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JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02

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PAGE Former Orlando Police Chief

PAGE Rick Kriseman, Amy Foster

PAGE Sexual racism defines those

profiles. But is it truly racism, or just a preference when it comes to sleeping with a different race?

25 BIG MAN, HIGH VOICE: When Jacques Snyman walks into a room, people notice his muscled physique. But when he sings, they take even more notice of his counter-tenor range. He talks about his talent in preparing for his St. Pete concert.

WATERMARK ISSUE 21.02 //J AN. 16 - J AN. 29, 2014



PAGE The Laramie Project is

PAGE In the 21st century, hooking

Hand Photo 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


Val Demings announces plans to run for Orange County Mayor; The Center has sold its property, but not for reasons you may think; Orlando is one of Advocate’s gayest cities; more


and Darden Rice were sworn into office in St. Petersburg Jan. 2; Crescendo will break down barriers and build bridges when it performs at a Baptist Church’s MLK ceremony; more.


getting re-imagined, in a way, by Baggy Pants Theater. The group has added an interactive element to the play, which depicts the town in which Matthew Shepard was murdered.

has an electronic 35 upelement. But if you single

out what you don’t find attractive racially, are you racist or just sharing a preference? We talk to those on both sides of the issue


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.





“Happy New Year Governor Crist! The people love you too! Who wouldn’t after reading a heart-felt, honest, interview like that? God is blessing you; it’s so obvious. Best Wishes Sir!”

“I admire his courage to engage with LGBTQ+ media in spite of his past policies on equality. There is always room for forgiveness and growth. But…I’m still confused about the 2009 documentary ‘Outrage’ and whether Crist is or isn’t in the closet.”

—MARY NIEMEYER “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

—JOE KREPS “It would be amusing, how often Charlie Crist has flip-flopped, but it’s not so amusing when he actually has the gall to run another campaign with more promises as if no one ever saw him change his mind a million times before. This man is either the epitome of fickle or he has never uttered a sentence he actually meant.”

—JOI4LIBERTY “Charlie’s the consummate slick career politician—a weathervane politician that will flip on issues and even parties if the opportunity presents itself. Those that herald him now because of a ‘D’ next to his name used to slam him when he had that ‘R’ label.”

—RONALD ROLLINS “Charlie is one true human being! Some call him an opportunist. I had the opportunity years ago and left the GOP (Greedy Old People) and so yes, Charlie had the opportunity and left that party that cares nothing about humanity—just the party. All one has to do is look around this country to see that “We the People” are finally standing up to those whose interest are power and money. Charlie is going to take his chair back and we the people will finally see our great state move ahead again for all the people.”

—MICHAEL CLARK BURTON “I wonder how much Charlie Crist’s personal life has changed. His wife is living where, now? Will Scott dig deep and play dirty in the campaign? Is Crist sure he can handle his secret exposed? I wish him luck.”



—DAVID THOMAS MORAN “I don’t know how anyone can take this guy seriously. Changes his opinions with the wind.”

—SAMATHA BEEHNER “I would take his apology more seriously if he were wearing a corset and heels.”

—MICHAEL SALGAT “I’d rather vote for Crist than Scott.”

—JIM LANGFORD “If he had beaten Rubio in the primaries he would still be a Republican. If you believe otherwise, you are kidding yourself.”

—KENNY SOUTHWELL “Great interview! I can’t wait to call you my governor again!”

—GRETA ROBERTSON “Boo hiss at Charlie Crist. He flip-flops too much.”

—ADAM PROCTOR “I’m sorry, now vote for me?”

—DANNY GARCIA “Yup, he wants that gay vote, but if it comes down to him or creepy Scotty then it’s Charlie all the way.”




and tell us what YOU think.

watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

Bill Nelson, or whomever, can gain some traction. I will never vote for him, and, if push comes to shove, I’ll write in another candidate. Once again, Floridians seems to be on the cusp of losing. SHANE PAGANO VIA EMAIL


HARLIE CRIST IS UNTRUSTWORTHY AND WILL SAY WHATEVER HE HAS TO in order to please the people in the room or the voters in order to get elected. While I wish I could be excited about his sudden support of marriage equality in our state [Issue 21.02], I’m hesitant to jump on the ‘Vote for Charlie’ bandwagon. Maybe I’m just cynical, but let me see some actual action from the man rather than just words. Having said that, however, Crist is the better choice if the race comes down between him and Gov. Rick Scott. Not only is Scott anti-LGBT, he’s anti-progress. History will look back at his four-year tenure in Tallahassee as a detriment to our state and a halt in the Sunshine State’s path to greatness. So if Crist gets the nomination, I’ll reluctantly give him my vote. I just won’t be overly thrilled with the choices and penciling in an ‘Option C,’ would just be a waste. VICTOR SOLOMON TAMPA



HARLIE CRIST HAS ADOPTED A PLATFORM IN SUPPORT OF LGBT RIGHTS that speci�ically includes marriage and a statewide non-discrimination law. In his �inal days as governor, he took action that helped hasten the day that the anti-gay adoption ban was no longer enforced. He issued a platform as an Independent senate candidate that was pro-LGBT on all matters except marriage. He is not currently elected so his words are his deeds. Believe him or don’t, but I’m glad to see someone who has done harm publicly pledge to work to repair the damage. My activism is based on the premise that people can and do change. I’m particularly proud of Tom Dyer for pulling no punches and really zeroing in on the issues. He asked the questions that needed to be asked and we deserved to have publicly answered. I can’t recall the last time I’ve heard a politician say “I was wrong. I am sorry.” Strong interview and kudos to Watermark for excellent journalism. NADINE SMITH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EQUALITY FLORIDA

JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02



“Maybe I’m just cynical, but let me see some actual action from the man rather than just words.” —VICTOR SOLOMON



AM SO PROUD OF TOM DYER FOR THIS INSIGHTFUL AND THOROUGH INTERVIEW (with Charlie Crist). I cannot say yet that I am convinced by the former governor’s broad-based support of LGBT issues, but I greatly appreciate the journalistic talent of Tom Dyer in providing us with this interview. LLOYD BOWERS VIA EMAIL



OOOD INTERVIEW, TOM, AND THANKS FOR ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS. I say you should judge someone by their actions, not their words. His ‘I’m sorry’ is not good enough! Because of his actions as governor, LGBT citizens in Florida are denied the right to have their marriages from other states recognized here. We are denied the right to marry here, in our own state, where we are taxpaying citizens. This ban we all now have to live with continues to hurt many people I care about and who knows how long we will have to live with it. I truly believe Crist could care less about the LGBT community. He is only pandering because he can’t win a Democratic primary without publicly supporting us. While Charlie Crist is, as of now, the likely Democratic nominee for Governor, I sure hope Nan Rich, or



AM AMUSED AT THE ORGANIZED EFFORT that tries to give the impression of a groundswell of support for a candidate who at best would get 2 percent of the vote. It’s a free country and you are more than welcome to throw your vote away. Very reminiscent of the 2000 election when loser Ralph Nader took a few thousand progressive votes away from Al Gore and as a result, we had eight years of George W. Bush. Please realize that posting a handful of support for [Adrian Wyllie] will have absolutely no effect in the election. And yes, I am strongly supporting Charlie. RANDY STEPHENS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GLBT CENTER OF CENTRAL FLORIDA


REAT INTERVIEW, TOM! I love a man who can admit he was wrong. I believe Charlie when he says he ran as a Republican because he was raised as a Republican, apparently by some old-school Republicans who were good people and valued family and community. This explains a lot about why he has done what he has done to try to �it into that mold. I always respected him as a governor, especially when he went against his party to veto the attack on public school teachers and to expand voting access by allowing former felons to automatically recover their voting rights after a number of years. I was so disappointed when he supported the anti-gay amendment. What more could he do than to admit fault, ask for forgiveness, and— most importantly—change his ways? Those are the three elements of the sincere apology. Nan Rich is a �ine woman, and I would love to help elect her to statewide of�ice one day. If she had a chance of beating Rick Scott, I’d have a tough decision to make in the primary. As it stands, however, I’m Team Charlie! WATERMARKONLINE USER 10_39


Steve Blanchard EDITOR




the founder of the gay-powered Republican group GOProud, announced he had left the Republican Party and the organization he founded to become an Independent. LaSalvia penned a short, wellthought blog about his decision on his website, and it was immediately picked up by LGBT news outlets. With that news, the LGBT internet awoke with slams about his looks, his hair, his personality and his past defenses of the GOP’s historically anti-gay stances. Not exactly a productive response. LaSalvia, like everyone else in this country, has a right to his political opinions. I swing much further left than he does and it’s rare that I agree with his diatribes against our President, the Democratic party, or the praises he has heaped on


Republican presidential candidates the past few election cycles. But that doesn’t mean I can’t respect his decision to share his political journey with the world. “I just don’t agree with the biggovernment ‘conservatives’ who run the party now,” LaSalvia wrote. “The other reason I am leaving is the tolerance of bigotry in the GOP. The current leadership lacks the courage to stand up to it—I’m not sure they ever will.” While LaSalvia doesn’t go into

Publisher: Tom Dyer • Ext. 305 • Chief Financial Officer: Rick Claggett • Ext. 108 • Admin. Assistant: Jon Brown • Ext. 100 • 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 • Creative Assistant: Patrick O’Connor • Ext. 109 •

detail, one can guess that he’s referring to the ongoing Republican stance against marriage equality. However, he goes on to say that he worked hard to “help create an atmosphere on the right where conservatives can openly support gay Americans and even support same-sex marriage.” While a handful of Republicans do support LGBT rights—Florida Congresswoman Ileana RosLehtinen and Republican Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni, for example—it’s hard to deny that the party as a whole has an awful track record on LGBT equality. LaSalvia admits this. “There is more work to do to root out the anti-gay and other forms of bigotry in the party,” he wrote, adding that his voter registration changed to “no party.” It’s a journey not so different than Charlie Crist’s, who told Watermark in our last issue that he was wrong to support the ban on marriage equality in Florida and issued a sincere apology. In that case, many LGBTs are also reluctant to offer Crist forgiveness for his evolved stance and view his long switch from Republican to Democrat as opportunistic rather than heartfelt. I, for one, applaud LaSalvia’s announcement. Not because I see it as a blow to a political party with which I am not af�iliated. But because he is con�ident enough in his decision to share it with the

world and to continue �ighting for what he believes. It’s similar to when an individual leaves an abusive relationship. He or she believes they can “change” the abuser, until an exit from the relationship is �inally realized. Should we chastise the abused person for taking so long to leave or celebrate the fact they’ve �inally found their own voice? With news of LaSalvia’s resignation, I checked out the GOProud website to see how the organization handled his exit. “We want to take an opportunity to thank our co-founder, Jimmy LaSalvia, for all of the work he has done in the party and the movement,” the group said in a statement.”We’re sad to lose him, but everyone must follow their conscience. At GOProud, we remain proud Republicans, and proud Conservatives and we will continue to work to represent our members as both. We’re making tremendous strides toward a more inclusive party, and look forward to much success in 2014.” While I may not understand GOProud—or the Log Cabin Republicans—I can hope that the members stay true to their mission to convince the party to embrace LGBT equality. This month even conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said that marriage equality is an “inevitability,” so there are strides being made. LaSalvia’s decision to leave the GOP is his alone. The motivation behind it may or may not be the reasons he stated. But ultimately, only he knows where he’s headed politically and I understand that there are many more issues out there than LGBT equality. Instead of blasting him for supporting a party that doesn’t support LGBT equality, maybe

The LGBT internet awoke with slams about his looks, his hair... not exactly a productive response.

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is a longtime journalist who has worked for the St. Petersburg Times, Orlando Sentinel and Watermark Media. Her freelance work has appeared in newspapers and websites around the country. She lives in Winter Park with her menagerie. Page 8, 27


is a musician and journalist from New Jersey who now lives in St. Petersburg. He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and an MA in writing. Page 12

Greg Burton, Scottie Campbell, Zach Caruso, Susan Clary, 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


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

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orlando NEWS

Val Demings enters Orange County mayor’s race with an eye on equality Susan Clary


RLANDO | The day after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act in June in an historic decision that meant marriage was no longer de�ined as the union of a man and a woman, thousands of people celebrated at Lake Eola. Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings took the stage and spoke about her 25-year marriage to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. “I cannot imagine what it would have been like if someone had denied us the opportunity 25 years ago just because we were who we were,” Demings said. “Especially a government that is supposed to provide protection under the law and level the playing �ield.” Her three-minute speech made clear that she was not �inished with public service. Ending months of speculation, Demings, a Democrat, announced on Jan. 9 that she would challenge Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, a Republican, in the fall. “Orange County is my home, I raised my family here, I worked in the community 27 years as a police of�icer,” Demings told Watermark. “I care about this community.” Demings supported the creation of the domestic partner registry and wants to see marriage equality. She has spoken out against hate crimes and pushed anti-bullying policies. “One should not be a reluctant participant,” Demings said. “We should continue to press for equality in our nation and we ought to lead the effort at the local level. That’s how you really touch people’s lives.” This is not Demings’ �irst run for of�ice. In 2012, she challenged Congressman Dan Webster in the District 10 race to represent Central Florida in Washington D.C. She lost by 3% of the vote. The County Mayor’s race promises to be a tough and costly battle. Jacobs won her �irst term in 2010, defeating her closest opponent by a whopping 35 points. Jacobs remains a popular �igure, despite controversy. She has already raised nearly $500,000 for her re-election campaign. Voter turnout will be another hurdle for Demings. Democrats typically do not fare well in years without a Presidential race on the ballot, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans 295,000 to 202,000 in Orange County, with 157,000 registered as no party af�iliation. “I’ve had to work hard for everything I’ve gotten and I plan to work hard for this,” said Demings, who expects to tap the deep pockets of some of her wealthy supporters to help her with a multifaceted Continued on page 10 |  |


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

MOVE TO DEFUND: (1st row) SGA President Melissa Westbrook, A&SF Budget Committee Chair Jason Wojkiewicz,

SGA Vice President Jacob Kahn. (2nd Row) UCF SGA Director of Communications Alexander Perna, UCF SGA Public Relations Coordinator Phillip Bent celebrate the possible disbanding of UCF’s Pride Coalition. PHOTO BY DAVID THOMAS MORAN

A proposed death UCF SGA moves to shut down Pride Coalition David Thomas Moran


RLANDO | After motioning to zero-fund Pride Coalition at the Activity & Service Fee budget hearing on Dec. 16, the University of Central Florida (UCF) Student Government Association (SGA) leaders are now proposing to terminate the LGBTQ programming agency altogether. SGA leaders �iled a grievance against Pride Coalition on the �irst day of classes, Jan. 6, stating that they intended to move forward with disbanding the organization. The grievance cites Pride Coalition’s zero-funding as the justi�ication for the termination. Student Body President Melissa Westbrook, Vice President/ADSPB Chair Jacob Kahn, Speaker of the Senate Jaclyn Graham, and A&SF Budget Committee Chair Jason Wojkiewicz signed off on the document. The news of zero-funding and

JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02

now possible termination for Pride Coalition has come as a shock to students just returning to campus from winter break. “I was happy to come in to Pride Commons and see everybody and then I heard this news. I couldn’t believe this was happening,” said Rachel Stearns, a transfer student from Daytona State College. “It hit very close to home. Pride Coalition has done so much for me in the past semester and helped me so much transition into college. I don’t know where I’d be without them today.” Stearns said she is also worried about the future of Pride Commons because she thinks Pride Coalition has been integral to making it a safe space for students. SGA’s actions were also a surprise to the Pride Coalition’s leadership. Nicholas Simons, Pride Coalition’s Student Director, said he was not approached

by SGA’s leaders prior to the zero-funding motion or the �iling of the grievance to help come up with any possible solutions or alternatives to killing the organization. He received noti�ication of SGA’s intent to terminate Pride Coalition via an email. “I’m really disappointed in the leadership of SGA because I feel like they did not give us a chance to even operate for a full semester before making this decision,” said Simons. “I feel like they made up their mind long before [Pride Coalition] even started programming.” UCF SGA President Melissa Westbrook said that in the face of budget shortfalls, the budget committee has had to make some dif�icult decisions regarding the Activity & Service Fee budget, including whether to make cuts that might cause full-time staff to lose their jobs. “Never judge someone based off of the decisions they’ve made when you don’t know the options they had to choose from,” said

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orlando NEWS

Orlando named 14th gayest city in America Jamie Hyman The Advocate has released its annual list of the Gayest Cities in America and Orlando squeaks in at No. 13. It’s not the �irst time The City Beautiful has made the cut —Orlando was named 4th gayest in 2011 and reached its peak as 2nd gayest in 2012. Orlando did not make the list in 2013. The criteria is hardly scienti�ic, and changes every year. For 2014, Advocate gave points for the number of gay bars, elected of�icials and lesbiancoupled households, but also included points for cities that hosted gay rodeos and concerts by Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers. According to the magazine, this year’s criteria were chosen “to uncover the hidden factors that give a city its queer cred.” In its explanation of why Orlando was named to the list, Advocate mentioned Gay Days, the Orlando International Fringe Festival and Parliament House. “It’s only �itting that Orlando should receive this award, as Orlando boasts the nation’s third largest LGBT population,” said Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer. “I am proud of the local organizations and leaders who �ight everyday to ensure Orlando has a reputation for fairness, equality, diversity and tolerance.” Each year, Advocate chooses 15 gayest cities. 2014’s top �ive are: Washington D.C.; Pasedena, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Atlanta, Ga. “Each year this list reminds us that our experiences are diverse, that we inhabit every part of our country, and that there’s not just one way to evaluate our experiences,” said Matthew Breen, editor-in-chief of The Advocate, in a media release. Orlando was the only Florida city named to the list in 2014. |  | |  | Val Demmings from pg.8 campaign that will include grassroots efforts with paid media. Unlike many candidates, who reach out to the LGBT community only when they need support during an election, Demings points out that she has been shoulder-to-shoulder working for equal rights with the gay community. “We will not stop until every couple has the opportunity to live their life out loud,” Demings said. “We are not going anywhere and we are going to remind everybody of the words that framed our nation. We aren’t going anywhere until all 50 states, all 50 states, recognize marriage equality.” |  |


watermark YOUR LGBT LIFE.

GLBT Center sells Forbidden City property Jamie Hyman


RLANDO | The GLBT Center of Central Florida has sold the property next door to the organization’s headquarters in the Mills 50 district. The property is currently occupied by Forbidden City, a Chinese restaurant. Timothy Vargas, President of the Board of Directors, said the sale helped The Center substantially pay down their mortgage debt and is the result of months of focusing on bringing �inancial stability to the organization. “Over the past 15 months, we have managed the �inances with laser-like focus, and as a result, we have paid off over $310,000 in debt,” Vargas stated in a media release. “What this means �inancially for The Center cannot be overstated. For the �irst time in 10 years, The Center’s debt burden has been reduced to a reasonable level given the size of our organization.” Vargas told Watermark that when he came onto The Center’s board, about a year and a half ago, it was nearly $400,000 in debt, had $8,000 in the bank and had a

$330,000 balloon payment due in February of 2013. At that time, the board managed three properties: Forbidden City, The Center’s headquarters and the building that houses The Funky Monkey Vault, just south of The Center. “We were in a tough situation,” Vargas said. “It didn’t make sense to carry all this debt.” He said managing the rental properties was also taking energy away from ful�illing the organization’s mission. “We’re not property managers and we don’t want to be property managers,” Vargas said. “The Forbidden City property needed renovation, and we didn’t want to put hard-raised funds into renovations.” After a re�inance was �inalized in March of 2013, the center spread the word that it would be interested in a buyer for the Forbidden City property. It was ultimately sold for $290,000 to JAI Investments and Forbidden City’s lease will be transferred, so Vargas said the restaurant will stay for now, but he does not know JAI Investment’s long-term plans. JAI Investments has not yet returned Watermark’s request for comment. Vargas said the buyers do intend to renovate the building. “We didn’t want to sell the

building, have it knocked down and change the character of Mills 50 Main Street,” he said. “We were really deliberate about who we were going to sell to.” Vargas estimates the remaining two properties are worth about $800,000 and The Center’s current total debt is at $60,000. All of that debt is comprised of the remaining two mortgages. “There may be people in the community who look at the sale of the building as a move of desperation, but it’s not that at all,” Vargas said. “[The Center has] several hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets that give us �lexibility for whatever we plan down the road.” Randy Stephens, executive director, said the sale opens some doors for The Center’s programming. “The Center no longer has the same priorities it had 10 or even �ive years ago,” Stephens said. “We’re concentrating on working with gay families, senior programs and overall programs that bene�it the entire community, not speci�ically the LGBT community. By removing the �inancial barricades set by the mortgages, we are now able to work toward creating such programs.” |  |

Wright, who used his work computer to edit the Social Science Research Journal (SSRJ), which published the New Family Structure Study. The study was conducted by University of Texas associate professor Mark Regenerus and was published in June 2012. It has since been widely criticized by experts for its questionable methods. UCF refused Becker’s public records request, so Becker �iled a lawsuit in April, and a back and forth battle began. UCF released some emails, then asked for them back. Depositions were taken and a circuit court judge in Orlando held a hearing. UCF �iled motions to delay the release of the records after the judge continually ruled in favor of Becker. Elsevier, Inc., the private company that owns the scienti�ic research journal, came forward and said it would

be giving away trade secrets if UCF complied. UCF �iled an appeal with the Fifth DCA in Daytona Beach and both sides have been arguing in lengthy court documents over whether a hearing held by Circuit Judge Donald Grincewicz constituted an “evidentiary hearing,” as de�ined by the court. A three-judge panel, comprised of Judge Kerry I. Evander, Judge Richard B. Or�inger and Judge William D. Palmer from the Fifth DCA, will review the case at the end of January. In addition to potentially debunking the gay parenting study, the case could set a precedent for the hundreds of UCF professors who use their publicly paid computers and of�ices on campus to work on freelance projects not associated with UCF. |  |

Protracted court battle over records in controversial gay parenting study Susan Clary DAYTONA BEACH | The University of Central Florida (UCF) Board of Trustees is spending thousands of dollars to hire a group of lawyers, led by retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Charlie T. Wells, to take a public records �ight to the Fifth District Court of Appeal (DCA). John Becker, managing editor of LGBT website The Bilerico Project, made a Florida public records request for emails and documents related to a controversial study, which claims heterosexual parents provide more stable homes than same-sex parents. The study came to light after it was cited in a U.S. Supreme Court case on gay marriage in March 2013. The records were created by UCF Sociology Professor James

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|  | UCF Pride Vote from pg.8

Westbrook. “We aren’t even sure if we can fund paper towels in the bathrooms next year. I could not make a decision that would cause people to lose their jobs.” When asked why some A&SF-funded agencies and departments have such large budgets while others with smaller budgets like Pride Coalition are being zero-funded and terminated, Westbrook said that UCF’s Recreation & Wellness Center’s (RWC) multi-million dollar budget, for example, is mostly salary and essential operational costs. “I think it’s absurd that agencies/departments like RWC get $5 million but something like Pride Coalition that also helps multiple populations of students can’t even remain an agency,” said Nicole Dumbroff, a junior statistics major at UCF. “I’m also confused as to why Knight-thon got an increase when everyone else is cutting back or

getting de-funded.” Knight-thon, like Pride Coalition, began operating as a SGA agency in 2013. The A&SF budget committee recommended increasing its budget from $36,675 to $59,216. Knight-thon is UCF’s annual charity dance-athon, which aims to raise money for Greater Orlando Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “I›m not saying that any agency is less important than ours, but I think there were other ways to go about �ixing the budget,” said Dumbroff. “They could have taken a percentage from every organization. And raising the budget of Knight-thon is de�initely counterproductive to dealing with this de�icit.” Westbrook and her staff emphasized that SGA is still supportive of LGBTQ students at UCF. “We have to make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire student body,” said Vice President Jacob Kahn. “If we weren’t supportive of LGBTQ students, we would not have added $20,000 back to the Multicultural Student

Center’s budget.” Pride Coalition Student Director Simons disagrees with Kahn. “Not only is Pride Coalition standard across universities, UCF only having Pride Coalition for less than a year is actually behind

Florida State University or other universities operate. Simons has two weeks to respond to the grievance and then the board of directors that governs SGA’s agencies will convene to consider the request to terminate Pride Coalition. Chad Binette, the Associate Director for UCF News & Information, responded via email on behalf of the UCF administration, clarifying that SGA’s motions to zero-fund and terminate Pride Coalition are student recommendations and not the �inal word on the matter. “UCF values diversity and inclusiveness, and we are committed to providing services, resources and programs for our LGBTQ students and their allies,” wrote Binette. “This vote [to defund Pride Coalition] by a student committee is only a recommendation. The full Senate will review Activity & Service Fee funding proposals in the spring. The package approved

“Never judge someone based off of the decisions they’ve made when you don’t know the options they had to choose from.” —MELISSA WESTBROOK other universities and terminating the agency is going to be a step backward,” he said. Westbrook said she thinks redirecting funds to the Multicultural Student Center and not having agencies that support speci�ic minority groups shows that UCF is forward-thinking. Unless UCF doubles its Activity & Service Fee, she said UCF can’t afford to fund minority student agencies similar to how

by the Senate is then reviewed by the Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Services. For an agency to be terminated, it would �irst require a 2/3 vote from members of the Agency & Department Strategic Planning Board, a board that consists of staff members and students. Then a 2/3 vote of the Student Senate would be required. If either of those votes does not reach the 2/3 threshold, then the agency is not terminated.” A “Save Pride Coalition at UCF” Facebook page has been created for those who want to show support for Pride Coalition. An emergency A&SF Budget Meeting is scheduled for January 24 at 10 a.m. in the Cape Florida Ballroom. Simons said that agencies that were defunded are getting an opportunity to speak before the A&SF Committee again, to explain the impact the defunding will have on the campus and to provide further recommendations to the committee. |  |

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tampa bay

GRATEFUL CANDIDATE: Congressional candidate Alex Sink addresses a crowd of nearly 200 people during a private fundraiser at The Birchwood in downtown St. Petersburg Jan. 8. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD


Sink fundraiser crowds Birchwood


Steve Blanchard


T. PETERSBURG | It was dubbed as a small, intimate, event. But a crowd of more than 200 people crowded the fourth �loor of The Birchwood along St. Petersburg’s waterfront on Jan. 8 to raise money for Alex Sink, the lone democrat seeking the congressional seat vacated by the late Bill Young. Sink mingled with constituents before taking to the podium herself, where she thanked those in attendance and promised to motivate change on the national level. But before Sink took the stage. St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice welcomed those in attendance. “Welcome to our city,” said Rice. “We are thrilled to have you here, and we are thrilled to support Alex Sink’s bid for congress.” Rice introduced Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who asked his fellow Hillsborough County residents to raise their hands. “I ask because, like you, I can’t vote for Alex Sink in the March primary,” Beckner said. “But I know that Alex Sink will vote for me when we send her to Washington.” Sink hopes to represent Florida’s 13th District, which covers most of Pinellas County. After the �irst week of 2014, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Sink has raised $1.1 million for her campaign over three obscure Republicans. “We haven’t seen the Republican machine pour money in yet, but it will,” she told the crowd. “They’re just waiting to see who I’m running against. ” Sink touched on a few issues, including �iscal responsibility and “reaching across the aisle” to work with Republican representatives in congress. She also talked brie�ly about equality, which explained the large number of LGBT members of the community in attendance. She encouraged voter turnout in both the primary and general elections, citing her narrow loss to Governor Rick Scott in the 2010 gubernatorial election. “I know exactly what it means to wake up the next day knowing you missed it by just this much,” Sink said, holding her thumb and �inger just centimeters apart. “Let’s not have a repeat of that this year and for this race.” |  |

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A NEW BEGINNING: St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman addresses the crowd of nearly 300 after he’s sworn into his new post on Jan. 2. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD

assembled outside City Hall

New year, new era Foster, Rice take of�ice, rain holds off for Kriseman’s outdoor celebration Steve Blanchard


T. PETERSBURG | The rain clouds held off and a substantial crowd gathered outside City Hall Jan. 2 for the swearing in of its new mayor. And while preparations were underway outside for Rick Kriseman to take the reins of St. Petersburg, inside, history was made when Darden Rice and Amy Foster were sworn in and took their seats on the City Council. Rice and Foster, both of whom are gay, handily won their elections in November and are two of three out council members now representing the City of St. Petersburg. Steve Kornell, who won his second term in of�ice in 2012 and is the city’s �irst openly gay elected of�icial, is currently serving his second term. The of�icial ceremony was held before a packed chamber and when Rice’s name was called to step up to the dais, the crowd made more noise than it had made all morning. She was joined by her partner, Julie. The scene repeated

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itself when Foster stepped up to take the oath of of�ice. She was joined by her partner, Jamie. With Foster, Rice and Kornell all now actively serving, three of the council’s eight members are part of the LGBT community. Neither councilwoman said much,

he came to St. Petersburg for work, but stayed for love. He has been with his partner for more than 20 years. Upon taking the oath of of�ice, Mayor Kriseman took time to speak to the crowd, and thanked them for their support while he explained why he orchestrated an outdoor ceremony. “Traditionally, the swearing-in of the mayor happens upstairs in Council Chambers, a regal room with space for a relative few—space quickly absorbed by family, friends and those closest to the city’s newest elected of�icials,” he told the crowd. “While I appreciate that tradition, I thought it was important to move to a space that could host all who care to come—a symbol of my commitment to move forward together as one community, and to do so in the sunshine. “And so today belongs to all of us. The doors of City Hall are open and the journey toward our collective vision has begun. “ His comments brought applause. Kriseman, a long-time supporter of LGBT issues, didn’t

“The doors of City Hall are open and the journey toward our collective vision has begun.” —MAYOR RICK KRISEMAN

except for a “thank you” as they took their seats. Outside, a large crowd gathered for the swearing in of Kriseman, who is the �irst candidate to beat an incumbent mayor of St. Petersburg in nearly 30 years. He is also the �irst LGBT-friendly candidate in since the inception of St. Pete Pride in 2003. He was invited to the stage by Bob Devin Jones, the out theatrical entrepreneur and co-founder of Studio@620, who explained that

Continued on page 14 |  |

Dec_Watermark_4.875x10.375 12/20/13 3:24 PM Page 1


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Homeless youth, particularly LGBT, are a passion for Jeremiah Kerr and the Ybor Youth Clinic Wire Report

T BIG MONEY: Members of the SMART Ride present a check to Metro Wellness and Community Center CEO Lorraine Langlois, center, and the staff of Metro on Jan. 11. PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS RUDISILL


SMART Ride brings $130K to Metro


Staff Report


T. PETERSBURG | In November 2013, cyclists from across the country along with crew and volunteers traveled more than 165 miles by bike from Miami to Key West in the 10th annual SMART Ride. The event bene�its charitable HIV agencies state-wide, including Metro Wellness & Community Centers. This year, a record breaking $1,070,101.41 and 100% was guaranteed to direct services for those living with HIV in the state. Metro received $131,309.47. “We are so thankful to all of the riders, supporters, crew and donors in the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida for making this happen,” said Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois. “The change that this makes in our clients’ lives is unimaginable.” The funds provided through the SMART Ride help provide assistance for food, clothing, housing and medications for many in the area living with HIV. In addition, these funds are essential in providing adequate services where there are gaps in adequate state and federal funding. In 10 years, the ride has raised over $5 Million, and 100% of that has gone directly to client services throughout the state. “The riders and crew put so much of themselves into this ride every year,” said Priya Rajkumar, VP of Client Health Services at Metro. “I hope they all see the difference their hard work makes. It provides Metro the opportunity to look at all funding gaps and see how we can improve the lives of our clients.” This year Metro will utilize some of these additional funds to hold a SMART Ride HIV Retreat for clients that will focus on support systems, overall health, physical and spiritual wellness. Registration is currently open for SMART Ride 11. “We hope that even more riders and crew will participate from our area in 2014 and we’re already gearing up for new and exciting events to assist them with their fundraising,” said Langlois. To register for this year’s SMART Ride, visit To donate to Metro Wellness directly, visit |  |

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AMPA | Jeremiah Kerr, an advocate for homeless youth, understands his clients’ struggles on a personal level. “I realize now—I was a homeless youth,’’ Kerr, 28, said. It’s a revelation he has come to accept as the outreach and community development coordinator at the Ybor Youth Clinic on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City, where he advises dozens of runaways and other homeless teenagers and young adults. ``If more people had more hands-on experience with the homeless, even spoke to a homeless person, they would have a better understanding of their living conditions,’’ Kerr said. Kerr’s advocacy for homeless young people, especially LGBT teenagers, drew the attention of Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione, who came to know Kerr through his work with the TampaHillsborough Homeless Initiative. ``He really genuinely cares for those kids and works tirelessly to help them �ind their path,’’ Montelione told the Tampa Tribune. ``He looks very young for his age. That may be why (they) relate to him.’’ Kerr was 16 when his father kicked him out of their house in Colorado because he was gay, he said. Without a place to stay, he headed east to live with his mother in Connecticut and slept on a couch at her apartment until they found a larger place. But Kerr was determined not to be de�ined by adversity. He moved to Tampa in 2008 to attend Hillsborough Community

|  | New Year, New Era from pg.12

mention the LGBT speci�ically in his remarks. Instead, he talked directly about issues facing the city of St. Petersburg. “The Pier and the Rays may be our most high pro�ile challenges, but a police station, a port, a renewed focus on creating sustainable jobs throughout the city, economic stimulus for

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College, then he was accepted a year later to attend the University of Tampa, where he graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Government and World Affairs. “My desire was always to enter the Peace Corps and work abroad,’’ Kerr said. Pro�icient in Spanish, Kerr taught English at an area learning center and traveled to Africa on a monthlong goodwill mission, he said. But just before he completed the Peace Corps application, the unimaginable occurred. His mother lost her apartment in Connecticut and had no place to go. “That got me interested in the homeless,’’ Kerr said. Until then, ``I never understood how someone could become homeless, especially my mother.’’ Though his mother’s ordeal was temporary, that led Kerr to become a volunteer at the area homeless initiative organization, previously known as the Homeless Coalition. In August 2011, Kerr’s volunteer efforts with the homeless organization led to a full-time job with AmeriCorps Vista in Tampa. He served as the homeless youth coordinator, working mainly with LGBT youths at the TampaHillsborough Homeless Initiative headquarters, and helping to coordinate data collected for periodic homeless counts. That experience led to his current job at the Ybor Youth Clinic in July 2012. The clinic, which is sponsored by the University of South Florida, offers medical assistance and counseling services to teens and young adults ages 13 to 24 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. “Anyone who walks in the clinic is very drawn by his personality,’’

said Tasha Ratliff, one of Kerr’s coworkers. ``He makes everybody feel comfortable.’’ Ratliff said Kerr recently took it upon himself to train the medical students who worked at the clinic on the organization’s policies and procedures. ``It wasn’t something he was asked to do,’’ Ratliff said. ``He just thought it was important.’’ Ashley Brundage, 33, a member of the clinic’s advisory board, described Kerr as a ``real go-to friend’’ who has given her the con�idence to become a community volunteer. Brundage, who identi�ies as a male to female transgender person, said she and Kerr work together on transgender equality policies. Kerr also �inds time to work with the Big Brother/Big Sister organization. He and his ``little brother,’’ Cory McNair, a senior at Jefferson High, have visited nearly every amusement park in Tampa and Orlando and participated in charity works and volunteer programs. “He is someone I look up to. I don’t have many people I look up to in my life,’’ McNair, 17, said. “There is nothing more satisfying than to see someone’s life improved through the small actions of your own,’’ Kerr said. Kerr hopes to earn a master’s degree to become a licensed mental health counselor so he can be a more in�luential advocate for young people. Although he no longer has a burning desire to work in the Peace Corps, he still wants to travel to faraway places such as Africa. “I still want to go,’’ Kerr said. ``I want to go for fun.’’ |  |

Midtown and South St. Petersburg, and the revitalization and rebranding of vital corridors, also hang in the balance,” he said. He also touched on improving public transportation, re-opening part of the pier that was closed under his predecessor, Bill Foster, and turning St. Petersburg into a forward-thinking city that is ready to embrace the 21st Century. Simply put, our City Hall has not kept up with our city,” he said.

“And without adjustments, our city will not be able to keep up with other cities. With all St. Pete has to offer, the only way we lose in the pursuit of new businesses and resources is if we’re outmanned and outmaneuvered.” Kriseman, a former St. Petersburg City Councilman and a former State Representative, is the 53rd Mayor of St. Petersburg. |  |


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state NEWS

Rubio blocks nomination of openly gay federal judge Staff report


ASHINGTON, D.C. | Sen. Marco Rubio blocked the appointment of openly gay African-American Judge William Thomas to a federal bench in south Florida, despite the fact that he supported Thomas’ initial nomination in November of 2012. Rubio’s press secretary, Brooke Sammon, told the Daily Business Review Sept. 19 that the senator blocked Thomas’ con�irmation because Rubio has “questions about his judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.” Sammon cited two instances that Rubio decided “raised serious concerns.” In the �irst instance, Judge Thomas wept while giving an account of a brutal kidnapping, gang rape and murder at the killer’s sentencing in January. Despite the death sentence imposed on the killer, Judge Thomas added three life sentences. In the second instance, Rubio’s of�ice cited the case of a hit-and-run driver in Miami that killed a cyclist. This particular Florida judge seat has been vacant for 20 months. |  |

Top employers endorse LGBT workforce protections Staff report


ALLAHASSEE | Nearly a dozen of Florida’s top employers have joined forces to push for the passage of a statewide LGBT nondiscrimination bill. On Jan. 13, the business heavyweights launched the Florida Business Coalition for a Competitive Workforce (FBCCW) to endorse the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (HB 239/SB 348), which is cosponsored by Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) and Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) in the Florida House of Representatives, and sponsored by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Wellington) in the Senate. As of press time, the FBCCW includes Walt Disney World, Florida Blue, University of North Florida, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Haskell, C1 Bank, HSN, CSX, Darden, Tech Data and Wells Fargo.

HB 239 “prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression; de�ines terms; provides exceptions for constitutionally protected free exercise of religion,” according to the bill’s language. “Having a coalition of the state’s largest employers come together in this way is a game changer,” said Rep. Saunders, in a media release. “There should be no question now that our economic future requires a tangible commitment to inclusion and diversity. Protecting LGBT Floridians isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for business.” And the FBCCW echoes Saunders’ statement. “Since recruiting and retaining talent is critical to our longterm business success, Coalition members understand that Florida employers must attract quali�ied and diverse applicants who re�lect the diverse population of the state,” reads a statement

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released by the FBCCW. “The link between strong anti-discrimination laws and the ability to draw the best and the brightest is the reason that 84% of the nation’s largest companies have adopted comprehensive anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity,” the FBCCW statement continues. “Increasingly we hear from companies that are contemplating relocation or expansion, and they want reassurance that their diverse work force will be able to live in a state where they and their families will be treated fairly,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, in a statement. “The corporate culture understands that top talent look not only at a company’s internal policies, but also at the community they will call home.” |  |

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Orange County Democratic Party Chair

Wire Report

proceeding with any new bene�its for the newly married gay and lesbian couples. But the state attorney general’s of�ice has told local clerks to �inish paperwork for same-sex marriages completed before the Supreme Court issued a temporary halt. Herbert’s of�ice said Holder’s announcement was unsurprising, but state of�icers should comply with federal law if they’re providing federal services. State of�icials said the validity of the marriages will ultimately be decided by the courts. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider the long-term question of whether gay couples have a right to marry in Utah. The state’s voters approved the ban in 2004. |  |

Nazis forced gays to wear in concentration camps during World War II and states in English, Hebrew and German: ``In memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime for their sexual orientation and gender identity.’’ The landmark joins similar memorials in Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney dedicated to LGBT victims of the Holocaust. ``I think in Israel today it is very important to show that a human being is a human being is a human being,’’ Mayor Ron Huldai said at

the dedication ceremony, where a rainbow �lag waved alongside Israel’s blue-and-white �lag. ``It shows that we are not only caring for ourselves but for everybody who suffered. These are our values—-to see everyone as a human being.’’ The Nazis outlawed homosexuality and the Gestapo set up a special unit targeting homosexuality. In the Buchenwald concentration camp, the Nazis carried out experiments to try and ``cure’’ homosexuality. |  |

and senators on Dec. 17, though no announcement was made. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Jan. 10 said the United States is “deeply concerned” by a law that “dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians.” Nigeria is one of the top crude oil suppliers to the United States. It is now a crime to have a meeting of gays, or to operate or go to a gay club, society or organization. The new law says, “A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies or organizations, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offense and is liable on conviction to

a term of 10 years.” Anyone convicted of entering into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years’ imprisonment. Nigeria already has a law inherited from British colonizers that makes homosexual sex illegal in the West African nation. In the areas in Nigeria’s north where Islamic Shariah law is enforced, gays and lesbians can face death by stoning Human rights activists reported that dozens of gay men were being arrested in northern Nigeria in an apparent response to the new law. Some 38 African countries— about 70% of the continent— criminalize homosexual activity. |  |

Israel city unveils gay Holocaust victims memorial Wire Report TEL AVIV, ISRAEL | Israel’s cultural and �inancial capital unveiled a memorial Jan. 10 honoring gays and lesbians persecuted by the Nazis, the �irst speci�ic recognition in Israel for non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Tucked away in a Tel Aviv park, a concrete, triangle-shaped plaque details the plight of LGBTs under Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. It resembles the pink triangles

Nigerian law bans same-sex marriage, criminalizes homosexuality Wire Report ABUJA, NIGERIA | Nigeria’s president has signed a law that bans same-sex marriage and criminalizes homosexual associations, societies and meetings, with penalties of up to 14 years in jail. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act on Jan. 10 that was signed by President Goodluck Jonathan and dated Jan. 7. It was unclear why the law’s passage has been shrouded in secrecy. The copy obtained from the House of Representatives in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, showed it was signed by those lawmakers

YEMEN: GUNMAN KILLS MAN SUSPECTED OF BEING GAY A gunman in the southern Yemeni province of Lahj on Jan. 6 killed a man suspected of being gay, the latest in a series of attacks in the conservative Muslim country where homosexuality is a crime. Waleed Saleh Awedan, 25, was shot near his home by an unknown man riding a motorcycle. At least 34 people have been killed in similar attacks in the past two years.

GAY ‘PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE’ DIES IN CAMEROON A gay man in Cameroon who was sentenced in 2011 to three years in jail for texting ``I’m very much in love with you’’ to another man, and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, has died. Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, 34, died Jan. 10 after his family removed him from the hospital where he had been seeking treatment for a hernia. ``His family said he was a curse for them and that we should let him die,’’ said his lawyer, Alice Nkom.

COLO. CAKE MAKER APPEALS ORDER TO SERVE GAYS A conservative Christian baker in Denver filed an appeal of a judge’s order Jan. 6 to stop discriminating against gay couples after he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips turned away Charlie Craig and David Mullins in July 2012 when he found out the requested cake was to celebrate the couple’s Massachusetts wedding. Phillips claims making the cake would violate his religious beliefs.



ALT LAKE CITY | U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Jan. 10 that the federal government would recognize same-sex unions in Utah, marking the latest signi�icant show of support for gay marriage from the Obama administration. The action means that more than 1,000 same-sex couples who were married in Utah in the last month can �ile federal taxes jointly, get Social Security bene�its for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other bene�its. A federal judge overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage on Dec. 20, and hundreds of couples got married. The U.S. Supreme Court

intervened in January and put a halt to the weddings until the courts sort out the matter. Utah then declared it would not recognize the weddings, but would allow couples to continue to receive whatever bene�its they had obtained before the high court ruling. Holder said the families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their bene�its while courts decide the issue of same-sex marriage in Utah. President Barack Obama welcomed Holder’s determination, said White House spokesman Jay Carney. Holder’s decision came days after Utah of�icials said they would not recognize the marriages. The of�ice of Gov. Gary Herbert told state agencies to put a freeze on



Feds recognize same-sex marriages in Utah

VA. DEMOCRATS PLEDGE PUSH FOR GAY-FRIENDLY LAWS Democratic lawmakers have pledged to try and make same-sex marriage legal in Virginia. The legislators on Jan. 13 also said they also plan to push a slew of bills during the 2014 legislative session to make the commonwealth friendlier to LGBTs. Previous attempts to repeal a ban on same-sex marriage have failed in the Republicancontrolled House.

PRIEST CONDEMNED BY VATICAN FOR GAY MINISTRY DIES The Rev. Robert Nugent, a Roman Catholic priest who was censured by the Vatican for his ministry to gays and lesbians, died Jan.1 in Milwaukee at age 76. Nugent created New Ways Ministry in 1977 with a goal of reconciling gays and lesbians with the wider church community. In 1999, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then the Vatican’s orthodoxy watchdog, ordered New Ways to permanently stop its outreach. Ratzinger went on to become Pope Benedict XVI.

LESBIAN SUES MISS. TOWN FOR DENYING GAY BAR PERMIT A woman’s federal lawsuit that accuses the leaders of a north Mississippi town of conspiring to prevent her from opening a gay bar by denying her a business license will go to trial Jan. 26, 2015. Pat ``PJ’’ Newton filed the federal lawsuit last fall against the mayor and several aldermen of Shannon. Newton argues the mayor and aldermen declined to issue the paperwork for a bar she wanted to open because it would cater to LGBT customers.

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JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02



Letter to Me, Age 14




year begins, I realize that I’ve owed you a letter for way too long.

I know that you feel hopelessly awkward and out of sync with people, but you haven’t been around long enough yet to know how well you’re actually doing. You know how people keep saying, “Be yourself”? And how they don’t seem to give a damn when you do just that? Maybe they’re hypocrites, but try not to take it personally (in time you’ll see that we all have hypocritical moments). The deal is, they’re right. But they don’t understand— or tell you—how dif�icult a task being yourself actually is. I can assure you, though, that the only way to get through what seems like an endless wait to grow up is to believe that you are indeed fabulous. Don’t be a self-centered jerk, but rather, someone who appreciates her gifts and doesn’t care about anyone else’s vision of perfection. It’s the only way to get where you want to go. Yeah, it’s hard. So what. You have to do it. You will do it. Along those lines, I cannot emphasize enough how much you should ignore the family’s nattering on about your weight. You’ll learn later on just how bonkers they are and how lovely you are. Instead of pinning all life’s hopes on being 20 pounds lighter, how about giving occasional props to your classically shaped, normal body. Spend that energy getting better at guitar. Or reading. Or picking your toes. Much better use of your energy than starving. You won’t be a rock star, I hate to tell you, but if you’ll also stop believing that you’re too fat to front a band, or make

friends, or put yourself out there in front of people, you will never regret taking those risks. Live now. Don’t wait. And please give up trying to tan. You don’t want to have to scan yourself for melanomas forever more. Accept that you have no melanin. Anyway, people will compliment your fair skin when it becomes fashionable in a few years. You will be loved and appreciated in your life for who you are—which is exactly the same person you are now, only with a lot more con�idence, as well as gentle acceptance of your �laws. That’s how the “be yourself” thing pays off. You’ll even have to �ind delicate ways to let people down who fall for you, which sucks, but I want to underscore the fact that you can stop worrying that you’re destined to be alone. Did I mention that you were a lesbian? You knew that already, of course. You’ll go out with boys just to make sure, and because you want to try to be “normal,” and because you’re itching to experience everything. That’s �ine, I guess—just don’t expect much. The sooner you face your truth, then the sooner you can live your life fully, with a big shit-eating grin to boot. I should also give you a heads-up that “normal” is wildly overrated. You will discover this repeatedly. Take all those secrets and things that embarrass you and dump them in the trash. This includes any shame about being gay, your birthmark (everyone has them), or those rock star dreams. As soon as you speak things out loud and claim your quirks proudly, you transform vulnerability into strength. This is the de�inition of having balls. Understand that adults are more confused about life than they let on. As a result, they’ll inevitably underestimate you. Listen to your gut about whether they are being straight up with you. If so, then pay attention. Ask their opinions, and then remember the ones who really look you in the eyes as they share those opinions with you. Remember the ones who care what you have to say, especially if they take the time to challenge your ideas about things. In about 30 years you’ll want to send them a thank-you letter for treating you with real respect. The future will arrive in due time, and it will be worth all of the struggle to get there. I promise. Love, me. |  |

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The ‘Sorry’ heard round the world




exciting day here at Watermark. My interview with Charlie Crist had been posted on our website for less than 12 hours, and it was blowing up on the Internet.

First the Keen News Service—an AP for LGBT news—picked up the interview and sent it to sister newspapers like the Dallas Voice, Windy City Times and Washington Blade. Then posted it, and shortly thereafter it made the front page of the Huf�ington Post and The popular LGBT blog JoeMyGod weighed in. And by early evening I was receiving texts that Wolf Blitzer had talked about it on CNN. The interview was noteworthy because the former Republican governor and now Democratic gubernatorial candidate not only reaf�irmed his recently stated support for marriage equality, he apologized—profusely—for previous actions and pronouncements. When confronted with his support for the Amendment 2 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage while governor in 2008, Crist was unabashed. “I’m sorry I did that,” he said. “It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” And when asked whether his shifts in position on LGBT equality were politically motivated, the interview turned confessional. “They were. They were,” he said. “The examples you cited were examples of me trying to be a good Republican. I couldn’t do it anymore, and I’m sincerely sorry I did.”

I received lots of questions afterward, mostly variations on two themes: ‘Did you believe him?’ and ‘Will you support him?’ My answers are “yes” and “yes,” but the reasons are complicated. Not surprisingly, when Crist was governor from 2007 through 2010, I was not a fan. “He likes to tell people what they want to hear, regardless of his beliefs or ability to deliver,” I wrote in 2009 after then-Governor Crist announced that he would forego a potential second term to run for U.S. Senate. “Nowhere has his unprincipled attempt to be all things to all people been more transparent, dishonest and destructive than in the area of LGBT rights.” But I’d never met him, and watching him captivate a union hall crowd prior to our recent interview was a revelation. He entered the drab concrete block building like a burst of sunshine, using boundless positive energy and a believable empathy and sincerity to connect with the hundred-or-so in attendance. “There are very few public of�icials at any level who have his charisma, good looks and communication skills,” Tallahassee-based media consultant Ron Sachs has observed. “He makes people feel good. He’s a star.” One-on-one, Crist is equally disarming. As edited, the printed interview may have created the impression that he sought to move on from dif�icult questions. That was not the case. He was warm, open, unthreatened, and willing to explain his answers. In fact, what struck me most was how unguarded and unscripted he was. I’m certain he expected tough questions. I expected equivocal, easily digestible answers about how his feelings on LGBT rights have ‘evolved.’ Instead, Crist was frank and unvarnished. “Do I look like I’m holding back?” he said when asked if his support for LGBT equality would be evident during his campaign. “We’re not underwater with this, we’re riding the wave!” I believe Crist’s support is sincere. I also believe it will be evident throughout his campaign and, if elected, his governance. Would that be different if polling didn’t show that half of Floridians now favor marriage equality, and a full 75% support some form of legal recognition for same-sex unions? Likely, but the same speculation applies to many successful Democrats, including our president. Saints and martyrs rarely venture into politics. I also support Crist in his quest to

become our next governor, and with growing enthusiasm. In early polling, Crist has a signi�icant lead over incumbent Rick Scott. He has the name recognition, �inancial backing, experience, ambition and temperament to win what will most certainly be a very ugly and expensive campaign. “They’re sending a $100 million meat grinder after me,” Crist told LGBT supporters at a fundraiser at the Winter Park home of Brad Grosberg and Phil Kean earlier this week. “And I’m ready… because I believe Florida deserves a different governor, a better governor, a governor more in touch with the majority of people in this great state.” With low approval ratings and the charm of a stop sign, Scott is vulnerable and must be defeated. He currently stands with an arrogant Republican legislature that governs Florida—the progressive, fourthlargest state in the nation with a half million more Democrats than Republicans—as though it was the Mississippi Chamber of Commerce. If re-elected to a second and last

term, Scott’s attack on voting rights will continue, and his cuts to public education, essential state services, Medicaid and other assistance for our neediest will no longer be tempered by public opinion. He will also have an opportunity to appoint as many as four justices to the Florida Supreme Court, delaying judicial recognition of full equality by a decade or more. Imagine the difference in Tallahassee with a Democrat as governor, a Democrat with appointment and veto power, a Democrat with a late but nonetheless full-throated embrace of LGBT equality. Charlie Crist is not a perfect candidate, but he is an inspired one. In one of the strangest twists in electoral history, his unique journey may lead to a long overdue course correction in Florida politics. And in the process, this uniquely talented man may prove to be an inspired governor. |  |

Charlie Crist is not a perfect candidate, but he is an inspired one.

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IN 2012,

The preoccupation with transition and with surgery objectifies trans people.







HE INTERWEBS WERE LIT UP OVER THE HOLIDAYS OVER A JOURNALIST’S DECISION to try and out Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, who has one of the most intense anti-gay records, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Writer Itay Hod took the congressman to task for being so homophobic publicly, by swearing that the young, �it elected of�icial is actually part of the LGBT community himself. Hod noted Schock’s Instagram account, where he followed out celebrities; his photos in a recent issue of Men’s Fitness; and his fashion sense as “signs” of his homosexuality. Schock has remained silent during the intrusions into his sexuality, but a debate of whether or not people should be outed—and if so, when it’s appropriate to do so—continues to rage across the internet. |  |

—National Congregations Study



CCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY FROM THE MINDS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURICOLUMBIA, Lady Gaga’s social media presence helps fans who are perceived as “awkward” feel more at ease. The study involved those who follow the megastar’s Twitter feed, and researchers found that “by revealing her embrace of her own differences and unusual behaviors, she allows her followers to embrace their own differences.” Those participating in the study were gay, suffered eating disorders or were the focus of bullying. They all reported that Gaga gave them strength and a purpose to continue living. Lady Gaga also seems to encourage charitable actions among her fans. So there you have it, whether or not the album ArtPOP is considered good, Gaga most de�initely is. The research proves it! |  |



FTER 42 YEARS TOGETHER, ACTRESS LILY TOMLIN MARRIED HER PARTNER, Jane Wagner, at a private New Year’s Eve ceremony. The women have been inseparable most of Tomlin’s life. In fact, Wagner, who was often referred to as Tomlin’s “manager,” wrote Tomlin’s award winning show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and wrote the screenplay for The Incredible Shrinking Woman, in which Tomlin starred. The small, intimate ceremony was held in Los Angeles. California is one of 16 states where it is legal for same-sex couples to wed. Congratulations to these amazingly talented women! |  |




ILE THIS SOMEWHERE UNDER “IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE?” But you read the headline correctly. The short story of two cowboys in love, which was turned into the 2005 mega Hollywood hit Brokeback Mountain, has been reinvented as an opera. It is set to open in Madrid, Spain, at the Teatro Real on Jan. 28 and run through Feb. 11. Surprisingly, the author of the original short story that inspired the �ilm, Annie Proulx, is on board this venture. She wrote the libretto for the opera after touring the Wyoming mountains with composer Charles Wuorinen, who completed the opera in 2012. Expect the story to be just as heartbreaking, but apparently a few changes—like a ghost and a chorus—help tell the story to live audiences. |  |

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E SAY “SOME,” because the major news networks didn’t broadcast the wedding of Danny LeClair and Aubrey Loots atop a �loat at the Festival of Roses Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. The couple was the �irst same-gender couple to marry at the popular parade and their decision to do so prompted threats of boycott of the longrunning tradition. That may have fueled networks’ decisions to not actually show the act of the two men tying the knot. But Facebook, Twitter and Instagram lit up with photos of the happy couple, which requested the use of the hashtag #loveexperiment with each post. |  |

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Jacques Snyman returns to St. Pete with his impressive voice and physique, and an anti-bullying messsage


Zach Caruso


�ind a person with a more extensive resume than Jacques Snyman’s. Certi�ied personal trainer, rugby player, bodybuilder, model, countertenor. That’s right, countertenor. “The best way to describe it is that I sound like a female when I sing, but I still have my testicles,” says Snyman. Not a talent you would expect from a bodybuilding rugby star, but Snyman says he is working on changing people’s perceptions. “Right now I seem to attract attention �irst because of my physique, and second because of my signing voice,” he says. “I’d like to get to a point where I can swing that the other way around.” And soon, locals will get a

chance to see—and hear— Snyman for himself. He’s set to return to St. Petersburg for a performance at The Studio @ 620 at 5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 26. The concert is titled “A Musical Look at Love Thru the Ages.” Growing up in South Africa, Snyman says he came from a family of both athletes and musicians, so his love of both sports and music wasn’t out of place in his world. However, not everyone shared his viewpoint. “I would have loved singing lessons growing up,

but I was quite frankly told, ‘You play sports.’” So he immersed himself in sports, and undeterred by the naysayers, sang in his school choir. He won national championships in gymnastics, long jump, and triple jump, and competed on an international level in the decathlon. By the time he reached college age, he was a seasoned athlete. But he still had music in his heart. “I continued studying sports when I went to university, but in the meantime I also really loved singing, and so when I went to university, I wanted to take it a little more seriously,” he says. “But unfortunately, I was sort of pushed out of it because, you know, ‘rugby players aren’t supposed to sing.’”

Continued on page 33 |  |

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INTERACTING CAST: The cast of Baggy Pants’ interactive version of The Laramie Project pose for a photo before rehearsal recently. PHOTO COURTESY RICHARD GOTTFRIED

Going Interactive THEATER

Interactive version of the Laramie Project will be first in history


Susan Clary


Artistic Director Steve Halpin called the Matthew Shepard Foundation to �loat the concept of an interactive version of The Laramie Project, he was surprised to hear he was the �irst person to ever suggest the idea.

Since 2000, the play about how the townspeople of Laramie, Wyo., felt after the 1998 torture and murder of gay college student

Matthew Shepard has been performed thousands of times. An estimated 30 million people have seen it.

Laramie and its follow up, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, created by Moises Kauffman and the Tectonic Theater Project, have been seen in high schools, colleges and community theaters as well as professional playhouses in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. In Halpin’s The Laramie Project: An Interactive Theater Experience, audience members are invited on stage to read parts and participate in the story. Six weekend

performances are scheduled Jan. 17-26 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Creating and directing the �irst ever interactive version of Laramie has been a special experience for Halpin. “It’s been one of the most ful�illing productions I’ve done,” he said. “It’s just really been a unique experience for everybody.” A core group of 11 actors will play the 20 main characters. They are Samantha Cooke, Mark Davids, Clare Ghezzi, Juli Goldstone, Max Goldstone, Melissa Gonzalez, Julie Gottfried, Michael Hooper, Cynthia McClendon, Hunter Rhyne and Peter Ruiz. The audience will participate in 20 roles of various townspeople. Each night, a different actor from the professional theater community will play the part of Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s father. They will include John DiDonna, drama professor at Valencia State College; James Brendlin, drama teacher at Lake Howell High School; and Paul Castanada, artistic director for the Greater Orlando Actors Theater (GOAT). As part of the Sunday matinee performances, high school theater groups will be invited

JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02

to participate in the production followed by an audience dialogue. “I call this commando theater,” Halpin said. “When I held auditions, I told the actors if you’re the kind of person who needs to do the same thing every night in the same way, this show is not for you.” One of the actors, Peter Ruiz, 21, is a junior at Rollins College, where he most recently appeared in the summer production of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. He also performed in The Laramie Project as a student at Evans High School. Though Ruiz was 6 when Shepard was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die, it has made an enormous impact on him as a member of the LGBT community. “It’s an important show and I have wanted to take any opportunity to perform in it,” Ruiz said. “Theater is about changing hearts and minds and educating as much as it is about entertainment.” Performing with Baggy Pants Theater is Ruiz’ �irst work in community theater. While he

Continued on page 31 |  |

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STATE OF REHEARSAL: Peter Ruiz rehearses with Samantha Cooke in preparation for the first interactive version of The Laramie Project. PHOTO COURTESY RICHARD GOTTFRIED

|  | Laramie Project from pg.29 did technical work for Mad Cow, he was never on stage. He is eager to participate in this interactive show with audience members. “I think it adds even more to this idea that Laramie could be your town and this could be your city.” Ruiz said. “These people aren’t just there. They are everywhere. Audience members will further solidify this isn’t just a hick town. It’s like many towns across the country.” Halpin, 55, a former youth minister who dabbled in real estate, founded Baggy Pants Theater in 2007 after returning to college to study theater. His wife, Diane, a kindergarten teacher, encouraged him to return to school. So, he went to the University of Central Florida. His independent studies assignment was to create a community theater company. Since then, Baggy Pants has produced plays including Godspell; The Runaways; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Rent; Falsettos and The Laramie Project, Ten Years Later. Its performances were held at the Jewish Community Center in Maitland until this season. This is their �irst production at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. “Baggy Pants is de�initely a community theater,” Halpin said. “So many people want to get involved in professional theater and make it a career. We are home for people who have other things in their lives, but they want to do theater and they want to have fun and do good work.” To raise money for the interactive The Laramie Project, the board of Baggy Pants set up a Kickstarter fundraiser and raised $1,000 to help offset costs for the production. Cast

“It’s been one of the most fulfilling productions I’ve done; it’s just really been a unique experience for everybody.”



members have been tasked with putting their own costumes together. Set designer Brandon Bolt, who attends Daytona State College, and Director’s Assistant Bob Eskin, work on the details. Halpin likes to say he runs a theater with a mission. Most of the shows bene�it the community. Ticket sales from Rent and Falsettos bene�itted The Center, while the cast of Seussical visited Give Kids the World to perform songs and tell stories. The Sunday matinees of Laramie will feature a talkback with high school students in attendance about hatred, fear and bullying. Digging into Halpin’s past, there is a reason he has such a passion for this play and LGBT subjects. His best friend in high school came out in college and died of AIDS two years later. It has made Halpin want to give back. “These are important topics, ‘’ Halpin said. “Especially now.” |  |


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|  | Jacques Snyman from pg.27

His rugby and track and �ield pursuits eventually led him to London, where a friend introduced him to opera. He was immediately hooked and went on to sing in a handful of amateur operas as a tenor. Then three years ago Snyman discovered a hidden talent. “I was in South Africa on an extended vacation, and one of my friends was in a male vocal group there, and they were sitting around a piano one random Monday night and he said, ‘Come join us,’” says Snyman. “I was just fooling around and started singing in my high register, and the guy playing the piano turned around and said ‘Who the hell was that?’” Snyman began performing with the male vocal group. One of his solos ended up on tape, and he decided to take a chance. “I have a friend who is a vocal instructor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and I sent him the recording of my solo performance,” he says. “He emailed me back and said ‘Oh my God, will you come back to London?’” When he again found himself in

The best way to describe it is that I sound like a female when I sing, but I still have my testicles.


London, he met and studied with under the tutelage of his friend. But Snyman didn’t want to limit himself to only vocal lessons—he wanted to study music. “Unfortunately in Europe, you can’t study music at a conservatory if you’re older than 35,” he says. Being a few years over the limit didn’t stop him from forging ahead to his goal—he just found a different route to get there. “A friend of mine suggested I try America for my studies, and I ended up at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale,” Snyman says. It was in Ft. Lauderdale that Snyman met his husband, and they together relocated to Baltimore, Md., where Snyman now studies at the Anne Arundel Community College. “I think because of my sports background, I have a bit of a ‘do-ordie’ kind of attitude, so I either do something 110 percent, or not at all,”

he says. “There’s no midway, I don’t like doing things half-assed, I think that’s a waste of everyone’s time.” Snyman �inds the cultural differences between the various places he has lived, studied and traveled intriguing. “The music I perform is baroque music, which isn’t often performed in America and then being a countertenor adds to that,” he says. “But I just came back from Italy where I did a tour, and a bartender asked what I was doing in Italy. I told her I was a singer, and she asked what voice I was, if I was a tenor, baritone. I said ‘No,’ and she asked ‘Oh, so are you a countertenor?’” However, he knows that history plays a role in cultural awareness. “America and South Africa, they’re both very young cultures compared to places like Europe. So when it comes to opera and music, although in some places it’s 200-year-old

music, you go to Italy and sing music from 1500,” says Snyman. “The cultural attitude of America is very similar to that of South Africa, and it’s one of exclusivity, in a way. “‘If you don’t have a degree, you can’t sing here or there,’ ‘If you don’t have this degree, you’re not going to perform at this place or that place.’ Really it doesn’t matter. It’s a question of can you sing? Can you perform? That’s what it is supposed to be about.” But his goal isn’t only to entertain; he also seeks to bring a message against bullying. “I believe we are on this earth to teach people something, and to learn something from other people,” he says. “These days it’s a little easier for younger generations to be out, there isn’t such an enormous stigma like there used to be. However, there still is the problem of bullying, and often times kids will choose to stay

in the closet because they want to avoid being bullied. “And I know it isn’t like that for everyone, and it isn’t just a problem in the LGBT community. People can be bullied for being a redhead, for wearing glasses. But because of my connection within the LGBT community that is where I started with it.” Snyman hopes he can further develop his message by partnering with an anti-bullying charity for his upcoming show and future performances. “I want to do more with it, I want to eventually go into schools and talk to kids about bullying,” he says. “So it’s something I’m still working on.” And that will add yet another accomplishment to the resume. To learn more about Jacques Snyman’s upcoming performance, visit |  |


WHO: Jacques Snyman WHAT: “A Musical Look At Love Thru the Ages” WHERE: The Studio@620, St. Petersburg WHEN: 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26 TICKETS: $25 at

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JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02








Steve Blanchard


meet love interests in the 21st century. Websites have given way to apps like Grindr, Growlr, Scruff, Radar and GuySpy—all of which allow us to view virtual menus of men and potential sexual conquests. On the surface, this new arena of dating and hooking up seems streamlined, simple and hassle-free. But hidden not so well within those pro�iles lurks a new phenomenon dubbed “sexual racism.” “I think it’s �ine to put what

you like out there on the pro�ile,” explains Erik Frankwich, an Orlando psychotherapist and counselor. “But when you put out negative terms about what you don’t like, it

Continued on page 38 |  |

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reads as angry.” Frankwich is referring to pro�iles that speci�ically single out race. “Be masculine, no fems, no blacks and no Asians. Just a preference,” is how one app reads for an Orlando-based man on Scruff, who agreed to talk about his preferences for this story, as long as only his �irst name was used. “Apps are for �inding sex. Period,” says Allan, who is on a number of these apps and stays logged in most of the day. “It’s so much easier to list what you don’t want, along with what you do want. It gets you to the end result so much faster—to get laid.” Allan says he has a speci�ic type he �inds attractive: smooth, gym-de�ined body, dark hair and Caucasian. Frankwich believes that Allan phrasing what he likes would be much less offensive than listing what he doesn’t like. “If you don’t �ind someone attractive just don’t respond, or simply say, ‘You’re not my type,’” Frankwich says. “Online we don’t know anything about the person on the other side of the chat. All you have is a picture. Don’t be nasty or rude because you forget the other people on the app are real. People complain about political correctness, but it’s common courtesy. Treat people with respect and dignity.” Tampa Bay resident Javier Perez has seen discourteous gay men on apps ever since he joined the online dating world. He sees racism every day online, he says, from his own community. “Singling me out because I’m Latino isn’t fair,” says Perez. “I hit one guy up with a casual ‘Hi, how are you?’ and the response I received was simply, ‘Not into Mexicans. Sorry.’ “That hurt! Suddenly I’m a double minority because I’m gay and Latino. And, I’m Puerto Rican, not Mexican, by the way.” But Allan disagrees with the idea of sexual racism and believes he’s being speci�ic, not offensive, with his pro�ile. “If you don’t typically �ind Latinos attractive sexually, why not point that out right away instead of wasting everyone’s time,” Allan asks, who adds that he has no problems ‘hooking up’ with men of Latin descent. “Even the most attractive African-American men

just don’t do it for me sexually. I can’t explain it. Sean Combs is a handsome man. But he’s not my type. I’m certainly no racist. I’ll hold a conversation with anyone. But the app, for me, isn’t about that. It’s about �inding a way to get naked.”


Racism is racism, regardless of the context in which it is stated— or written. That’s according to Andy Quan, who is a blogger who speci�ically tackles sexual racism on his site, “Sexual behavior is no more justi�ied a place for racial prejudice than any other area of life,” Quan says. “We should stop making racist statements in essentially public forums like personal ad sites. If our sexual preferences have an ethnic or racial bias, we should challenge ourselves to confront those limits and, if we can, exceed them.” “Narrowing down” potential contacts by listing what one doesn’t �ind attractive is hurtful and exclusionary, Quan says. Frankwich, who is white, is used to racism. He says he encounters it every day with elderly patients, and he encounters it socially because his husband is black. “I’ll chat with someone and they’ll ask me to send me a picture of my partner,” Frankwich says. “So I do, and suddenly they’re ‘not into black guys.’” Frankwich believes that this sexual racism stems from something deeper than simple preferences. Stereotypes and societal perceptions are a huge in�luence, he says. “It makes me angry,” he says. “Someone might be into thin guys, but that doesn’t mean they would never experience a more muscular man. There are people who just have a stereotype in their mind about black guys. They act a certain way. The speak a certain way. More often than not, those stereotypes are off.” It’s not a giant leap from sexual racism to everyday racism, Frankwich says. He knows of many experiences where his husband has lost business contacts because of his race, or “surprised” people because he didn’t “sound” a certain way when he spoke. “I’ve been told my husband doesn’t ‘act’ black,” Frankwich says. “That’s an offensive statement right up there with, ‘I’m not racist, I have a black friend.’” Frankwich dated several ethnicities before meeting his

The response I received was simply,

‘Not into Mexicans. husband eight years ago— through Adam4Adam. “I’m attracted to black men, sure, but I’m not attracted to all black guys,” Frankwich says. “I also didn’t exclude others. I found my match and he happened to be a different race.” Quan echoes Frankwich’s view of sexual racism. It’s not simply a matter of gay men expressing what they desire on social apps and pro�iles. “Racism seems to be more acceptable there because we have fought so many battles over our right to our sexual preferences,” Quan says. “Many men hold their sexual preferences as sacred, even if they contradict other beliefs they may have. This is confusing because some people who abhor racism in general life still behave in a racist way in their sex life.” Allan disagrees. He says that his body’s reaction to speci�ic types and races is biology, nothing more. “It’s ridiculous to say that simply because I don’t want to have sex with an Asian dude, I’m suddenly a racist bigot,” he says. “It’s like saying I hate women simply because I don’t �ind them attractive. Sorry. That’s just not the case. I’m gay, not sexist.” When told about Allan’s comparisons to his lack of sexual attraction to women to that of Asians, Quan seemed unsurprised. “I don’t consider it racist to not want to sleep with men of other races,” Quan says.



“Boring, perhaps, but not racist. But people can express that preference in racist and unwelcoming ways. That’s what sexual racism is.” Frankwich admits that while his husband is African-American, he doesn’t �ind all men of color attractive. He also doesn’t �ind all white men attractive. “I’m in a relationship with a black man, but I didn’t exclude all other races when I was dating,” Frankwich says. “If a pro�ile says a person likes light skinned men with tattoos, that’s �ine. But simply saying ‘no Asians, no blacks’ is just offensive. That’s racist. It’s how you phrase it.” And comparing homosexual attraction to interracial attraction is not possible biologically, according to Quan. “Attraction to someone’s gender is not the same as attraction to someone by skin color. I think gender (attraction) is a generally biological thing with a bit of cultural and social overlay. People are not born attracted to white, brown or yellow people.”


“Making up a thing like ‘sexual racism’ is a way for men who can’t get laid to blame someone else,” Allan says. “If you’re not having luck getting laid, maybe take better care of yourself. Go to a gym. Eat better. Dress better. That’s where presentation really counts. “But not wanting to have sex with a black man doesn’t make me racist.” When asked speci�ically about his social life, Allan says that a majority of his friends are Caucasian. But that he works and socializes with a number of African-American people as well. “Listen, I have no problem with black guys at all,” he says. “Honestly, it’s rare that I see color when dealing with day-today life. Is the bank teller black? Is the person pumping gas next to me black? I rarely notice. But when it comes to seeing a man I �ind sexually attractive, that person never happens to be black.” So does the term “sexually insensitive” make more sense?

Maybe. But that could apply to the broader practice of singling out other “undesirables” in pro�iles. “We’ve all seen, ‘No fats, no fems,’ listed in pro�iles,” Frankwich says. “It goes back to how things are phrased and remembering that real people are reading what you put out there.” There is hope that minds can change. In fact, Frankwich admits that he has learned a lot since his days growing up in Pittsburgh, where use of the N-word was a daily constant. “I don’t know how I escaped that other than social work and the classes I took on diversity,” he says. “I learned about oppression by gender and race and I was able to become aware of it. We all have our blind spots and we hate being called out on it.” By saying “no blacks and no Asians” on a pro�ile, Quan adds, an individual may not see the broader picture or how that can be harmful to others. “What we don’t think about is how it feels for other men to read these things,” Quan says. “Imagine how it feels to read ad

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after ad that excludes you based solely on your race. Imagine, for a moment, that you were in a minority in the country you were born in and kept reading apparently endless pro�iles saying you weren’t desirable. “It just might ruin your day, wouldn’t it? Do you really want to help make other men feel bad about themselves? But in the “me-me” world of social apps and hook-up sites, that perception of how ads impact others is unlikely to change. Allan, for example, doesn’t foresee changing his pro�ile in the immediate future. “There are men out there who don’t like stocky white guys like me,” he says. “I’m okay with that, and learning that up front lets me know where I should and shouldn’t spend my time on the apps. We’ve all heard people say that everyone is not everyone else’s type. We all have preferences and experiences that we want to have or that we want to repeat. “I can’t control what I �ind attractive any more than a straight guy can control his attraction to girls.” |  |

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ORLANDO & ARTS Differing Views V



Join The (LGBT) Center of Orlando for the fifth Differing Views art show, opening on Thursday, Jan. 30. The opening reception will run for two hours and gives visitors a chance to meet the artists, network and socialize in the center’s main gallery. For details, visit

“SUMMERTIME” IN WINTERTIME The national tour of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess continues at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa through Jan. 19. Photo courtesy Michael J. Lutch

EVENT PLANNER CENTRAL FLORIDA Claybourne Park, through Feb. 1, Theatre Downtown, Orlando; 407-841-0083. Nunsense, Jan. 17-26, Wayne |Densch Performing Arts Center, Sanford. 407-321-8111; Don’t Drink the Water, Jan. 17-26, Osceola Center for the Arts, Kissimmee. 407-846-4643; Steel Magnolias, through Jan. 19, Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach, New Smyrna, 386-423-1246; Man of La Mancha, Jan. 17-Feb. 9, Moonlight Players, Clermont. 352-319-1116;

Table Manners, Jan. 24-Feb. 23, Mad Cow Theatre Company, Orlando; 407-297-8788. Bad Seed, Jan. 25-Feb. 11, Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park, Winter Park. BreakthroughTheatre. com;. 407-920-4034. Haifa Symphony Orchestra of Israel, Jan. 26, Daytona Beach Symphony Society, Daytona. 386-253-2901; Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Jan. 24, Peabody Auditorium, Daytona Beach. 386-671-3461; Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do, Jan. 24-Feb. 15, Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park. 407-645-0145;

Orlando Ballet Uncorked!, Jan. 21, Abbey Theater, Orlando. 407-704-6261;

Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Jan. 26, Peabody Auditorium, Daytona Beach. 386-671-3461;

Shen Yun, Jan. 22-24, Bob Carr Performing Arts Center, Orlando. 407-246-4262

Leveling Up, Through Jan. 26, UCF Conservatory Theatre, Orlando. 407-823-1500;

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Jan. 22-March 9, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando. 407-447-1700;

Don’t Dress Up for Dinner, through Jan. 26, Theatre Winter Haven, Winter Haven. 863-294-7469.

Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Jan. 24, Daytona Beach Symphony Society, Daytona. 386-253-2901; Smoky Joe’s Café, Jan. 24-Feb. 16, Icehouse Theatre, Mount Dora. 352-383-4616;

TAMPA BAY Inlaws, Outlaws & Other People (Who Could Be Shot), Through Jan. 26, Gulfport Players, Gulfport. 727-322-0316; GulfportCommunityPlayers

Porgy and Bess, through Jan. 19, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa. 813-229-7827; The Hound of the Baskervilles, through Feb. 2, Jobsite Theater, Tampa; 813-229-7827; Stephen Knapp: New Light, through March 8, Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland. 863-688-7743; Rock of Ages, Jan. 17, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. 727-791-7400; Bond & Beyond, Jan. 19, Florida Orchestra, Tampa/St. Petersburg. 727-892-3337; Godspell, Jan. 21, The Lakeland Center, Lakeland. 863-834-8100; Marty Stuart, Jan. 23, The Lakeland Center, Lakeland. 863-834-8100;. A Tribute to Pavarotti, Jan. 25. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. 727-791-7400; Bartok & Brahms, Jan. 24-26, Florida Orchestra, Tampa/St. Petersburg. 727-892-3337; The Normal Heart, Jan. 25-Feb. 16, Freefall Theatre, St. Petersburg. 727-498-5205; The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, Jan. 26, Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; 727-898-2100;

Disenchanted!, Jan. 28-April 13, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa. 813-229-7827; Merle Haggard, Jan. 30, The Lakeland Center, Lakeland. 863-834-8100;

SARASOTA AREA The Whipping Man, though Feb. 2, West Coast Black Theatre Troupe, Sarasota. 941-366-1505; Rock of Ages, Jan. 16, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota. 941-953-3368; Stepping Out, Jan. 16-Feb. 2, Manatee Players, Sarasota. Carousel, through Jan. 19, The Players Theatre, Sarasota. 941-365-2494; The Mystery of Edwin Drood, through Jan. 26, Manatee Players, Sarasota; 100th Anniversary Exhibition, through Jan. 31, Dabbert Gallery, Sarasota. 941-955-1315; Philadelphia, Here I Come, through April 12, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota. 941-351-8000; Other Desert Cities, through Feb. 27, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota. 941-351-8000; Vanya and Sonya and Marsha and Spike, Jan. 22-April 13, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota. 941-351-8000;

Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit 8:30 A.M., SATURDAY, FEB. 1 400 S. ORANGE AVE., ORLANDO On Feb. 1, the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (O-YES) will be held in the 9th floor conference rooms of Orlando City Hall, 400 S. Orange Avenue, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The two keynote speakers will be Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and Florida State House Rep. Joseph Saunders. The summit, presented by GLSEN Tampa Bay, GLSEN Orlando, Orlando Youth Alliance, the City of Orlando and the Central Florida PFLAG, will feature workshops on a variety of otpics. For more information, call 407-205-8530.


Watermark Wednesday with the Tampa Bay Bears 6 P.M., WEDNESDAY, JAN. 22 GEORGIE’S ALIBI, ST. PETERSBURG Join Watermark, the Tampa Bay Bears and the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as we celebrate the first Watermark Wednesday of 2014 on Jan. 22 at Georgie’s Alibi. The night begins at 6 p.m. and is a chance to network and socialize with other business professionals all while raising money for charity. Raffle tickets for fantastic prizes will be for sale all night and the event is hosted by Watermark editor Steve Blanchard and Tampa Bay sales professional Bill Jeffries. Watermark Wednesdays are always free!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch 7:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JAN. 22 MUVICO CENTRO YBOR, 1600 E. 8TH AVE., TAMPA The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival kicks off its 25th year with a screening of the 2001 film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, starring John Cameron Mitchell. The story of a transexual punk rock girl from East Berlin has won numerous awards and has been produced on stages around the world. For tickets, visit

LGBT Job Fair 12-3 P.M., SATURDAY, JAN. 25 METRO WELLNESS, 3251 3RD AVE. N., ST. PETERSBURG Are you looking for a job with a company that respects diversity and LGBT issues? Then check out the LGBT Job Fair held at the Metro Wellness and Community Center in St. Petersburg at noon on Saturday, Jan. 25. The free fair includes breakout sessions on resumes,

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Tampa Bay

1- TOASTING THE NEW YEAR: Friends gather for a drink shortly after the new year at Hamburger Mary’s Tampa. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST

2- MAN IN CHARGE: Rick Kriseman addresses the crowd outside St. Petersburg City Hall just after he’s sworn is as the new mayor on Jan. 2. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD




3- AWARD-WINNING: Equality Florida executive director Nadine Smith presents an award to Jim Harper for his ongoing support of LGBT equality in the state during the organization’s sponsors reception in Tampa Jan. 11. PHOTO COURTESY LAURIE ROSS 4- SHOW OF SUPPORT: Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner expresses his support of Alex Sink’s congressional bid during a fundraiser for Sink at the Birchwood in St. Petersburg Jan. 8. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD

5- A WELCOMING MESSAGE: Bob Devin Jones welcomes residents of St. Petersburg to City Hall during Mayor Rick Kriseman’s swearing in ceremony on Jan. 2. PHOTO BY STEVE BLANCHARD 6- GATHERING FOR GOOD: Scott Moore, a friend, Melissa Judge and Leigh Jones share a moment at the Equality Florida Tampa Gala Sponsors Reception at Miromar, the home of Tom Hall and Kenny Jewett. PHOTO COURTESY LAURIE ROSS 7- CAST CALL: The show cast of Bradley’s on 7th pose for a photo op after their performances the first weekend of the new year. PHOTO





8- STEAM HEAT: Steam Friday brought out these friends at the Honey Pot on Jan. 3. PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE WEST



URING A RECENT SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT GEORGIE’S ALIBI, patrons noticed that the popular dance area was partitioned off, and sounds of hammers, saws and loud construction wafted through the walls. That’s because the entire dance �loor area of the popular St. Petersburg bar has been renovated, providing more space for us to shake our groove things. (For all you kids, that means dance!) The renovation allows for the space to be separated from the sports bar for special events,

but also allows for a more club feel. During a meeting with the club’s management, Watermark learned that its Watermark Wednesday event, scheduled for Jan. 22, will be the �irst of�icial event in the newly renovated space. That free networking event, hosted by Watermark’s Steve Blanchard and Bill Jeffries, runs from 6-8 p.m. and bene�its the Tampa Bay Bears.



T’S SHAPING UP TO BE A BIG YEAR FOR KORI STEVENS. The popular entertainer ended 2013 with a WAVE-Award as Tampa Bay’s favorite drag performer. Now,

she is under exclusive contract with Georgie’s Alibi to perform only at that bar in Pinellas County. Stevens shared the announcement on her Facebook page, as well as announcing that Georgie’s now offers happy hour seven days a week. But don’t look for drink chips. Those are so last year. Stevens will appear at the club �ive days a week. Follow her on Facebook to �ind out what events happen on what nights.



T’S TIME TO START PLANNING FOR ST. PETE PRIDE’S ANNUAL TASTE OF PRIDE EVENT! The celebration of all things tasty returns to

the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg on Saturday, March 15, at 7 p.m. Organizers expect more than 500 people at this year’s spread of catered goodies from a growing list of caterers, restaurants and more. The courtyard will be open to attendees, as well as the galleries in the expansive space. Tickets also include an open bar to accompany the food. Tickets are available at



HE OLDEST LESBIAN BAR IN THE STATE SHUTTERED ITS DOORS ON JAN. 13, ending an era of more than 20 years on

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St. Petersburg’s Fourth Street. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the bar is done. The Hideaway, and it’s neighboring boy bar, Haymarket Pub, went out with big bashes and announced that while the land and buildings may have been sold, the spirit of the bars could keep the party alive at a different location. That location, however, has yet to be announced. Facebook pages for both of the hot spots hint at a resurrection in the future, and the faithful seem to be ready to support the renaissance whenever—and wherever—it may appear. |  |

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1- BEARY GENEROUS: Pat O’Rourke (left) of Bears in the City delivers a $1,500 donation to Randy Stephens, executive director of The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, Jan. 13. PHOTO BY


2- NEW YEAR RESOLUTION: Pamela Hampton (left) and Amelia Dixon are the first Orlando couple of 2014 to be registered in the domestic partner registry after filling out their paperwork at The GLBT Center Dec. 31. PHOTO BY RANDY STEPHENS


3- NEWS ABOUT NEWS: Watermark publisher Tom Dyer hangs out with WESH Channel 2 reporter Michelle Meredith Jan. 9 at Watermark after Meredith interviewed Dyer about his interview with Charlie Crist. PHOTO BY JAMIE HYMAN

4- CAMPAIGN SEASON: Jeff Miller (left) and Ted Maines attended a Jan. 13 fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist at the Winter Park home of Brad Grosberg and Phil Kean. PHOTO BY TOM DYER


5- MAKING IT OFFICIAL: Val Demings announces her candidacy for Orange County Mayor Jan. 9 at Lake Eola. PHOTO BY LONNIE THOMPSON 6- OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Henry Ollendick (left) and Joel Maas celebrate the grand opening of Papilio, their Mount Dora gift shop, Jan. 11. PHOTO BY LONNIE THOMPSON 7- NEW YEAR NETWORKING: (L to R) Jeff Storks, Carole Conroy, Boyd Geary, Troy Louseuhizer and Paul Lederhos mingle Jan. 8 at the MBA mixer. PHOTO BY LONNIE THOMPSON 8- MIXING IT UP: Gina Duncan, diversity trainer, addresses fellow professionals at the Metropolitan Business Association’s Annual Alliance Mixer, Jan. 8 at Fields BMW in Winter Park. PHOTO BY LONNIE THOMPSON






ANY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA’S LGBT FESTIVALS AND CELEBRATIONS, like Gay Days and St. Pete Pride, aren’t always viewed as family-friendly. In their enthusiasm, revelers are often scantily clad or overly inebriated. Converge Orlando, Inc, Central Florida’s LGBT Convention and Visitors Bureau, has come to the rescue with a brand new event called Family Outfest. It’s scheduled for July 1-7 and promises to be wholesome fun for the whole family. The Facebook page promises several events daily, including theme park excursions. Stay tuned to the website at and as details become available.



S THE NEWLY ELECTED CHAIR OF THE ORANGE COUNTY DEMOCRATS, Carlos Smith is responsible for 295,000 voters. Corralling the resources needed for contentious upcoming elections that includes two high pro�ile races, for governor and county mayor, is a scary thought. So, is Smith afraid? It’s not likely. He’s a thrill-seeker. Among his achievements: hanging precariously 1,000 feet in the air from a plane traveling 100 mph, wearing a water-�illed helmet

with angry eels swimming around and leaping across construction platforms. Smith, 33, was once a contestant on NBC’s Fear Factor. “Compared to facing what I did on Fear Factor all those years ago, taking on Republicans in 2014 will be a cakewalk,” Smith said. “Democrats in Orange County have great candidates, a message that resonates with voters, and a record of �ighting for fairness and equal opportunity for everybody.”




grand opening Jan. 11 of Papilio, owned by Henry Ollendick and his partner Joel Maas. The slogan for the gift shop, which is named after the Latin word for butter�ly, is “where nature and creativity coexist.” Their shop, located at 120 W Fifth Ave., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays. The couple joins Steve Bowersock and Mike Senger of Bowersock Gallery and Crissy Stile and Elena Jarett of Barrell of Books and Games.




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DRESSED IN 16TH CENTURY GARB pictured in gilded-frames. Although it appears Flemish Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens has immortalized them in one of his paintings, they are actually part of Picture Yourself in Art. The promotion, which allows anyone to become a part of a painting, is an Orlando Museum of Art promotion to highlight its exhibit, “Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and The Golden Age,” which opens Jan. 25 and runs through May 5. It features 72 paintings from famous artists and is on loan from the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. To have your photograph taken with your face in a famous painting, call or visit the museum. |  |

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Passings Orlando physician’s assistant and teacher James “Ron” Pace passed away on Dec. 19. He was 64. Pace was named National Physician Assistant of the Year in 2006 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Florida group. Pace is survived by his partner, John Londono, and sisters Pat Sanderson and Donna Bolden.

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Local Birthdays Watermark art director Jake Stevens, multitalented Orlando writer/actor/director Scottie Campbell (Jan. 17); Orlando Gay Chorus vocalist Edd “Peaches” Sinnett, Sarasota native and A League of Our Own member Jerry Rivera,TIGLIFF board member and JP Morgan Chase honcho Kris R. Johnson (Jan. 18); St. Petersburg’s beefy Flamingo bartender Doug Lyons (Jan. 20); Watermark sales representative Sam Rennels (Jan. 21); GSHRadio host and Orlando resident Greg Henchar; Orlando service industry pro Jeremy Indomenico (Jan. 22); Orlando home inspector and art lover Paul Kusic, bangin’ derby babe Betty Ford (Jan. 24); Singer and Tampa Bay performer Ashley Smith, St. Petersburg realtor Jim Longstreth (Jan. 25); Sarasota photographer Kaje Housman, St. Pete resident and Double M Band’s Mario Jooste, mortgage broker, Phish Phest phenom Roxy Santiago, Ybor City special events promoter Chucky Ruckus (Jan. 26); Orlando derby girl Erin Palmer (Jan 27); Orlando performer, beauty expert and straight ally Ellen Jewell (Jan. 28); lightning fast jammer Haley Perry; FSU grad, adorable cub and Ocala muse Bill Bondank (Jan. 30).

NEWLY APPOINTED: Orlando realtor David Dorman was selected as one of the first REDFIN agents in Central Florida. The association will allow Dorman to connect with clients from around the country and help them with their relocation to the Orlando area. To be appointed, applicants must undergo a rigorous interview process. A LIFE-LONG PHILANTHROPIST: Sanford resident Robert Kinney passed away peacefully on Friday, Dec. 27. Kinney was devoted to his friends and family as well as to charitable causes, such as Give Kids the World, Habitat for Humanity, The American Cancer Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida. He was also a champion of the arts and served on the boards of The Sanford Historic Trust, The City of Sanford Historic Preservation Board, The Center Orlando, The GLBT History Museum of Central Florida and more. He is survive by his partner of 21 years, Robert Walsh.






Eddie Nickell, Jennifer Osgood, Nicole DiPatro and Nicholas Olivieri celebrate Nickell’s swearing in to the State Board of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Jan. 7.


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

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Joy Metropolitan Community Church Reverend Terri Steed, Senior Pastor Wednesday Evening Spiritual Transformation Classes 7:00 P.M. Sunday Morning Worship 9:00 A.M. and 10:45 A.M. 2351 South Ferncreek Ave. | Orlando, FL 32806 Office: 407.894.1081

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Ex-Germany midfielder Hitzlsperger says he’s gay


ERLIN, GERMANY | A former World Cup player from Germany came out as gay on Jan. 8, rebuking the Russian anti-gay law that threatens to tarnish next month’s Sochi Olympics and challenging the longstanding stigma against homosexuality in football. With his announcement, Thomas Hitzlsperger said he wants to help break down the prejudice against homosexuality that has long permeated the macho, testosterone-fueled culture of the world’s most popular sport. “I am expressing my sexuality because I want to promote the discussion of homosexuality among professional athletes,’’ Hitzlsperger said in the German newspaper Die Zeit, a statement that was widely welcomed by his countrymen and former teammates. His disclosure came less than a month before the start of the Winter Games in Sochi, which have been the focus of a furious backlash in the West against a recently enacted Russian law banning gay “propaganda.’’ The Olympics “are ahead of us, and I think we need some critical voices to counter the campaigns by various governments against homosexuality,’’ Hitzlsperger said. Before retiring from the game four months ago, the 31-yearold former mid�ielder played in England’s Premier League and in Germany as well as Italy. He is the �irst German player to come out and the �irst from the Premier League. The fact that Hitzlsperger waited until his career was over to make the announcement re�lected the persistent taboo in the game, where many players are reluctant to discuss homosexuality because they fear the reaction of teammates and fans. Hitzlsperger said he felt the time was right to broach a subject that was ``simply ignored.’’ “I get particularly annoyed by the fact that people who know the least are precisely the people to talk the loudest about this issue,’’ he added, noting that the word

RETIRED AND OUT: Retired German football (soccer) star Thomas Hitzlsperger shared that he was gay in order to rebuke Russia’s anti-gay laws. ``gay’’ is commonly used as a slur against footballers. At many football grounds, sexually themed chants are not uncommon. Fans in Britain sometimes chant songs that are viewed as religiously, sexually or racially offensive. In many European countries, especially in Russia and Eastern Europe, thousands of fans chant obscene songs, defying all

was gay before announcing his retirement. He returned to action with the Los Angeles Galaxy after an overwhelmingly positive reaction to his declaration. Former English player Justin Fashanu, who played for Norwich and Nottingham Forest, was the �irst footballer to say openly that he was gay in 1990. He committed suicide eight years later at age 37. Swedish defender Anton Hysen came out in 2011. Athletes from other sports have also spoken about their sexuality. Last month, British Olympic diver Tom Daley said he was in a relationship with a man. Other high-pro�ile gay athletes include former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas, English cricketer Steven Davies and former NBA players Jason Collins and John Amaechi. On Twitter, German forward Lukas Podolski welcomed his former international teammate’s announcement, calling it ``brave and right’’ and ``an important sign in our time.’’ Government spokesman Steffen Seibert praised Hitzlsperger’s announcement on behalf of Chancellor Angela Merkel. ``We judge footballers by whether they conduct themselves well and with dignity on and off the pitch, and I believe both are true for Mr. Hitzlsperger,’’ Seibert said. German football federation president Wolfgang Niersbach said Hitzlsperger ``was always an example for whom I had the highest respect, and this respect is even greater now.’’ Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff said players were unaware of Hitzlsperger’s sexuality until after his retirement, when the player informed both him and Germany coach Joachim Loew. Said Bierhoff: ``We’ll give him every support so he can continue on his courageous path.’’ |  |

“I want to promote the discussion of homosexuality among professional athletes.” —THOMAS HITZLSPERGER attempts to stop them. Hitzlsperger said his own record shattered the idea that gays are ``sissies.’’ “I was a pretty tough guy with an extremely strong shot. That’s not something many can claim,’’ he said. ``My nickname is `The Hammer.’ It’s complete nonsense that gay men are `unmanly.’’’ In England, outspoken Queens Park Rangers mid�ielder Joey Barton praised Hitzlsperger for his ``courage’’ but lamented that he had to wait until now to make his announcement. ``Sad times when people have to wait until they retire from their chosen profession before they feel other people will judge them solely on who the human being is,’’ Barton said on Twitter. ``Shame on all of us as a society.’’ Last February, American player Robbie Rogers declared he

US issues travel alert for Sochi Olympics Wire Report


ASHINGTON | Americans planning to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, should be vigilant about their security due to potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care, the State Department advised Jan. 10. In a travel alert, the department said it was not aware of speci�ic threats to U.S. interests related to the Games that begin next month. But it said large events like the Olympics are ``an attractive target for terrorists’’ and Americans should be aware of their surroundings and take commonsense precautions to stay safe, notably on public transport. Public transport in the general vicinity of Sochi has been targeted by terrorists as recently as late December, although the department stressed that those attacks took place in the city of Volgograd, some 600 miles from the Games venue. A group designated by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization, the Caucasus Emirate, has called for attacks on the Olympics, it said. Although the group’s ability to strike the Games is not clear, the alert noted that the group has in the past been responsible for large-scale attacks on targets including a ski resort, a metro system, a high-speed rail, an airport and a theater. The alert also advised LGBT Americans to review the State Department’s LGBT travel information page if they plan to visit Sochi for the Games, noting that Russia has in place a law that bans the ``propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’’ to minors. It said authorities have been vague about de�ining ``propaganda’’ and that the law applies to foreigners. A conviction on the charge could result in a �ine, a jail term and deportation. |  |


Wire Report

Vikings retain counsel to look into Kluwe charges Wire Report

MINNEAPOLIS | The Minnesota Vikings have retained a former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and a former federal trial attorney to conduct an investigation into Chris Kluwe’s allegations that he was released from the team due to his support of gay marriage. The team made the announcement on Friday, one day after Kluwe penned a scathing article alleging that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made anti-gay comments during team meetings. Priefer has denied Kluwe’s allegations. Former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Eric Magnuson and former Justice Department attorney Chris Madel will lead the investigation. Vikings President Mark Wilf says ``it is extremely important for the Vikings organization to react immediately and comprehensively with an independent review of these allegations.’’ |  |

JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02

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DYER&BLAISDELL, P.L. Attorneys at Law

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JAN. 16 - JAN. 29, 2014 // ISSUE 21.02

Watermark Media is seeking a part time

type? Are you our

Editorial Assistant We Are: Watermark Media, a multi-faceted LGBT media company that publishes a biweekly newsmagazine and numerous online products, including an LGBT news website that is updated daily.

You Are:  A strong writer with a distinct voice who can report all sides of an issue  An idea machine with an interest in creating innovative, informative web content and turning it around quickly  Self-motivated, flexible, organized and in possession of reliable transportation

Requirements:  Minimum 1-2 years of journalism experience with some experience generating online content  Ability to work under deadline pressure and prioritize tasks appropriately  Computer and internet-savvy with excellent communication and writing skills


 Write and pitch story ideas relevant to Orlando, Tampa Bay, Florida and national markets  Assist in creating daily web content and fast turnaround for breaking news  On-the-street, live reporting of events when needed  Want to join the team behind Florida’s top LGBT news source? Email your resume and 3-5 writing samples to and COPY on the email. Emails not sent to both addresses will not be considered. Absolutely no phone calls please. Absolutely no phone calls please. Only the most promising applicants will be contacted.

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Send your resume and 3-5 writing samples as MS Word documents or PDF to with the subject line “Editorial Assistant.”

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Watermark Issue 21.02: Sexual Racism