St Pete Pride and executive director part ways

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: St Pete Pride’s 2018 parade. Photo by Nick Cardello.

ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride confirmed Dec. 6 that Luke Blankenship will no longer serve as the organization’s executive director.

“Luke Blankenship is no longer employed by St Pete Pride,” St Pete Pride President Chrys Bundy shared with Watermark.  “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

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The Last Page: Abbie Rolf

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.

This issue, we check in with Healing Village owner, mental health counselor and PFLAG St. Pete President Abbie Rolf from Tampa Bay. Keep an eye on this space to learn more about the movers and shakers of your community.

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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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LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Michael G. Batista

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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28 | Gay | He/Him/His

Florida’s 13th congressional district covers Pinellas County from Clearwater through St. Petersburg.

Nearly 730,000 Floridians call the area home, as does St Pete Pride—Florida’s largest LGBTQ Pride celebration and one of the largest in the country. It’s no surprise then that Rep. Charlie Crist, an LGBTQ ally who represents the district, sought out Michael G. Batista.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride’s 2019 Street Festival

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride closed out its loudest and proudest year yet with the celebration’s annual Street Festival in the Grand Central District June 23.

Thousands browsed block after block of the beloved Gayborhood, enjoying entertainment and fantastic food surrounded by their community. The season’s largest community event truly delivered on St Pete Pride’s promise that there was something for everyone.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride’s 17th annual Pride Parade

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Thousands gathered in downtown St. Petersburg for the 17th annual St Pete Pride Parade June 22.

The celebration began with the third annual TransPride March, which drew the largest amount of participants yet. Friends, families and floats filled Bayshore Dr. to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and showcase St Pete Pride’s loudest and proudest year yet.

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PHOTOS: Lisa Loeb headlines St Pete Pride’s SP2 Concert

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride’s 2019 SP2 concert was louder and prouder than ever June 21, welcoming singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb.

The annual fundraiser, benefiting St Pete Pride’s Community Grants Program, was hosted by Entertainment Director Kori Stevens. Ahead of Loeb’s headlining performance, crowds gathered at North Straub Park to celebrate with fan favorite entertainers like Divine AF and Jennifer Real.

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06.27.19 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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Here we are again, the keystone of Pride around the world. We’ve celebrated Pride in Kissimmee and Polk County, and are still reveling in the joy that St Pete Pride brings. Now we turn to the event that started it all, Stonewall. This year is special, though. Stonewall turns 50 and the world is set to celebrate and honor the brave people who began a movement that would change lives for half of a century, with no signs of slowing down.

Stonewall 50 is going to be a massive event. The parade itself is expected to last longer than the average workday with over 150,000 participants and millions of spectators. My, how far we have come!

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St. Petersburg extends bullying protections to LGBTQ youth

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Mayor Rick Kriseman has extended the city’s anti-bullying policy in its youth programming to protect LGBTQ youth ahead of St Pete Pride 2019.

The City of St. Petersburg is committed to providing an environment for all youth that is safe, secure and free from harassment and bullying of any kind, officials shared June 21. The policy applies to any youth enrolled or participating in programs run or sponsored by the city.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride celebrates 2019 Stonewall Reception

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | St Pete Pride held its annual Stonewall Reception at the Museum of Fine Arts June 20, another fabulous gathering during its loudest and proudest year yet.

The must-attend evening was hosted by Miguel Fuller, Holly O’Connor and Scotty “The Body” of Hot 101.5’s “Miguel & Holly Show.” It honored this year’s grand marshals, sponsors and featured “The Art of Fashion,” also welcoming Mayor Rick Kriseman for a special announcement.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride 2019 kicks off at Sirata Beach Resort

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG |St Pete Pride 2019 officially kicked off at the Sirata Beach Resort June 19.

The organization promised “an event like no other during the weekend” ahead of the gathering and St Pete Pride delivered. Attendees proudly dined, danced and drank throughout the 13-acre getaway, which recently completed its $15 million renovation, enjoying its coastal design and sweeping views.

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St Pete Pride 2019: When and where to celebrate

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | The 17th annual St Pete Pride, which sashays through the Sunshine City June 21-23, promises to be its loudest and proudest yet.

It follows last year’s successful Sweet 16, which welcomed 250,000 attendees over Pride weekend, around 15,000 shy of St. Petersburg’s entire estimated population. It was a feat that longtime LGBTQ ally and Pride supporter St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman welcomes yet again.

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