11.09.23 Publisher’s Desk

I don’t have kids. I’m not sure I ever wanted them. There may have been a time in my late 20’s or early 30’s where I tried to convince my bestie to go halvsies on making one. She wasn’t in the mood, and by the time she was we were both too old to have the energy.

It’s not that I don’t like children. I’m with Whitney, I believe they are the future. At times, I even find them to be inspiring. Recently, at Halloween on Central in St Petersburg, I saw the most remarkable thing. Two friends, they couldn’t have been older than five years each, were surprised to see each other. The young girl reached into her bag of treats and pulled out a little container with orange slime and gave it to the young boy.

“This is for you,” she said. “It’s orange slime. You can have it.”

His face lit up and he hugged her. It was pure and it was innocence. Of course, my initial thought was to lean down and tell them to never watch cable news and stay happy forever. Instead I just gave them some candy and said “Happy Halloween.”

There is a downside to kids, though. They can be loud, messy and they cry a lot — like me during the last season of “Ted Lasso.” However, the worst thing about children are the adults who use them as weapons.

I was reminded of this the other day during the keynote address at The Pride Chamber’s Pride in Business Awards. Todd Delmay, LGBTQ+ rights activist and history-making marriage equality plaintiff, reminded us all of orange juice aficionado Anita Bryant and her crusade against LGBTQ+ couples adopting children.

She had to save the children! From what? Loving parents? If you think straight parents are better, I encourage you to read Britney Spears’ book “The Woman in Me.”

Recently the battle to save the children attacked drag queens. I have to say, I didn’t see this one coming. Especially since I have been to Drag Queen Story Hour. It’s awesome. Kids really enjoy it and the kind souls who host it are delightful. I could ask the question, “Have those protesting these events ever been to one?” I’m sure we know the answer.

The reading materials are light and fun. The book about the two male penguins keeping an egg safe is delightful. It’s not sexual and it doesn’t sexualize children. I’ve always found that those complaining about the sexualization of children are actually the ones sexualizing them. Let’s be real though, the argument was never that children were being groomed or sexualized. It has always been homophobia.

Now we are living through a war on the transgender community. This one I will never understand. The idea of blocking medical treatment for adults is insane to me. I’ve watched “Botched” and seen what people are allowed to do to themselves, but gender-affirming care for yourself being attacked? For what? You guessed it — for the children.

I had the displeasure of watching an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” in which he wrongly, in my opinion, talked about gender-neutral, nonbinary and transgender kids. I should confess, I had been a fan of Bill Maher for years. I used to watch “Politically Incorrect” and dream of taking over for him when he retired. I no longer watch his show. I was cognizant of his growing distain for trans rights but it was his reference to cutting the penis of 8-year-olds that made his show unbearable for me to watch. He was spewing talking points of ignorance, whether it was part of his “comedy” or not, it was wrong. Perpetuating the fallacy that gender reassignment surgery was taking place on 8-year-olds is absurd.

That level of ignorance isn’t something only straight people own. Sadly, it’s common in our own community. That’s why Watermark set out to explain what gender-affirming care is, looking at the myths and explaining the actual benefit children experience from it. I encourage you to read it and educate yourself on what gender-affirming care really means.

To those who support Anita Bryant (who has a legally wed lesbian granddaughter now) and the governor in their quest to protect kids from loving families and the family friendly entertainment of a drag queen reading a book: If you are so concerned about the welfare of children, then do something about guns and leave the queer community alone.

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

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