Orlando, St. Pete, Tampa receive perfect HRC scores

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Nov. 19 that the cities of Orlando, St. Petersburg and Tampa each received a perfect score of 100 in the organization’s eighth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI).

The MEI examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are for LGBTQ people who live and work in the 506 cities rated. The score is based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa philanthropist David Straz dies at 77

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0
ABOVE: David Straz (R) and wife Catherine Lowry Straz speak at Tampa Pride’s 2019 VIP Sponsor Party March 28. Photo by Dylan Todd.

TAMPA | Tampa philanthropist and former Tampa mayoral candidate David A. Straz Jr. has passed away. He was 77.

David A. Straz Jr. Foundation spokesman Jarrod Holbrook announced Straz’s passing in a statement late Nov. 18. “It is with a heavy heart the Straz family regrets to inform you that while on a recent fishing trip with close friends David A. Straz, Jr. passed away peacefully in his sleep,” he shared.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor honored by National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor presents her executive order to recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses at the 2019 NGLCC conference Aug. 14. Photo courtesy Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

TAMPA | Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will be honored with the Courage in Government Award Nov. 22 at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) National Dinner Awards in Washington D.C.

The NGLCC serves as a direct link between LGBTQ business owners, corporate leaders and government. The organization’s annual dinner celebrates leading business owners, corporate partners, supplier diversity advocates and community leaders across the nation.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa Pride kicks off 2020 fundraising, names grand marshals

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Tampa Pride President Carrie West, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, her longtime partner Ana Cruz and Tampa Pride Vice President Mark Eary enjoy Pride Zoo-La Nov. 2 at ZooTampa. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

TAMPA | Tampa Pride kicked off its 2020 fundraising Nov. 2 at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, welcoming supporters and unveiling next year’s grand marshals.

More than 350 attended Tampa Pride’s “Wild Carnavale,” the organization’s second annual Pride Zoo-La. Guests enjoyed a silent auction, special performances and interactions with zoo animals, including a giraffe feeding.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa appeals ruling striking down conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Tampa Pride 2018 participants make their way down 7th Ave. in Ybor. Photo by Russ Martin.

TAMPA | The city of Tampa has appealed a ruling striking down its ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

The practice purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and more. Tampa banned it in 2017 “to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors.”

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: Tampa Pride’s wild, second annual Pride Zoo-La

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

TAMPA | Tampa Pride kicked off its 2020 fundraising Nov. 2 with “Wild Carnavale,”  the second annual Pride Zoo-La at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

The fundraiser began with a performance by the Tampa Bay Pride Band. Guests were treated to an artists’ showcase highlighting local talent, raffles from area organizations and up close and personal interactions with zoo animals, including a special giraffe feeding.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber postpones annual gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Diamonds in Diversity 2018 at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel on Feb. 3. Photo by Jamarqus Mosley.

The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC) announced Oct. 29 that its annual awards gala Diamonds in Diversity has been moved to 2020.

Originally scheduled for March 1 of this year, the celebration was postponed until Oct. 18 to focus on welcoming the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to Tampa Aug. 13-16. The conference was the largest gathering LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world.

Continue Reading >>

Judge strikes down Tampa’s conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Tampa Pride 2018. Photo by Russ Martin.

TAMPA | U.S. District Judge William Jung issued a ruling Oct. 4 striking down Tampa’s ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is widely opposed by prominent health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.

Continue Reading >>

The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival turns 30

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Police officers and protesters far outnumbered patrons during the inaugural Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) in 1990.

It was the result of animus and interest surrounding one of the earliest publicized LGBTQ gatherings in downtown Tampa. While details surrounding TIGLFF’s founding are scarce, early accounts advise leaders from the Tampa Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, Bay Area Human Rights Coalition and Tampa Bay Business Guild formed the festival for two purposes.

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: Watermark celebrates its 25th anniversary in Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

ST. PETERSBURG | Watermark celebrated its 25th anniversary in Tampa Bay on Aug. 30 with an evening at Metro Inclusive Health.

Ahead of the gathering, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman proclaimed Aug. 30, 2019 as “Watermark Newspaper’s 25th Anniversary Day” in St. Petersburg. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor joined him, proclaiming it “Watermark Publishing Group Day” in Tampa.

Continue Reading >>

Tampa recognizes LGBTQ-certified businesses by executive order

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0
ABOVE: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor presents her executive order to recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses at the 2019 NGLCC conference Aug. 14. Photo courtesy Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

TAMPA | The city of Tampa will formally recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses in contracting and procurement opportunities, Mayor Jane Castor announced Aug. 14 during the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business & Leadership Conference.

The conference, held at the Tampa Convention Center Aug. 13-16, is the largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world. Castor, Tampa’s 59th and first openly LGBTQ mayor, detailed her executive order directing the city to formally recognize LGBTQ businesses during a luncheon interview with NGLCC President Justin G. Nelson.

Continue Reading >>

PHOTOS: Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber hosts NGLCC Opening Reception

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

TAMPA | The Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC) hosted the opening reception for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business & Leadership Conference at the Italian Club in Ybor Aug. 13.

The NGLCC’s 2019 conference is being held in Tampa Aug. 13-16 and is the largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and allies in the world. More than 1,000 of its attendees gathered for the opening reception at the historic venue, which was chosen to highlight Tampa’s Cuban and Italian heritage.

Continue Reading >>