PHOTOS: Come OUT St. Pete steps out for inaugural parade

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) held its inaugural parade in the Grand Central District during its second annual celebration Oct. 6.

The parade began at 10 a.m., heading west on Central Ave. from 22nd St. to 31st St. “Bringing a parade back to Grand Central is definitely something the community has voiced for some time,” COSP Co-Chair Jimmy Biascan shared ahead of the event. “It’s really cool to be able to give them what they want.”

COSP did exactly that – and Watermark was on hand to help celebrate. Check out some of our photos below.

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PHOTOS: Come OUT St. Pete celebrates second annual festival

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) held its second annual street festival in the Grand Central District following its inaugural parade Oct. 6.

Beginning at 12 p.m., vendors shared their goods and services with festival fans across the district. Entertainers also captivated audiences at The Garage, Pom Pom’s, Steep Station, Numex Chile, Right Around the Corner, The Queens Head, URBAN Comfort, Punky’s Bar and Grill, Dog Bar and Old Key West Bar & Grill.

At 1 p.m., community leaders and supporters joined together to celebrate the reopening of Metro Wellness and Community Centers’ LGBTQ Welcome Center. “It was our goal to create a safe place for those looking to build a network of friends or find access to LGBTQ-friendly resources,” Lorraine Langlois, CEO of Metro, shared ahead of the ceremony. “Whether someone is just coming out or in a new city looking to make friends, we want St. Petersburg to have a resource for all.”

Watermark was on hand to celebrate – you can check out some of our photos below.

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Come OUT St. Pete: When and where to come out

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) returns for its second outing with an inaugural parade and five days of events Oct. 4-11.

COSP kicks off Oct. 4 with the Taste of Grand Central, a celebration of restaurants in the Grand Central District. It’s also where the majority of the celebration’s events will take place; something COSP Co-Chair Jimmy Biascan says is intentional.

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Inaugural Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay draws anti-LGBTQ protest

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Participants in the first Drag Queen Story Hour Tampa Bay (DQSHTB) were greeted by religious protestors at St. Petersburg’s Community Cafe Sept. 29.

DQSHTB was formed by Adira Elham and is exactly what it sounds like, she advises. It features area drag entertainers reading stories to children in libraries, schools and bookstores. It aims to capture the imagination and play of childhood and give children glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models.

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Come OUT St. Pete returns with inaugural parade in second Pride-filled year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) will return for its second outing with an inaugural parade and five days of events Oct. 4-11.

The organization’s mission is to inspire those in the LGBTQ community to live genuinely, raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and encourage public support from community allies. It began last year as a committee of the Grand Central District Association but has since applied for its own 501(c)(3) designation.

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Fabulous Independent Film Festival celebrates eight years

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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SARASOTA | The Harvey Milk Festival’s Fabulous Independent Film Festival (FIFF) will dazzle audiences with its eighth year Sept. 28-30.

“The Fabulous Independent Film Festival is definitely something the community needs,” Harvey Milk Festival President Shannon Fortner says. “We’ve had such great support. Magida Diouri, who founded and gifted it to the Harvey Milk Festival, continues to do its programming and does such a wonderful job.”

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TIGLFF 29: When and where to see major, local productions

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Following its successful launch party, the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) returns for its 29th year Oct. 5-13.

“This year we have such star quality,” Director of Programming KJ Mohr says, “with major productions that people won’t be able to see in theaters for some time. We have Molly Shannon playing Emily Dickinson, Matt Smith playing Robert Mapplethorpe and Paul Rudd is one half of an eccentric gay couple in our closing film.”

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Watermark is hiring a Tampa Bay Advertising sales representative

By : Meghan Sweeney
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For more than 24 years, Watermark has been the premiere source for LGBTQ news across Central Florida and Tampa Bay and we are expanding our Tampa Bay sales team.

Now you can be part of the team that brings the news to the LGBTQ community.

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St. Petersburg LGBTQ-affirming church vandalized

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Allendale United Methodist Church (UMC) shared Sept. 24 that the LGBTQ-affirming church had been vandalized.

“Allendale was again the target of vandalism,” UMC shared via social media. “LGBTQ people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group. We will leave the spray paint up, surrounded by signs of love, to make visible the often invisible harm that the LGBTQ community receives every day.”

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09.20.18 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Thanks to the wonders of Facebook’s “On This Day,” a feature which allows users to grin or grimace at their social media posts from yesteryear, I recently discovered I’ve been living in Florida for 11 years.

For whatever reason, I still tell folks I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio when they ask. They tend to figure out that I’m from the North when I correctly describe Diet Coke as “pop,” but I suppose I should really start telling my Lyft drivers that I’m from St. Pete. I put too much thought into small talk, which is probably why I’m so bad at it.

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PHOTOS: TIGLFF launches 29th year in Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) kicked off its 29th year with a launch party at The Vault Sept. 13.

“This year the TIGLFF board and staff have recommitted to making the festival for the community,” event co-chairs and board members Ed Lally and Rob Adkins shared ahead of the celebration. “The festival was founded for the community to come together, and while times have changed and access to LGBTQ+ film has expanded, the annual festival is still a time to view world-class cinema together with friends old and new.”

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Suncoast Softball League kicks off 26th year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Suncoast Softball League, organized in 1993 to promote a safe environment for gay men and women in the Tampa Bay area to play softball, kicked off its 26th year Sept. 16.

“It’s hard to believe! A small handful of us were here on opening day 26 years ago,” the organization shared via social media. “We never imagined how successful the league would become; what an impact in the community it would have; the people and critters we would help year after year.”

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