Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Amy Foster wins, Nadine Smith inspires and Scott & Patti entertain

By : Anonymous
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FOSTER CARES

Running unopposed, it wasn’t any surprise that Amy Foster was elected as the District 8 council member in St. Petersburg. Foster filed her paperwork to run on May 24, after social worker Tharius Bethel challenged her. However, after only one day, Bethel was forced to drop out of the race after informing the City Clerk’s office he did not live in District 8. Bethel originally listed his address as 4316 78th St. N, and in a withdrawal letter wrote he fell outside the required residence for District 8 and was “sorry for the inconvenience.”

Foster’s win is added to a long list of achievements. She served as the National Collaborative Network Manager for the EdLab Group’s National Girls Collaborative Project, focused on gender equity, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She was also the former Vice President for St. Pete Pride. Congratulations Amy!

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Uprisings: Sign your name

By : Billy Manes
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While many of us were flapping around in post-traumatic winds on the one-year mark of the Pulse shooting June 12, some of the weight of a contentious legislative session met the power of the governor’s pen. Governor Scott, who never met a gay person he didn’t ignore (except for when convenient), took to uncle Donald Trump’s Twitter ways and made it clear that he was thinking about the victims.

“Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before,” his fingers tweeted. “I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.”

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Hateful lawn signs and Honoring the 49 with action

By : Anonymous
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Get off my lawn

In front of a quaint green-and-white paneled house, adorning the freshly manicured green lawn on 27th Avenue in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast neighborhood June 3, laid five derogatory signs. The first four calling for “No Jews,” “No Infidels,” “No Fags” and “No Retards”; a fifth sign read “…Great Again!”

The house – and the signs – are the property of St. Petersburg resident Roland Price. Price spoke with WFLA News Channel 8 and told them that the signs are self-explanatory. This isn’t the first time Price has stirred up controversy and frustration among his neighbors. According to neighbors, he has posted signs in the past displaying his political and social views ranging from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. The Tampa Bay Times has also found out that since 2004, the police have been called out to the Price residence 44 different times for aggravated assault, noise complaints, criminal mischief, theft and domestic incidents.

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Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith recalls 1993 March on Washington

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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ABOVE: National March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Rights and Liberation on April 25, 1993. Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith was one of its co-chairs. (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith is among the LGBT activists who met with then-President Clinton in the Oval Office on April 16, 1993.

The meeting — which was the first between a sitting U.S. president and advocates in the Oval Office — took place nine days before the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: St. Gina’sBurg, Newton picks sides and The Studio @ 620 has Tunnelvision

By : Anonymous
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Duncan in the ‘Burg

You may see a familiar face more often as you run your errands around downtown or grab a latte at your favorite coffee shop in St. Petersburg. Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality Gina Duncan announced May 25 on her Facebook page that as of the end of June she will call St. Pete her new home after living in Orlando for 37 years.

“While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the City Beautiful and its amazing people, I am excited about this next adventure. Fortunately my position with Equality Florida lets me live anywhere in the state,” Duncan wrote. Along with those heartfelt words Duncan, posted a photo of herself on St. Pete’s amazing beach at sundown calling it “heaven.”

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Orlando’s Overheard: Splashy winners, Equality Florida helps and Trump in the Hall of Presidents!

By : Anonymous
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Making a Splash at Fringe!

For the first time in Orlando Fringe history, Watermark chose to acknowledge LGBTQ shows and performers with an award, the Watermark Splash Award!

During the run of the 26th annual Orlando International Fringe Festival, patrons were asked to vote for their favorites online. The categories included Favorite LGBTQ Performer in a Leading Role, Favorite LGBTQ Performer in a Supporting Role, Favorite LGBTQ Director, Favorite LGBTQ Writer and Favorite LGBTQ Show.

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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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Orlando’s Overheard: Univision banned, MegaCon invites and Pink Collar Comedy is coming

By : Anonymous
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Uni-vited

On May 4, Pulse survivors, families of the victims, city and county officials and various media representatives gathered for an announcement regarding the future of the Pulse nightclub site. As people were checked and moved behind the fence, one news outlet was turned away.

Latin outlet Univision was denied access, and when questioned why, they were referred to the onePULSE Foundation’s public relations contact.

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Florida legislators wrap up a contentious session leaving the LGBTQ community relatively unscathed

By : Billy Manes
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Sine Die, they call it, the antiquated drop of the hanky to end the legislative session in Florida. On May 8, the bicameral bluster in Tallahassee came to an end following the approval of an $83 billion state budget that will siphon more taxpayer dollars to charter schools, and, remarkably, pull some power away from the state’s tourism driver, Visit Orlando. Those were the big headlines.

And while LGBTQ issues made their way around committees and lobbies, Equality Florida was there to fight back on some of the social issues.

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Baker action: Opponents of former mayor Rick Baker sound off on his equality record

By : Samuel Johnson
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ST. PETERSBURG – We will go forward; we’ve come too far to go back. This was the overarching sentiment of some 20 LGBTQ advocates at a press conference in Saint Petersburg May 11. They gathered on the front steps of City Hall to voice their concerns about ex-St. Pete mayor, Rick Baker, and his announcement that he is entering the city’s mayoral race for this year.

Ed Lally is a St. Pete resident who works with Equality Florida. He was on hand for the event, brandishing a “Rick Baker Never” sign. Lally didn’t mince words in his assessment of Baker. “He’s not a man for equality for the whole community. I don’t trust the guy and would never vote for him. … His prior actions with the LGBT community would rate a big fat F,” he says.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Beckner’s next move and Pride Nights for all

By : Anonymous
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Private Beckner reporting for duty

Many have been curious as to the next move of former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner since he termed out of his seat last year. Hillsborough’s first openly gay commissioner ran unsuccessfully to be the next Clerk of Courts and since then has remained silent on whether he would pursue another run at an elected position or head back into the private sector.

Well, wonder no more. Beckner posted to his Facebook page April 20 that he has not one but two positions he will be filling: Executive Director of Hillsborough County’s Civil Service Agency and a position with human resource advisory and talent acquisition firm HR Trust.

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Equality Florida, Democratic Progressive Caucus call for removal of Artiles from Florida state senate [UPDATE]

By : Alexis Vilaboy
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(Image from Florida House of Representatives website.)

UPDATE:

As of April 21, Sen. Artiles has resigned over the issue of his insensitivity.

“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Artiles wrote, according to the Miami Herald. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.”

“It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth.”

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