The Last Page with Greg Stemm

By : Rick Claggett
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What kind of writing do you do for Watermark?

I write a regular perspective column and news stories, especially investigative pieces with multiple contacts.

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Positive Living: Pride Made Me an Activist

By : Greg Stemm
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I remember the very first time someone called me a “gay activist.”

Fortunately that jarring epiphany didn’t come while I was alone. Just prior to the first St. Pete Pride celebration, we founders were sitting around a table having one of our last-minute board meetings. Since there had never been a gay pride celebration of any size or merit in St. Pete before, understandably the Tampa Bay Times (actually it was still called the St. Petersburg Times back then in 2003) was following our planning process very carefully.

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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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Positive Living: Our staunchest political friend needs our help

By : Greg Stemm
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It was the summer of 1983 and I had just moved to St. Petersburg from Columbus, Ohio.

St. Petersburg? Yuck, they said. “God’s waiting room.” “Home of the newlywed and nearly dead.”

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Positive Living: Thanks, Concern and an Open Mind from a Founder of St. Pete Pride

By : Greg Stemm
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As one of the founders of St. Pete Pride, first let me say “thank you.” Over the past 15 years you’ve taken our concept of a truly grassroots community-driven Pride celebration and transformed it into the largest Pride event in the state and one of the premier LGBTQ experiences in the country.

In doing so, you’ve taken it even one step further and helped to transform St. Petersburg from a sleepy retirement community into a blossoming gay mecca becoming known by many as “the San Francisco of the East.” Make no mistake, we are celebrating 15 years of successful Pride celebrations not because of anything we did as founders or the controversial decisions of the current board, but because you supported it. St. Pete Pride was and is your Pride celebration.

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Positive Living: A Male Feminist at a Woman’s March

By : Greg Stemm
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GregStemmHeadshotIt all began one bright Florida winter-warm December morning at a Quaker meeting in St. Petersburg. An 81-year-old spitfire of a woman stood up and said something like, “Isn’t it wonderful that there is going to be a women’s solidarity march in Washington?

“Like many of you, much as I would like to go, making that trek is impossible for me right now. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we had a march of our own in St. Petersburg?” We all pretty much said to her, “Yeah that would be great. Why don’t you make it happen?” We had no idea of what we were about to unleash.

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Positive Living: From Mania to Mellow Stability

By : Greg Stemm
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GregStemmHeadshotIt perhaps comes as no surprise to those of you who know me that I’m a little bit crazy.

Now, I’m not talking about let’s-go-have-a-blow out-evening crazy, I’m talking about an actual clinical diagnosis of mental health issues. Gentle reader, we’ve shared some pretty intimate details of my life together so it is important for me to be forthright with you about these issues. It’s why I’m urging you from a very personal perspective to vote “yes” on Amendment 2 on November 8.

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Positive Living: Seeing the future by learning the past

By : Greg Stemm
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GregStemmHeadshotI was surprised the other day when I walked into the Gulfport library and saw display at the entrance celebrating LGBT History Month.

A smile crossed my face as I remembered the brouhaha over just such a display in Hillsborough County eight years ago that inspired then-commissioner Rhonda Storms to prevent her county from recognizing LGBT pride events. Fortunately, the ordinance she helped create fell earlier this year.

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