Positive Living: Ruby slippers, raising a flag and serious questions

By : Greg Stemm
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I recently had the wonderful experience of participating in the inaugural Gulfport Friends of Dorothy march, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It began a month-long whirlwind of events sponsored by the award-winning LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Public Library, of which I am privileged to serve on the board of directors, to celebrate Pride season.

As I was marching up Beach Blvd. in a rainbow wig, ruby slippers and with several hundred members of my Gulfport “family,” I couldn’t help but reflect on the significance of what Stonewall started and what it has meant to the LGBTQ community in the past 50 years. I was most moved by the fact that the carriers of the lead banner were an openly gay vice mayor and an openly gay state representative. That would have been unthinkable in June of 1969.

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Tampa Bay remembers Pulse tragedy at 3-year mark

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Community advocate and allies throughout Tampa Bay will gather for events and memorials June 12, honoring those killed at the Pulse nightclub three years ago today.

We have gathered information below.

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Issue 26.11: The Veronicas Exposed

By : Dylan Todd
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Australian Pop Duo, The Veronicas, headline Girls in Wonderland concert, 3 Wise Guys on Pulse 3 Years Later, St Petersburg to Recognize LGBTQ Businesses, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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Issue 26.10: The Red Sea

By : Dylan Todd
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Red Shirt Pride Day looks to continue Orlando’s traditional Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom, Gulfport Public Library wins national award, Zebra Coalition to throw LGBTQ Youth Pride Prom, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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LGBTQ Resource Center established as independent nonprofit, launches scholarship

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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GULFPORT, Fla. | The award-winning LGBTQ Resource Center at the Gulfport Public Library announced April 9 that it will now operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The community resource, which previously functioned as a project of the nonprofit Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library, began in 2014 with a donation of hundreds of LGBTQ-themed books. A committee was formed to cultivate the materials and the collection opened to the public in 2015.

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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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Positive Living: LGBTs in Gulfport helping to redefine what a library can be

By : Greg Stemm
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In a normal community, if you want to find gay people you might visit a bar or go to a gay pride celebration.

But Gulfport is far from being a “normal” town.

If you want to meet gay people in this small artsy community, virtually surrounded by our bigger but just as gay cousin St. Petersburg, you visit the Gulfport Public Library.

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Mom calls gay bar for advice after son comes out

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A mother decided to reach out to a gay bar for advice after her son came out to her as gay.

Bartender Kara Coley, who works at Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, recounted the conversation she had with a woman who called the bar while Coley was working her shift.

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Calling all authors: Gulfport gears up for weekend of lesbian literature

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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GULFPORT | The Gulfport Public Library’s LGBTQ Resource Center is seeking authors for its first ReadOut event, self-described as a “weekend of lesbian literature.”

The event is currently scheduled for Feb. 17 at the Gulfport Public Library, and will also feature “other lesbian events taking place during the week leading up to it,” Readout 2018’s press release reads.

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Mississippian sentenced to 49 years in anti-transgender hate crime

By : Wire Report
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Joshua Vallum

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – For the first time in the U.S., a person was sentenced on federal hate crimes charges for killing a transgender person.

Joshua Vallum appeared before a federal judge May 15 in Gulfport, Mississippi, after pleading guilty in December to hate crimes charges in the 2015 death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson.

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The Grand Central District looks to celebrate coming out this October with a new event

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Petersburg – The Grand Central District Association announced plans for a series of events in St. Petersburg and Gulfport in October that will celebrate the LGBTQ community in the bay area in conjunction with National Coming Out Day Oct. 11.

“We want to acknowledge the importance of coming out and celebrate it in St. Pete,” says Shawn Connelly, Committee Chair for Come Out St. Pete. “What is also great about the timing of it is it will run concurrently with the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF), which occurs every October. Our timeline will follow along that festival so we are collaborating with them on the planning and implementing of these events.”

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Dining Out For Life supports Tampa Bay HIV/AIDS efforts

By : Felicia Roopchand
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TAMPA BAY – Dining Out For Life is a charity event both your stomach and your wallet can get behind. In cities all across the world on April 27, selected restaurants will be participating in the event by donating at least 25 percent of their proceeds from that day to the licensed HIV/AIDS service agency in their city. In exchange for their financial support, restaurants are listed in a citywide marketing campaign in an effort to increase customer traffic. The Tampa Bay area will be among the various cities included.

“You know, Gulfport kind of comes in with a vengeance. All the restaurants in Gulfport participate and we’ve got a couple of new restaurants coming on over towards the Tampa side. I think we’re going to have a really good year.” said Joy Winheim, executive director of Empath Partners in Care (EPIC).

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