Tampa Bay’s soulful singer Jennifer Real is ready to go global

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Watch out, J.Lo: Tampa Bay has a Jennifer of its own, and she knows a thing or two about being “Real.”

Jennifer Real’s commitment to her craft has ensured that her career has flourished in the St. Petersburg community. The sultry singer won last year’s “Favorite Local Performer – Musician” WAVE Award and performs regularly throughout Tampa Bay, including last year’s WAVE Award celebration and (you may have heard of it), St. Pete Pride.

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Remembering Ryan: Ryan Stroehlein lives on in the hearts of Enigma family, LGBTQ community

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | When news broke that Ryan Stroehlein had tragically lost his life in a motorcycle accident July 11, shockwaves were felt throughout St. Petersburg’s LGBTQ community.

Some knew him well, and others just as a community ally with an infectious smile and uplifting demeanor; a young man standing behind the bar at local hotspot Enigma. But all agreed that he would be missed.

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Pride Marches On: St. Pete Pride celebrates diversity in the ‘Burg with a year of firsts

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG – After all the controversy over the changes St. Pete Pride brought this year, it all seemed to be put aside for Pride weekend as thousands gathered along Bayshore Drive for the city’s first Pride parade downtown.

The Pride parade, the largest in the state, began with the first ever TransPride March along the parade route. More than 500 participants walked, starting from the end of the official parade route at Albert Whitted Park to the parade’s starting point at Vinoy Park, as watchers waved trans flags and shouted support to those walking.

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St. Pete Pride board member Susan McGrath responds to our St. Pete Pride Viewpoint column

By : Billy Manes
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Though we don’t normally do this – not directly, except in our letters section – we’d like to present this rebuttal to one of our Viewpoints. Not everybody is happy with Greg Stemm’s opinion piece in our Viewpoint section about St. Pete Pride. You can read the original here.

This is Pride board member Susan McGrath’s response.

As a St Pete Pride board member and a 19-year homeowner in Historic Kenwood, I cannot express my level of disappointment in opening the “St Pete Pride” Watermark edition to see a page devoted to substantial misinformation and language that is divisive and unproductive for our community.

Let’s begin with the facts.

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Crist comes to Metro: The U.S. Congressman and former Florida governor eyes expansion, promises political strength

By : Samuel Johnson
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(James Keane (L) speaks with Charlie Crist about the Metro expansion in St. Petersburg. Photo by Samuel Johnson.)

ST. PETERSBURG – Charlie Crist came back to his Tampa Bay roost May 30 to survey one of the area’s biggest LGBTQ success stories and to tackle an uncertain healthcare climate.

Crist, U.S. Representative for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, was given a tour of Metro Health and Wellness’ flagship facility in the city. After all, the 13th district includes a large swath of St. Petersburg where the facility resides. Metro Health and Wellness is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a $5.2 million dollar expansion and renovation. This bay area success is a one-stop location in Tampa Bay for primary care, HIV prevention and treatment, behavioral care, therapy and much more.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: St. Gina’sBurg, Newton picks sides and The Studio @ 620 has Tunnelvision

By : Anonymous
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Duncan in the ‘Burg

You may see a familiar face more often as you run your errands around downtown or grab a latte at your favorite coffee shop in St. Petersburg. Equality Florida’s Director of Transgender Equality Gina Duncan announced May 25 on her Facebook page that as of the end of June she will call St. Pete her new home after living in Orlando for 37 years.

“While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the City Beautiful and its amazing people, I am excited about this next adventure. Fortunately my position with Equality Florida lets me live anywhere in the state,” Duncan wrote. Along with those heartfelt words Duncan, posted a photo of herself on St. Pete’s amazing beach at sundown calling it “heaven.”

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With a ban in Tampa and a proposed ban in St. Petersburg, the Bay area is saying no to conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA – The practice of conversion therapy has not only been deemed ineffective, but has been called harmful by every major medical organization, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Even with all this opposition to conversion therapy, there is still no nationwide ban on the practice, so some state, county and city leaders have taken it upon themselves to get it banned at local levels, including right here in the Bay area.

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The Grand Central District looks to celebrate coming out this October with a new event

By : Jeremy Williams
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St. Petersburg – The Grand Central District Association announced plans for a series of events in St. Petersburg and Gulfport in October that will celebrate the LGBTQ community in the bay area in conjunction with National Coming Out Day Oct. 11.

“We want to acknowledge the importance of coming out and celebrate it in St. Pete,” says Shawn Connelly, Committee Chair for Come Out St. Pete. “What is also great about the timing of it is it will run concurrently with the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF), which occurs every October. Our timeline will follow along that festival so we are collaborating with them on the planning and implementing of these events.”

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As sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, the battle for LGBTQ sex ed in schools is more important than ever

By : Samuel Johnson
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Another tale of twin cities is encapsulated in twin counties, both nestled on the Tampa Bay. St. Petersburg occupies the southern borders of the bay and Tampa hugs the northern shoreline; Pinellas County and Hillsborough County respectfully.

Like most twin cities, these twin counties are dealing with some of the same civic and social challenges: shared infrastructure or shared natural resources or even shifting residential patterns. Another aspect that these twin counties share is the startling rates of sexually risky behavior among their youth, which manifests itself in high rates of sexual infections and diseases.

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Community banker Barclay Harless kicks off campaign for St. Petersburg City Council

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST PETERSBURG – Barclay Harless, civic leader and local community banker, kicked off his campaign Jan. 31 as he runs for District 2 of St. Petersburg City Council.

Harless gathered with supporters at Ricky P’s Creole Kitchen in St. Petersburg to lay out his plan for the city should he be elected.

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Council Chair Darden Rice announces she’ll undergoing breast cancer treatment

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST. PETERSBURG –St. Petersburg Council Chair Darden Rice announced in a press release Jan. 30 that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I’ve always championed transparency and have been straightforward with my friends, family, colleagues, and constituents. You have placed your trust in me – for that reason I am disclosing a deeply personal issue in my life: I have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” Rice begins in her press release.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard: Queer cities and pageant Queens

By : Anonymous
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Queer Bay

St. Petersburg and Tampa were named among the “Queerest Cities in America 2017” by The Advocate. What makes them so queer you may ask? Well lucky for you The Advocate gave the criteria they looked at to decide; everything from how many lesbian bars and Trans Pride parades the town has to how many theaters were showing Moonlight and hosting the music group Pwr Bttm.

Tampa came in at number 19, called Florida’s more “cosmopolitan” city (The Advocate hasn’t decided if Tampa is a Carrie or Samantha yet). According to The Advocate, this is where the young people flock to getting their education vibe on at the University of South Florida and Tampa University. They also mentioned the non-stop party of the GaYBOR district.

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