05.25.23 Publisher’s Desk

I feel my age today. I may feel a bit older than my age. Without a doubt, I feel like a used car breaking down a little more every day.

It started roughly a month ago with my back. I was helping to transport boxes of Fringe Festival programs from the parking lot to their second-floor office. On the last trip I bent down to pick up a box of the programs, one foot on the pavement and one on the elevated sidewalk. When I twisted to put the box on the dolly, I felt the harsh beginnings of a very long month.

So far, I have had three massages and three trips to the chiropractor. They are helping but my back is slow to catch up. With all of this going on I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of a personal mystery: why little white masses grow on my vocal chords. I was hoping it was a one-time occurrence. For those who talk to me on a regular basis, they know about a year ago I had some masses removed that were affecting my ability to speak.

They were benign, thankfully, and for the better part of a year they seemed to stay away. That is until my last visit to the ear, nose and throat doctor. My team of doctors believe it is caused by acid reflux. I was given medication for it and it seemed to help as long as I followed a strict lifestyle change. I have fought these changes for some time now, which may be why the medication alone has not been working.

My reluctance to follow some guidelines is mainly inconvenience mixed with a little ageism, by me to me. Now it has come down to this simple agreement, make the changes or constantly have surgeries to remove these masses. I have made some dramatic strides towards the former.

The hardest adjustment for me is to not eat anything two hours before going to bed, and not laying down on the couch for two hours after eating. It’s silly, but that’s the one that makes me feel the oldest. Then come the dietary changes, which also make me feel old and they just plain suck.

I am a huge fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex food. I grew up on it and salsa and queso pretty much flow through my veins. They are the first to go. No more tomatoes and no more spicy food. That takes away spaghetti, my favorite sauce to make, and pizza. Yeah right, let’s see how long that pizza one lasts.

I can probably live without diet cola. I have been drinking a lot of it lately, but I get how unhealthy it is so it’s easy to eliminate. What has proven to be a bigger problem, for me and for those around me, is the elimination of caffeine from my body. No coffee, no tea and no chocolate. I’m on day three without it and I think I may be getting back to a normal human being.

It’s hard to tell though. I don’t know if I’ve been moody because of the lack of caffeine or because the world is hard right now for Florida’s queer community. The Florida legislative session ended and DeSantis signed into law the most anti-LGBTQ+ bills we have seen in the state’s history.

It’s brought out a lot of ugly, and not just from the lawmakers. I’ll draw an analogy for those who play softball. You know when your team is winning, everyone is laughing and having fun, but as soon as your team starts to lose there is always this one person who starts to yell at everyone and point out how everyone’s mistakes are holding the team back?

I can confirm that Watermark has lost at least $6,000 in advertising this print cycle from corporations canceling contracts out of fear of showing their support right now. On several occasions it has been suggested to me, from queer leaders, that our inclusion of the trans community is holding us back. Caffeine or no caffeine, it’s infuriating to me.

To the corporations I say this: Whereas our queerness does not dictate every aspect of our lives, we are ALWAYS queer. Your outspoken support of that queerness is needed more when we are under attack.

To those within our community that target the trans community: The trans community is not to blame. You should thank them for being on the frontlines so you don’t have to. They are the most vulnerable in our community and we allow them to be. We should stand with them, elevate them loudly and relentlessly. I cannot unhear the words these few have spoken, but it motivates me to ensure Watermark will always be an outspoken supporter of the trans community no matter the cost.

I will never understand this world’s aggression towards the trans community. It’s enough to make this alcoholic pick up a cup of coffee!

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

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