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My Party ...And I’ll DIE if I want to.







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There are so many good things about the United Methodist Church




PAGE Many bug chasers, those

seeking to contract 37 actively HIV, mistakenly think

infection is a right of passage and a path to a worry-free life. Unfortunately, they don’t realize the complications that come with that diagnosis.



Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto star in Dallas Buyers Club, a true story based on the life of Ron Woodruff, who contracted the disease in the 80s and used it as a way to help others survive. The two stars talk about preparing for their roles.

WATERMARK ISSUE 20.24 // NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013



PAGE Sir Elton John and tennis

PAGE Kristen Beck will not



Illustration by Jake Stevens

Read it online!



In addition to a Web site with daily LGBT updates, a digital version of each issue of the publication is made available on


legend Billie Jean King helped raise nearly $1 million dollars for AIDS research at Walt Disney World; A shooting outside Stonewall Bar leaves one dead; Converge markets Orlando as a gay honeymoon destination; more.


seek the late Bill Young’s congressional seat, despite saying wanted to become the first transgender congresswoman; antigay Hillsborough Commissioner Susan Murman could snag Lt. Gov. role; more.

PAGE The largest drag event


in the world will invade Wilton Manors over the Thanksgiving weekend for Pillage & Plunder, a fundraising extravaganza benefitting several charities. The party was organized by ALandCHUCK.TRAVEL.

PAGE The communities of Tampa

and Orlando celebrated 70 Bay the annual Watermark

Awards for Variety and Excellence with parties in both cities. Our photographers captured many happy moments. We offer just a few here.


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.




WANTED TO THANK EDITOR STEVE BLANCHARD for all his support and compassion for including me as a cover girl on Watermark. It was a wonderful feature and I now have my �irst award as a female musician [WAVE Award]. This is truly an honor and what you have done for me has certainly made my life a lot brighter. It’s people like Steve who make a difference in the world. Many thanks. JAMI GEE SARASOTA



S A FOUNDING PARTNER OF ASPIRE HEALTH PARTNERS, The Center for Drug-Free Living, Inc., would like to express its thanks for selecting Aspire Health Partners as the bene�iciary of your October networking event. We are so pleased that you have embraced Aspire and what it stands for and what it will provide the community for many years to come. With the support of Watermark Media and others in the community, Aspire will be able to provide critical community services. We look forward to your continued support of our efforts and once


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

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“This is truly an honor and what you have done for me has certainly made my life a lot brighter.” —JAMI GEE

again would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your generous donation. CHRISTINE SUEHLE ORLANDO

on the show. Hopefully it encouraged many of your readers to see it. RYAN KENNEY TAMPA



prepared me for the show I saw at the Straz Center. Of course, I expected crass humor, catchy tunes and some laugh-out-loud moments at the expense of religion. This is, after all, a show from the minds of the South Park creators. But what surprised me was the heart that accompanied the show. I walked away with a message of respect for all religions and for people’s right to believe as they choose. Despite the elaborate costumes, cool sets, amazing voices and numerous F-bombs, there’s a teachable moment in this play that I recommend everyone experience. Thank you for your story


Y REFUSING TO TREAT SAMEGENDER MILITARY COUPLES EQUALLY, the Texas Military Forces [and Governor Rick Perry] are creating a hostile climate of discrimination and have sent a strong message that Department of Defense policies and direct orders by the Secretary of Defense will not be followed. It is direct evidence of why gay and lesbian service members should be protected under the Department of Defense nondiscrimination policy and equal opportunity program. STEPHEN PETERS PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY PARTNER ASSOCIATION


Steve Blanchard EDITOR




you uncomfortable, I’m glad. The cover story makes me incredibly uneasy—and I wrote it!

My job has placed me in unpleasant situations before. But sitting across a small cafe table and listening to a young man talk about his immediate goal of contracting the virus that causes AIDS was heartbreaking— and confusing. Why in the world would someone want to test positive for HIV? I’ve written in this space before about my experiences with the test, which I’m sure are universal. Even when you’re certain results will come back negative, the wait for that conclusion from the 15-minute test is excruciating. But “bug chasing” is a very real activity within the gay


community, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. It may be a small percentage of our ranks who actively seek out HIV infection, but any percentage is too large. Finding sources for this story wasn’t easy. In fact, I had to be somewhat resourceful and misleading to �ind the young men we feature. It was an awkward experience posting a faux “personal ad” on two social networking/dating sites, one geared speci�ically to those seeking unsafe sex and another one dedicated to spreading HIV infections. I was amazed at the number of messages and “hits” my simple and vague pro�ile received. By

Publisher: Tom Dyer • Ext. 305 • Chief Financial Officer: Rick Claggett • Ext. 108 • Editor-in-Chief: Steve Blanchard • 813-470-0899 • Reporter: Susan Clary • 104 • Online Media Director: Jamie Hyman • Ext. 106 • Proofreading: Ed Blaisdell Art Director: Jake Stevens • Ext. 109 • Production Assistant: Andrés Duputel • Ext. 107 •

simply asking if “any studs wanted to be injected by a Poz Top,” my inbox was immediately �looded. That’s crass wording, I know. But I didn’t create the pro�ile on a whim. I read many of the ads listed, and saw a pattern in the language used to ensure a hook-up. With each eager bug chaser who responded, I was direct and immediately told him I was a writer wanting to learn more about their desire to contract HIV. Reactions to my intent were varied. Several were offended that I was using their community and the practice of willingly spreading HIV to “sell papers.” Some were simply miffed that I wasted their time and distracted them from �inding an HIV-positive partner. Others simply stopped corresponding. The editorial team at Watermark discussed this story on bug chasing for several months, and each time it spiraled into discussions about free will, medications, AIDS research, historical timelines and stereotypes. Discussions went in even more directions when I presented the story to our advertising staff. It was evident this would stir discussion, and I know some people will not be happy with our approach. I’m ready for your emails about perpetuating the stigma of what it means to have

HIV. Hopefully this story will disturb you. I want it to make you angry. Honestly, that was my goal from the minute I put up those pro�iles on these dating sites back in September. We are fortunate to live in a time where anti-retroviral medications make HIV and AIDS a manageable condition. Overwhelming numbers of funerals resulting from the disease are a thing of the 1980s and ‘90s, and I’m thankful the younger generation of LGBTs will not have to experience what so much of our community endured over those two decades. There’s more good news about HIV now than ever. It’s manageable. But HIV isn’t a game, and most of our community, especially those living a positive life, know that. This cover story in no way seeks to imply that HIVpositive individuals are to be feared or pitied. In fact, I hope our readers understand that those living with the infection are responsible adults who simply must take extra precautions to remain healthy and to ensure the health of those they love. The timing of this cover is no accident. Dec. 1 marks World AIDS Day, and organizations around the globe and here locally are commemorating the day with special events. I encourage all of our readers to attend at least one of these solemn events, whether you have been directly affected by HIV or not. Look at it as an educational experiment. Like with our cover of this issue of Watermark, you may be a little uncomfortable at �irst, but you’ll walk away with a knowledge you can use to help us push HIV/AIDS to just a reference in the chronicles of history. |  |

By simply asking if ‘any studs wanted to be injected by a Poz Top,’ my inbox was flooded.

Sales Manager: Mark Cady • Ext. 102 [Orlando] • Mark@ Tampa Bay Sales: Bill Jeffries Ext. 301 • 813-454-9064 • Orlando Advertising Sales: Sam Rennels Ext. 103 • Orlando Advertising Sales: Jeremy Williams Ext. 105 • Nat’l Ad Representative: Rivendell Media Inc. • 212-242-6863


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

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


is a musician and journalist from New Jersey who now lives in St. Petersburg. He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a M.A. in writing. Page 18


is a Florida native and a longtime contributor to Watermark. He lives in New York City. Page 29


is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service and has interviewed a wide range of celebrities, including Cher and Lady Gaga. He lives in Canton, Mich., and can be reached via his website at Page 49

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

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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10/16/13 4:17 PM watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE. 13

orlando NEWS

One man killed in shooting outside of Stonewall Jamie Hyman


RLANDO | Stonewall Bar is now open for business, but the building was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape for a few hours on the afternoon of Nov. 17 after a shooting near the bar resulted in one man’s death. According to the Orlando Police Department, on Nov. 17, Emmanuel Johnson, 25 met with an unidenti�ied 23-year-old man on the 700 block of West Church Street to sell and purchase a Playstation 4. Police aren’t sure what went wrong, but the men exchanged gun�ire. Both were taken to the hospital, where Johnson died and the other man remains with gunshot wounds. Steven Watkins, owner of Stonewall, said the bar was shut down for about four and a half hours, during which police would allow patrons to leave, but would not allow anyone to enter. “There was no damage to the bar,” Watkins said. “The bar was packed during the investigation.” He was not there during the incident, but said Stonewall’s security cameras caught the crime on tape so he went to the bar later in the day to help police get access to the footage. |  |

Converge launches Orlando honeymoon campaign Staff report

ORLANDO | Although Florida doesn’t have marriage equality, it does have sunshine, access to fabulous sandy beaches and loads of theme parks, shopping and restaurants. Converge Orlando Inc., the Central Florida LGBT Convention and Visitors Bureau, plans to capitalize on those assets by launching a HONEYMOON: Destination, Orlando campaign in December. With 15 states now offering marriage equality, more than 50,000 couples are expected to get hitched in the coming year, according to Converge. That is an estimated $150 million spent on honeymoons. The U.S. Census reveals 620,000 LGBT couples scattered around the country. The Orlando area has been an international destination for years. At the moment, 17 different counties have legalized gay marriage with the number growing. One of these countries, Brazil, provides the most visitors to Orlando of any other country. “Until Florida can get same sex marriage legal, we are excited to be campaigning for newlyweds from over 15 States to select Orlando as their honeymoon destination of choice,” said Mikael Frank Audebert, Continued on page 16 |  |


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

TEAM BILLIE JEAN: (L-R) Jean Julien-Rojer, Marion Bartoli, Billie Jean King, Tampa’s John Isner and Taylor Townsend all participated in Smash Hits Nov. 17. PHOTO BY TOM DYER

Smash Hits Elton John, Billie Jean King shine at AIDS fundraiser Tom Dyer


microphone to make amends. “I’m in trouble… I spilled a drink and I got yelled at,” she said. “I deeply apologize. I’m a big woman. I have big feet.” It was the 21st Smash Hits charity fundraiser, and the �irst in Orlando since 1997. The annual events have raised more than $12 million for

RLANDO | Five-time Wimbledon champ Venus Williams played. So did former U.S. Open winner Andy Roddick, current Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, and topranked U.S. player John Isner. But in every other respect, the Mylan WTT Smash Hits tennis event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World was not your normal tennis tournament. The event was hosted by tennis —SIR ELTON JOHN icon Billie Jean King—winner of 39 Grand Slam titles—and her buddy, the Elton John AIDS Foundation rock legend Sir Elton John. And even and local charities. This year’s event though members of Team Elton at Disney World raised more than and Team Billie Jean played to win, $700,000, and a big chunk will there was far more laughter than go to the Hope & Help Center of baseline grunting. On the sidelines, Central Florida. Mickey Mouse had to compete But for Sir Elton, it was also with local drag diva Darcel Stevens redemption. An avid player with for attention. a wicked forehand, John joined During the celebrity Battle of Roddick to win the celebrity set the Sexes, pitting John and Roddick 4-3. And then his team (Williams, against Williams and Bartoli, Roddick, Robert Kendrick, and Williams taunted her opponents Bradenton’s Vicky Duval) trounced by serving—successfully—from Team Billie Jean (Bartoli, Isner, Jeanway up in the stands. When she Julien Roger and Taylor Townsend) knocked over a drink, she grabbed a

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by a commanding 24-18 score. In Smash Hits events, John now leads the ultra-competitive King 11-10. And at a glitzy live auction prior to the tennis matches, John’s squad brought in $126,000, besting King’s $86,000. Items sold included King’s Centre Court seats for the 2014 Wimbledon ladies �inals, which brought $25,000. When Bartoli offered hers up as well, they fetched another $25,000. A pair of piano benches autographed by John went for $10,000 apiece. At a press conference, John shared why he takes time out from his busy schedule for Smash Hits and other HIV/AIDS fundraising. “I lost something like 60 friends to AIDS,” he said. “I wasn’t there in the 80s, when I needed to be… as a gay man. But I got sober and decided to do my part. It’s hardly over, you know… people are still getting infected at alarming rates.” John also noted that tennis was “the �irst sport whose players—en masse—supported those with HIV.” King echoed her friend’s sentiments. “Tennis has given me my life,” she said. “I love using it to give back.” |  |

“It’s hardly over, you know… people are still getting infected at alarming rates.”

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orlando NEWS

Orlando Youth Alliance coming to Lake County Alyssa Merwin

Staff report



AVERES | The Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA) is branching out into Lake County. The OYA is a community group that provides counseling, support and a safe social outlet for anyone between the ages of 13 and 24 in the LGBTQ community. There are currently chapters in Orlando, Lakeland, and Seminole. “We’ve been around since 1990 and we’ve offer support groups for LGBT youth for the past 24 years.” said Michael Slaymaker, OYA president. “The Orlando Youth Alliance is a great model because we don’t have to answer to the school board.” He’s referring to the con�lict between the Lake County School Board and then-8th grader Bayli Silberstein, an openly bisexual student who was stonewalled from creating a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Carver Middle School. Silberstein won the rights to the GSA for the remainder of her time at Carver, but she has since moved onto high school. “There is not a GSA currently meeting at Carver Middle School,” said Christopher Patton, Lake County School District spokesman. In the meantime, Lake County’s OYA chapter is starting strong. Slaymaker said 11 people attended their �irst meeting for interested parties. Former Eustis High School student and Lake County resident Jake Seymour said Lake County is more conservative than neighboring areas. “I grew up here and I know a lot of people in the LGBT community,” said Seymour. “The OYA would help people realize they can be comfortable in their own skin.” Slaymaker said organizers are still in the beginning stages of creating the chapter and they’re not sure when they’ll be up and running, but anyone interested in getting involved or volunteering could email Info@ or call 407-244-1222. In the interim, the Orlando chapter meets 6:15 p.m. every Tuesday at Reeves United Methodist Church. |  | |  | Honeymoon Campaign from pg.14


UCF defies court order to release documents related to questionable, anti-gay study

Executive Director of Converge Orlando, in a media release. Through Nov. 25, Converge Orlando will offer member hotels and restaurants the opportunity to participate in the program, which will be featured on the website. When it goes live on Dec. 1, honeymooners who show their marriage certi�icates will receive discounts on rooms, dining, parks and other activities. Converge Orlando will focus an advertising campaign on the 15 legal states including print, radio and social media. Macy’s and The Wedding Alliance will sponsor a $50,000 Google ad-words campaign in select markets. |  |

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

RLANDO | A contempt motion has been �iled against the University of Central Florida for refusing to comply with a judge’s order to turn over documents related to the publication of a widely-criticized study on LGBT parenting. Andrea Mogensen, who represents John Becker, managing editor of the popular LGBT website The Bilerico Project, �iled the motion with Orlando Circuit Judge Donald Gricewicz after UCF de�ied the court’s order to turn over the records by Nov. 14. The 2012 New Family Structures Study, conducted by University of Texas associate professor Mark Regnerus, states that straight parents provide more stable homes than gay parents. The study was published in the June 2012 Social Science Research Journal (SSRJ). UCF professor of sociology James Wright is the editor-in-chief of SSRJ. Becker �iled a lawsuit in March after UCF refused to turn over documents and emails to him under

Florida’s public records law. In his opinion, Judge Grincewicz ruled UCF must comply. “It is inexcusable—and, frankly, inexplicable—for UCF to fail to produce public records in direct contravention of a court order,” said Barbara Peterson, attorney and president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation. “The university’s failure to comply shows, unfortunately, not only contempt for the court but for the public’s constitutional right of access to government records.” According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Regnerus’ study did not control for error, and the straight households were made up of heterosexual parents in committed, long-term relationships while the study’s gay households were not made up of same-sex parents in comparable relationships. HRC is paying for Mogensen to represent Becker in the case. “There has always been a dark cloud over the Regnerus study, yet this debunked study is now being touted by anti-LGBT organizations around the country and around the globe,” said Ellen Kahn, M.S.S,

of the Human Rights Campaign. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the public has a right to know how junk science gets published in a scholarly journal.” The UCF Board of Trustees faces the possibility of major sanctions, including �ines or jail time, for failing to produce the records. The study is dangerous because it is cited as fact when important decisions about LGBT rights are made. According to the HRC, Regnerus’ research was cited by opponents of a marriage equality bill that was eventually signed into law in France, and in Russia, it has been used to justify recent, extreme anti-gay rules. On The Bilerico Project, Becker said he’s still pursuing the matter. “The light is at the end of the tunnel, folks,” he said. “I hope that soon, UCF’s stonewalling will end, we’ll be able to access these public records, and we’ll �inally uncover the full truth behind the discredited Regnerus study for ourselves.” Visit to see a copy of the court’s ruling. |  |

Rubio is a potential 2016 presidential candidate. He came from nowhere to win his seat during a tea party wave in 2010 and appears to be focused on ensuring he continues to have support from conservatives. ``The American Dream cannot be saved unless our people have the values they need for success,’’ Rubio said. ``They cannot be taught by government, and they will not be taught by the tornado of entertainment content and media messaging swirling around our children every day.’’ The dinner raised money for the group that led the petition drive to put a same-sex marriage ban on the state ballot. The constitutional amendment was approved by voters in 2008. Videos shown before and after Rubio spoke showed its president, John Stemberger, speaking against gay marriage, gay scout masters and allowing

people who have had sex changes to teach in schools. The appearance came a little more than a week after Rubio voted against a bill that would have outlawed workplace discrimination against gays. ``We hear about keeping God out of our schools, keeping God out of our politics, keeping God out of other people’s lives,’’ Rubio said. ``This is a ridiculous debate, because God is everywhere at every time.’’ And he said the United States should be doing more to promote American values and protect people’s rights to worship around the world. ``I want you to consider the vacuum that would open up if America was no longer a global presence. Consider the voices of evil and hatred that would gladly move in and take our place,’’ he said. |  |

Sen. Rubio talks morality at fundraiser for anti-gay group Wire report


RLANDO | Sen. Marco Rubio told an anti-gay group that moral issues need to be part of government debate and that the United States needs to do more to protect religious freedom abroad. “The moral well-being of our nation is our business. It’s everybody’s business,’’ Rubio said to applause at the Florida Family Policy Council fundraising dinner Nov. 16. ``The debate we should be having isn’t whether or not we have a right to talk about values and morals in the public square, the debate we should be having instead is which values and morals our nation should focus on.’’ Rubio clearly still had the support of the social conservatives at the dinner. After he took the stage, one man yelled, ``Rubio for president!’’ followed by applause from others.

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tampa bay NEWS 18

Anti-gay Hillsborough commissioner on short list for Lt. Gov. position Staff Report


AMPA | One of Hillsborough County’s anti-gay commissioners could be Governor Rick Scott’s choice for Lieutenant Governor. Sandy Murman was named on a short list of potential candidates released by VETTED FOR Scott’s of�ice Nov. 18 NO. 2: The Murman was one of four office of Gov. Rick commissioners who voted down a Scott is vetting county-wide domestic partnership Sandy Murman registry for unmarried couples in as his potential Lt. the early part of 2013. She said she Governor, the office voted against the registry because shared Nov. 18. it’s personal responsibility to make end-of-life previsions, not the business of the government. “I feel, bottom line, that this can still be done as a matter of personal responsibility by individuals,” Murman during the commission meeting debating the measure. “You can go and get a legal document. This is about process and nothing more than that.” She went on to suggest that the county’s elder affairs division should take a more active role in preparing unmarried, older couples for these decisions. Along with Murman, Scott’s of�ice has started vetting state Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, and Sheriff Don Eslinger of Seminole County near Orlando, and Joseph Joyner, the appointed school superintendent in St. Johns County. Murman is the only woman under consideration for the job. Scott has not had a lieutenant governor since March 12, when Jennifer Carroll resigned after it was revealed she did marketing work for a veterans’ charity that was at the center of an illegal gambling investigation. When she resigned, her aides were dismissed and Scott has rarely addressed the scandal. “I’m still reviewing it,” he said of the search for Carroll’s replacement. “There are a lot of great people around the state that could be great lieutenant governors. We’re still going through the process.” Murman, 63, is a former Democrat who served in the state House from 1996 to 2004 and is known for her advocacy of children. Elected county commissioner as a Republican in 2010, she has been seen at Scott events in Tampa, including his grass roots visit to Arco-Iris, a West Tampa restaurant, in September. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Scott’s of�ice would not say how long the vetting process would take or give an estimate d date as to when an appointment would be made. Murman has remained silent on the issue. |  |

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

ENTERING THE RACE: Former Navy SEAL Kristen Beck announced her plan to run for the late C.W. Bill Young’s seat in Congress during the November meeting of the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD

A no-go Kristen Beck announces, then fails to qualify for congress campaign Steve Blanchard


LEARWATER | Despite making an announcement at the November meeting of the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce that she would run for the late Bill Young’s District 13 congressional seat, Kristin Beck did not qualify before the noon deadline Nov. 19. Beck, a former Navy SEAL who made national headlines over the summer when she transitioned, made the announcement in a subtle way while addressing the crowd at the Holiday Inn on Ulmerton Road. “I want to be the �irst transgender person in Congress, and I want to make a difference,” she told the gathering of 30 or so people. “We’re in a point in our lifetime that we can enact change, and I know I can do that from Washington, D.C. Young, a Republican, served in the seat for more than four decades and announced in the late summer that he wouldn’t seek re-election because of health issues. He died Oct. 18. The only Democrat seeking the position is former Gubernatorial Candidate and Florida CFO Alex Sink, who launched her campaign for the seat in October. Three Republicans.

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Rep. Kathleen Peters, David Jolly and Mark Bircher, will face off in a special Jan. 14 primary election. Also qualifying were Clearwater Libertarian Lucas Overby and St. Petersburg write-in candidate Michael Levinson. Beck, 46, said that she decided the night of the Chamber meeting to run for Young’s position. She wasn’t clear, however, on which district Young represented or how

announced her intent. Beck made headlines earlier this year when she shared publicly that she was a transgender woman and released her memoir, Warrior Princess. She served in the Navy for 20 years, and since coming out has appeared on Cable news networks, talk shows and in newspapers across the country. In her book, Beck shares that from the age of 5 she knew she was different. But she was raised by a dogmatically religious family and attended a Christian school operated by right-wing leader Jerry Falwell. Beck, who married twice, has two sons from her �irst marriage. “We have to stand together,” she told the group, adding that she was inspired by a transgender 16 year old she met in Volusia County earlier this fall. “Here’s this kid �ighting for his rights, something that was unimaginable when I was his age,” Beck continued. “If he can �ight for us, then so can I.” The special election primary is scheduled for Jan. 14 and the general election is March 11. District 13 covers Clearwater, Dunedin, St. Pete Beach, Largo, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg. |  |

“I fought on the battlefield and I’ve fought as a small business owner; now it’s time for me to take on a different fight.” —KRISTEN BECK

long he had been in of�ice before he passed away. Beck is currently registered to vote under the name Christopher Beck as a No Party voter or “independent.” The former SEAL was a Pentagon consultant who was wounded repeated and much-decorated during 13 deployments to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I fought on the battle�ield and I’ve fought as a small business owner,” said Beck when she

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tampa bay NEWS 20

Head start leader claims sexuality led to investigation Staff Report


AMPA | A department director who supervised children’s programs has resigned from Hillsborough County government after an investigation found she gave unsolicited sexual advice to co-workers. Erica Moore, interim director of the county’s Head Start program, stepped down Nov. 1 after the investigation. She later issued a statement saying the investigation was a farce and that evidence was overlooked and shaped by gay stereotypes. “I resigned because the die was cast against me because I am gay,” wrote Moore. The report found that in multiple instances and in the presence of �ive different women, Moore counseled them to be sexually attentive to their husbands to keep them from straying. One of the comments was made in the presence of county human resources director Lori Krieck, as advice to one of Krieck’s newlywed subordinates. In another part of the report, prepared by the private �irm Kalwary Investigations, Moore admitted giving her administrative assistant a copy of the book The Good Girl’s Guide to Bad Girl Sex as a marital aid. Two of the women claimed Moore made indirect sexual passes at them as well. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Moore’s aide told investigators that Moore remarked on the “sexy jeans” she was wearing, adding, “I may have to start hitting on you.” The other employee said Moore made a sexually suggestive comment. Moore denied the allegations. “These allegations were concocted by employees who feared for their jobs because they knew that any hint of homosexual scandal would cause the County to support them,” Moore wrote. She said she had not harassed anyone. “Polygraph results found me to be ‘Truthful’ in all responses.” In the report, said Moore generally acknowledged talking to her aide about personal family matters but said the relationship was more “sisterly.” She suggests the aide may be motivated by a poor evaluation and that one of the other women may have been lashing out due to expected changes to her job responsibilities. Moore, who was paid $104,978 annually, said her leadership led to happier foster children. “The statistics show that the foster children thrived under my care, with decreased runaways and arrest, coupled with raised academic, nutritional, personal safety and recreational expectations,” Moore wrote. “The saddest thing to me is the message that this sends to impressionable teens, that it is not permitted to be gay in Hillsborough County, even if you are competent and hardworking.” Moore was hired in January to be the director of Children’s Services and was moved to Head Start on an interim basis when its director left. In her initial role, she was singled out for praise by county commissioners for helping to turn around a long-troubled program that houses foster children. |  |

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Clearwater preps for a new LGBT softball league Zach Caruso


LEARWATER | Clearwater is stepping up to the plate, and swinging for the fences. The city’s Parks and Recreation Athletic Department is currently working to develop an LGBT softball league for its community. “I did a lot of research reading NRP [National Recreations and Park Magazine] and came across a few articles about the economic impact that an event or a league can have on a city, not only in regards to the community but to visitors as well,” said department intern Anthony Brenneman. Brenneman, who is studying sports management at Temple University in Philadelphia, Penn., says that his school and the surrounding city is very liberal, and has a widely accepted and celebrated LGBT community. When he came to Clearwater for his internship, he felt that the area needed more activities geared toward the LGBT community. “When I came down here, I saw that Clearwater had an LGBT demographic that seemed a little under-served,” said Brenneman. “So I developed a survey, talked with some professionals, activists, and leaders in the community and there was a real interest and a want for something like this. The feedback I was getting on my survey was that the community wanted something fun that was focused on recreation. “They wanted to enjoy the social and health bene�its of it, and they wanted co-ed, there are other leagues and activities around the area that aren’t coed, and that’s something that we wanted to have.” So Brenneman and his supervisor, Athletics Director Bob Carpenter, started to brainstorm ideas. “We started to say ‘Ok where is there an opportunity to make this happen?’ and that’s when we started to talk about the Suncoast League,” said Brenneman. The Suncoast Softball League was formed in 1993 as a way to provide a friendly and competitive recreational environment for the LGBT community in Tampa Bay. It is a co-ed league. This struck

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Brenneman and Carpenter as the perfect direction to take their project. “What we’re looking to do is actually partner with Suncoast,” said Carpenter. “Through the research I’ve done and Anthony has done, they are the game in town, so we’ve reached out to them to see if they have an interest in partnering with us and helping us get this thing up and running.” And while they are hoping for a helping hand from the Suncoast Softball League, they are also hoping to �ind a leader within the community that can help them reach their goal. “What we are looking for now are community leaders to help get this league off the ground,” said Carpenter. “We see the potential for this

Pete Pride Festival and everything that happens in St. Petersburg, it seems like a win-win,” he said. “The short-term here is ‘Okay, let’s start this softball league, let’s �ind the right partners for it,’ and the long-term is ‘What’s next? A 5k run?’ So the long term is really based around growing the opportunity for the community.” Brenneman added that he has high hopes for the future of the project. “In my research I saw that Orlando has bid for the Gay Games, and that one of the reasons that it wasn’t accepted was because they have never sent a team to the [North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance] World Series,” he said. That research is �lawed, however. Orlando has sent many teams to the NAGAAA Gay World Series and in 2013, the Orlando Fury Unleashed won the Division C title in Washington, D.C. The Orlando Force placed fourth in the A-division at that same NAGAAA World Series tournament. “As we build this league into the future, we want to build that relationship with the community, and build that trust,” Brenneman said. “The door for opportunity is always open.” So far there has been no response from the Suncoast Softball League concerning the Clearwater league. The SSL is resposible for its annual Gasparilla Classic tournament each winter, which is held at several softball complexes in Tampa Bay each winter. Registration for the 2014 tournament ends Dec. 20. Neither Brenneman nor Carpenter hinted at what the new LGBT league would be called or where players who are interested could learn more online. For more information on the new league forming in Clearwater or to help with its formation, contact Bob Carpenter at Robert. or Rick Ryals at Richard.Ryals@ |  |

“We host upwards of 46 tournaments a year, so with the St. Pete Pride Festival and everything that happens in St. Petersburg, it seems like a win-win.” —BOB CARPENTER thing to be successful,” added Brenneman. “We need a voice, we need someone from the community who would be willing to step up, be that voice, and act as a liaison.” Brenneman and Carpenter say that the community is excited, and they hope that excitement translates into a successful inaugural season. “There’s a lot of buzz around the community, there are businesses reaching out to us to get involved,” said Brenneman. “I’ve been in touch with Equality Florida and they have given us the endorsement to go for it, they think it’s a great idea. But it takes time to build these relationships, you have to test things out and see how the waters are, and from there you can continue to build.” Carpenter agrees, and sees potential for success. “We host upwards of 46 tournaments a year, so with the St.

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state NEWS

Pensacola moves toward domestic partner registry Atlantic Beach to consider adding a human rights ordinance Staff Report


ACKSONVILLE | The �ight for LGBT equality has moved to one north Florida beach community— Atlantic Beach—where city commissioners will consider a Human Rights Ordinance. A public workshop is scheduled to discuss the issue on Nov. 25. The HRO would protect against discrimination based on age, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or veteran’s status in housing, employment and places of public accommodation. The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality has garnered the support of City Commissioner Maria Mark for creation of the ordinance. The organization approached her after the Jacksonville City Council turned down a similar bill in August 2012 in a highly contested 10-9 vote. Workshops are scheduled to discuss business for the Commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting, which is set for Dec. 9. Commissioners will talk about wording of the ordinance and how it might be enforced. Polling done by University of North Florida Professor Michael Binder shows that the majority of beach residents in Duval County support a human rights ordinance. While Atlantic Beach has some wording against discrimination in its housing code, the ordinance would be designed to strengthen that language and add protections in the workplace and public accommodations. |  |

Florida Guard confirms benefits for same-sex spouses Staff report


T. AUGUSTINE | Same-sex spouses of Florida National Guard members are of�icially eligible to receive bene�its. The Florida National Guard issued a press release stating that they are “in full compliance with both federal and state statutes and governing policies.” On Sept. 3, the Pentagon ruled that same-sex spouses of military members are eligible for all of the healthcare, housing and other bene�its heterosexual spouses receive, but a number of states have been reported not in compliance with the policy, Florida among them. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel criticized those states Oct. 31, stating that they are violating federal law and creating hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they’re entitled to.” The Florida National Guard’s Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System’s enrollment became effective Nov. 5. |  |


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Jamie Hyman


ENSACOLA | The Pensacola City Council has taken a step toward creating a domestic partner registry. The City Council Nov. 14 voted 7-1 to approve a �irst reading of the ordinance, with a second and �inal vote set for December. The registry provides legal protections for things like medical emergencies and �inancial planning for couples who cannot get married under current law. As of now, Pensacola’s registry does not limit itself to same-sex couples, so heterosexual couples can access its protections. Orlando attorney and LGBT activist Mary Meeks traveled to Pensacola to speak on behalf of the

registry and assist with any legal questions. She said the council chambers were “standing room only in a sea of red,” as LGBTs and allies typically wear red to show their support at government meetings and other functions. Meeks said no one spoke against the registry, not even the council member who voted against it. “There was one council member who had expressed an unequivocal ‘no’ vote prior to the meeting, who announced at the meeting that he had changed his mind from all of the heartfelt testimony and the persistent lobbying by Sara Latshaw of the ACLU,” Meeks said. Latshaw is the Northwest Florida Regional Director of the ACLU of Florida. “As domestic partnership registries have been sweeping

across the state, many in our city wondered when it would be our turn to take this important step,” Latshaw said in a media release. “The overwhelming show of support from both people in the community and the members of the city council proved that we are a city welcoming to everyone.” Meeks called Pensacola “the reddest city to ever pass” a domestic partner registry, referring to its conservative reputation. “This is a tremendous win for our hometown and is the culmination of over a year of hard work from countless individuals in the community to make these important protections available to everyone in our city,” Latshaw said. Pensacola City Councilmember Larry B. Johnson authored the ordinance. |  |

decision’’ on which parent had rights to the child. ``The couple’s actions before and after the child’s birth—including their use of funds from their joint bank account, their statements to the reproductive doctor that they intended to raise the child as a couple, the counseling they underwent to prepare themselves for parenthood, the use of a hyphenated last name for the child, and the joint birth announcement reveal that the couple’s agreement in actuality was to both parent the child,’’ the court wrote. The decision doesn’t throw out the Florida law as it applies to cases where anonymous donors provide sperm or eggs to couples. ``If you were a sperm donor, would this help you get parental rights? No, it wouldn’t,’’ said Elizabeth Schwartz, a Miami Beach attorney. ``They really looked at what was intended ... The law wasn’t thrown out, it was just thoughtfully applied.’’ The biological mother cried when she heard the news, said her attorney, Robert Segal. She has not seen her daughter in six years. The girl will be 10 in January and now is in Florida, but the birth mother has not been cooperative in providing details about her life, Segal said. ``The case represents a recognition of the fundamental

right a parent has to parent their child, regardless of that parent’s sexual orientation or the manner by which the child is conceived,’’ said Christopher Carlyle, a lawyer who assisted on the biological mother’s appeal. ``You had a unique situation where there was no intent of our client to donate this biological material and then be out of the picture. They obviously intended to raise the child together.’’ The lawyer for the birth mother didn’t immediately return a phone message left at his of�ice. A trial judge ruled for the birth mother and said the biological mother had no parental rights under state law. The 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach overturned that decision and said both women have parental rights. Schwartz said that if not for the fact that the biological mother donated her egg, the case might have turned out differently. If the birth mother had one of her own eggs fertilized, her partner might not have won parental rights. ``What would be great is if a case like this could then lead to the next case, which would be respecting the intentions to co-parent of a couple even when there is not that biological connection and gestational connection,’’ Schwartz said. ``I think there’s lots of language here that gets us closer to it.’’ |  |

Florida Supreme Court settles lesbian custody battle Wire report


ALLAHASSEE | The Florida Supreme Court ruled Nov. 7 that a woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner has parental rights to the child and ordered a lower court to work out custody, child support and visitation arrangements. The case involves a Brevard County couple, identi�ied only by their initials, who had a child together. One donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other, who gave birth in 2004. But two years later the couple split up, and the birth mother took the baby girl and left the country. The other woman, who identi�ies herself as the biological mother, used a private detective to �ind her former partner in Australia, and a custody �ight ensued. The birth mother tried to use a Florida law that prevents sperm or egg donors from claiming parental rights to children born to other couples. Her lawyer also cited a standard form donors are required to sign relinquishing parental rights. The court rejected both arguments, saying the law doesn’t apply in this case because the couple clearly planned to parent the child together. The court wrote that the case didn’t have to be an ``all-or-nothing

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Wire Report

the same day. McDermott’s challenge centered on language in the amendment that he said trumped lawmakers wanting to rede�ine marriage. The amendment reads: “The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.’’ McDermott, like many other opponents of marriage equality, said he thinks residents should be able to vote on same-sex marriage. Hawaii’s law makes it the 15th U.S. state to allow same-gender couples to marry, along with the District of Columbia. |  |

of�iciated a gay wedding, and that he showed “disobedience to the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church.” The jury will reconvene for the penalty phase, where Schaefer faces punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his ministerial credentials. “Obviously I’m very saddened. What we’re hoping for is a light sentence,” said Schaefer’s son, Tim Schaefer, 29, whose wedding led to the charges. Testifying in his defense, the 51-year-old pastor said he decided to break church rules out of love for his son. He said he might have lost what he called his “ritual purity” by disobeying the Methodist Book of Discipline, but that he felt he was

obeying God’s command to minister to everyone. “I love the United Methodist Church. I’ve been a minister for almost 20 years and there are so many good things about the United Methodist Church except for that one rule,” said Schaefer. Schaefer, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, could have avoided the trial if he had agreed to never again perform a same-gender wedding, but he declined because three of his four children are gay. The nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination accepts gay and lesbian members, but it rejects the practice of homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching.” |  |

“To treat all our citizens equally in the eyes of the law we must change this,” Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris said on the �loor. “Families have been kept apart.” After a lengthy debate, the �inal roll call was met with cheers and supporters’ speeches echoed themes of equality and civil rights. Not everyone is cheering the adoption of same-sex marriage, however. Shortly after Quinn signed marriage equality into law on Nov. 5, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki held a church service in Spring�ield where he offered “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage.”

Paprocki said that since samesex marriage is contrary to the plan of God, those who contract civil same-sex marriage are culpable of serious sin. He also noted that politicians who enacted civil same-sex marriage legislation are “morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.” “It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church,” said Paprocki. Illinois is the 16th state to legalize gay marriage. |  |

Methodist jury convicts Pennsylvania pastor for gay wedding Wire Report SPRING CITY, PA. | A United Methodist pastor was convicted Nov. 18 of breaking church law by of�iciating his son’s same-sex wedding and could be defrocked after a high-pro�ile trial that has rekindled debate over the denomination’s policy on marriage equality. The Methodist church put the Rev. Frank Schaefer on trial in southeastern Pennsylvania, accusing him of breaking his pastoral vows by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts. The 13-member jury convicted Schaefer on two charges: That he

Illinois governor signs marriage bill, bishop holds ‘exorcism’ Wire Report CHICAGO, ILL. | Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill authorizing same-sex marriage on Nov. 20 in front of a huge crowd at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Legislature passed the measure Nov. 5 The road to the Illinois vote was long and included a stalled attempt earlier this year, frustrating activists in a state where Democrats lead the House, Senate and governor’s of�ice. Then the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to strike down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which seemed to resonate with state lawmakers.

UGANDA TRIAL ON PUBLISHED GAY IMAGES IS POSTPONED A Ugandan judge on Nov. 18 postponed until December the trial of a British man arrested after images of him having gay sex were published in a tabloid newspaper. Bernard Randall faces up to two years in prison if convicted of trafficking in obscene publications. The charge against Randall resulted from the publication of images lifted from his stolen laptop computer. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda.

PENNSYLVANIA MARRIAGE SUIT TAKES BIG STEP TOWARD TRIAL A federal court challenge to Pennsylvania’s 17-year-old law banning the recognition of same-sex marriages took an important step toward a trial Nov. 15 when a judge rejected two different attempts to block the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III denied the motions to dismiss the lawsuit by Pennsylvania’s secretaries of the departments of Health and Revenue and Bucks County’s register of wills. It is a strong sign the case is headed to trial and, potentially, the U.S. Supreme Court.

MISSOURI TO ACCEPT JOINT TAX RETURNS FROM GAY COUPLES Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Nov. 14 directed officials to accept tax returns jointly filed by same-sex couples who were legally married in other states. The Democratic governor said his executive order deals solely with tax filing status and does not authorize or sanction same-sex marriage in Missouri. ``I just don’t think we should treat folks differently in this zone anymore,’’ Nixon said. ``I think if folks want to get married, they should be able to get married.’’



ONOLULU, HAWAII| A Hawaii judge on Nov. 14 ruled the state’s new samesex marriage law is legal, despite a challenge saying voters thought they barred same-sex marriage 15 years ago in the state constitution. Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto said the 1998 amendment didn’t force the Legislature to de�ine marriage as between a man and a woman. Sakamoto says it doesn’t factor into lawmakers’ ability to

allow gay couples to wed. ``Same-sex marriage in Hawaii is legal,’’ Sakamoto ruled after hearing arguments for more than an hour from the state attorney general and a Republican lawmaker who voted against the bill in the House last week. The challenge brought by Rep. Bob McDermott was an attempt to block the state from enacting the new law, signed Nov. 13 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The measure allows the state health department to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples Dec. 2. Ceremonies can begin



Hawaii judge upholds state’s new marriage law

NEW MEXICO WOMAN WHO SUED TO MARRY PARTNER DIES A New Mexico woman who sued so she could marry her longtime partner this summer in one of a cascade of samesex weddings in the state died Nov. 8 at the age of 44. Jennifer Martin Neuman-Roper, who had been suffering from terminal brain cancer, married Angelique Neuman-Roper in an impromptu service at Christus St. Vincent Cancer Center on Aug. 21. A court challenge over the legality of same-sex marriage in New Mexico remains unresolved.

5 WOMEN ARRESTED UNDER SENEGAL’S ANTI-GAY LAW A women’s rights activist says Senegalese police have detained five women accused of violating the country’s anti-gay law, highlighting increased pressure on suspected lesbians. Ndeye Kebe, president of the activist group Women’s Smile, said the women were arrested Nov. 11 during a birthday party at a piano bar in Dakar’s Yoff district. Homosexual acts are punishable by up to five years in prison in Senegal.

NEBRASKA MAN ATTACKS SISTER FOR BEING GAY Lincoln, Neb., police on Nov. 8 arrested Ahmed Mohammed Tuma on suspicion of attempted assault, criminal mischief and making terroristic threats after the 20-year-old attacked his sister with a crowbar because she’s gay. Tuma and a friend confronted Tuma’s sister about being engaged to another woman, and tried to hit her with a crowbar as she got out of her car. Police say Tuma, a Muslim, believes his sister disgraced his family.

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Same-sex marriage won’t lead to goat weddings and polygamy




of this kind of argument more times than I can count: “If we let gays marry, next we’ll have to let people marry goats! Or, “If we can’t legislate morality, what’s to stop people from legalizing polygamy or marrying children?”

These are what lawyers call “slippery slope” arguments, the idea being that once you’ve started going down the hill, there’s nothing to keep you from pretty much careening all the way to the bottom. Slippery slope arguments are a mainstay of conservative commentators who object to same-sex marriage, and I can see why. They appeal in a common-sense kind of way. It’s important for a civil society to have clear lines between things that are right and wrong so we all know what to expect each day. The slippery slope suggests that well intended policies could have unintended consequences that will surely send us into chaos. You might have noticed, however, that while

these comments are all over the place in the media, they’re pretty much non-existent in LGBT court cases. That’s because in real life there is no slippery slope. In law school I learned how to use the slippery slope argument to make my position sound stronger than it really was. It’s actually more of a volley into the opponent’s court than a killer shot; it buys a little time and gets the other side on the defensive. Allow me to return the volley and explain why same-sex marriage won’t put us on a slippery slope to ruin. In short, it’s because the law is in the hands of human beings, not robots, who will, with any luck, put the brakes on when it’s correct to do so. And that choice will always be dependent on more than one simple precedent—such as same-sex marriage—but rather, a complex weighing of the multitude of competing rights and duties we all have. Back in 1878, the Supreme Court outlawed polygamy based on the idea that religious belief can’t trump the needs of an ordered democracy. We still have freedom of religion, but it never exists in a vacuum. Now let’s talk about goat marriage. No matter what the courts say about same-sex marriage, there is at least one very good reason why we will never see man/goat marriages down at the courthouse: goats can’t consent. Each of us has the right to marry, sure, but inherent to modern legal marriage is mutual consent. Sorry, goat-lovers. Which is also why states restrict marriage to minors. You’ll probably agree that what makes the image of someone marrying a minor distasteful (at best) to most of us is that minors are likely not mature or empowered enough as individuals to fully and freely consent to such an important agreement. In this case, the law respects the right of the minor to not be coerced or exploited by someone in a more powerful position over the right of the adult to marry, or even the minor’s right to choose. The more compelling version of the slippery slope argument is whether we can legislate morality. Same-sex marriage opponents believe that same-sex marriage portends the

end of moral considerations in our laws. But we legislate morality all the time. Think about strip joints near schools or banning porn on broadcast TV. Again, it’s a question of weighing the rights involved. Is it your right not to have the evening news go totally hardcore, or the network’s right to broadcast what they want? The moral foundation of our laws will continue to be factored into the equation as long as we have a system of rights. Sometimes that morality will be deemed compelling enough to compel legislation; sometimes it won’t.

As for same-sex marriage, where we’ve won it, the courts have decided that one group’s moral views (a minority of people now, for the record) is not suf�icient to stop another group from entering into a lawful contract of marriage, as consenting adults. More speci�ically, and with all due respect to those who disagree, where society goes next is not a foregone conclusion. Rather than wildly sliding down, I’d say we’re still climbing— slowly—up. |  |

Each of us has the right to marry, sure, but inherent to modern legal marriage is mutual consent; sorry, goat-lovers.

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The Power of Terror




at Tulane, circa 1986. While I had lost my virginity with a man at age 16, that one time had been my only gay experience when I arrived in New Orleans to start my freshman year. Right at the end of that �irst year, and starting into my second, I began to hesitantly—although it could not be said cautiously— experiment with my sexuality. It came with a nearly crushing amount of internal con�lict. I had known since earliest adolescence that I was gay. But I hadn’t yet reconciled the juxtaposition between how I knew I felt and what I thought the world held for people who felt that way. I went through a fairly consistent cycle: horniness drives me to an anonymous encounter, which was easy to �ind on an urban college campus. Anonymous encounter leads to terror and bottomless guilt.

The fact that it was 1986 didn’t necessarily have to be important to my little story. Gay men throughout history have gone through the same soul-killing cycle of letting go and then whiteknuckling it and depending on ‘self control.’ But it was 1986 and that meant that a killer disease was lurking around every corner and beyond every shadow for gay men. AIDS at the time was too new for anyone to understand what it all meant, so the worst was assumed. (As it turned out, the worst was just about right.) However, it was known at least in the gay community enough to spur endless confusion and misinformation and drive people deeper into fear and guilt. In November that year, I had spent too much time in the Howard Tilton library, reading every thing I could �ind about AIDS, or GRID as it was still sometimes called then. One horrifying story after another of young, healthy men dealing with monstrous, tortuous illness and dying painful, lonely agonizing deaths. Then I developed a cough. Maybe it was just the drafty library. Or maybe it was that guy I met last week. I ran back to look up more about symptoms. Swollen glands. Check. Night sweats. Check. Shallow, unproductive cough. Check. Panic? Check. By the end of the following week—a week �illed with blood tests at the student health center, composing a will (whatever a 19-year-old thought he had to will, except a bunch of new wave records), and writing goodbye letters to my family—I was alone in my dorm room, the day before leaving for Orlando for Thanksgiving, calling in to �ind out my results. From the moment the woman said “Negative” I couldn’t hear anything else. I literally fell to my knees. So certain was I that I was going to be heading home to say goodbye to my family. I picked myself up and swore I would never have sex with another man. Of course, that was a promise I couldn’t keep. But the terror I felt in that moment has stayed with me since. And I had every reason to feel that fear. Even irrational fear has a foundation in fact. And

the fact that soon developed was this: Within the next 36 months, I would attend one funeral after another. In one 12-month period, I watched 13 men be buried in the ground, not a single one of them over 40. AIDS has gone from apocalyptic to manageable. But to me it’s still some scary shit. If recent rates of infection in Central Florida are any indication, some of you don’t agree. Okay, AIDS will not pick up and carry off entire groups of your friends. It will not suck the life out of a

healthy robust man in what feels like a month. But it’s still a serious disease, one that will be with you for the rest of your life. It is a circumstance that will have to be factored into every decision you make for the rest of your life. It might seem terribly oldfashioned, but it still works: wrap it up, boys. |  |

AIDS has gone from apocalyptic to manageable; but to me it’s still some scary shit.

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Watermark tradition: Boycotting the bell-ringers




again, when the incessant ringing of a bell greets every Publix shopper, accompanied by the sight of a Salvation Army bell-ringer. For the third year running, Watermark readers will quietly take a stand against the charitable organization’s anti-gay history, practices and attitude.

We are once again offering a mini-�lyer stating your opposition to The Salvation Army’s anti-gay practices. If you are participating in the boycott but would like to let The Salvation Army know why, please cut out the “money” graphics on this page and when you encounter a bell-ringer, slip a �lyer into their shiny red bucket in lieu of cash. If one is not enough, a downloadable �ile of additional �lyers is also available at WatermarkOnline. com. That download would also come in handy should you wish to spread the movement to someone who does not have access to a print edition of Watermark. It’s interesting. Every few months, the story of a Salvation Army representative saying that gay people should be put to death makes the rounds on Facebook and other social media, and dozens of users treat it like it is brand new. Sadly, it is not—Watermark covered that story back in 2012, and the Salvation Army has a long and storied history of anti-gay policies. Here’s a rundown of some of the Salvation Army’s

other anti-gay actions: In 2012, a Salvation Army media relations director stated that it is part of the group’s “belief system” that gay people deserve to die. In 2004, the Salvation Army threatened to close its New York City soup kitchens after the city decided to require all charities to adhere to civil rights laws. In 2001, it tried to get the Bush administration to withold grant monies to cities and states with nondiscrimination laws. That same year, The Salvation Army tried to get an exemption that would allow them to ignore laws protecting LGBTs from discrimination. The Salvation Army’s Position Statement on Homosexuality, which was deleted from its web site ( sometime in 2012, was very, very carefully worded, calling sexual attraction “a matter of profound complexity.” Regardless of the tactful phrasing, the message is clear: The Salvation Army does not support LGBT rights. “Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage,” the statement read. To be balanced, I should make it clear that to our knowledge, The Salvation Army does not discriminate against gay individuals when it comes to direct services, but holds a long-standing, organization-wide contempt for regulations that require charities to adhere to policies that �ight discrimination against LGBTs. That stance arguably is more problematic than blatantly anti-gay groups because it allows The Salvation Army to publicly announce, “We help anyone!” while collecting money from unsuspecting generous folks which it can then privately, quietly use to advance anti-LGBT efforts. If you do not agree with the boycott, please think about why you’re giving your money to an organization that works against LGBT equality. And if you agree, and you wish to do more than simply withhold your change from the shiny red buckets, then cut out the �lyer on this page or go to and print out your bell-ringer “donations” stating why you do not support The Salvation Army. |  |

Slip a flyer into their shiny red bucket in lieu of cash.

SALVATION ARMY: GO BEYOND THE BOYCOTT The Salvation Army has consistently taken an anti-gay stance

i do

T O N support


on LGBT issues, specifically those shielding gays and lesbians from discrimination, dating back to 1986. The Salvation Army’s official policy statement is homophobic, stating that gays and lesbians should be celibate and are not entitled to marriage equality. That is why I do not support The Salvation Army’s donation drive.




The Salvation Army has consistently taken an anti-gay stance

i do

T O N support


on LGBT issues, specifically those shielding gays and lesbians from discrimination, dating back to 1986. The Salvation Army’s official policy statement is homophobic, stating that gays and lesbians should be celibate and are not entitled to marriage equality. That is why I do not support The Salvation Army’s donation drive.




The Salvation Army has consistently taken an anti-gay stance

i do

T O N support


on LGBT issues, specifically those shielding gays and lesbians from discrimination, dating back to 1986. The Salvation Army’s official policy statement is homophobic, stating that gays and lesbians should be celibate and are not entitled to marriage equality. That is why I do not support The Salvation Army’s donation drive.




The Salvation Army has consistently taken an anti-gay stance

i do

T O N support


on LGBT issues, specifically those shielding gays and lesbians from discrimination, dating back to 1986. The Salvation Army’s official policy statement is homophobic, stating that gays and lesbians should be celibate and are not entitled to marriage equality. That is why I do not support The Salvation Army’s donation drive.



NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.




watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

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I never said I was a gay icon…

That was a label that was invented years ago.

I’m a gay supporter.

80% Canadians

accept gays compared to

60% Americans Pew Research Center






“This is just a bad idea. While I respect greatly what Kristen Beck has accomplished, onthe-go decisions like running campaigns and running for public office need to be thoroughly vetted and organized. This will take away from a supportive candidate already running, Alex Sink. It is Congress….suggest learning at a more local level first…” —BRIAN LONGSTRETH

ICTORIA’S SECRET IS WELL KNOWN FOR HAVING SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN taking to the catwalk to promote its lingerie. If a California man has his way, the company will soon feature its �irst transgender model. Marco Regalado has nearly 25,000 signatures on a petition he created on pressuring Victoria’s Secret to include Carmen Carerra, who appeared in RuPaul’s Drag Race. Carrera made her debut on the runway in L.A.

ON ST. PETE PRIDE’S NIGHT PARADE AND TRANSITION INTO A WEEKEND-LONG EVENT: “Houston also has the split pride fest and parade. I’ve been to pride events across the country and its really sad to see after such a nice Pride event this year, that St Pete Pride is following the example of the city with the WORST pride events I have ever been too.” —BILL LINNELL

ON A TEENAGER TAKING APPLE TO TASK FOR THEIR DICTIONARY THAT DEFINES GAY AS “STUPID”: “The dictionary doesn’t define “retarded” in that exact same way. Why should that definition of “gay” be acceptable?” —OFIR EYAL

“Too easily offended. GTFO with that. There are bigger issues.” —ADAM PROCTOR





“The Dictionary should reflect definitions and usage without judgement. While that usage may be offensive, it is valid and invalidates her case.” —CHUCK STROM

for Style Fashion Week this year on behalf of designer Marco Marco, who has designed for some A-list celebrities including Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, Fergie and Lil Wayne. Visit to add your name. |  |


MINEM’S LATEST RECORD, THE MARSHALL MATHERS LP 2, has its share of anti-gay slurs. In his song, “Rap God,” he raps “Break a motherf**ker’s table over the back of a couple of f**gots and crack it in half.” But singer/ songwriter Sia has come to his defense, insisting he isn’t homophobic but using his platform as a rapper to create performance art. Sia, who is featured in the





ALPH LAUREN POLO MODEL TYSON BECKFORD STIRRED UP SOCIAL MEDIA following a seductive photo shoot with model Ines Rau. What made these nude photos, which �irst appeared in France’s OOB Magazine, more powerful is the fact that Rau is a transgender model. The New York-based French model of North African descent said she was inspired to come out after reading I Am Woman, the book by transgender model Carolina “Tula” Cossey, who appeared in a James Bond �ilm and in Playboy. Breaking down barriers is part of the purpose of Transgender Awareness Month– observed in November every year. Celebrations around the country culminated with a Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 to honor people who have lost their lives due to transphobic hate. |  |

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duet “Beautiful Pain,” is donating her proceeds from her collaboration with Eminen to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Sia took to Twitter writing, “I know personally that he is not homophobic, but a performance artist. He has a character called ‘Slim Shady’ who represents the worst and darkest bile of America. I see how it can be unclear. But I assure you he is not homophobic himself. |  |




CTOR MAULIK PANCHOLY, who has appeared on popular TV show like 30 Rock, Weeds and Whitney, has come out in Out Magazine’s annual “Out 100 List.” Pancholy, 39, who is currently voicing the title characters on the animated Nickelodeon series Sanjay and Craig, has been the subject of media speculation but never talked about his sexuality. The actor, who said he recently celebrated his nine-year anniversary with his long-term partner, has portrayed gay characters on television but just hadn’t acknowledged the fact until now. |  |

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.



watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

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• Asylum • Business Immigration • Citizenship • Deportation/Removal • Family Immigration • Permanent Residency • Waivers

ATTORNEY John C. Miotke


DEHRA MIOTKE, LLC Abogado que habla Espanol

Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati are also spoken

5404 Hoover Bld, Suite 26, Tampa, FL 33634 5401 S. Kirkman Rd, Suite 310, Orlando, FL 32819 T: 727.565.4405 T: 813.221.0733 T: 407.965.2455


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watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.



The Bug With a goal of ‘achieving’ a positive status, young men proudly practice risky behaviors


Anemia, dry m and fatigue a just some of side-effects of medication



Doctor visits, medication and supplements cost HIV patients in America nearly $50,000 a year.

Estimated costs of HIV medications range from $2,000$5,000 a month!


The average HIV patient will spend more than $600,000 for medical care in his lifetime.


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24



You’ll need way more than a one-a-day to keep your immune system healthy.


Steve Blanchard


“Brandon” is visibly excited about his upcoming weekend plans. The 23-yearold, a customer service representative for a cellphone carrier, hopes to achieve a very important goal on the upcoming Saturday night.


To remain healthy, HIV+ patients must manage numerous doctor visits, sometimes making several trips a week.


mouth are the f HIV ns.


A rigorous regimen of medication is needed to keep HIV at bay. Miss a day and you may have to start all over.

“I’m going to �inally get HIV!” he says with a smile. “I’ve tried before, but this is the �irst time I’m really boosting my chances.” Brandon (not his real name) shares that he has plans to attend a “Conversion Party” at a private residence in Hillsborough County. There, he adds, he will “bottom” for multiple partners, most of whom are already HIV-positive. “I found several gift-givers willing to give me the bug,” Brandon explains. “I’m excited. It’s going to be a really hot night and it will accomplish something in the process.” Gift-givers, he explains, are HIV-positive men who prefer unprotected sex and don’t mind transmitting the disease to those who want to be infected. To a majority of gay men

who were raised on the lessons of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Brandon’s plans would seem alarming, irresponsible, or at the very least, inappropriate. But he shrugs off criticism. He says he knows what it means to be HIV-positive and he gladly embraces the title of “bug chaser.” “I know a ton of poz people,” says Brandon, who responded to a social networking post Watermark placed on a site focused on HIV infections. “I’m a good-looking guy and I’m in great shape. I love sex and I know it’s just a matter of time before I get it anyway. It’s like ripping off a band-aid. Why wait to �ind out in a year that you have it, when you can just get it, get on the drugs and go on with life? To me, this is the responsible thing to do. I’ll know I have it and I’ll be able

to treat it.” Although people working within the HIV arena have heard of “bug chasing” and have heard the arguments for it, most would quickly disagree with the Tampa resident’s assessment.

A MISINFORMATION BATTLE While there’s always a focus on raising funds to combat the disease among local populations through AIDS Walks and other fundraisers, there’s a challenge with getting those at risk to understand what living with HIV entails. “Sixteen years ago, my clients looked very bad,” recalls William Harper, the executive director for the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas. “They were scrawny, had lesions or tremendous wasting. People looked bad and were dying.” But with advances in medication, especially anti-retroviral drugs, appearances improved. “Kids think you can take a few pills and you’ll be alright,” Harper says. “But there’s so much more to it than that.” According to the Centers

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

Continued on page 46 |  |

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.


Benefits Brighter Seasons for Children and AIDS Service Association of Pinellas

You know you want... the shirt. SUNDAY DECEMBER 1, 2013 Centennial Park, Ybor | Runner Check-In 1PM

1 mile charity fun run starting at Centennial Park in Ybor on December 1, 2013. Runner Check-In 1p - Run Starts 2p Registration $35 at Registered runners recieve Event T-Shirt, Finishers Medal/Ornament, Santa Hat, Gear Check Bag and free beer at the After Party at Gaspar’s Grotto.

Sponsored By:




watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

Erase A Few Old Years Before New Years Get Ready For The Holidays

50 Units Botox for $499 2 Syringes Juvederm $999 Thermage Skin Tightening $1599 Vitalize Peel or Microderm Only $99 (reg $150) or Buy 6 Vitalize Peels or Microderms for $900 get 6 FREE! (save $900!) Radiance Medspa is the #1 BOTOX and Juvederm Facility in all of Pinellas County. Expires 12/15/13 All specials may be banked for future use. Complimentary Consultations

2894 West Bay Drive 727-518-7100 Open Saturdays Complimentary Consultations

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.



Legendary Reflections This gala, presented by the Parliament House and Team MAC Cosmetics Orlando, bene�its the Hope & Help Center on Sunday, Dec. 1. A $10 donation gets patrons entrance and appetizers and throughout the night Parliament House will mix specialty drinks for the occasion. Doors open at 9 p.m. and a raf�le and silent auction will help raise money to battle HIV AIDS in Central Florida. A La Cage production is scheduled for 10 p.m. For more information, visit

Dec. 2

WORLD AIDS DAY EVENTS Organizations around the state plan to commemorate World AIDS Day in the upcoming weeks

Hope & Help Open House Celebrate Hope & Help’s new location with a free open house on Monday, Dec. 2, from 2-7 p.m. The celebration will include light food fare from Pom Pom’s Teahouse and a tour of the new facility located at 1516 E. Colonial Dr., #203. Free and con�idential HIV testing will be on site and Walgreens will provide free �lu shots and health screenings.

Dec. 5

Still Around Join Joy MCC for a free screening of Still Around, featuring stories of rage and hope surrounding the battle against HIV/AIDS on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. The unrated �ilm reminds viewers that despite improved treatment, HIV and its social effects have not vanished and those living with the disease continue to live vital and complicated lives. Still Around provides glimpses into the everyday challenges and hopeful solutions crafted by the diverse people engaged in the epidemic. Seats are limited, so those interested are encouraged to arrive early for the viewing. For more information, call the church at 407-894-1081 or email



Rock AIDS Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness with Metro Wellness and Community Centers’ second Rock AIDS Concert at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa Saturday, Nov. 23. The outdoor concert will feature bands like Karmic Tattoo, the White Honkeys, and John Q. The concert starts at 3 p.m. and is expected to last until 7 p.m., and more bands and entertainers are being added to the schedule daily. A5.50 entry fee bene�its Metro Wellness and Community Centers. Tickets are available online at

Nov. 25

Longtime Companion The Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project will remember those who passed and still suffer from HIV/ AIDS with their annual Prelude to World AIDS Day presentation at American Stage in St. Petersburg on Nov. 25. This staged reading of Longtime Companion follows the lives of a small circle of friends from the �irst mention of the disease in The New York Times in 1981. First referred to as “Gay-RelatedImmune-Disorder,” we watch the effect of the disease as it devastates the lives of our protagonists.

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

Jumping between Manhattan and Fire Island, vignettes carry us from the it-couldn’t-happen-tome mentality of the early days of the disease to the invasive effect it has had on all of our lives, today. The title of the �ilm comes from the Times’ refusal to acknowledge homosexual relationships in their obituary section during this period. Instead, survivors were referred to as “longtime companions” of the deceased. Doors open at 7 p.m. and advance tickets are $15 at

Nov. 30

ASAP Luncheon Clients of AIDS Service Association of Pinellas will gather for the annual World AIDS Day Breakfast/ Luncheon to remember those lost to HIV/AIDS. This year’s program is on Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Suncoast Hospice South County Service Center at 3050 1st Ave. South. A complimentary continental breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. At 9:30 a.m., the program will begins and will feature the AIDS Memorial Bells and a young HIV-positive woman who will share the story of her diagnosis. The program ends at 11 a.m. RSVPs are appreciated by Nov. 22 by calling 727-328-3264.

Dec. 1

AIDS Memorial Bells The King of Peace Metropolitan

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Community Church will hold a special “Tolling of the AIDS Memorial Bells” at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1. The bells commemorate those who lost the �ight with HIV/AIDS and brings a moment of solemn clarity to the day. For details, visit

Santa Speedo Run

Grab your Santa Hat and your skimpy swimwear and participate in the fourth annual Santa Speedo Run, bene�itting the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas’ Brighter Seasons for Children charity on Sunday, Dec. 1. The annual one-mile run starts and ends at Centennial Park in Ybor City, and festive holiday attire is encouraged. All ages are welcome to participate in the run which begins at 2 p.m. Runner check-in starts at 1 p.m. Participants can register at SantaSpeedoRun.

TIGLFF World AIDS Day Film Program

Join the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival at Muvico Ybor as it presents the Florida premiere of the new documentary, Keep the Promise: The Global Fight Against AIDS and the dramatic short �ilm, Stigma. The short �ilm tells the story of Peter, who tests positive for HIV and sets out on a journey of selfdiscovery and acceptance. Keep the Promise is narrated by AIDS activist Margaret Cho and pro�iles advocates

from around the world as they gather in Washington, D.C. to protest global AIDS policy.


Trinity Service Commemorate World AIDS Day with the congregation of Church of the Trinity Metropolitan Community Church on Sunday, Dec. 1. A special service will be held at 7 p.m. to remember those lost to HIV/AIDS and to encourage those living with and battling the disease every day. For information, visit

Dec. 6

How to Survive a Plague The battle for medical research to combat HIV/AIDS is a big part of LGBT history, and it’s documented in the �ilm How to Survive a Plague, which will screen at Trinity Metropolitan Community Church in Sarasota at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6. The �ilm tells the story of ACT UP and TAG, two groups of activists whose innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Motivated by their own mortality and with no scienti�ic training, these self-made activists in�iltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs. The �ilm features historic, archival footage from the 1980s and ‘90s. For more information, visit

Dec. 7.

Sarasota/ Manatee AIDS Walk The annual 2-mile walk returns to Sarasota in 2013 on Saturday, Dec. 7, but this year’s route is different. The walk starts at 8 a.m. at J.D. Hamel Park and participants will walk the entire Ringling Bridge. Proceeds bene�it Trinity Charities and sponsors include Macy’s, Walgreens, Tropicana, The Old Salty Dog, Comprehensive Care Center, CARES and more. Food and music will kick off the festivities as walkers sign in at 7 a.m. For more information, visit


HIV resources are only a few miles away



con�idential HIV testing and most can offer results within 1520 minutes with the rapid test. Many are free, some charge. But there is no excuse for not knowing your status, especially with resources at your �ingertips. The list below is a sample of easy-access testing in our coverage areas.



The Center

ASAP North

946 N. Mills Ave. 407-228-8272

1214 Cleveland St 727-449-2437

Free Testing Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday, 9 a.m.-8 a.m. Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Free Testing Monday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Hope and Help Center, Mills S/50 Location 1516 E. Colonial Drive, Suite 203 407-645-2577

Free Testing Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Orange County Central Health Clinic 832 West Central Blvd 407-836-2600

Call for pricing Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

Planned Parenthood of Central Florida 726 South Tampa Ave 407-246-1788

$30 Monday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Zebra Coalition 911 N Mills Ave. 407-228-1446

Free Testing Verify testing times online.

ST. PETERSBURG ASAP MAIN 3050 1st Ave South St. Petersburg 727-328-3260

Free Testing Monday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Suncoast Project 4601 34th St South Suite 102 The Flamingo Resort 727-321-7600

Free Testing Monday-Friday, 11 a.m-7 p.m. Saturday, Call for appointment Sundays, 2 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Metro Wellness and Community Centers 3251 Ste. 125 3rd Ave. North 727-321-3854

Free Testing Monday & Tuesday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday & Thursday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Metro Thrift Store 2235 Central Avenue 727-321-7212

Free Testing 1st Saturday of every month, 10 am – 2 pm  

King of Peace MCC 3150 5th Ave. North 727-323-5857

Free Testing 3rd Sunday of every other month, 9–10 a.m.

TAMPA Metro Wellness and Community Centers 1315 E. 7th Ave. Tampa 813-232-3808

Free Testing Monday & Tuesday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday & Thursday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

MCC Tampa 408 East Cayuga St. Tampa 813-239-1951

Free Testing 3rd Sunday of every other month 9-10 a.m.

Planned Parenthood of Tampa Bay 8068 North 56th Street 813-980-3555

Call for pricing Monday & Tuesday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

SARASOTA Health Department 2200 Ringling Blvd 941-861-2900

Call for hours and pricing

Planned Parenthood of Sarasota 736 Central Avenue 941-953-4060

Call for pricing Monday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.


1681 Providence Blvd, Deltona (386) 860-5900 CELEBRATING LIVES~PROMISING EXCELLENCE

14 locations in Central Florida. Preneed and At Need Services.

Steve Rader Family Service Counselor Jason Gulley Funeral Director in Charge Se Habla Español

“Continually Voted Best All Around Funeral Home In The Area” D AY T O N A N E W S J O U RN A L - RE A D E R’ S C H O I C E

Come Discover The Art... Discover The Downtown...

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Between Orlando & Daytona • Take I- 4, Exit at S.R. 44 West Visit us on web or facebook us for more information.

Presenting Partners: MainStreet DeLand Association • Museum of Art - DeLand • Sands Theater Center Funding and Support Services Provided in Part by The City of DeLand and The Cultural Council of Volusia County


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

According to the Centers for Disease Control... TOP 5 STATES

At the end Nearly 50,000 new HIV REPORTING NEW HIV DIAGNOSES IN 2011: infections are reported in of 2010, an CALIFORNIA, 5,973 the United States each FLORIDA, 5,303 estimated year. In 2010, 23,168 were TEXAS, 5,065 872,990 African-American, 13,846 NEW YORK, 4,960 GEORGIA, 2,522 persons in were white and 10,159 were Hispanic or Latino. the United new HIV States were Most infections occur in Worldwide, there were people between the living with ages of 25-29. about 2.5 million new diagnosed cases of HIV in 2011. The cumulative HIV estimated infection. At the end of 2010, number of 30 million In 2011, 30,572 gay men and 13,402 heterosexual men and women in the United States contracted HIV through sexual contact.

deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis in the United States, through 2010, was 636,048.

the South accounted for 45% of the new AIDS diagnoses in the United States. 34.2 million people are living with HIV around the world. 1.8 million people with AIDS died that same year around the globe.

people with AIDS have died worldwide since the epidemic began.

“Young African American men—particularly gay and bisexual youth—are, by far, the most severely affected population and account for more new infections than any other group in the nation.” —JONATHAN MERMIN, M.D., DIVISION OF HIV/AIDS PREVENTION

“Leaders in all spheres who are living with HIV should be encouraged, not coerced, to lead by example and disclose their HIV status.” —NELSON MANDELA

“There’s no guarantee that if you get HIV and you take these triple therapies, or whatever comes along next, that they’re going to be successful for you.” —ELTON JOHN

“The general population still thinks HIV is something that came in the ‘80s and went away or that it only affects the gay population or intravenous drug users.” —ANNIE LENNOX

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watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

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watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.


|  | Bug Chasers from pg.37

for Disease Control, the “bugchasing” communities seem to be much larger in major metropolitan areas like New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles. However, that doesn’t mean smaller major cities like Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando don’t have their own bug chasing communities. “I would say it’s very rare,” says Dr. Jay Flicker with Hope and Help of Central Florida. “But it does happen. Often times the term is used incorrectly. There is a difference between a ‘bug chaser’, someone who is actively seeking the virus, and an individual who is complacent about getting it.” It’s rare that a client will identify himself as a bug chaser, but it does happen. “I’ve tested someone who came in and �irst didn’t identify himself as a person who was looking to get infected,” recalls Abby Nicholson, Metro Wellness and Community Centers’ HIV Education & Prevention Coordinator. “When it came back positive, he was like, ‘Finally, it’s done now.’ That caught me off guard, but then he told me that he tried to get infected for a long time and that he had a lot of HIVpositive partners. He was relieved and excited.” Nicholson adds that while she doesn’t understand the desire to become positive, she treats every case the same and wanted to make sure the client knew what living with HIV meant. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there, among the bug-chasing community and otherwise,” Nicholson says. “I wasn’t going to tell him if he was right or wrong. I just wanted to see what he knew.” But even those who say they know what it means to live with HIV are still willing to become infected. That’s exactly what “Travis” accomplished in 2012. “I found out I was HIV-positive on April 5, 2012, and that’s a date I plan to celebrate every year,” the 29-year-old Plant City resident says. “I’m on the right drugs, I see my doctor regularly and I always disclose my HIV status before I have sex with someone.” Travis (not his real name) says he doesn’t plan to transmit the


disease, but wouldn’t rule out becoming a “gift giver” sometime in the future, if he meets someone with a desire to become positive. “For me, getting infected was a way for me to start the next phase of my life,” Travis says. “I knew it would happen eventually, so I now know my status, I have a drug plan and I’m very healthy. It’s better than �inding out later that I have HIV and starting treatment too late.” That’s a very common practice among bug chasers, according to Dio Diaz, a prevention specialist with Metro Wellness and Community Centers. “I have seen a lot of bug chasing over my years with the HIV community,” Diaz says. “It’s usually the younger community that have boyfriends and they want to get infected because they don’t want to worry about getting infected anymore. So they willingly contract it.” Others may want to contract it to make their relationship “easier,” especially if one of the partners is already positive. Different strains of the virus could infect each partner differently, however, and can only complicate things.

Why wait to find out in a year that you have it,


“Bug chasing” isn’t typically a topic of conversation, or even on the radar, for most of the LGBT community. However, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around for decades. In fact, before antiretroviral medicines improved the overall health of positive individuals, many saw infections as a �inancial windfall. “That was when there was a lot of money in the HIV arena,” Harper explains. “There was money for housing, legal services, dental services, those kinds of things. It was very attractive to some people to become positive because they could access those services. It even helped with rental assistance and housing vouchers. So it really was a �inancial windfall for someone who may not have many resources. It was an attractive plan.” And bug chasing is all about intent, explains Flicker, who is a psychologist. “The intent of a bug chaser is to ful�ill a need, whether it’s to �ind a sense of belonging to a group or if it’s what used to be called a ‘disability queen,’” Flicker

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

says. “It was about getting those social services that just, really, aren’t around as much as they used to be.” In larger metropolitan areas like New York, for example, Harper explains that some HIVrelated housing opportunities still exist, which could explain why there’s a larger bug-chasing community there. “We honestly don’t hear much about it down here in Florida because there is simply no �inancial reward to it,” Harper explains. “Years ago, an HIV diagnosis would get you on disability. But today, medications are great as are treatments. You have to have one foot in the grave these days, or multiple diagnoses like HIV, hepatitis C, or another opportunistic infection to get any kind of major assistance.”


When Travis decided it was time to become positive, he looked to websites to �ind a person to infect him. He joined several social sites that

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advertised bareback sex or “conversion” themes. “But most of the guys I was interested in were too far away,” he says. “I wasn’t going to travel across the country to get pozzed. But I wasn’t going to get infected by someone I wasn’t into, either. If I’m getting pozzed, I’m going to get pozzed by someone hot.” Travis decided the best way to become HIV-positive was to visit a bath house. That’s a popular tactic, according to Diaz. “A lot of people who love to go to bath houses do it in the areas of Orlando, Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale,” Diaz says. “It’s a place to hookup to have random sex with random men, so that boosts infection rates. It’s really a triangle for easy sex.” And while most bath houses or sex clubs provide free condoms, if a bug chaser wants to �ind a positive partner with whom to have unprotected sex, that’s easy to do. “If you’re into bareback sex or are bug chasing, these are great places because it’s an environment that’s non-

judgmental,” says Diaz. “There is someone there willing to do whatever you want and you’re also not forced into a situation you don’t want. If you don’t want a barrier, there’s someone there who is willing to not use one either. That’s a large part of the infection numbers.” Travis, who was infected in 2012, believes he contracted HIV during several encounters at a bath house in Central Florida. He wouldn’t say which one, however. “I was there for nearly eight hours,” Travis recalls. “I have a certain ‘type’ and I knew that going to this one particular bath house would provide me with plenty of opportunities to hook up.” Travis explains that his approach to the evening was to approach men for sex by offering his “raw hole.” “For a lot of guys the idea of bareback sex is a huge turn on,” Travis says. “They don’t want a long discussion about condom use or want to hear the reasons behind why you want raw cock. But if you approach them and

when you can just get it, get on the drugs and go on with life? — ‘BRANDON’ IN TAMPA

simply tell them what you want, you’ll get a quick yes or no answer. Honestly, there are rarely ‘no’ answers.” Three weeks after his night at the bath house, Travis tested positive for HIV. He says that he’s thankful for the “gift giver” who passed along the infection, but doesn’t really care who the particular individual is. “I know some bug chasers who compare getting infected with getting pregnant,” Travis says. “That’s just stupid. I just wanted to get it so I could go on with life. It has nothing to do with a relationship.” HIV made history in the summer of 2013. In July, the CDC released that for the �irst time, every part of the United States had reported cases of HIV. Locally, the communities of Orlando and Tampa saw substantial growth in the prevalence of HIV. So much growth, in fact, that both cities now rival infection rates of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s frustrating for those battling HIV, especially when

people still believe that a positive test result means the end of safe sex. “There’s an assumption that ‘I’m already positive. What’s going to happen, I’ll get HIV again?’” says Flicker. “Actually, yes, you can get a different strain.” And those strains affect medications, which makes treatment even more of a challenge. “If you’re positive with one strain, you may have an option of 30 medications to sort through to �ind treatment,” Flicker says. “But if your strain changes, you may suddenly �ind you only have 10 medications to work with.” And, as with a case Flicker encountered several years ago, one client had a strain of HIV that was resistant to all known anti-retroviral drugs. “He was essentially untreatable,” Flicker says. “He had to remain untreated until a new class of medications came out.”


As he talks about the conversion party just days away, Brandon is visibly excited. He’s excited to contract HIV, but also about the act of doing so. “Everyone knows barebacking is way better than wrapped sex,” he says. “It feels better for the top and for the bottom.” And Brandon believes that becoming HIV-positive will improve his sex life because he won’t have to use condoms or worry about getting infected. However, that isn’t necessarily true, according to Nicholson. “A lot of gay men, unfortunately, see getting infected as a means to an end,” she says. “‘I got it, I don’t have to worry anymore’ is a popular myth. But you do have to worry because in addition to sexually transmitted infections (STI) and opportunistic infections, there are co-infections. You don’t just get to do what you want because you’re infected.” Medicines, Nicholson explains, affect people differently. If you have a strain of HIV, your medications have to be tailored to combat the disease. If someone

gets a different strain of HIV from another positive partner, the original medicine regimen won’t work anymore. “And there are certain kinds of medications you just can’t deal with,” adds Diaz. “If you have sex with people who are positive and are on different meds, the strains of HIV get combined and those meds are essentially ineffective.” Medicine has come a long way since the 1980s, when HIV and AIDS was killing people daily in the United States. It’s both a blessing and a curse, since it’s saving lives but creating an appearance that HIV belongs in history books. “There’s a perception that meds are all but a cure,” Nicholson says. “Young gay men see older gay men on meds and going to the gym and in great shape. They think it’s no big deal to be positive as long as you take your meds. There’s no concept of the side effects of those medications and what those hot men in the gym are dealing with at home and in private. They also don’t understand

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the severity of other illnesses that are exacerbated when HIV is involved.” Harper is quick to point out that a majority of HIV positive people are responsible and disclose their status to potential sexual partners. Gift givers, he says, are a minority. “The majority take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle,” Harper says. “Positive individuals should not be characterized as anything other than everyday folks, just like a diabetic taking their meds. They have to be more careful with sex and other activities, but there are many responsible HIV-positive people out there.”


Just days after his “conversion party,” Watermark reached out to Brandon via a social networking site dedicated to HIV infection to ask about his experience. “It was awesome,” he says of the party, where he had “at least” four partners. “But I did the rapid HIV test and it came back negative. I’m guessing that the infection is just too new to show up, so I’ll go again next week.” The rapid test uses a simple �inger prick of blood to determine whether a person is HIV-positive. A “postive” rapid test is then sent to the state for further analysis and con�irmation. After that, HIV service organizations like ASAP, Metro, Hope and Help and The Center step in to help clients navigate living with HIV. There may be more to Brandon’s thought process than simply wanting to get infected, according to Flicker. There could be mental health issues at play. “He thinks becoming positive will ful�ill a need, and I would want to �ind out what is that need,” Flicker says. “It sounds like it’s a case of learned helplessness that he’s going to get infected anyway. But we have a choice today and make those choices through our actions. HIV is not a guarantee if you act responsibly.” But Brandon isn’t interested. In fact, he’s more determined than ever to get his positive test result. “As soon as I get the positive test back I’ll let you know,” he says. “But if it doesn’t happen this time, I know I can always go to another party.” |  |

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The Unlikeliest

of Love



Chris Azzopardi


peak in the mid 1980s, a time before cocktail therapies were sustaining life. Then, people were diagnosed and dead within days. Ron Woodroof should’ve been. The party boy, who was given just 30 days to live after he contracted HIV in 1986, de�ied the odds, and by smuggling anti-viral medications from across the globe into the U.S., helped others do the same. “The hard truth that I could see, and the way I approached it, was him getting HIV is what gave him his purpose in life,” says Matthew McConaughey from the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, still looking slender after dropping

40 pounds to play Woodroof in the critically acclaimed dramedy Dallas Buyers Club. “That’s the �irst time that he had something that he grabbed ahold to for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day, until he was here no longer. That’s where he found a real identity. That’s where he found a purpose.” Jean-Marc Vallée, director of C.R.A.Z.Y. and The Young Victoria, tells the Texas cowboy’s story in

Continued on page 55 |  |

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PLACE OF PILLAGE: Wilton Manor is home of Pillage &Plunder 2013, a fundraising event featuring more than two dozen RuPaul’s Drag Race stars.

Pillage & Plunder ENTERTAINMENT

A fundraising event focuses on drag and local communities in South Florida


Steve Blanchard


ago, an idea was planted on the high seas that eventually turned into a drag revolution. In 2013, it has morphed into the largest drag-themed fundraiser in the state, according to organizers.

Pillage & Plunder, held by Legendary Journeys in conjunction with a Drag at Sea cruise, will feature more than 20

cast members from RuPaul’s Drag Race while bene�itting a number of charities. It’s all scheduled for Thanksgiving Weekend.

“It’s a unique experience,” Legendary Journeys owner Al Ferguson says of Drag at Sea. “It started with 10 RuPaul’s Drag Race girls on a cruise and it’s grown signi�icantly each year.” The �irst year brought 300 guests to the high seas. In 2012, that number jumped signi�icantly. This year’s cruise is already booked full with 1,600 guests on board! But that doesn’t mean there’s not a chance to get involved in the dragapalooza.

“We decided that even though we’re doing a signi�icant fundraising event on the ship, we wanted to allocate seats where people on a VIP basis can donate and it was important that we didn’t bypass the local community,” Ferguson explains. “We didn’t want people to just �ly in and get on board.” So Legendary Journeys planned Pillage & Plunder as an intercommunity event designed to bring cruise guests into town at least a day earlier to see local sites and spend money with other, local LGBT and LGBT-friendly businesses. “We already have more than 2,000 room nights booked,” Ferguson says, adding that every performer participating in Pillage & Plunder has donated their time and talents. Three charities will bene�it from that generosity: Equality Florida’s Get Engaged program, J Flag—Jamaica’s LGBT equality organization—and several AIDS service organizations throughout the state. “We hope to raise at least $50,000,” Ferguson says, adding

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that totals are already 85% of the way to that goal. “We’re hoping that the people of Tampa Bay and Orlando take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday and come support this fundraiser and have a great time.” Tickets are only $18 for general admission, but those wanting a true VIP experience with the veteran Drag Race stars can pay $149 for the “Illusions Lounge” experience, which will actually feature a replica of the popular set where queens dish during the LOGO show. “Guests who really want to rub elbows with the stars and meet them personally—outside of the typical photo op—can spend time with them in the lounge,” Ferguson says, adding that the VIP package includes an open bar. “All of the talent, when not performing, will be there.” The Manor can hold 3,000 people, and with an impressive lineup of entertainers slated to begin at 10 p.m., that space will be needed. A long list of Drag Race Continued on page 52 |  |

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BIG CAST LIST: Every single winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race is scheduled to appear at Pillage & Plunder this year, which will raise money for several charities.

We decided that even though we’re doing a significant fundraising event on the ship... we didn’t bypass the local community. —AL FERGUSON |  | Pilage & Plunder from pg.51


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veterans are scheduled, including Jinx Monsoon, Chad Michaels. Shannel, Sharon Needles, Pandora Boxx, Manila Luzon, Alaska, Morgan McMichaels, Roxxxy Andrews, Latrice Royale, Shangela, Alyssa Edwards, Vivienne Pinay, Alexis Mateo, Detox, Honey Mahogany, Jade Sotomayor, Lineysha Sparx, Mariah, Mystique Summers, Ongina, Penny Tration, Serena ChaCha, Stacy Layne Matthews, and Yara So�ia. Also scheduled to appear are several popular DJs, including Chi Chi Larue. “Nearly 30 drag stars will be there and there will be a performance on multiple stages every 30 minutes,” Ferguson says. “It will all be hosted by popular Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.” Besides landing on Thanksgiving weekend, Pillage & Plunder also conveniently lines up with South Florida’s White Party Weekend. “This is the biggest drag event in the world,” Ferguson says. The Drag Stars at Sea

cruise could also set records. The 1,600-plus booked guests will be on board a brand new MSC Cruise Ship perfectly dubbed “Divina.” “This is a cruise within a cruise,” Ferguson says. “Our events have always mixed well with other passengers. In fact, last year people were worried over an international incident because no one knew how other passengers would react to a large drag contingent on board. But guests that were with the general cruise guests wanted to take part in the Drag Stars at Sea events. They wanted to come and watch some of the shows. The world is changing in many ways and we don’t get the eyebrow raise like we would have so many years ago.” The cruise is eight days and will stop in Jamaica, Ferguson adds. And while it is booked solid, there will be a chance to participate in another drag-themed cruise in 2014. But Ferguson won’t give details just yet. “We contractually can’t make an announcement

until Nov. 27 on the 2014 event,” Ferguson says. “But it will be major news.” In the meantime, Legendary Journeys and ALandCHUCK.TRAVEL will focus on Pillage & Plunder and this year’s crfuise. “From my standpoint, besides the charity and the cruise and the party, the most interesting aspects of this is that we’re combining businesses for support,” Ferguson says. “It’s one gay business supporting another gay business. We’ve been trying for the last few years of selling the collaborative work. It’s dif�icult at best. But we’re more proud of that aspect of this project than anything else.” For tickets to Pillage and Plunder, visit |  |


WHAT: Pillage & Plunder WHEN: 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29 WHERE: The Manor, Wilton Manors TICKETS: $18 general admission; $149 VIP at

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RESEARCHING RAYON: Jared Leto prepared to play Rayon by speaking with

transgender youth.

|  | Dallas Buyers Club from pg.49

this dramatized adaptation of his inspiring evolution from hard-edged homophobe to unlikely hero— and all from the perspective of a heterosexual man who thought only gay people got HIV. “He doesn’t start off as this crusader for the cause,” McConaughey says. “He’s not waving the �lag. If anything, he’s a sel�ish son-of-a-bitch who’s doing what he can to survive.” To �ind that fortitude, McConaughey channeled a buddy’s real-life battle with cancer. “He had a lot of similar instincts, �ight and characteristics that Ron had,” he says. “I secretly had some of this based on this guy and the way he was �ighting against cancer.” Using a friend to inspire his performance—along with Woodroof’s diary, which the actor considered to be his “Pandora’s box”—McConaughey tapped into Ron’s humanity, says Vallée. “When he portrays a guy who’s racist and homophobic, and then his arc changes slowly but surely without even realizing it—he’s going to become the spokesperson of the gay community he’s been bashing for years and years. That’s what (McConaughey) brought naturally.” As he becomes a crusader for advancements in HIV medicine and the gay community, Woodroof’s journey leads him to Rayon (Jared Leto, who won our hearts in the

INSPIRED BY REALITY: (L-R) Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey play Rayon and Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club,

based on a true story.

The hard truth that I could see..

was him getting HIV is what gave him his purpose in life. —MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, WHO PLAYS RON WOODROOF

mid-1990s during his My So-Called Life stint), an HIV-positive trans woman with just enough spunk to stand up to Woodroof’s narrowminded machismo. “Rayon is quick to love and fall in love,” Leto says. “She’s full of grace and charm and a huge, open heart, and Ron provides some kind of a father �igure. She was shunned by her father at a very young age and, in a lot of ways, Ron provided that father �igure, that big brother—and there was a lot of love there.” Vallée shares that sentiment, noting a scene where Woodroof sticks up for Rayon. “This is a love story between two guys,” he says, “and we’re not telling that, and it’s not really about that, but these guys love each other.” He pauses, laughing about the possibility of taking their relationship one or maybe two steps further. “I was asking myself, ‘Should we hint to the audience that maybe they’ll have sex together?’”


So how did Jared Leto fare in heels? “I was a bit of a natural, to tell you

the truth,” he laughs. “Size 12, baby!” The reason for that, and it’s just now dawning on Leto: This ain’t his �irst time at the rodeo. “I forgot about this, but there was another project years ago—I forgot what it was for—where I went and auditioned in drag for another �ilm and walked down Fifth Avenue and thought I would have everybody fooled. But nope, nobody was having it.” In Dallas Buyers Club, every time Leto slipped into those heels, he slipped right into the character of Rayon. And he did it often. “Every morning when I showed up on set, it didn’t matter how exhausted I was, I always stepped out of that van, that glorious passenger van, in my heels,” he says. “That was one of the little things that helped me lock into the character.” The transformation, though, involved more than shoes. “You practice,” he says. “It’s one of the reasons why I was in character for the entire course of shooting, so I could get as much time in her skin as possible. But there was a lot going on. There was the gender. There was the voice. There was the dialect.

There were the heels. There was the waxing. There were all kinds of things that made it a really unique experience.” He also had another priority: Embrace Rayon as a sexual being. “Oftentimes, you see this role in a �ilm and it’s a punch line, it’s a bit of a stereotype, and it’s also a safe choice for a lot of people,” he says. “It’s a role that doesn’t have a lot of sexuality. I mean, the character isn’t sexualized. And to me, I thought it was important not to be scared of that part.” And though the heels came easy, his biggest concern was avoiding caricature pitfalls and “representing (her) with dignity and grace.” As a “young creative kid,” Leto was surrounded by a diverse circle—including transgender folks—while living city life in New York and L.A. “I think that the people come to these cities to be who they really are, and you certainly come across people of all shapes and sizes and desires (who are) living their dreams as they wish them to be,” Leto says. “That’s what’s so great about them.”

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But before securing the role of Rayon, Leto wanted to dig deeper. To do so, he met with young trans kids to discuss their challenges—and to give him a better understanding of what life looks like for transgender people. He calls that time with these teens “impactful.” “For me, it was important to identify with the desire to get to know oneself—one’s true self— because that’s what identity is really about,” Leto says. “It goes even beyond gender. It’s who are you in your heart, and how do you express who you are? And Rayon was in a process of discovery as well. She was �inding out who she really was and certainly wanted to live her life as a woman and identify with that. So, (for me, it was) a really beautiful experience and a role of a lifetime.” Behind the scenes it was as well. Leto recalls dancing and laughing at a bar after the cameras stopped rolling. Was it a gay bar in real life too? “Well, if it wasn’t before, it is now,” he says, laughing. “We certainly had a good time there. It was wild. It was toward the end—I think it was my last day—and I just kind of let loose.” Having minimal time to mingle during the intense 25-day shoot, McConaughey remembers it a little differently: “I gotta tell you, I had blinders on.” But he chuckles when asked how immersed he got with the gays. “Well, pretty immersed in those bars!” |  |

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Got Mustard? We’ve got more weiner than we can handle.





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QUICK PICKS Winter Park The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee NOV. 15-23 Annie Russell Theatre, Rollins College Russell/ 407-646-2145


Hello, Dolly!

DEC. 3-4 Van Wezel Performing Arts Center 941-953-3368

New Smyrna Beach Holidays on Broadway NOV. 29-DEC. 1 Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach 386-423-1246

Melbourne Straight No Chaser NOV. 21 King Center for the Performing Arts 321-242-2219


A Trailer Trash Christmas T

For more events or to submit your upcoming show, concert or performance, visit


Wanzie revive the colorful characters from the Carolina Moon trailer park in a remake of the yuletide comedy A Trailer Trash Christmas: The Holiday Prequel to Carolina Moon, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 at the Parliament House Footlight Theater.

Craig Ferguson NOV. 20 Hard Rock Live 407-351-LIVE




OUNTRY MUSIC STAR CLINT BLACK MADE HIS DEBUT WITH HIS KILLIN’ TIME album in 1989, which produced four straight number one singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. Since then, he has had 30 hit singles, including 13 number

one hits. Black, who has done occasional acting gigs, will bring his acoustic tour to Central Florida on Nov. 24 at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach. The band After the Reign will open the concert. For tickets, call 386671-3461 or visit Peabody |  |

The story revolves around the residents of the dilapidated Carolina Moon trailer park who failed to vacate the property when told it would be demolished in favor of a new gay timeshare complex. In an attempt to stave off the wrecking ball, they join forces to raise money for a legal defense fund. The spectacle includes “The Parade of Trailers Decorating Contest” and



ETRO WELLNESS AND COMMUNITY CENTERS BRINGS BACK ITS ROCK AIDS BENEFIT concert at 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, at Curtis Hixon Park. Artists scheduled to perform include The Black Honkeys, Karmic Tattoo and John Q. The concert is expected to last until

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the “Drive-Thru Nativity Shooting Gallery.” It’s all based on the real-life trailer court and cottages that enjoyed their heyday in the early 1960s along Orange Blossom Trail. Wooten will return to Orlando to reprise his trailer trash role with Wanzie. For tickets, call 407-425-7571 or visit |  |

7 p.m., and more bands and entertainers are being added to the schedule daily. The second annual event is expected to be larger than the one held in 2012, and a $5.50 entry fee bene�its Metro Wellness and Community Centers. Tickets are available online at |  |

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TICKETS: $20 in advance • $25 at the door For tickets & information visit


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4 1


Tampa Bay

1- PARTY MODE: The Florida weather cooperated as friends gathered for a house party in Seminole Heights in Tampa on Nov. 16. PHOTO COURTESY BYRON SCHAERR 2- BREAK BETWEEN SHOWS: Kent Smith, left, shares a moment with a friend at Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City Nov. 10. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST




3- SAY THAT NAME FAST: Ryan White as “Eden Deck” performs during Quench Lounge’s first turnabout show on Nov. 14. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD 4- BROTHERLY BOND: James Turner and Tyler DeStadio bond at Bradley’s on 7th in Ybor City the weekend of Nov. 12. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST 5- EAT, DRINK AND BE MARY: Merrell Dickey enjoys a cocktail at Hamburger Mary’s in Ybor City Nov. 9. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST 6- THREE BEARS: (L-R) Todd Osborn, Bill Vincent and Dalton Horine enjoy a warm Florida night during a house party in Tampa on Nov. 16. PHOTO COURTESY BYRON SCHAERR 7- DIVALICIOUS: Wilma Pooperdoo, as portrayed by Jeff Beadle, wowed the crowd with a medley of country hits at Quench Lounge during the bars turnabout Nov. 14. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD 8- CUPS OF AMBITION: The “girls” of Quench Lounge serenade their boss with a rendition of Dolly Pardon’s “9 to 5” during the bar’s first turnabout fundraiser on Nov. 14. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD






HEN TICKETS FOR THE BOOK OF MORMON AT TAMPA’S STRAZ CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS in Tampa became available, demand was so high the venue’s website temporarily crashed. So it was no wonder to see a packed house in the 2,610-seat Carol Morsani Hall. What was surprising though, were the real-life Mormon elders who greeted theater goers outside of the complex each night. Local representatives of the church used the smash Broadway musical as a launching pad to talk about the real Book of Mormon and to recruit more followers. Two

elders were parked on the foot bridge connecting a downtown parking structure with the Straz and handed out business cards, proclaiming, ‘You’ve seen the musical, now read the book!” We only saw a few people take the informational cards from the two elders, but we have to give the church props for embracing the Tony-Award winning show as a means to market a religion rather than mounting an angry protest. Who ever heard of an angry Mormon anyway?




PAGEANT. Of course there’s the sash, the crown and the �lowers. But Miss Sawmill 2014 will also walk away with a job. Miss Sawmill 2013 Dede Taylor will host the Nov. 23 pageant at 9 p.m. Contestants must pay a $125 entry fee and if they win, they’ll also secure a weekend getaway. For details, visit



HE FIRST ANNUAL TURNABOUT FUNDRAISER AT QUENCH LOUNGE IN LARGO raised hundreds of dollars for charity on Nov. 14. Bar staff donned wigs, makeup and heels to shake their stuff for cash and bene�it Friends of

Strays via the Tampa Bay Bears. Each performer elicited cheers from the crowd as patrons of the popular bar tried to identify which bartender was under which wig. The creative fashions were second only to the creative drag names. Our favorite was bar manager Jeff Beadle’s alter ego, “Wilma Pooperdoo.” When asked to explain his name, he replied, “No, I don’t have a vagina, but Wilma Pooperdoo.” It doesn’t get classier than that! Following the turnabout, Watermark’s own Steve Blanchard hosted a Best Chest contest, where nine men stripped off their shirts to vie for a $25 bar tab. And yes, our editor kept his clothes on, at least until a winner was announced.

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24



F CHOCOHOLISM WAS A REAL THING, THOSE ADDICTED TO SWEET TREAT WOULD WANT TO GET OUT OF TOWN THIS COMING JANUARY. The Festival of Chocolate returns to Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry Jan. 18-20 and tickets are already on sale. Area confection companies are already preparing for the massive event and expect to see surprising tokens of chocolate love, like chocolate barbecue sauce and interactive chocolate demonstrations. MOSI, of course, is the site of the recent All Hallows Ball in Tampa. Tickets are available by calling 813987-6000 or by visiting Tampa. |  |

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1- CARE BEARS: (L-R) Steve Peterson, Jim Lacovara, Gary Lambert, Sam Singhaus and Dr. Jerry Horton at Lambert’s 60th birthday party, benefitting Bears Who Care and OYA. PHOTO BY TOM DYER 2- QUEEN OF KINGS: Watermark publisher Tom Dyer with tennis legend Billie Jean King at the Mylan WTT Smash Hits tennis event. PHOTO COURTESY TOM DYER

3- PUT A RING ON IT: (L to R) Melanie Bullock, David Thomas Moran, Lisa Gabrielle Cunningham and Joshua K. Wallace celebrate Cunningham’s engagement at SoDo Complex Nov. 10. PHOTO COURTESY



4- HAPPY DAY: (L-R) Gary Lambert, WKMG anchor Lauren Rowe and Shawn Hunt celebrate Lambert at his 60th birthday bash at the Alfond Inn. PHOTO BY TOM DYER 5- FLAG GIRLS: The Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls dress in red, white and blue to recognize Veteran’s Day at their Nov. 11 scrimmage.



6- DECK THE HALLS: (L to R) ArtReach Programming Director Sarah Zimmer, ArtReach founder Bickley Wilson, artist Brendan O’Connor and ArtReach executive director Felicia Budnik put together their entry for the Festival of Trees at Orlando Art Museum with Ornaments made by kids at Zebra House. The trees are for sale and act as a fundraiser for programs at OMA. PHOTO BY JAKE STEVENS 7- GUITAR GUY: Randy Stephens (right), executive director of The GLBT Center, hangs out with musician Tom Goss before his Nov. 10 concert at Georgie’s Alibi in Fort Lauderdale. PHOTO BY THOMAS BERTHIER




8- SUNDAY FUNDAY: Tabor Winstead (left) and Eddie Cooper keep their brunch buzz going at Parliament House Nov. 10. PHOTO COURTESY OF TABOR VISUALS



FTER INTERVIEWING HER TWICE BY TELEPHONE, Watermark publisher Tom Dyer �inally got to meet Billie Jean King in person at the Mylan WTT Smash Hits tennis fundraiser at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. But his most memorable encounter was with Elton John, who threw him an unexpected—and hilarious— barb during the pre-tennis press conference. Dyer, who has light hair and a thick white goatee, asked Sir Elton if he planned to teach his two boys to play tennis. His response: “Before I answer, I just want to

thank Kenny Rogers for being here today.”



HOSE WHO KNOW WINTER PARK HAIR STYLIST GARY LAMBERT expected his 60th birthday at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park to be sensational. But he surprised more than 300 attendees when he was carried into the banquet hall by members of the Orlando Ballet—in a casket! Lambert spent the �irst part of the evening in party drag—think Marilyn Monroe meets Honey Boo Boo. But after he changed— and the Orlando Ballet led a

�lash mob on the dance �loor— Lambert dropped to one knee and asked his partner of 21 years, Shawn Hunt, to marry him. To everyone’s relief—and surprise—Hunt said ‘yes.’ Their good friend, WKMG anchor Lauren Rowe, emceed the event, which was a bene�it for Bears Who Care and the Orlando Youth Alliance. Like Auntie Mame, Lambert encouraged everyone to live life to the fullest…as he certainly has.




house record at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center grossing $1.7 million. Nationally, the tour has broken 46 house records in 22 venues across the country. On Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, the play has broken the house record 45 times. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, currently under construction to replace Bob Carr PAC, has announced it will feature Newsies, the Disney Theatrical Productions’ Broadway musical, as part of his inaugural season. The full 2014-2015 season has not yet been announced. After much debate about demolition, it was decided that Bob Carr will become part of Creative Village.

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24



S YOU’RE DRIVING AROUND TOWN THE NEXT THREE WEEKS, make sure you look up. MBA Orlando is featured on �ive billboards advertising “Orlando’s #1 source for LGBT & LGBT friendly business.” One billboard, which features the Lake Eola Fountain, has the chamber’s website emblazoned in green and blue. Of�icials expect 525,000 views from the campaign, which was sponsored by New York Life Insurance Company, Wells Fargo, Microsoft and Macy’s. This is the �irst time MBA Orlando used billboards to reach residents and visitors. |  |

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CHANGE-OF-LIFE COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS Congratulations Mark Paul Pierpont and Nick Massoni, owners of 903 Concept Restaurants in Orlando, celebrate their 16th anniversary of wedded bliss on Nov. 23. They were married in Strawberry Fields, New York City.

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Birthdays Orlando activist Nicki Drumb, Keller-Williams Realtor Steve Glose, Clearwater entertainer and Tampa Bay performer Natasha Richards, Tampa swimwear designer La’Daska Mechelle, charity-driven Ybor resident Mike Hammonds, Tampa Hospice’s admissions manager Peter Shute (Nov. 22); Tampa actress Lauren Clark, Tampa Bay sisters member John Miller, State Rep. Linda Stewart, (Nov. 23).Watermark proofreader and Orlando lawyer Ed Blaisdell; drag legend Gidget Galore (Nov. 24); St. Petersburg nurse Ed Briggs, Pandora Events CEO Alison Burgos (Nov. 26); St. Petersburg actor and die-hard Rays fan Ken Basque (Nov. 27); former HRC president Joe Solmonese, Tampa Bay chef Paege Chafin (Nov. 28); St. Petersburg actor and former Grand Central Station owner Kris Doubles, sexy Tampa softball bear Bubba De, Tupperware queen Dixie Longate (Nov. 29); founding member of Orlando Gay Chorus David Schuler (Nov. 30); Orlando-based writer and blogger Jim Crescitelli, former Sarasota Pride board member Mary Hoch, founder Mariruth Kennedy (Dec. 1); derby zebra Shane Scare, derby volunteer wrangler Cynthia “Cynfully Vicious” West (Dec. 2); City of Sarasota Human Rights Board member Michael Shelton, former Tampa bowler and current Texan Dave Bauer, Watermark contributor and Orlando DJ Kirk Hartlage (Dec. 3); AIDS Walk Tampa Bay founder and former Watermark ad man Anthony Barros, Watermark contributor and Community Tampa Bay outreach coordinator Louanne Walters, Valencia Community College data guru Dwayne Smoot (Dec. 4).

SILVER ANNIVERSARY: Sarasota couple Steve Warren and Dan Smith celebrate their 25th anniversary on Nov. 22. They were the sixth couple to register as domestic partners in Sarasota on Nov. 6, 2012, and on Feb. 14, 1992, they were first-day registrants in San Francisco.


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Carbonell, second from left, accepts an acknowledgement as one of three finalists for the Don Quijote Award. The award, presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Metro Orlando, recognizes the Hispanic Business of the Year (less than 5 years). An award ceremony announcing the winning company is scheduled fro Dec. 7 at Epcot.

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Vice President of Operations and Treasurer, resigned from his post after three years to focus on new career opportunities. Russell Mann, of BMO Harris Bank, was appointed by the board to take his place.

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T CAUGHT ON TAPE: Eastern Michigan University fired Ron English after a homophobic-laden speech was caught on tape in the football locker room.

Fired Michigan coach apologizes for anti-gay slurs Staff Report


astern Michigan University football coach Ron English apologized this month after he was �ired for using gay slurs in a profanity-laced rant directed at his team after a previous game. During a �ilm session with some members of the team, English repeatedly referred to the team as “bitches,” telling them that they had quit and had no pride in their play on the �ield. At one point in the rant, which The Detroit News reported, English directed a gay slur at the players in the room. “I don’t have faggot respect for you, bitches! I don’t have respect for you little queer ass bitches, because that’s what you are,” English said. “You went and got your ass kicked, quitter!” Eastern Michigan �ired English, who was 11-46 in more than �ive years as the Eagles’ head coach, just days after the recorded tirade. He later apologized, telling the Associated Press that he lost his poise during the rant. “As a man who has coached 21 years, obviously, on this occasion and particular meeting, I lost my poise, got upset and used language that was inappropriate, particularly as it pertains to homosexual slurs. I regret that,” English said. “I apologize to the university for putting it in this position and

tarnishing its reputation. I look forward to continuing a career that has been marked by molding men of integrity, passion, and intensity for 21 years.” Eastern Michigan athletic director Heather Lyke, in a statement released by the school Saturday, said she received audio of English using “wholly inappropriate language” while addressing the Eagles. “We hold our coaches and staff to high standards of professionalism and conduct and there is no place, particularly in a student environment, where this language is appropriate,”

American Conference program. When the school made its decision, Lyke only said it was necessary to make a change in leadership of the football program. With interim coach Stan Parrish, the Eagles beat Western Michigan 35-32 in overtime Saturday for their second win of the season at home with 2,177 people in attendance in Ypsilanti, Mich. “Our primary interest is in the well-being and success of our student-athletes and this will continue to be our priority in every decision we make and every action we take,” Lyke said in her statement Saturday. “My focus moving forward is on the quality of our student-athletes’ experience as well as the search process for the next leader of our football program. English is at least the second coach �ired for directing gay slurs at his team in the last year. Rutgers University �ired men’s basketball coach Mike Rice for abusing players during practice and, at times, directing homophobic language at his team. Rice, according to The New York Times, has since worked with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network on seminars aimed at making sports more open and tolerant for LGBT athletes. |  |

“I lost my poise, got upset and used language that was inappropriate.” —RON ENGLISH

Lyke said. “The statements made by Coach English are absolutely unacceptable. My decision to make a change in leadership of our football program was the culmination of a lot of factors including the comprehensive review of our program, the competitive performance and this tape.” English was �ired with a 1-8 record this season and an 11-46 mark over �ive years at the Mid-

he campaign protesting Russia’s ban on ``gay propaganda’’ is entering a new phase, as human rights activists try to pressure the Olympics’ top corporate sponsors to speak out before the Winter Games in Sochi. The Worldwide Olympic Partners—among them Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa—have thus far avoided requests to explicitly condemn the law, rebuf�ing efforts that included behind-the-scenes meetings and correspondence with Human Rights Watch. ``It’s taken months for the sponsors to formulate lawyerly responses that say nothing,’’ said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch. The focus of the protests is a law that bans the ``propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’’ and imposes �ines for providing information about the gay community to minors. The protest movement has raised awareness about the gay-rights situation in Russia and has boosted hopes among activists that the International Olympic Committee will be more attentive to human rights issues in selecting future Olympic hosts. Both Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Campaign have written to all of the Worldwide Olympics Partners, urging the corporations to call for repeal of the Russian law. ``The responses failed to recognize that their brands are propping up an event that will go down in history as the anti-gay games,’’ said Fred Sainz of the HRC. Activist leaders say there is little interest at this stage in proposing formal boycotts of the corporate sponsors. Companies have relayed disapproval of any form of discrimination and cited assurances provided by Russian authorities to the IOC that everyone would be welcome at the Winter Games regardless of sexual orientation. ``There’s no room for discrimination under the Golden Arches,’’ said a statement from McDonald’s. ``We support the IOC’s belief that sport is a human right and the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination.’’ Visa provided a similar statement to the AP. Coca-Cola, the target of recent gay-rights protests in Atlanta and New York City, noted that its employment practices had earned praise from the Human Rights Campaign over many years. ``We do not condone intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world,’’ it said. Protest leaders said those practices did not excuse any reluctance to speak out against the Russian law and to take a stand on human rights in Russia beyond the Olympic context. ``You can’t support gays and lesbians in one country, then stay silent on the issues in the places where gays and lesbians need vocal, powerful allies the most,’’ said Andre Banks of AllOut, one of the protest groups. |  |

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

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HE ANNUAL WATERMARK AWARDS FOR VARIETY AND EXCELLENCE PARTIES AGAIN celebrated our readers’ favorites in Tampa Bay and Orlando on Nov. 7. Orlando sported a packed house at the Hammered Lamb while Tampa Bay celebrated its winners at Georgie’s Alibi in St. Petersburg. The 2013 list of WAVE winners is available online.

NOV. 21 - DEC. 5, 2013 // ISSUE 20.24

Photography by Hazel Jandik (Orlando) and Steve Smith (Tampa Bay) EDITOR@WATERMARKONLINE.COM

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Watermark Issue 20.24: Bug Chasers / HIV Awareness  

Watermark Issue 20.24// Nov. 21-Dec. 4, 2013 It's my party and I'll die if I want to: Contracting HIV is a goal among Bug Chasers, but many...

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