BORN IN: Tampa, Florida
IDENTIFIES AS: Gay male
Topher Larkin is living proof that you can go home again. The Tampa native, who recently moved to St. Petersburg after living in Charleston, South Carolina for six years, returned to Tampa Bay with both purpose and poise.
In his role of community liaison and specialist for Zero Pinellas – an innovative partnership between Tampa Bay’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AIDS Institute, BayCare, Empath Health/EPIC, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County and Metro Inclusive Health designed to reduce HIV infections in Pinellas County – Topher is a professional networker. He serves as a “kind of Switzerland,” he explains.
“My position was specifically created to work on the initiative,” Topher says. “I get to see all of these collaborators in action and relay that message to the community, keeping everyone on the same page; keeping them informed and working toward that common goal.”
Topher first learned of Zero Pinellas’ efforts while working for the Ryan White Wellness Center in Charleston in a role similar to the one he now occupies. He’d returned to Tampa to visit friends and family, his lifelines.
“I was interested in the work they were doing and they were interested in the work I was doing,” he recalls, “so I kept in contact. When it came time for me to move back into town, I reached out. It was all serendipitous.”
It’s his hope that his love life might follow a similarly happy path. “I’m freshly new back in town and I want to get to know my community,” he says. “I’m excited to see who’s out there.”
Topher is eager to bring his personal and professional growth from recent years to his hometown. “I’m thrilled to be back,” he says. “I want to use my tools to hopefully make a difference. I need somebody who can do that with me – someone to go out, explore and have fun.”