Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Barbara and Morgan Banno

By : Tiffany Razzano
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Barbara and Morgan Banno were friends before they ever started dating. In fact, Morgan was a regular at Barbara’s popular Gulfport restaurant, Stella’s.

When they first met, Morgan owned a shaved ice business with an ex. “We would try to frequent Stella’s to support local,” she says, “especially female-owned and operated businesses like the one I had.”

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ReadOut presents third annual festival of lesbian literature, events

By : Tiffany Razzano
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Sapphic fiction isn’t necessarily known for its high quality, Gulfport author Alison Solomon says.

“Lesbian literature doesn’t always have a good name for itself, unfortunately,” she explains, adding that of course there are many talented lesbian authors. Readers just need to know where to find them.

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Susan Gore, LGBTQ Resource Center and Circle of Friends Chair

By : Greg Stemm, LGBTQ Resource Center Board Member
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Susan Gore has become the de facto “Miss Gulfport Library,” serving as the chair of both the Circle of Friends and the LGBTQ Resource Center.

The Circle of Friends is the philanthropic group that supports the Gulfport Public Library. When they started the LGBTQ Resource Center about five years ago, they had no idea it would lead the library into two prominent and prestigious national awards in just one year.

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Paul and Wesley Ray

By : Tiffany Razzano
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After the death of his longtime partner in the late 1990s, Paul Ray didn’t think he would ever love again. “I gave up,” he says. “I never wanted to go through anything like that ever again.”

The Cape Cod native purchased an old RV and lived a nomadic life, taking on consulting jobs in different locales. Two years later, at the end of 1999, he traveled to Ocala to visit a friend. It was a trip that would forever change his life, as it’s when he first met his future husband.

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LGBTQ Resource Center seeks coming out stories for project

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: The opening reception of the LGBTQ Resource Center’s “Transcending Gender” exhibit in Nov. 2018. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

Gulfport, Fla. | The LGBTQ Resource Center at the Gulfport Public Library is seeking your coming out stories on or before Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day 2019.

The organization “is embarking on a project to produce a book entitled ‘Coming Out in Gulfport … Our Stories,’” they shared Sept. 30. “We are currently seeking local residents who would be willing to share their coming out story on audio tape that we could then transcribe into a publication for our collection.”

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Rep. Jennifer Webb launches re-election campaign

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Rep. Jennifer Webb welcomes supporters to the Historic Peninsula Inn Sept. 24. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

Gulfport, Fla. | Rep. Jennifer Webb officially launched her re-election campaign for Florida House District 69 on Sept. 24 at the Historic Peninsula Inn.

Webb became the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to the state legislature in 2018, where she currently serves as Democratic Deputy Whip. Her district includes 12 cities throughout Gulfport, Pinellas Park, St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg and more.

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Positive Living: Ruby slippers, raising a flag and serious questions

By : Greg Stemm
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I recently had the wonderful experience of participating in the inaugural Gulfport Friends of Dorothy march, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It began a month-long whirlwind of events sponsored by the award-winning LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Public Library, of which I am privileged to serve on the board of directors, to celebrate Pride season.

As I was marching up Beach Blvd. in a rainbow wig, ruby slippers and with several hundred members of my Gulfport “family,” I couldn’t help but reflect on the significance of what Stonewall started and what it has meant to the LGBTQ community in the past 50 years. I was most moved by the fact that the carriers of the lead banner were an openly gay vice mayor and an openly gay state representative. That would have been unthinkable in June of 1969.

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Tampa Bay remembers Pulse tragedy at 3-year mark

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Community advocate and allies throughout Tampa Bay will gather for events and memorials June 12, honoring those killed at the Pulse nightclub three years ago today.

We have gathered information below.

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Issue 26.11: The Veronicas Exposed

By : Dylan Todd
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Australian Pop Duo, The Veronicas, headline Girls in Wonderland concert, 3 Wise Guys on Pulse 3 Years Later, St Petersburg to Recognize LGBTQ Businesses, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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Issue 26.10: The Red Sea

By : Dylan Todd
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Red Shirt Pride Day looks to continue Orlando’s traditional Gay Day at the Magic Kingdom, Gulfport Public Library wins national award, Zebra Coalition to throw LGBTQ Youth Pride Prom, local news, celebrity interviews, photos, events and much, much more!

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LGBTQ Resource Center established as independent nonprofit, launches scholarship

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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GULFPORT, Fla. | The award-winning LGBTQ Resource Center at the Gulfport Public Library announced April 9 that it will now operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The community resource, which previously functioned as a project of the nonprofit Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library, began in 2014 with a donation of hundreds of LGBTQ-themed books. A committee was formed to cultivate the materials and the collection opened to the public in 2015.

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Gulfport welcomes readers, writers to ReadOut 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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GULFPORT, Fla. | The second annual Gulfport ReadOut—three days of events held primarily at the Gulfport Public Library for LGBTQ readers, writers and their allies—will take place Feb. 15-17.

Festivities begin Feb. 15 with “An Afternoon of Romance,” bringing together lesbian romance authors for afternoon tea ahead of a reception. They continue Feb. 16 with a full day of events beginning at 10 a.m., where keynote speaker and workshop leader Leslea Newman—author of 70 books including “A Letter to Harvey Milk,” “A Song for Matthew Shepard” and “Heather Has Two Mommies”—will present “It Takes a Village to Raise a Writer and Activist.”

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