Tampa Bay performers announce unofficial, digital Tampa Pride weekend

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: (L-R) Francis Queerbot 9000, Mr. Tampa Pride 2020 Kirk DaVinci and Juno Vibranz, photos via Kirk DaVinci/Tampa Pride.

TAMPA | Tampa Pride 2020 entertainers have planned a weekend of digital performances March 27-29 following the event’s postponement.

The sixth annual gathering was originally scheduled for the same weekend. It was moved to May 30 in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

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Fit to Print: Life is Change

By : Steve Blanchard
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Change, they say, is good. I can think of no better or more timely example than the changes that unfolded right before our eyes in Tampa and Hillsborough County, ultimately giving rise to today’s version of Tampa Pride.

In the not-too-distant past, Hillsborough County was seen as backwards and frustrating to most of the LGBTQ community and a large portion of the country. While Tampa has had a long history of LGBTQ-friendly mayors, they were sometimes overshadowed by the hateful rhetoric of county officials who couldn’t bring themselves to respect every individual in their area, especially those with sexual orientations or gender identities that they considered foreign.

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Coronavirus concerns impact Central Florida and Tampa Bay

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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An estimated 60,000 people filled the streets of Ybor City for Tampa Pride last year, celebrating Tampa Bay’s growing LGBTQ community. It’s a record that organizers were expecting to break this year until March 12, when they postponed their sixth annual outing originally scheduled for March 28.

Since Tampa Pride’s return to Hillsborough County in 2015, attendees, vendors, parade participants and community sponsors have grown year after year. Its expansion is made possible by its supporters, Tampa Pride President Carrie West says.

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03.19.2020 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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The problem with running a bi-weekly newspaper is timing. Even before social media this was an issue. Watermark goes to press roughly 40 hours before it hits the stands, leaving a window of uncertainty. There have been instances where something in our pages was obsolete by the time the articles were in the hands of our readers.

More often, a story we worked on would change at the last minute, leaving the editorial team to scramble to replace it. Such is the case with this issue. We had planned to report to you the amazing events and good times coming our way with Tampa Pride. Unfortunately, and quickly, societal norms changed and forced a postponement of the annual event.

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Tampa Pride 2020, official events postponed

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Pride 2018, photo by Russ Martin.

TAMPA | Tampa Pride 2020, originally scheduled for March 28, has been postponed and rescheduled to May 30 as fears mount over contracting COVID-19, the coronavirus declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“Tampa Pride 2020 wants to ensure the health and safety of our community first and have taken the necessary precaution to do so,” organizers shared late March 12. “Tampa Pride 2020 in Ybor City & at The Cuban Club on 3-28-2020 have been postponed. We made this difficult decision to postpone because of the Coronavirus COVID-19 EMERGENCY.”

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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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