PHOTOS: Tampa Pride celebrates 2020 grand marshals

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Pride welcomed supporters to the Hilton Tampa Downtown Feb. 20 for its Grand Marshal Gala, introducing this year’s honorees while looking ahead to the organization’s 2020 celebration.

Organizers advised that the grand marshals were chosen by Tampa Pride’s board, which carefully considered their contributions to and longtime support of Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ community at large. Tampa Pride President Carrie West introduced each of them between performances by Tampa Bay entertainer De Delovely.

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02.05.20 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I’ve never had a particular affinity for cars. I’ve always been grateful to own the ones I have, of course – from my first, a 1991 Ford Thunderbird to my current, a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt – I’ve just never been one to covet the latest make or model to move about town.

That likely began with my Thunderbird, graciously gifted to me by my parents in the early 2000s. It was far from new, though its James Bond-esque keycode entry was clearly ahead of its time, but I was thrilled to have it. All it needed were regular oil changes and a cassette tape adapter for my portable CD player.

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Tampa Pride announces inaugural concert, celebrity headliner

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Martha Wash will headline the sixth annual Tampa Pride’s inaugural Pride at Night March 28. (Photo from Facebook)

TAMPA | The sixth annual Tampa Pride will feature an inaugural Pride at Night concert on March 28 from 6 p.m.-midnight at The Cuban Club, welcoming headliner Martha Wash.

“Tampa Pride 2020 will be bigger than ever,” organizers have shared. “Our street festival will feature more room for community participation and our diversity parade will also be bigger, with more room for bands, floats, horses, music and much more. But that’s not all … this year’s star will be Martha Wash, performing ‘It’s Raining Men!’”

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Alex Jones, ProjectAlchemy Artistic Director

By : Fernando Chonqui, Dance Artist /St Pete Pride Development Director
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As Artistic Director of ProjectAlchemy Dance and the resident choreographer at the Studio@620 in downtown St. Petersburg, Alex applies his passion for dance as a tool for education and advocacy.

His mission is to challenge the current connotation of dance and make all genres of dance more accessible in Tampa Bay. He founded ProjectAlchemy at the end of 2018 with a premiere performance of his one-man show, Voices, a multidisciplinary dance piece about his experiences he represents as a Queer, Black man.

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Tampa philanthropist David Straz dies at 77

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: David Straz (R) and wife Catherine Lowry Straz speak at Tampa Pride’s 2019 VIP Sponsor Party March 28. Photo by Dylan Todd.

TAMPA | Tampa philanthropist and former Tampa mayoral candidate David A. Straz Jr. has passed away. He was 77.

David A. Straz Jr. Foundation spokesman Jarrod Holbrook announced Straz’s passing in a statement late Nov. 18. “It is with a heavy heart the Straz family regrets to inform you that while on a recent fishing trip with close friends David A. Straz, Jr. passed away peacefully in his sleep,” he shared.

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Tampa Pride kicks off 2020 fundraising, names grand marshals

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Pride President Carrie West, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, her longtime partner Ana Cruz and Tampa Pride Vice President Mark Eary enjoy Pride Zoo-La Nov. 2 at ZooTampa. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

TAMPA | Tampa Pride kicked off its 2020 fundraising Nov. 2 at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, welcoming supporters and unveiling next year’s grand marshals.

More than 350 attended Tampa Pride’s “Wild Carnavale,” the organization’s second annual Pride Zoo-La. Guests enjoyed a silent auction, special performances and interactions with zoo animals, including a giraffe feeding.

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Tampa appeals ruling striking down conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Pride 2018 participants make their way down 7th Ave. in Ybor. Photo by Russ Martin.

TAMPA | The city of Tampa has appealed a ruling striking down its ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

The practice purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and more. Tampa banned it in 2017 “to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors.”

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride’s wild, second annual Pride Zoo-La

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Pride kicked off its 2020 fundraising Nov. 2 with “Wild Carnavale,”  the second annual Pride Zoo-La at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

The fundraiser began with a performance by the Tampa Bay Pride Band. Guests were treated to an artists’ showcase highlighting local talent, raffles from area organizations and up close and personal interactions with zoo animals, including a special giraffe feeding.

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Tampa couple’s ‘Captain Marvel’ proposal goes viral

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa’s John Chambrone and fiance Richard Owen went viral Oct. 12 after getting engaged during an ACE Comic Con photo op in Illinois with “Captain Marvel” actress Brie Larson.

Chambrone, a longtime comic book fan, is the president of Bear Soup Tampa and entertainment chair for Tampa Pride. He and Owen, a CNA who will begin nursing school in the spring, met in May and saw Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” on their first official date.

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VIDEO: Mayor Bob Buckhorn says goodbye, thanks city for eight years

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn thanked the city for his eight years in office in a video released April 18.

“Thank you, Tampa, for allowing me the amazing honor to be your Mayor,” Buckhorn shared via social media. “There may be other mayors that are better than me, but I know that there will never be a mayor that loves this job as much as I do. I hope I made you proud.”

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Pride held its fifth annual celebration in the streets of historic Ybor City March 30, honoring milestones in the LGBTQ community.

The day began with the organization’s festival expo and community health fair, highlighting area vendors and artists while featuring a wide array of entertainment. Thousands of attendees subsequently gathered along 7th Ave. for Tampa Pride’s largest diversity parade yet, which welcomed over 100 parade entrants and was led by grand marshals Amy Demilo, James Encke, Pat Frank, Ja’Staria Infiniti, the Tampa Bay Pride Band, Tyler Reed and Nick Staszak.

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PHOTOS: Tampa Pride 2019 VIP Sponsor Party

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Pride held its annual VIP Sponsor Party at the Florida Aquarium March 28.

The evening celebrated the organization’s partners, sponsors and supporters ahead of the fifth annual Pride weekend. It featured a tour of the aquarium, music by DJ Jayson Clancey and was hosted by FOX 13 anchor and former Tampa Pride grand marshal Russell Rhodes, who soon introduced the city’s outgoing Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

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