Tampa Bay’s Overheard: St. Pete Pride Grand Marshal nominees and Equality Florida’s record-breaking fundraising

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St. Pete Pride makes decision on move, Grand Marshal finalists

St. Pete Pride announced March 2 via Facebook that the annual parade will move to the downtown area, but will keep the street festival in the Grand Central District. The new parade route begin’s at Albert Whitted Park and proceeds along Bayshore Drive to Vinoy Park. The compromise will allow St. Pete Pride to keep that city funding.

The night before St. Pete Pride met with the city to discuss parades and festivals, they announced the finalists for Pride’s Grand Marshals.

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2017 Equality Florida Tampa Gala

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Save the Date for our 2017 Tampa Gala on Saturday, February 25!

Stay tuned for more details.

Overheard in Tampa Bay: Activism “reigns”

By : Jamie Hyman
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Poetry in motion
Poet Steven Reigns made quite the name for himself in the Tampa Bay area before heading to the west coast to expand his craft and activism. A product of the University of South Florida, Reigns was not only a well-known poet and artist, he was also a leading activist. He was the Literary Director for the GLBT Center of Tampa for two years, headed up an outreach program in Pinellas County offering up HIV testing and education for minorities in the inner city and was even named as “Someone to Watch” by the Advocate. Reigns didn’t slow down once he took up residence in Los Angeles as he is one of the nominees for West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board’s awards in recognizing those who have made a significant contribution to our community. Well done!

Raising the bar
If you didn’t make it to the 2016 Tampa Gala at the TPepin’s Hospitality Center, then you missed out on an amazing evening with 600 of your closest friends. I mean, they had artwork as a part of the silent auction that featured a painting of Ted Cruz almost as terrifying as the real thing and an array of penis portraits of varying shapes and sizes that would have sparked hours of conversation at any Republican debate. Aside from the art, guests heard from two of Tampa Bay’s most inspiring and motivating leaders: Voice for Equality award winner Ed Lally and EQFL’s Executive Director Nadine Smith. The best news, though, is that of the numbers EQFL’s Mark Puskarich announced that the Tampa Gala brought in $355,000, a gala record. Now that would buy a lot of penis portraits!

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Kevin Beckner to be honored at EQFL Tampa Gala

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Tampa–Equality Florida will present Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner with the 2015 Voice for Equality Award at the Ninth Annual Tampa Gala for his leadership efforts in helping progress LGBT legislation in Hillsborough County.

Beckner was elected as the first openly gay person to hold office in Hillsborough County in 2008. Beckner, a couple months into holding office, introduced a domestic partner registry to the county, which was shot down by a 5-2 vote.

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EQFL’s Feb. 22 Tampa Gala on track to break records

By : Steve Blanchard
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Tampa – If ticket sales continue to go as they have the last few months, Tampa is poised to set records with its fundraising totals at this month’s Equality Florida Gala. The Feb. 22 event, held at The Vault on Franklin St., could easily raise $225,000. But that doesn’t mean organizers wouldn’t appreciate adding more to the coffers.

“All of the money goes to the same bucket,” explained Ed Lally, Equality Florida’s Central Florida Corporate and Development Manager. “All of the money raised at all of our galas goes to our program services. A bulk is used for educating the public on our objectives and how we can achieve them. The most exciting thing is that we now have this marriage equality lawsuit filed, and there’s quite a buzz over it. Money is needed to fuel that suit as it makes its way through the courts.”

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