Community organizations form Zero Pinellas initiative to combat HIV

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Seven community organizations have partnered to form Zero Pinellas, an initiative granted $2,207,694 over three years to reduce new HIV infections in Pinellas County by at least 50 percent.

The participating organizations—the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, The AIDS Institute, BayCare, Empath Health and EPIC, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County and Metro Wellness and Community Centers—were granted the funds by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. The private foundation uses its funds to support health equity countywide.

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Tampa Bay mother shares journey of raising transgender son

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Jake celebrating Pride (Photo courtesy Sylvie Griffiths).

BRANDON | Community advocate Sylvie Griffiths and the non-profit Turnaround Life have begun publishing a blog series detailing Griffiths’ journey raising her eight-year-old transgender son.

Turnaround Life exists to provide diverse, inclusive systems of care through development, evaluation, education and capacity building. Griffiths was approached to write a blog for their website after she began working as a consultant for the organization.

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Metro Wellness sees surge in Hormone Replacement Therapy patients

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Trans Care Coordinator Lucas Wehle (L) and LGBTQ+ Youth/Transgender Program Coordinator Cole Foust share Metro’s offerings at St. Pete Pride’s TransPride pre-party June 22 (Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent).

ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Wellness and Community Centers — currently providing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to 584 patients throughout Tampa Bay — has announced that nearly half of those patients have begun receiving care within the last year.

“We’ve had 275 new HRT patients and that’s without counting the 76 who are in another program that we offer,” Metro’s Trans Care Coordinator Lucas Wehle says. “Almost half of our patients have started HRT care with us within the last year… that’s huge. We’ve had a huge growth.”

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St. Petersburg celebrates sixteen years of Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Pete Pride drew 220,000 people to St. Petersburg for its weekend-long celebration last year, around 40,000 short of the Sunshine City’s entire population.

As any event of its size would, particularly one so intrinsically tied to the community it serves, the organization’s 15th year faced its fair share of cheers and jeers. For the first time in its history, the St. Pete Pride parade was held in downtown St. Petersburg rather than in the city’s Grand Central District.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Your son’ll come out tomorrow

By : anonymous
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MattocS Productions, American Stage and the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project will bring their latest Pride parody musical to St. Petersburg on June 25 with “Dannie.”

The spoof “skewers one of Broadway’s biggest blockbusters,” American Stage advises. It follows Scott Daniel’s Dannie, a young orphan with big dreams of starring on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The awful Miss Mannigan (Matthew McGee) aims to stop her—while Sugar Daddy Bigbucks (Jonathan Harrison) tries to adopt the orphan to “bankroll her dreams of stardom.”

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Metro Wellness and Community Centers announces program director changes

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Nate Taylor has been named the director of LGBTQ+ programs for Metro Wellness and Community Centers. Image from Facebook.

ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Wellness and Community Centers has announced that Nate Taylor will serve as the organization’s director of LGBTQ+ programs and that James Keane will serve as its director of development.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Thank you for being a friend

By : Anonymous
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In need of some Goode people

Tampa Bay performer Judy B. Goode isn’t having the best run of good luck over the last few weeks. The beloved singer and entertainer fell off a ladder June 30 and broke her leg. At around 7:30 in the morning Judy was tending to some bushes in the backyard of her home, when the ladder gave way and fell out from under her and she ended up in the hospital.

“Judy has a heart of gold,” says Tampa Pride president Carrie West. The 4 ft 5 in , 85 lb Judy is quite a force to be reckoned with, and has the fiery personality to boot. Her career extends across Florida, and the southeast United States where she performs at nightclubs with her sidekick “Piano Man” Dave Thomas. She was even selected as a finalist for Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee back in the day based on her signature act, “The 12 Faces of Judy” in which she does impersonations of famous personalities.

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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
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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.

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Welcome Center will cater to Tampa Bay’s LGBT youth, travelers

By : Steve Blanchard
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St. Petersburg – The holidays are squarely upon us and Metro Wellness and Community Centers is ready to celebrate the season of giving back year-round. The organization announced this month plans to open its LGBT Welcome Center, which will also cater to LGBT youth in Tampa Bay.

Larry Biddle, director of center development, says he hopes the facility will be fully operational by St. Pete Pride in June.

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