PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to uniting the LGBTQ community, their families and supporters. It has more than 400 chapters, including Tampa’s which formed in 2011 and St. Petersburg’s which followed in 2017.
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.
Tampa | Tampa Pride has announced the event’s 2018 grand marshals, grand couple and community award recipients ahead of their fourth annual celebration.
Former Tampa Police Department Chief Jane Castor spearheaded the list of grand marshals, with the organization touting her decisive leadership which endured for her 31-year career. Castor was the first woman to lead the Tampa Police Department, and has previously served as a grand marshal.
In a year filled with many setbacks and obstacles, the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay have met those challenges with amazing resilience and resisted all forms of discrimination.
The individuals selected as Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017 come from many walks of life but all share one thing in common, they all were truly exceptional this year.
Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: John and Nancy Desmond, Members of Tampa Pride and PFLAG Tampa
What a delight it was to have met John and Nancy Desmond at a GaYBOR District meeting in 2010.
They have been a super positive force that trumps a lot of gays and lesbians in their commitment to the LGBTQ community.
They are outgoing, funny, empathetic, stellar and confident. These two speak their minds and are great team players in all they participate in and volunteer to do. Organizations that I have personally had the great honor of working with them includes: GaYBOR Distinct Coalition, Hillsborough County Homeless and Tampa Pride.