. Jimi is still legally a man who is married to a woman. She feels like a woman who wants to be with a man but she likes women, too. She doesn’t feel she is bisexual or gay, and can’t necessarily relate on those levels either. She attributes the confusion to Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Her de�inition of GID means that she was born a girl with a male body. She believes that when she was in utero, the testosterone that made her a boy never fully reached her brain. So inside, she feels like Jami was always there, just trapped in a man’s body. “It’s like I have always been two people,” says Gee. “And now Jami just gets pissed off when people call her Jimi.”

INTRODUCING JAMI

She blushes when someone refers to her as a woman without question, giddy from the recognition. “My heart stops,” says Gee.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

PARALLEL LINES: Jami Gee anticipates some mixed reaction when her new album, Infinity on Parallel Lines, drops later this year, but says Jami has always been a part of her soul. She’s just now outwardly displaying herself. PHOTO BY JAKE STEVENS

It’s like I have always been two people;

and now Jami just gets pissed off when people call her Jimi. —JAMI GEE

“I’ve waited 45 years to hear that. I’m soaring. It’s magical. I feel so pretty.” While Gee greatly enjoys the new-found attention, she candidly admits that this transition has been hardest on her family. She has been married for 36 years to Donna, who doesn’t like to talk publicly about the transition. It has clearly strained their relationship. “She gets a lot of grief professionally” says Gee. “So we don’t bring work home and I don’t go with her to work functions. It isn’t because she is embarrassed, but more because she doesn’t

deserve the ridicule.” Gee did reiterate that Donna has been supportive over the years. She believes that Donna didn’t exactly sign on to have a wife, and while they remain married, they are more like best friends than partners these days. Gee attributes much of that to the use of female hormones, causing a decrease in her libido. Gee has actually been married twice and has two children, both boys, one from each marriage. Both sons know about her transition and fully accept and support her. They even jokingly refer to her as “m2” or “mom squared.”

TRANSITIONING IN MUSIC

Gee feels the transition has propelled her career. Musically she is driven to become better. She continues to teach but also takes lessons, and she can be seen weekly playing various clubs throughout Tampa Bay. Those who knew and loved her before aren’t changing their tune. Gwen Fogts has known Gee for more than 20 years. As the owner of Fogts Music Center in Sarasota, where Gee once worked, Fogts said she feels that Gee has always tried harder to be a better musician because of all of the personal

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So what is next? Gee hopes that young people especially will begin to look to her as an advocate. She wants to bring awareness to transgender individuals. Gee feels that drag queens and transgender people get mixed up. She clari�ies that she feels that drag queens are those who are gay and are seeking attention, but that she and other transgender indivduals are often looking to just blend in. She supports ALSO Out Youth in Sarasota, a non-pro�it organization that is a safe place for teens and adults who need help and resources about GID. Gee is currently working on a new album called In�inity on Parallel Lines. It will be the �irst under the name Jami Gee. It is being produced by Blue Rock Bakery Digital Recording Studios in Sarasota. She anticipates a lateOctober release date.. Gee’s turbulent journey to acceptance came to a climax when she performed at St. Pete Pride this past June. Overcome by emotion due to the realization she was in a sea of like-minded individuals, her pointedly selected song choice all but summed it up, Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.” After all, isn’t that what we all want? |  |

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AUG. 28 Tampa Bay Times Forum 800-745-3000 TampaBayTimesForum.com

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ST. PETERSBURG

Y

ORLANDO The Facts of Life

OU TAKE THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD, YOU TAKE THEM BOTH and there you have one hilarious parody at the Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre. The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode, written by Jamie Morris, will re-introduce you to the gals and Mrs. Garrett on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 16 and 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The play spoofs the popular 1980s sitcom and has already received rave reviews from its run in Provincetown, Mass. Catch up with Blair, Tootie, Natalie and the very masculine Jo, and learn a little bit more about what really happened at the Eastland Boarding School for Girls. For tickets, visit ParliamentHouse.com/FootlightTheatre. |  |

T

a stunning run in AIDA and she headlined her own Vegas show. It’s no wonder she loves her LGBT fans and hopes to one day play a lesbian in a �ilm. Check out the details or purchase tickets at TheMahaffey.com. |  |

BRADENTON Celebrate Chicago

HE AWARD-WINNING FILM CHICAGO, BASED ON THE BROADWAY SMASH OF THE SAME NAME, immediately became a classic when it was released in 2002. Now it’s a staple among every LGBT’s �ilm collection and the Manatee Players have added their own spin to the presentation of the movie. On Sunday, Aug. 18, the �ilm begins

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at 7 p.m., but get there an hour before to catch some live Jazz performers bringing the Chicago atmosphere to life. The performance is part of Manatee Players’ Music & Movies program, which is done in partnership with Realize Bradenton. For tickets and details, visit ManateePlayers.com. |  |

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ShotonSite

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Tampa Bay

1

1-ALL SMILES: Ken Hodges and Kim Byrd smile during a night out at Bradley’s on 7th in Ybor City Aug. 3. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST 2- GET SOAKING WET: The dance floor got crazy at Throb Nightclub in Sarasota during a foam party on Aug. 3. PHOTO COURTESY TINKERFLUFF.COM

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3- SHOWCASING POWER: Power Infiniti struts his stuff during the Come Together Ball at The Honey Pot in Ybor City on Aug. 11. PHOTO BY NICK CARDELLO

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4- SAYING HIS PIECE: St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Kriseman speaks at the freeFall theater during a Stonewall Democrats candidate reception Aug. 12. PHOTO COURTESY STONEWALL DEMOCRATS 5- WELCOMING COMMENTS: Susan McGrath welcomes attendees to the Aug. 12 candidate reception hosted by the Stonewall Democrats at freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg. PHOTO COURTESY STONEWALL DEMOCRATS 6- AMBASSADORSHIP: (L-R) Bob Devin Jones, holds a certificate recognizing Studio@ 620 as a Sunshine Ambassador and stands with Steve Kornell, Alizza Punzalan-Randleand and G. Davis Ellis at the St. Petersburg City Council Chambers Aug. 13. PHOTO COURTESY STUDIO @ 620 7- AWAITING FABULOUSNESS: Crowds were out in full force Aug. 11 during the Come Together Ball at The Honey Pot in Ybor City. PHOTO BY NICK CARDELLO

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8- SLINGING DRINKS: Teddy D tends bar at the Broken Tusk during the “Them Damn Dames” show on Aug. 10. PHOTO COURTESY TINKERFLUFF.COM

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OVERHEARD A CELEBRATION TO INFINITI

I

T’S HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT IT’S BEEN 23 YEARS since the now-iconic House of In�initi was founded in Tampa, and the legendary “mother” of it all helped spearhead a celebration on Aug. 11 at The Honey Pot and Liquid Tampa, both in Ybor City. The part dance party, part fashion show brought out huge crowds to both venues, where performers strutted their unique fashions. Power In�inity, the “legendary mother,” was on hand to spin as well as perform in a variety of outlandish out�its, which were turning heads well before Lady Gaga ever entered the realm of entertainment. Angel In�initi

and other members of the In�initi family were also on hand to create a party atmosphere that went above and beyond even the most wild expectations. The party continued well into the night when an after party invaded Liquid Tampa, where performers from earlier in the day made a few more special guest appearances. True, 23 is a strange anniversary to celebrate, but it just makes us excited to see what’s in store for Year 25!

A LUCKY 13 YEARS OF ALIBIS

W

E’RE LUCKY, IN MANY WAYS, THAT GEORGIE’S ALIBI

OPENED ITS DOORS IN THE YEAR 2000. Not only is the popular dance club/sports bar/ restaurant now a staple in the Tampa Bay LGBT community, but it makes it a lot easier to remember the bar’s age! Georgie’s Alibi will celebrate its 13th year in St. Petersburg with a special party on Thursday, Aug. 29. It’s a huge accomplishment to make it in business for a decade, much less three additional years! Georgie’s Alibi continues to partner with several groups and organizations on both sides of Tampa Bay, and is typically the partnering restaurant with Watermark during the spring’s Dining Out For Life fundraiser bene�iting ASAP.

The Aug. 29 party will feature Kori Stevens, who will host an 11 p.m. show featuring Tiffany T. McCray, the current reigning Miss Georgie’s Alibi. This will also give guests a chance to check out the new outdoor seating that sneaked onto Georgie’s front patio in mid-July.

SPEEDOS RETURN TO YBOR DEC. 1

A

S WE ALL SIT HERE, SWEATING THROUGH OUR TANK TOPS AND T-SHIRTS in the Dog Days of summer 2013, it seems way to early to even think about the holidays. But, believe it or not, they are only four months away,

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

and that means the return of the growing and very popular Santa Speedo Run, bene�iting AIDS Service Association of Pinellas. The Santa Speedo Run will return to Ybor City on Sunday, Dec. 1, which just so happens to be World AIDS Day. That’s according to Carrie West, president emeritus of the GaYbor District Coalition. He shared the news during the August meeting held at the Hilton Garden in on 9th Avenue in Ybor City. The annual run has grown into a charity event boasting more than 150 participants and raising $30,500 in 2012. For info and updates on the Santa Speedo Run, visit ASAPServices.org/ SantaSpeedoRun. |  |

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CLUB ORLANDO COME OUT TO PLAY! Gyms come and go…… Club Orlando’s Gym has been here for 14 years and is still going strong! We Offer Monthly and Annual Memberships. Stop in for a tour and a complimentary work out.

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ORLANDO

1- 80� FANS: (L-R) Jeremiah Catherwood, Jason Claggett, Marie Watkins Higgs, Jen Kunsch, and Scott Dunkle made sure to catch Molly Ringwald’s performance at House of Blues on Aug. 3. PHOTO BY RICK CLAGGETT 2- GETTING SOCIAL: Michael Deeying attends the Aug. 7 MBA mixer at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS STEPHENSON

3- TAKE THE GOOD: (L-R) Scott Penyak and Robert Curry attended a performance of The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode, at the Footlight Theatre on Aug. 10. PHOTO BY RICK CLAGGETT

7

4- DISHING DIRT: Kathryn Nevets performs as “Kathy Griffin” during the Miss Comedy Queen contest at the Parliament House Aug. 6. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST 5- HAMMERED BRUNCH: (L-R) Linda Poole, Jen Kunsch, Dori Andersen and Mike Brown enjoy brunch at the Hammered Lamb on Aug. 4. PHOTO BY RICK CLAGGETT

4

6- SHOWING SUPPORT: Alexis De La Mer and Jack Butera were on hand cheering their favorites during Miss Comedy Queen 2013 at the Parliament House Aug. 6. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST 7- CHEERS: Keith Conrad and Levi Stewart share a drink during Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando’s Aug. 7 mixer at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS STEPHENSON 8- ALL SMILES: Pam Sehnert and Rose Gamba both attended the Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando’s mixer at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort on Aug. 7. PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS STEPHENSON

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OVERHEARD THE HILARIOUS FACTS OF LIFE

I

F YOU TAKE THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD, YOU TAKE THEM BOTH and you’ll more than likely spend the entire night laughing hysterically. At least that’s what we’ve heard about The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode, now appearing at the Footlight Theatre within the Parliament House. The production is a parody of the popular 1980s sitcom, which told the story of an all-girls boarding school in New England. This traveling version of the show features staples Natalie, Tootie, Jo and Blair in all of their iconic mannerisms. There’s also a hilarious Mrs. Garrett.

Not only is the show funny, but all of the female characters are played by men. Check out the comedy written by Jamie Morris at the Footlight Theatre for two more shows, Aug. 16 and 17. Order tickets at Wanzie.com or at the door, if they’re still available.

TRIXIE CLAIMS COMEDY QUEEN TITLE

W

INTER GARDEN RESIDENT ED DOBSKI, AKA TRIXIE, is the current reigning Miss Comedy Queen 2013 after securing the title at the Parliament House Aug. 7. Her comedy included an over-the top

performance as Cruella DeVille and she was accompanied on stage with a handful of adorable men dressed as her Dalmatians. First runner up Kathryn Nevets brought her impersonation of Kathy Grif�in to the stage of the Footlight Theatre and Nicole Halliwell was named second runner up. Trixie was crowned by outgoing Comedy Queen 2012 Ginger Minj.

A GRAND PRIDE

T

HE FOLKS OVER AT COME OUT WITH PRIDE JUST ANNOUNCED that iconic �ilmmaker and director John Waters will headline Come Out With Pride this fall,

which is very exciting indeed. But what was also shared with us is that new country singing sensation Steve Grand, who’s YouTube video “All American Boy” went viral in July, will make an appearance at the October festival. Grand’s song launched the sexy young star to superstardom and is considered by many to be the �irst country song that presents two men in a romantic relationship. Grand is out and proud and is now a “must have” for many Pride festivals across the country. Get to COWP early this year to get a great view of the Chicago resident and new country sensation.

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

BACK TO SCHOOL BACKPACKS NEEDED

S

TUDENTS IN ORANGE COUNTY HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL ON AUG. 19. In an effort to ensure disadvantaged and homeless kids have a place for their books and school supplies, the Center Orlando is taking donations. You can drop off backpacks, duffel bags and drawstring bags in the donation box in the lobby at 946 N Mills Ave., Orlando. New or lightly used items are welcome. Share with friends and family to ensure every child is ready for the new school year. |  |

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St. Petersburg’s Two Poodles and Mutt Boutique owners William Phelps and David Hill were legally married July 2 in Sharon Springs, N.Y., at the American Hotel.

Transitions

CHANGE-OF-LIFE COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS Congratulations Maitland couple Jeff Spitler and Bryan Bevins will celebrate their 25th anniversary on Aug. 28. They are registered domestic partners in Orange County and look forward to being able to legally get married in Florida in the near future. Al Ferguson and Charles Scott of ALandCHUCK.travel were legally married in Washington, D.C., on July 5. The couple has announced they will hold their wedding ceremony on Friday, Nov. 29, at Sheraton Suites in Fort Lauderdale. Sammy Goldstein and Bill Yahner of Altamonte Springs celebrate 21 years together on August 26.

The Villa Bed and Breakfast in Daytona Beach celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer. To celebrate, the elegant vacation spot will offer special promotion offers to previous guests and Watermark readers. Simply give them a call. On Aug. 29, Georgie’s Alibi in St. Petersburg will celebrate its 13th anniversary with special music, giveaways and a special show hosted by Kori Stevens and Tiffany McCray. Walt Disney World entertainment specialists John Bearse and Ray DeChiara mark 18 years together on Aug. 27.

Local Birthdays Tony-winner Kenny Howard, The Dali Museum’s Jim Nixon, St. Petersburg interior designer Scott Velez (Aug. 17); Tampa Bay performer Macaviti, Sarasota orthodontist Michael Radall, Orlando lawyer Paul SanGiovanni (Aug. 18); Lakeland American Idol Hollywood week singer Danny Pate, Tampa pastor Scott Manning, St. Pete ASAP Executive Director William Harper, Georgie’s Alibi bar maiden Duffy Iorio, Tampa economics specialist LJ Sosa (Aug. 19); Clearwater bear Keith Schorr, Brandon restaurant exec Rob Roberts (Aug. 21); Largo mom Megan Szczepanik, father and LGBT activist Lynn Mulder (Aug. 22); Tampa Bay retailer Charles

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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 - it’s that easy!

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New sports hall of fame honors gay athletes

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HICAGO, ILL. | Dave Pallone, who was part of Chicago history when he umpired the �irst night game at Wrigley Field, returned to Chicago this month to take part in another chapter of American sports history: His inclusion in the inaugural class of what organizers say is the �irst-ofits-kind National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Pallone was honored in the �irst class of inductees that includes tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, and Jason Collins, who in April became the �irst active male professional athlete in a major team sport to publicly reveal he was gay. “It is a tremendous honor and ... I hope it gives young people and adults alike who happen to be LGBT and want to be in professional sports another example of why they should continue to strive for their dreams,” Pallone said prior to the event. Rick Garcia, a prominent Illinois gay rights activist agreed, saying he hopes the hall of fame

encourages gay and lesbian youth to “have a career in sports and excel in that career and still be honest about who they are.” The events included a dinner Friday night to honor the inductees at a ceremony at the Center on Halsted and an event today at Wrigley Field called “Out at Wrigley,” which organizers says is the largest “Gay Day” at a major league sporting event. Louganis, who was attending the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, was not in attendance , but expressed gratitude for being included with the groundbreaking group of inductees. “It’s an honor to be included with that group because of the things they’ve done and what they have stood for,” he said. “I’m very �lattered.” Executive Director Bill Gubrud said factors such as changing attitudes about gays, particularly among young people, made him and others think this was the ideal time to create an institution that honors the contributions that gays have made in sports as well as the hardships many endured because of their sexual orientation. Among those inducted was the late Glenn Burke. An out�ielder

with the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970s, Burke is widely believed to have delivered the �irst high-�ive. Though he did not publicly come out until two years after he left baseball, Burke maintained until he died of complications due to AIDS in 1995 that he was run out of the game by “prejudiced and homophobic” managers and front of�ices that knew he was gay. “This will help preserve history,” said Gubrud. “You are not going to know where to go if you don’t know where you’ve been and many in the gay community don’t know Glenn Burke.” Gubrud also said that a number of the inductees who are not gay are being recognized for having “helped create safe environment for LGBTs to compete in sports at every level.” Among those is Ben Cohen, an English rugby player. “He founded a foundation to stop bullying against LGBTs,” Gubrud said. Gubrud said Chicago was chosen to be hall of fame’s home for a number of reasons, starting with the city’s place as a major gay tourist destination. Also, he said, “Chicago is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the United States.” |  |

cracking down on gay rights activism. Sports of�icials have said it would be enforced during the Games in February. The president suggested that the policy could work against Russia in its quest for Olympic gold. ``One of the things I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which would, I think, go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we’re seeing there,’’ Obama said. ``And if Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, then it’ll probably make their team weaker.’’ The U.S. Olympic Committee welcomed Obama’s comments, saying a boycott would be wrong. ``The Games bring people

together. They unite the world and break down barriers. The Games demonstrate how it is possible to compete �iercely but respectfully,’’ Scott Blackmun, chief executive of�icer of the USOC, said in a statement. ``As the president suggested, the diverse group of athletes representing our nation next winter makes us a stronger and a better Team USA.’’ NBC News has assured its gay and lesbian employees who may cover the Winter Olympics in Sochi that the network will do everything possible to keep them safe. The network sent a memo to employees who have identi�ied themselves as gay and lesbian that it �inds Russia’s new law deeply troubling. NBC and its networks will once again cover the games. |  |

Obama rejects idea of Russia Olympics boycott Wire Report WASHINGTON, D.C. |President Barack Obama rejected the idea of the United States boycotting the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year over a new anti-gay law in Russia, despite frustrations with that country’s leadership on that and other issues. Answering questions at a White House news conference, Obama said U.S. athletes should not be penalized by the nations’ differences. “I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics,’’ Obama said. ``We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed.’’ Obama said he was deeply offended by Russia’s new law

IOC requests more information on Russia’s anti-gay laws Staff Report

T

he International Olympic Committee is waiting for more clari�ication from the Russian government on the anti-gay law that is overshadowing preparations for the Winter Games in Sochi. The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and imposes �ines on those holding gay pride rallies. It has caused a major international outcry and spawned calls for protests ahead of the Feb. 7-23 Olympics in the Black Sea resort. IOC President Jacques Rogge said the Russian government provided written re-assurances about the law on, but that some elements are still too unclear to pass judgment. “We are waiting for the clari�ications before having the �inal judgment on these reassurances,” Rogge said, a day before the start of the world track and �ield championships in Moscow. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko insisted that Olympic athletes would “have to respect the laws of the country” during the Sochi Games. But he also said that, beyond the law, Russia has “a constitution that guarantees to all citizens rights for the private life and privacy.” “The Olympic charter is clear,” Rogge said. “A sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation.” Even if Russia accepts that principle, the law leaves open the issue of athletes speaking freely during the games. “As far as the freedom of expression is concerned, of course, this is something that is important,” Rogge said. “But we cannot make a comment on the law” until the clari�ications have been received. “I understand your impatience to get the full picture, but we haven’t (received) it today,” Rogge said. “There are still too many uncertainties in the text.” Rogge said the problems seemed to center on translations. “We don’t think it is a fundamental issue,” he said at a news conference following a meeting of the IOC executive board with the International Association of Athletics Federations. The Winter Olympics should not be affected by other heightened political tensions between the United States and Russia ether, explained Greg Reedie of Britian, who is the IOC Vice President. He referred to the gay rights issue, as well as Russia’s asylum of Edward Snowden. “If there are political tensions arising, it wouldn’t be the �irst time before an Olympic Games,” he said. “Olympic Games overcome political tensions.” |  |

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Wire Report

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Galleryw 54

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PHOTOGRAPHY

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QUALITY IS FOR EVERYONE, and these selections from a recent photo essay simply titled “Equality” by Orlando photographer Les Jinques, prove all couples should enjoy it. The popular red and pink equality logo was everywhere prior to the Supreme Court’s historic decision in June that found part of the Defense of Marriage Act preventing same-sex married couples from receiving federal bene�its unconstitutional.

AUG. 15 - AUG. 28, 2013 // ISSUE 20.17

Photography by Les Jinques PHOTOGRAPHYBYJINQUES.COM

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Watermark Issue 20.17: Jami Gee  

Embracing Jami: After decades as a male rocker, Sarasota's Jami Gee redefines herself, and her career, Pinellas County enters transgender pr...