Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Twyla and Pamela Avellino of Daytona Beach, Florida

By : Marianella Falbo
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Twyla and Pamela Avellino’s story started with friendship and trust. The couple met through the local BDSM community in Daytona Beach, which at the time was being run by Twyla, when Pamela moved to Florida in 2004.

“We became friends immediately and when a situation arose among the group, Pamela was the first person to point me to the proper legal advice to know how to handle it. Our friendship blossomed after that,” Twyla says.

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Rainbow Housing Coalition launches LGBTQ needs assessment

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The Rainbow Housing Coalition of Pinellas, committed to developing and providing affordable housing for the disadvantaged, is seeking responses to an online LGBTQ+ Housing Needs Assessment.

“LGBTQ+ people and disabled persons are challenged by the search for welcoming and inclusive housing options,” the organization has shared. “These individuals face discrimination and even abuse when looking for retirement communities, assisted living and/or long-term care options. We aim to enhance the overall quality of life for LGBTQ people by connecting them with safe and friendly housing.”

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‘Paris is Burning’ viewing benefits St. Petersburg VFW

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The LGBTQ-owned and operated Bambu the Eco Salon is hosting a two-part experience to educate, entertain and raise money for St. Petersburg’s VFW Post No. 39 beginning June 7.

The salon will present the 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning” at 7 p.m. The must-see film chronicles New York City’s 1980s ball culture and the African American, Latino and LGBTQ communities involved in its rise. During a brief intermission, performers will provide a history of the ball scene and demonstrate fabulous and fierce voguing techniques. 

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St Pete Pride 2019 welcomes Lisa Loeb, Rita Ora

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride announced April 24 that entertainers Lisa Loeb and Rita Ora will headline concerts for the organization’s 17th annual celebration in June.

Loeb is a singer-songwriter who began her career with the platinum-selling hit “Stay (I Missed You)” from “Reality Bites.” Other singles include “Do You Sleep” and “Let’s Forget about It,” which she’s sure to perform as she headlines the organization’s SP2 Concert June 21 from 7-10 p.m.

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Hope & Help bumps gala to 2020, launching new event to honor donors

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Hope & Help had a successful event with the AIDS Walk Orlando thanks to all of the people who opened their pockets and donated what they could, and for that they want to say thank you with a celebration.

Hope & Help’s community developmental director Joshua Myers says that the nonprofit will be pushing its annual gala, typically held in September, to next year and instead this October will hold an invite only event called Hope & Help Society.

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The Other Side of Life: Jane Castor and American Exceptionalism

By : Jason Leclerc
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LGBTQ is not a qualification. Woman is not a qualification.

These are genetic characteristics, inscribed on a human’s chromosomes at conception (or, in a religio-metaphysical sense, since the conception of the heavens).

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‘Sunday School’ exhibit examines religion, social climate

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | John Gascot—Tampa Bay WAVE Award winner for Favorite Local Artist—has announced “Sunday School,” a new exhibit opening April 5 that explores his views on religion.

“As a gay Latino man, I don’t have much positive to say about organized religion or the current administration,” Gascot says. “Creating these pieces has been a fun productive way to let out some of that steam.”

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St. Pete Pride seeks 2019 grand marshal nominations

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St Pete Pride is now accepting grand marshal nominations for the organization’s 17th annual celebration, currently scheduled for June 21-23.

“In 2014 we introduced Community Grand Marshals, allowing the community to vote on who they felt should be the St Pete Pride Grand Marshals,” the organization’s website reads.

“St Pete Pride is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Community Grand Marshals,” it continues. “Tell us your story about your local hero, activist or hidden gem. Let us know who we should recognize with the honor of St Pete Pride Grand Marshal.”

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Miracle of Love’s Project Red will have ‘Wigs in Space’ at the Parliament House

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | Miracle of Love—an organization whose mission is to reduce the number of HIV cases and end the AIDS epidemic by providing comprehensive, multicultural care, education and prevention services in Central Florida—is as known for its fabulous events as it is for its amazing work, and its signature fundraiser event Project Red is always the talk of the town.

This year, Miracle of Love presents Project Red: Wigs in Space, an infusion of art and drag, on Feb. 22 from 7-10 p.m. at the Parliament House in Orlando.

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LGBTQ cops in Central Florida are ready to talk GOALs

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: GOALcfl’s founding board members. (Photo courtesy GOALcfl.com)

ORLANDO | The Gay Officer Action League (GOAL), a fraternal civil rights organization providing a safe place for active and retired LGBTQ law enforcement officers, got its start in New York in 1982.

Since then GOAL has opened several other chapters in the U.S. with the most recent one kicking off in Orlando on Jan. 26. GOALcfl, as it is called for short, is now one of four chapters that branched from the original GOALnyc.

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Gulfport welcomes readers, writers to ReadOut 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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GULFPORT, Fla. | The second annual Gulfport ReadOut—three days of events held primarily at the Gulfport Public Library for LGBTQ readers, writers and their allies—will take place Feb. 15-17.

Festivities begin Feb. 15 with “An Afternoon of Romance,” bringing together lesbian romance authors for afternoon tea ahead of a reception. They continue Feb. 16 with a full day of events beginning at 10 a.m., where keynote speaker and workshop leader Leslea Newman—author of 70 books including “A Letter to Harvey Milk,” “A Song for Matthew Shepard” and “Heather Has Two Mommies”—will present “It Takes a Village to Raise a Writer and Activist.”

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Straz Center announces ‘Hamilton’ ticket lottery for Tampa run

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Producer Jeffrey Seller and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts announced Jan. 31 that a digital lottery for “Hamilton” tickets will begin in conjunction with the popular production’s opening night in Tampa Feb. 12.

The musical details the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War. It features a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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