Polk County shows its Pride in the Park

By : Jeremy Williams
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Rainbow flags and colorful outfits were out in droves for Polk Pride’s “Pride in the Park” celebration at Munn Park in Lakeland June 17.

Attendees had dozens of vendor tents and food trucks to visit while watching local singers, dancers and drag performers entertain.

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St. Pete Pride board member Susan McGrath responds to our St. Pete Pride Viewpoint column

By : Billy Manes
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Though we don’t normally do this – not directly, except in our letters section – we’d like to present this rebuttal to one of our Viewpoints. Not everybody is happy with Greg Stemm’s opinion piece in our Viewpoint section about St. Pete Pride. You can read the original here.

This is Pride board member Susan McGrath’s response.

As a St Pete Pride board member and a 19-year homeowner in Historic Kenwood, I cannot express my level of disappointment in opening the “St Pete Pride” Watermark edition to see a page devoted to substantial misinformation and language that is divisive and unproductive for our community.

Let’s begin with the facts.

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Tampa has a night of remembrance one year after the Pulse tragedy

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tampanians gathered at Centennial Park Station in Tampa June 12 to remember and honor those lives lost at the hands of a gunman one year earlier at Pulse in Orlando.

The gathering had local performers and speakers as well as a candlelight vigil.

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Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project and American Stage bring you ‘The Golden Gurlz Live’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Every year the folks down with the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project put on a “Prelude to Pride” show with the help of the American Stage Theatre Company. This consists of doing a big send up or parody of a Hollywood classic. They have done hits like Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz and All About Eve.

“This year we were planning to do a spoof on Mommie Dearest,” says local performer Matthew McGee. “But we kept coming back to The Golden Girls, because even though it is an ’80s sitcom, it is so beloved by a young audience now as well as those of us who grew up with the show. It’s got this huge generational appeal.”

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St. Pete Pride is spreading its wings, so here are sparkling details of all the big events for the weekend

By : Jeremy Williams
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It’s no secret that for the first time in its 15 years, the St. Pete Pride parade is moving from the Grand Central District and heading downtown, but that isn’t the only change to the schedule.

“There are always lots of events during Pride month and this is the first year that we actively went out to recruit events from all over Pinellas County,” St. Pete Pride Executive Director Eric Skains says. “We have an extensive list of events compiled from all this information we received, and they are all amazing events.”

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As St. Pete Pride celebrates its 15th Anniversary, we look back on how it all got started

By : Jeremy Williams
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It may surprise a lot of people outside of the Tampa Bay area, but St. Pete Pride is the largest Pride celebration in the state of Florida. They obtained that title in 2006 and continued to grow, welcoming more than 100,000 people in St. Petersburg the last weekend of June in 2012, then nearly a quarter of a million in 2015.

This year, St. Pete Pride continues to grow and expand with Pride splitting the parade from the street festival in the Grand Central District and moving the route to downtown St. Petersburg along Bayshore Drive. More than a dozen events will be happening in the days and weeks leading up to Pride weekend, this year happening June 23-25, and more people than ever before are expected to attend these events all over Pinellas County.

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Wedding Bells: Lexi and Tonya Floyd-Nye

By : Holly V. Kapherr
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“I’ll never forget the first time I met Tonya,” Lexi says about her wife of two months. The two met at Salty’s, a bar and music venue in Gulfport, where Tonya was performing with her band, The Cheaters. Tonya was single. Lexi wasn’t.

But there was instant chemistry. “My then-girlfriend looked at me after I was introduced to Tonya and said, ‘What was that?’ as if she felt it too,” says Lexi. Because of circumstances and relationships, they didn’t end up together until two years later, but neither of them forgot that day.

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St. Petersburg Gay Black Pride gets its groove back

By : Samuel Johnson
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ST. PETERSBURG – After a six-year hiatus, Gay Black Pride is out and proud this year in St. Petersburg. Its epicenter is the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum located in the city’s historic African-America neighborhood, The Deuces. Throughout the month of June, the museum will be celebrating Gay Black Pride with a series of events. The centerpiece of the celebrations is the exhibit, “As Black as They were Gay: The Harlem Renaissance.”

Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum is the only museum in St. Petersburg which isn’t downtown or near the waterfront. It’s nestled next to Jordan Park, a public housing community. This year the Woodson Museum is making a splash on the Gay Black Pride front. On June 12, there was a candlelight vigil to commemorate the victims of the Pulse tragedy. On Friday, June 16, starting at 7:30 p.m., the museum will be putting on a screening of the Oscar winning film Moonlight. Nearing the end of Pride month, Tuesday, June 20, the museum will host an LGBTQ panel discussion entitled, “Not a Trend: The Truth.”

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Comedian Fortune Feimster brings her Southern charm to Polk Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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Fortune Feimster has been a comical force of nature since first appearing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2010. The North Carolina native has been a member of the legendary comedy troupe The Groundlings; a writer and performer on Chelsea Handler’s groundbreaking late night talk show, Chelsea Lately; and has guest-starred on hit TV shows like 2 Broke Girls, Glee and Life in Pieces.

In Mindy Kaling’s hit Hulu series The Mindy Project, Feimster guest starred as the loveable nurse Colette, and was so loveable that Kaling turned Colette into a permanent character on the show.

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Crist comes to Metro: The U.S. Congressman and former Florida governor eyes expansion, promises political strength

By : Samuel Johnson
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(James Keane (L) speaks with Charlie Crist about the Metro expansion in St. Petersburg. Photo by Samuel Johnson.)

ST. PETERSBURG – Charlie Crist came back to his Tampa Bay roost May 30 to survey one of the area’s biggest LGBTQ success stories and to tackle an uncertain healthcare climate.

Crist, U.S. Representative for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, was given a tour of Metro Health and Wellness’ flagship facility in the city. After all, the 13th district includes a large swath of St. Petersburg where the facility resides. Metro Health and Wellness is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a $5.2 million dollar expansion and renovation. This bay area success is a one-stop location in Tampa Bay for primary care, HIV prevention and treatment, behavioral care, therapy and much more.

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Polk Pride looks to make its third year the biggest one yet

By : Jeremy Williams
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LAKELAND – Nestled on the I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa, many visitors don’t realize that Lakeland has quite an LGBTQ presence in Polk County.

“That was never more evident than that first year we held Polk Pride in 2015,” Dustin Shay, a Polk Pride executive committee member, says. “We were thinking we would have like 200 people and it ended up being 3,000. It was great. The following year Pride in 2016 we ended up having around 5,000, so this year we are really hoping to blow it out since we have gotten a little bit more exposure.”

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TransPride March joins St. Pete Pride

By : Staff Report
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ST. PETERSBURG – St. Pete Pride is making history again. Not only is it the largest LGBTQ Pride celebration in the state of Florida, but it is about to become the first Pride in the state to hold a TransPride March in conjunction with their annual parade.

The TransPride March will kick off St. Pete Pride’s parade and will consist of members of the transgender, gender-non-conforming, queer communities, their families, friends, allies and supporters.

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