Celebrants were treated to samplings from nearly 20 of the area’s favorite locales. Taste participants included Better BYRD, MacDinton’s St. Pete, Old Key West Bar & Grill, Our Bar, Poppo’s Taqueria, Punky’s Bar & Grill and more.
What a remarkable year 2019 has been for the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.
Whether it was in the field of politics, philanthropy, activism, entertainment or pageantry; there was no shortage of remarkable people for us to choose for Watermark’s annual list of the Most Remarkable People in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.
In honor of the year 2019, we choose 19 people across our readership area who were breaking records and blazing trails for the LGBTQ community. Once we selected our 19 Remarkables, we asked members of the community work know, work and admire each of them to write why they thought they were remarkable.
Step into the Metro LGBTQ Welcome Center in St. Petersburg or take a stroll down Central Avenue, and chances are you’ll see a powerful message delivered on shirts and stickers bearing the signature FOUST logo: “Love is my philosophy.” If you live in Tampa Bay, I can guarantee that the love, empathy and leadership of Cole Foust has touched your life somehow.
Cole is an activist, community organizer, artist, musician and an incredible friend and coworker. When I think of him, I recall the Harvey Milk quote: “If you are not personally free to be yourself in that most important of human activities – the expression of love – then life itself loses meaning.”
Metro utilizes the annual event to raise awareness and funds for its essential health and community services. The organization served more than 27,000 individuals in Tampa Bay last year and is on course to significantly increase that number in 2019.
ABOVE: LGBTQ youth from Metro Inclusive Health and volunteers finalize the first mural for the fifth annual SHINE Mural Festival on Sept. 28. Photo courtesy Chad Mize.
Since the inception of St. Petersburg’s SHINE Mural Festival in 2015, multimedia artist and gallery owner Chad Mize has incorporated a community project into the annual art event.
SHINE transforms the city’s streets by curating large-scale murals painted by renowned artists from across the globe, he says. “We bring international talent to the city to elevate the scene here. It puts us on the map.”
ABOVE: Come OUT St. Pete board members and grand marshals Brian Longstreth, Claire Elisan, Jim Woodfield, Cole Foust, Jayson Clancey, Chris Jones, Bill Kody and Chuck Henson at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.
ST. PETERSBURG | Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) will hold its third annual outing Oct. 3-11 in the Grand Central District (GCD) and nearby neighborhoods to celebrate National Coming Out Day 2019.
COSP exists to advocate for community awareness and acceptance of all sexual orientations and gender identities. They do so with events that celebrate “coming out of the closet and into the world.”
ABOVE: (L-R) Come OUT St. Pete representatives and grand marshals Brian Longstreth, Claire Elisan, Jim Woodfield, Cole Foust, Jayson Clancey, Chris Jones, Bill Kody and Chuck Henson at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.
Representatives from Come OUT St. Pete (COSP) gathered at Metro’s LGBTQ Welcome Center Sept. 17 to announce their first ever grand marshals for the organization’s upcoming parade.
Three grand marshals were chosen for the celebration: Cole Foust, Metro Inclusive Health’s LGBTQ Division Manager; Claire Elisan, CEO of the nonprofit Project No Labels and Chuck Henson, longtime Spectrum News 9 traffic expert and news anchor. Each grand marshal is intrinsically tied to their support of Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community.
ST. PETERSBURG | Metro Inclusive Health and The Dru Project will present “Stonewall to Pulse: A Community Discussion” June 26, an inter-generational event featuring panelists who have experienced LGBTQ milestones firsthand.
The presentation “brings together individuals who experienced some of the most significant events, movements and moments in LGBTQ+ history,” the organizations announced June 1, “including the Stonewall Riots, Pulse Massacre, participation in ACT UP AIDS activism and the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard.”
ST. PETERSBURG | Food, drink and art enthusiasts gathered March 2 at the historic Coliseum for St Pete Pride’s annual Taste of Pride.
Celebrants were treated to sweet and savory samplings from nearly 20 of Tampa Bay’s favorite restaurants, breweries, catering companies. Taste participants included Dr. BBQ, Flamingo Resort, Iberian Rooster, Old Key West Bar & Grill, Orange Blossom Catering, Punky’s Bar & Grill and The Queenshead and more.
HOMETOWN: Brandon, Fla.
IDENTIFIES AS: Gay, Transgender Male
The LGBTQ singles mixer featured several of Tampa Bay’s most eligible singles with light bites provided by Iberian Rooster. Attendees were given bracelets representing if they were looking or taken, with blue indicating they were looking for individuals who identify as male, purple for individuals who identify as female and yellow for individuals who identify as non-binary. Orange represented those who were taken and celebrants were free to wear as many as they felt appropriately expressed themselves. Check out some of our photos below.
Photos by Dylan Todd, Russ Martin.