Metro Inclusive Health, CAN break ground on Tampa expansion

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Leaders including Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois (4th, 5th from L) break ground in Tampa Aug. 15. Photo courtesy Metro Inclusive Health.

TAMPA | Metro Inclusive Health, CAN Community Health and Alliant Partners began the restoration of Tampa’s German American Club for their Tampa expansion Aug. 15.

The partners announced their plans for the expansion in April after acquiring the historic venue, located at 2105 N. Nebraska Ave. Metro and CAN currently lease space at 1315 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor.

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Sarasota Pride skips 2019, announces January 2020 celebration

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | Sarasota Pride, Inc. announced Aug. 15 that its next PrideFest will be held Jan. 25, 2020 rather than in 2019, a departure from the organization’s traditional celebrations held in October.

Sarasota Pride aims to promote visibility and self-esteem among the LGBTQ community in Sarasota and throughout Florida. Chairman Cindy Barnes led the organization into its 29th year on Oct. 20, 2018 at J.D. Hamel Park.

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Tampa recognizes LGBTQ-certified businesses by executive order

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor presents her executive order to recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses at the 2019 NGLCC conference Aug. 14. Photo courtesy Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

TAMPA | The city of Tampa will formally recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses in contracting and procurement opportunities, Mayor Jane Castor announced Aug. 14 during the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business & Leadership Conference.

The conference, held at the Tampa Convention Center Aug. 13-16, is the largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world. Castor, Tampa’s 59th and first openly LGBTQ mayor, detailed her executive order directing the city to formally recognize LGBTQ businesses during a luncheon interview with NGLCC President Justin G. Nelson.

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PHOTOS: Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber hosts NGLCC Opening Reception

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC) hosted the opening reception for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business & Leadership Conference at the Italian Club in Ybor Aug. 13.

The NGLCC’s 2019 conference is being held in Tampa Aug. 13-16 and is the largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world. More than 1,000 of its attendees gathered for the opening reception at the historic venue, which was chosen to highlight Tampa’s Cuban and Italian heritage.

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Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival auditioning executive director

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) is hiring an executive director ahead of the organization’s 30th annual celebration.

“Be yourself, out and proud as the new executive director of the Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival,” TIGLFF shared via social media. “We are seeking a dynamic, forward thinking leader to help grow the film festival into the coming decade.”

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Watermark Giveaway: Two tickets for ‘KINK: An Art Affair’ at Metro Inclusive Health

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay will get a big dose of sexy Aug. 17 as “KINK: An Art Affair” makes its debut at Metro Inclusive Health in St. Petersburg Aug. 17 from 8 p.m.-midnight.

Metro say that “KINK” is erotic by nature and provocative by experience. The art auction featuring fabulous entertainment will serve as a platform to educate on safe and informed sex through knowledge and sexual empowerment, and Watermark wants to send you and a guest to enjoy the experience for free.

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Matthew Shepard Foundation, MillerCoors, Metro partner for training

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: The “Stay Proud, Be Loud Happy Hour” roundtable discussion at Orlando’s Parliament House June 5, 2018. Photo courtesy MillerCoors.

TAMPA | The Matthew Shepard Foundation, MillerCoors and Metro Inclusive Health will hold a “Stay Proud, Be Loud Happy Hour” at American Social Tampa Aug. 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., an educational gathering designed to detail the importance of reporting hate crimes.

“Stay Proud, Be Loud” is a nationwide program that educates participants on ways to keep the LGBTQ community safe. It was launched in 2016 by the Matthew Shepard Foundation—dedicated to replacing hate with compassion—and brewery MillerCoors, longtime partners who connect with organizations like Metro Inclusive Health to provide local resources to area attendees.

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Tampa hosts 2019 NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan D. Lovitz (C) is joined by business and community leaders at 2018’s Philadelphia conference. Photo courtesy NGLCC.

TAMPA | The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC) will welcome the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to Tampa Aug. 13-16 for the largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world.

The 2019 International Business & Leadership Conference is an annual conference presented by the NGLCC, the nation’s only organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for the LGBTQ business community. The TBDCC, one of the NGLCC’s 15 affiliate chambers, has served Tampa Bay for more than 35 years.

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Anti-LGBTQ ‘Activist Mommy’ targets Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “The Activist Mommy” Elizabeth Johnston burns “Teen Vogue.” (Screenshot via Facebook)

ST. PETERSBURG | Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay and its host venue Community Cafe are the latest targets of the anti-LGBTQ vlogger Elizabeth Johnston, also known as “The Activist Mommy.”

Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay began in Sept. 2018. The majority of the monthly events—which exist to entertain and inspire children—have been held at the cafe in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District, affectionately referred to as “The Gayborhood.”

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LGBTQ cops talk about being out and proud in Central Florida and Tampa Bay

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tom Woodard had law enforcement in his blood. His parents were both officers; his mother was a detective for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and his stepfather was a major in the Winter Haven Police Department. Woodard wanted nothing more than to go into the family business, and in Oct. 1988, he got his wish. Woodard became a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) on Halloween.

Less than a year later, Woodard’s world would be turned upside down when a fellow officer outed him as a gay man.

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Comedian Matteo Lane brings his singing stand-up to Tampa

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Comedian Matteo Lane wants you to know that he’s gay. It’s something that he shares almost immediately with his audiences, whether they’re laughing with him on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” or logging onto Netflix for “The Comedy Lineup.”

“I walk up and say, ‘Hi, thanks so much, I’m obviously gay,’” he explains, “and then I move on. It’s a real power move, because I know they’re thinking it and I’m proud of it.” It’s a choice that’s served the classically trained opera singer and painter well, leading to captivated crowds for Comedy Central, Logo, HBO and across the world for his live tour.

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PHOTOS: Flamingo Resort St. Pete’s farewell party

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Flamingo Resort held its final Sunday Tea Dance July 28, a poolside farewell after serving Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community for more than 10 years.

Flamingo General Manager Jon Jusino confirmed the resort’s imminent closure July 22. Speculation began July 20 after Bay Area Auction Services Inc. advertised an “everything goes” sale on resort property scheduled for Aug. 6. 

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