LGBTQ youth lead Come OUT St. Pete project for SHINE Mural Festival

By : Tiffany Razzano
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ABOVE: LGBTQ youth from Metro Inclusive Health and volunteers finalize the first mural for the fifth annual SHINE Mural Festival on Sept. 28. Photo courtesy Chad Mize.

Since the inception of St. Petersburg’s SHINE Mural Festival in 2015, multimedia artist and gallery owner Chad Mize has incorporated a community project into the annual art event.

SHINE transforms the city’s streets by curating large-scale murals painted by renowned artists from across the globe, he says. “We bring international talent to the city to elevate the scene here. It puts us on the map.”

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PHOTOS: Come OUT St. Pete celebrates annual festival, parade

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) celebrated its third annual festival and second annual parade in the Grand Central District on Oct. 5.

The festivities began simultaneously at 11 a.m., welcoming more than 20 parade entries flanked by proud participants enjoying 100 vendors. The route began at 20th St. and moved west on Central Ave to 30th.

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The Last Page: Jimmy Biascan

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The Last Page is dedicated to individuals who are making a positive impact on the LGBTQ community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay. Here, we check in with graphic designer and creative director Jimmy (not James, it’s Jimmy on his birth certificate) Biascan from Tampa Bay.

Keep an eye on this space to learn more about the movers and shakers of your community.

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Come OUT St. Pete returns for third year

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Come OUT St. Pete board members and grand marshals Brian Longstreth, Claire Elisan, Jim Woodfield, Cole Foust, Jayson Clancey, Chris Jones, Bill Kody and Chuck Henson at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) will hold its third annual outing Oct. 3-11 in the Grand Central District (GCD) and nearby neighborhoods to celebrate National Coming Out Day 2019.

COSP exists to advocate for community awareness and acceptance of all sexual orientations and gender identities. They do so with events that celebrate “coming out of the closet and into the world.”

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TIGLFF 30: When and where to see major features, shorts

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The 30th annual Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) will be held Oct. 4-12, 2019, showcasing the best in film by and for the LGBTQ community.

This year’s festival will present 97 films from 25 different countries. It will also screen five collections of short films, welcome guests to live performances, host discussions with filmmakers and more. It’s a diverse lineup of entertainment representing a diverse community.

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The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival turns 30

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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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.

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Deborah Cox to headline Metro Inclusive Health’s annual fundraiser

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Deborah Cox, photo courtesy Metro Inclusive Health.

ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Inclusive Health announced Sept. 18 that recording artist and LGBTQ advocate Deborah Cox will headline the organization’s annual Cocktail Party scheduled for Nov. 9.

Metro utilizes the annual event to fundraise for its many essential health and community services offered throughout Tampa Bay. The organization served more than 27,000 individuals in 2018 and is on course to significantly increase that number this year.

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Come OUT St. Pete announces 2019 parade grand marshals

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: (L-R) Come OUT St. Pete representatives and grand marshals Brian Longstreth, Claire Elisan, Jim Woodfield, Cole Foust, Jayson Clancey, Chris Jones, Bill Kody and Chuck Henson at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

Representatives from Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) gathered at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17 to announce their first ever grand marshals for the organization’s upcoming parade.

Three grand marshals were chosen for the celebration: Cole Foust, Metro Inclusive Health’s LGBTQ Division Manager; Claire Elisan, CEO of the nonprofit Project No Labels and Chuck Henson, longtime Spectrum News 9 traffic expert and news anchor. Each grand marshal is intrinsically tied to their support of Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community.

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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Lucas Wehle

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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27 | Transgender, Queer | He/Him/His

As the Trans Services Division Manager at Metro Inclusive Health, Lucas Wehle fights for the LGBTQ community daily.

Through the health care organization’s many services, he and his team of peers connect members of the transgender community to essential resources. His role with the company began four years ago, when he was hired to expand Metro’s transgender and youth programming. Wehle served as coordinator for their youth program for more than a year until the organization identified a need for a more comprehensive approach. He became their transgender care navigator, bridging the gap between clients and services.

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PHOTOS: Watermark celebrates its 25th anniversary in Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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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.

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Metro announces LGBTQ+ Career Fair participants

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Participants in Metro Inclusive Health’s second annual LGBTQ+ Career Fair. Graphic via Metro Inclusive Health.

Metro Inclusive Health has announced the keynote speaker and roster of participating companies for the organization’s second annual Metro LGBTQ+ Career Fair.

Metro held its inaugural gathering in 2018, after recognizing a need for an LGBTQ-inclusive career fair in Tampa Bay. Hundreds attended to seek advice, career opportunities and expertise from leading employers from throughout the area.

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Metro Inclusive Health, CAN break ground on Tampa expansion

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Leaders including Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Metro CEO Lorraine Langlois (4th, 5th from L) break ground in Tampa Aug. 15. Photo courtesy Metro Inclusive Health.

TAMPA | Metro Inclusive Health, CAN Community Health and Alliant Partners began the restoration of Tampa’s German American Club for their Tampa expansion Aug. 15.

The partners announced their plans for the expansion in April after acquiring the historic venue, located at 2105 N. Nebraska Ave. Metro and CAN currently lease space at 1315 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor.

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