Overheard in Tampa Bay: St. Pete Pride logo gets a makeover

By : Anonymous
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Tampa PFLAG recognized again
It’s been a big year for Nancy and John Desmond. The couple who rebooted the Tampa chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), received a Hero award from the Human Rights Council of Hillsborough County on Dec. 12. If the two look familiar (pictured above) they should—they were also grand marshals in the 2014 St. Pete Pride Parade in June. The couple have a gay son who lives out of state, and have helped expand PFLAG’s influence around Tampa Bay and in multiple counties. The 41st Annual Awards Breakfast was held at the Westshore DoubleTree hotel in downtown Tampa.

Dogs and Drag? This bar says yes to both
There’s a new LGBT establishment in town—right on Memorial Highway in Tampa. Dachshunds Bar and Grill is open for business and has given long-time performer Stephanie Shippae her newest starring gig. Shippae (Hey Everybody!) is the emcee and headliner of the Friday night drag shows at the club, located at 5915 Memorial Highway. The shows start at 8:30 and features a recurring cast of special guests. The club, which opened in August, is LGBT friendly, obviously, and also welcomes our four-legged kids since it neighbors a dog park. Visit Dachshunds.bravesites.com or find them on Facebook for more details.

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Eric Davis continues to lead freeFall Theatre Company on a rapid ascent

By : Joseph Kissel
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St. Petersburg – Define the word freefall.

It’s certainly not winning multiple awards and strong audiences for 2014’s diverse line-up of shows, including Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and upcoming The Buffalo Kings.

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NC church members face charges in beating of gay man

By : Wire Report
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Spindale, N.C. (AP) – For Matthew Fenner, a crowd of parishioners gathering around him in a church sanctuary after a prayer service was a sign of trouble.

Within minutes, he said they began to berate him because he was gay. One woman told him he was “disgusting.” Then for two hours, they pushed and hit Fenner, screaming at him as they tried to “break me free of the homosexual `demons,”’ he said in a police affidavit about the Jan. 27, 2013 attack.

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Light up the Courtyard 2014

By : Patrick O'Connor
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Parliament House’s annual festival of holiday lights Dec. 6 featured performances by the Sounds of Freedom marching band, the Orlando Gay Chorus and The Orlando Sisters – Abbey of St. Gertrude de Nivelles. Santa and Mrs. Claus took some time out of their busy holiday schedules to make an appearance!

Photos by Pat O’Rourke of Bears in the City.

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Santa Claus is gay. Deal with it.

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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A new documentary called “I Am Santa Claus” gives a peak into the lives of five Santa impersonators when it’s not the “most wonderful time of the year”—and one of the Santas is gay.

Jim Stevenson, in his 70s, is a Santa impersonator from Texas. Beard, who says he loves being Santa because he doesn’t have kids and it allows him the chance to give back. The documentary features shots of Stevenson spending time with his boyfriend and the couple sharing a kiss. 

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tis’ the season

By : Anonymous
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Christmas Pride
It’s December, which means the holidays are approaching us like a freight train. Fortunately, with the stress comes parties, and St. Petersburg’s biggest is happening Dec. 6. Red & Green, St. Pete Pride’s annual holiday fundraiser, returns to Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. The night of festivities will include appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus and performances by local drag performers and choirs. Entry is $35 and includes an open bar and some light bites. Every dollar earned goes toward funding St. Pete Pride and it’s community outreach programs. Get more information at StPetePride.com.

Softball eyeing “E” division
There’s a chance that the Suncoast Softball League could create a whole new non-competitive division in 2015. Due to ratings guidelines, some players get forced into different divisions each season, meaning teams get split. To avoid that trauma, the league is entertaining a new recreational league that is unaffiliated, in effect, with the national NAGAAA rules that places ratings in place and guide teams to the World Series each year. The league has asked members to take a survey to determine interest in such a division in the spring. A decision should be announced by the end of 2014. Visit SuncoastSoftball.org to keep up to date.

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Win tickets to see “Home for the Holidays”

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Win a pair of tickets to see “Home for the Holidays” — a celebration of Christmas through music from the ’30s  and ’40s.

The production is performed put on by members of the Central Florida Community Arts Community Choir and Symphony Orchestra. Follow a hero and his family as he makes his way home for the holidays, as the music that brought them together helps tell the story.

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Issue 21.24: Mission: Undetectable

By : Jake Stevens
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Mission: Undetectable – Achieving an ‘undetectable’ viral load is as close to cured an HIV-positive person can get—at least for now. Also: World AIDS Day event listings, Francis House expands its services, HIV statistics, Wanzie, Gypsy Productions tackle holiday-themed shows, HRC give St. Pete, Orlando 100% ratings, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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LGBT-themed holiday shows are all over the state in December

By : Staff Report
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The holidays are square upon us, which means it’s time to get in the mood through theatrical performances put on by our fellow LGBTs. Here is a quick roundup of other holiday-themed shows you won’t want to miss this season. Of course, times are subject to change without notice, so check websites or call ahead beforehand.

See the full list after the jump: 

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Francis House adds space, expands services in Tampa

By : Daniel Lancaster
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Robert Shelley counts his blessings. As a 44-year-old active member of the LGBT community, the Tampa resident spends a lot of time in the garb of a Tampa Bay Sister of Perpetual Indulgence as Tootie Truly Humble. Out of habit however, he is no less an advocate for human rights and the rights of the HIV-positive community and speaks freely of his 20-year, passionate fight against the virus and the stigma that comes along with it.

But Shelley did not have any such support system in place when he arrived in Tampa five years ago, and it is easy to see why he is so thankful.

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Ugandan lawmakers draft new anti-gay bill

By : Wire Report
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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan lawmakers have drafted a new anti-gay bill that could be introduced for debate in the country’s parliament before Christmas, a parliamentarian said Nov. 20.

The new bill is in “advanced stages” and will focus on punishing the promotion of being gay, said Ugandan lawmaker Latif Ssebaggala, a strong supporter of anti-gay legislation.

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Wanzie’s Christmas Spectacular injects local color, comedy into the holidays

By : Chris Muscardin
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Orlando – It’s probably a safe bet that most who go to the Parliament House aren’t looking to find Jesus—at least not the Biblical Jesus. But that’s exactly where locally renowned playwright Michael Wanzie has decided to feature his annual holiday production this year.

Entitled Wanzie’s Orange Blossom Trail ‘Living Nativity’ Christmas Spectacular, the play opens Nov. 29 at the Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre and will play the following three Saturdays in December.

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