12.22.22 Publisher’s Desk

It might be the understatement of the year to say I watch a lot of TV. Well, maybe not “of the year.” I mean, there are Trump NFTs out there now. I’m sure any claim that that’s nuts is the understatement of the year.

Nevertheless, I’m often found on my couch enjoying small screen entertainment. A good handful of the shows I watch are mindless, which my — at times — overactive mind appreciates. Mostly though, I enjoy something that makes me think or really resonates with me. No show has done this more than “This Is Us,” which took its final bow this year. Towards the series finale, the character Randall Pearson gave a toast at his sister’s wedding. With his mother’s ailing health at the forefront of his mind, he reflected on the passage of time and how slow it moves when you are young. “But the older we get,” he continued, “the faster time just seems to come at us. All of us.”

Nothing is truer for me as I reflect back on 2022. It is such a cliché to say, but where did this year go? I feel like I blinked and the year was over. Funny thing about time though, what you feel goes by in the blink of an eye can also seem like forever ago.

My husband and I like to play a silly game at the end of a long day. It goes something like this: Dylan will say to me, “It was today when…,” and I will fill it in with something I did that morning that seems like forever ago.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to play that game here, but with 2022.

Here’s an example: It was this year when Watermark wrote the controversial stories surrounding the closure of the LGBTQ nightclub Stonewall. It was this year that Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent got to interview Audra McDonald. We had the privilege of seeing her show. She is a stunning woman and a stunning performer. I’m sure he’d rather I mentioned his interview with mermaid phenom Jodi Benson, but Audra is more my style.

It was this year that LGBTQ and ally women of color dominated the Orlando WAVE Award issue cover. Congratulations and thank you again to Heather Abood, Pom Moongaulang, Tish and Tatiana Quiroga.

It was this year Central Florida said goodbye to Doug Ba’aser. He was an amazing human being, friend and talented actor. I’ve often referred to him as the funniest man I have ever met. We also saw the passing of Steve Singhaus, Elliot Barber and most recently, Al Pfeiffer and Ted Maines.

It was this year that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis backed and signed into law the poorly named Parental Rights in Education bill. The LGBTQ community quickly coined it the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill.

It’s legalized discrimination that sparked a change in Watermarks 2023 direction, something I will detail in the next issue.

It was this year that GayDayS, Inc was sold and returned, that St Pete Pride celebrated 20 years and that the Supreme Court dismantled the 50-year precedent of Roe v Wade.

We seem to have packed a whole lot of good and a whole lot of bad into one year. One event however stands out to me that defines this year. President Joe Biden signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act.

The significance of this event cannot go unnoticed. It’s simply something I never thought I would see in my lifetime and I hope it is indicative of a change in direction of acceptance for all LGBTQ people.

In my last column of 2021, I mused about some things I’d like to see come out of 2022. The end of the pandemic, a return to truth and the concept of asking questions rather than making assumptions topped the list of desires. Did 2022 bring these? It’s all subjective. The pandemic as we knew it ended. Life opened up.

The anticipated red wave in the mid-term election was dismantled, at least outside of Florida. Election deniers and big lie supporters were denied office. That’s a partial return to truth.

For 2023 I have one simply request: Can we finally put Donald Trump back into the background? I will check back in with you in twelve months to see how that is going.

Watermark has exciting news about 2023. Before we get into that, let’s look at what made 2022.

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

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