Issue 23.20: Sarasota Pride

By : Jake Stevens
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Pride of Place: Sarasota Pride stays the course in the face of tragedy, OADO returns: anti-discrimination group to focus on gun reform, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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Sarasota Pride stays the course in the face of tragedy

By : Greg Stemm
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The shock waves that continue to ripple through the LGBTQ community in the aftermath of the tragic shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12 have had a profound effect on Sarasota Pride. In fact, according to Cindy Barnes, who has served as the head of Sarasota Pride for nine years, the event wouldn’t even be happening at all this year if Pulse hadn’t taken place. Sarasota Pride is scheduled from 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 at J.D. Hamel Park.

“The board of directors had already made the decision that Sarasota Pride in its current form would be suspended this year, and we would focus on producing four smaller events throughout the year,” Barnes says. “Actually I was on vacation out of state when I heard what had happened in Orlando. I felt right away that there was no way we could not have a full Pride celebration in light of what had happened. I got on the phone right away with board members and, with a full court push, we were able to obtain vendors and entertainers at the last minute and to move ahead with producing the event. But if Pulse had never happened, things would be a lot different with Sarasota Pride than they are now.”

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10.6.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

Betwixt the cacophonous roars of television-news hurricane paranoia – “It’s comin’ right fer us!!!” – and the horrific thought of a swoop of pumpkin hair covering a megalomaniac with a distinct lack of scruples – also, coming right for us, if we’re not careful – it’s hard to imagine that this issue finds us straddling two pride celebrations in their own whirlwinds of flux. Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s a life of surprises, after all. We don’t always want to read the last page first.

For me, personally, Pride celebrations carry with them so many memories of letting go, feeling free (to be, you and me, etc.) and sweating my ass off until the rain comes and turns my head into artificial crab meat fit for the breaking, wanly dripping down a drain. But this year, of course, is different.

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Sarasota Pride to move forward, will honor Pulse victims

By : Krista DiTucci
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SARASOTA – Cindy Barnes has been the face of Sarasota Pride for almost a decade. But a few months ago, Barnes had made the decision to step down as Pride director. However, her plan to resign recently took an unexpected turn.

Edward “Eddie” Sotomayor was one of the 49 victims killed in the Pulse shooting. Sotomayor was a Sarasota native and actively involved in Pride. Just before the shooting, he and Barnes arranged for a lunch meeting the following week to discuss Sarasota Pride’s future and Barnes’ decision not to continue with Pride. Sadly, Sotomayor was killed before the meeting took place.

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Sarasota’s Cindy Barnes celebrates final Pride as chairman

By : Jeremy Williams
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Cindy BarnesSarasota, Fla. — After six years as the chairman of Sarasota Pride, Cindy Barnes will step down after the festival in J.D. Hamel Park Oct. 17.

“This is my last year of running it. I will remain on the board, but you know I’m hoping someone will step up and take this over,” Barnes says. “It’s about 20 hours a week, and it’s, of course, a volunteer job, so I have to say the call for a leader has been out about six months and I have yet to hear from a soul.”

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Pageant season is among us!

By : Anonymous
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Bangkx takes ASAP crown
Performer Ashley Bangkx was crowned Miss ASAP 2015 at Blur Nightclub in Dunedin, becoming the 10th impersonator to claim the title in as many years. The pageant featured three local performers from Tampa Bay and four former title holders were either at the judges table or performing special numbers throughout the night. Outgoing Miss ASAP 2014 Monica Moore served as emcee for the evening and pointed out that everything she wore was red—in honor of the AIDS Ribbon. One outfit—a sparkling red pants suit, could be made into the iconic ribbon, she explained, after standing with her legs slightly apart and her hands clasped above her head. Bangkx will begin her reign as Miss ASAP immediately and will be at the organization’s fundraisers, like AIDS Walk Tampa Bay, Dining Out for Life and the Santa Speedo Run.

Atwell shows support on wedding day
Upon first glance, one would have thought that the two women embracing and laughing were getting ready to tie the knot on the morning of Jan. 6 in Sarasota. But upon closer inspection, it turned out to be Sarasota Pride chairperson Cindy Barnes and Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell celebrating the historic day. Atwell has been a long-time supporter of LGBT equality and initiatives in Sarasota and a personal friend to Barnes. Atwell has appeared at Sarasota Pride every year it’s been at JD Hamel Park and also makes it a point to appear at other LGBT events and festivals like the Harvey Milk Festival in May. Atwell could be overheard telling Barnes, “I wouldn’t miss this. We’ve worked so hard to achieve this day.” Thank you, Commissioner. We couldn’t have done it without advocates like you.

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Dario could double attendance at Sarasota Pride

By : Joseph Kissel
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Sarasota – If pop singer Dario can nearly double the number of people at Lexington’s 2014 Pride event, the organizer of Sarasota Pride believes he can do the same there.

“His commitment to the prides has been great,” said Sarasota Pride Chairman Cindy Barnes.

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Sarasota Pride preps for its biggest year yet

By : Steve Blanchard
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Sarasota–Ever since Cindy Barnes pulled Sarasota Pride out of the shadows and onto Main Street five years ago, the festival has grown exponentially each year. In 2014, the Oct. 18 festival is expected to bring more than 5,000 to J.D. Hamel Park in one of the most visible areas of the city.

“More than 225,000 people pass by that park every six hours,” explained Barnes, chairman of Sarasota Pride. “Visibility is key to Pride and we have to be out there to let people know we are a part of the community.”

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Sarasota gears up for largest outdoor Pride festival yet on Oct. 19

By : Steve Blanchard
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For the fourth year in a row, Sarasota Pride will display its rainbow colors at J.D. Hamel Park along the city’s waterfront on Saturday, Oct. 19. But the festival, which brought more than 5,000 people to downtown in 2012, is much older than four years old.

Sarasota Pride began in 1989 as an indoor festival and, over the years, found homes in several buildings, from a church, to an arena and even the Van Wezel. But organizer Cindy Barnes reinvented the festival in 2010, bringing out into the open and helping it grow in both vendors and participation.

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