Historian David K. Johnson follows ‘The Lavender Scare’ with ‘Buying Gay’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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The history of the LGBTQ community has largely been erased from our educational institutions, historian David K. Johnson says. It’s one of the many byproducts of decades of stigma and intolerance that he attempts to remedy as a professor at the University of South Florida (USF).

His courses explore politics, culture, gender and sexuality in the U.S., mostly post-World War II. “Even in my standard history classes, whenever the topic of homosexuality comes up, students are riveted because they aren’t familiar with it from other history classes,” he explains. “I like to show how the issues of gender and sexuality have been central to American history for quite some time.”

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Luke Blankenship: St Pete Pride Executive Director

By : Scion Crowder
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Scion Crowder

Luke Blankenship started college wanting to work in LGBTQ advocacy, and shortly after found himself running the largest Pride organization in the state of Florida: St Pete Pride.

Luke was named executive director (ED) in May, making him the youngest ED of a Pride organization in the country. He joined St Pete Pride five years ago as a general volunteer and since then worked as logistics coordinator, parade director, development director and now ED. He oversees the day-to-day operations in collaboration with the board of directors and oversees sponsorships, financial strategy, event planning, magazine production, the social media presence and maintains local government and city relations. Luke is constantly working towards becoming a better person and ED. He may be young but he is continuing to educate himself by attending leadership seminars and is currently in the process of becoming a certified nonprofit ED.

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Mama Bearings: Why I am here

By : Sylvie Griffiths
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“Why are you guys even here?” This was the very direct and rude question my husband was asked in March during this year’s Tampa Pride. We were sitting at a crowded table shared with friends, old and new, at Hamburger Mary’s Ybor. Our eight-year-old son Jake was with us.

My husband, being the kind and patient human being he is, answered in great detail. He explained to his interrogator that we were attending Tampa Pride in support of our youngest child, who identifies as transgender. Jake was even on a float and gave out beads in the parade. It was an important and magical day for us as parents seeing our little dude being himself. Celebrating diversity is one of my fondest memories with Jake so far.

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USF announces second annual Pride Night

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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University of South Florida (USF) football will hold the second annual USF Pride Night Sept. 1.

The Bulls will face competitor Elon at Raymond James Stadium at 6 p.m. for the outing, with Pride Night seats on the 50 yard line. “It’s critically important right now, especially in the political arena that we’re in, that we do all we can to support all of our communities,” Director of Internal Operations for the Bulls Club Todd St. John-Fulton says. “I feel like our community is coming under attack constantly, so it’s incredibly important to raise visibility.”

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USF holds inaugural Lavender Graduation honoring LGBTQ students

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | The University of South Florida (USF) held its first Lavender Graduation ceremony on April 9 to honor students within the LGBTQ community and their allies.

Lavender Graduations are an annual ceremony designed to acknowledge the achievements and contributions that LGBTQ students and allies have made to their respective universities. They were created in 1995 by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a lesbian, after she was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her children due to her sexual orientation.

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4.19.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I haven’t always loved my job. Who loves anything all of the time? Even a parent who loves their child might want to slap them “into the middle of next week” occasionally. So I hear. I don’t have children, but I have adorable dogs that drive me crazy as much as they warm my heart.

I remember I was at a low point in 2004 with my career at Watermark. The repetition of an administrative assistant position with a local niche newspaper was taking its toll on me. I was young, stupid and combative. Up to this point, I never held a job for more than a year and a half and I was currently over two years at Watermark. I was starting to get antsy, so I looked for another job. Walt Disney World accepted me to their entertainment team as a production assistant and I took a few days off at Watermark to enroll in the Disney training class known as Traditions. The only thing left to do was put in my notice and leave.

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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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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Avatar acrobats, a Pride cruise, Christmas in Ybor and LGBT library collection at USF

By : Anonymous
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They’re blue, da ba dee da ba die
Have you longed to see the giant, blue nature-loving Na’vi tribe tangling tails since seeing them in James Cameron’s 2009 smash hit AVATAR? If so, you are not alone. The high flying acrobats of Cirque du Soleil are joining Cameron to bring the alien race to life with their new show TORUK – The First Flight, and they just announced they are coming to the Amalie Arena in Tampa March 17-20, 2016. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, TORUK – The First Flight is a mythical tale of two male friends on the brink of adulthood set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR. Make sure to get your tickets to what is sure to be the best show this side of Pandora.

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Young Objections: USF student group petitions to have C.W. Bill Young building renamed

By : Jeremy Williams
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A University of South Florida political organization is calling for a change in the name of the CW Bill Young building on campus because of the namesake’s association with an anti-gay, state-sanctioned committee from the 1950s and 60s.

The Tampa Bay chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (TBSDS), which only has around 14 regular members, has a petition on the website Change.org asking that the building named after Rep. Bill Young which houses the ROTC program at USF be renamed. The petition currently has more than 400 signatures.

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Doctoral student collects Tampa Bay’s LGBT history

By : Greg Stemm
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Tampa- University of South Florida doctoral thesis candidate Cyrana Wyker has learned a lot about the LGBT community lately. She is collecting oral histories form LGBT people who have lived through Tampa Bay’s remarkable growth and change the last half-century or so. Some interviews date back to events of the 1950s and 1960s, she said.

“Interestingly enough, the topic of Stonewall didn’t even come up when I interviewed older residents who had lived here while that revolution was happening in New York,” said Wyker , who was born in Key West and grew up in Texas. “I think they were aware of some of those changes as they were happening, but the events didn’t immediately lead to any kind of forward push for gay rights here.”

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St. Petersburg in the World Conference will focus on LGBT issues around the world

By : Greg Stemm
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St. Petersburg – “American Human Rights Policy Should Stress LGBT Issues” is the topic of one of 17 seminars scheduled to be presented in the second annual “St. Petersburg in the World” conference to be held at the University of South Florida (USF) in St. Petersburg Feb. 13-15.

The seminar dealing with LGBT issues in slated for Friday, Feb, 14 at 3:15 p.m. Other seminars deal with issues as far-reaching as our relationship with China to the issues brought up by the Snowden case. All seminars are free and open to the public. All sessions will be held in the Student Union and USF has agreed to offer free parking in their parking garage for the event.

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