Gone, not forgotten: St. Petersburg Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil to honor lives lost in 2017

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

ST. PETERSBURG | St. Petersburg residents are preparing to honor 25 lives lost to anti-transgender violence in 2017, in what organizers of this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil are calling “the largest number of murders to date.”

The claim is no exaggeration. In all of 2016, according to the Human Rights Campaign, advocates tracked at least 23 deaths related to known anti-transgender violence—two fewer than the 25 known lives lost in 2017 thus far.

Continue Reading >>

UCF celebrates LGBTQ history with a month of events

By : Rachel Dececco
Comments: 0

ORLANDO | “Our history did not begin with Stonewall, but our movement began there.”

These were the words that kicked off the opening ceremonies for LGBTQ History Month at the University of Central Florida Oct. 3.

Continue Reading >>

Addressing mental health concerns within the minority LGBTQ community

By : Samuel Johnson
Comments: 0

“Mental health is not a lack of willpower. Mental health is not being inflicted by the Devil. Mental health isn’t about not being strong enough to cope with life.” This is the opinion of psychiatrist Dr. Z. (She has requested that her name remain anonymous).

Dr. Z is a Hillsborough National Alliance on Mental Illness board member and has both clinical knowledge as well as the mental health delivery system. Untreated mental health, as she views it, is a serious public health issue; “Not in the contagious sense of the word. I can’t catch depression from someone else. I can’t catch schizophrenia from someone else. I can’t catch bipolar [disorder] from someone else. But how I’m feeling does impact others. For example, social ails like homelessness, like prison populations, where a lot of that has to do with untreated mental illness; society at large is impacted by the way we that we approach the treatment of mental health.”

Continue Reading >>

Orange County gets its first transgender deputy

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

ORLANDO – As transgender rights continue to snowball at the end of Pride month – despite political opposition via religious freedom and bathroom bills – Rebecca Storozuk has hit the message homeward in Central Florida. Her message? People should be who they are. In an Orlando Sentinel article published June 23, Storozuk made it clear to the masses that she was indeed the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s lone transgender deputy with a headline reading, “I’m becoming who I want to be.”

As the story goes, Storozuk always identified as a female – even though born as “Peter” – and played the role of high-school jock fairly well all the way up to military service

Continue Reading >>

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

By : Anonymous
Comments: 0

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.”

Continue Reading >>

TransPride March joins St. Pete Pride

By : Staff Report
Comments: 0

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.

Continue Reading >>

Equality Florida celebrates two decades of making change happen for our LGBTQ community

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 0

“Does this look OK?”

There are yachts. There is a breeze. There is Charlie Crist’s condo out of the corner of the eye. But on this day in St. Petersburg, March 22, there is only one figure that absolutely matters, and she’s sitting on a tree close to Cassis American Brasserie, posing for her cover shot.

Nadine Smith is the force behind most LGBTQ measures that have changed Florida’s societal landscape. Her calm tones weighted by heavy thoughts have come to define the nature of Equality Florida, the organization she formed with Miami’s Stratton Pollitzer 20 years ago. She played rugby at the Air Force academy, she says, but she didn’t know where the score would go thereafter.

Continue Reading >>

Local leaders weigh in on the way we were and the way we will be

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 2

Dumbfounded. Knocked out. Afraid. Broken. These are just a few of the things that many of us are feeling in the wake of Donald Trump’s historic rise to presidential power on Nov. 8.

If you’re anything like us, you have a lot of questions. You may have even been harassed already. We reached out to some of our best and brightest for answers, options, hope. And they provided just that. We’re not done yet. And so we rise. Here are some words from our friends. Stay strong.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Streisand at Amalie and Equality Florida at UT

By : Anonymous
Comments: 0

Hello Gorgeous!

Most people at the age of 74 are kicked back in retirement, sipping on a cocktail and enjoying the warm weather of a tropical climate such as that in Florida, but most people aren’t Barbra Streisand. Babs has had a year that would exhaust a person in their twenties, but this Funny Girl has been globetrotting to promote her new album Encore and looking flawless along the way.

Continue Reading >>

Parting Frames of Empowerment

By : Jake Stevens
Comments: 0

The tone of issue 23.17’s cover story, “We Are All Mercedes Successful,” is obviously pretty heavy. We’re discussing the murders of 19 members of the trans community. How can it not be?

Death is no easy topic to talk about, especially when it involves the murder of your peers. We asked a lot of our trans brothers and sisters who gave us themselves for the story. We asked them to go to that mental place and tell us about the times that they didn’t feel safe. We asked them to stand in front of a camera and present an image of a person who’s fate they could easily share. We asked them to unapologetically present their authentic selves to the world through our readership and demand to be noticed. We asked for a lot. For some, it was understandably just too much, and I am especially grateful for all the people that made the decision to be a part of this story.

Continue Reading >>

Issue 23.17: We Are All Mercedes Successful

By : Jake Stevens
Comments: 0

Haines City’s Mercedes Succesful is one of 19 reported transgender murders in the U.S. this year. When will this stop? Local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

Continue Reading >>

Mercedes Successful is one of 19 reported transgender murders in the U.S. this year. When will it stop?

By : Jeremy Williams and Anna Johnson
Comments: 0

Mercedes Successful was found shot to death in the back parking lot of a Big Lots and Tractor Supply Co. in Haines City May 15. She was 32 years old. Successful identified as a transgender woman.

Successful was a performer and a native of Kingston, Jamaica. She moved to Haines City by way of New York. She represented Jamaica in the 2014 Gay Caribbean USA pageant, shown on the pageant’s Facebook page wearing a Jamaican flag dress and high-heeled black boots.

Continue Reading >>