St. Pete Pride Guide — 2021

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The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg is proud to support St. Pete Pride and LGBTQIA+ rights, history, and culture.

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Contents Photo by Edel Mohr

Greetings to Everyone Participating in St Pete . . . . 10 PrideFest 2021! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Letter from Mayor Rick Kriseman . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 LGBTQ Pride Month Proclamation . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Board of Directors, Executive Committee . . . . . . . 17


COVID-19 Protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Turning Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Interview with Suzie Dorner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 photo by sheri kendrick

The Strides of Pride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Returning to Pride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 The Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 The Grand Central District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Know Your Pride Flags . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48


What Is Pride? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Together We Rise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 St. Petersburg: The Sunshine City . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Find Your Pride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 Rowdies Pride . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Interview with the Grande Dame of the Miss St Pete Pride Pageant, Kori Stevens . . . . . . . 74 Growing Up Transgender in Saint Petersburg . . . . . 81


What Being the Mom of a Trans Kid Taught Me . . . .82

PrideGuide Contributors

OUR MISSION The purpose of St Pete Pride is to promote unity, visibility, self-esteem and a positive image of and among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) community of Tampa Bay and throughout the State of Florida by way of cultural and educational programs and activities. | PO Box 12647, St. Petersburg, FL 33733 | (c) 2021 St. Pete Pride

Rachel Covello Elliott James Darrow Raffi Darrow David Foote Tiffany Freisberg Tamara Leigh Carey Mears PJ Nowlan Jake Nutting SHINE Mural Team Angie Wegner







PrideFest 2021! Nathan Bruemmer, Board President and acting ED Like so many other events, St Pete Pride looks a little different this year – and that is intentional. The coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel our plans in 2020, and St Pete Pride chose to lean into the uniqueness of these unprecedented times by reimagining how we celebrate Pride. We started with the most pressing problem of how to safely hold an event that drew over 265,000 people in 2019. The safety and well-being of our guests, vendors, volunteers, and all of our neighbors in St. Petersburg must always be at the forefront of Pride events. We also recognized that 2020 also highlighted the resilience of protests around the globe, as citizens called out corruption, electoral manipulation, and police brutality. After witnessing and reflecting on the events of this past year, we embraced the belief that We All Rise Together, and are inspired to work towards a more inclusive Pride where the voices of Black, Brown and Trans communities are centered. We are proud to honor our LGBTQ+ community and provide an opportunity to connect and celebrate each other. Beginning with safety and public health concerns, it would be impossible to gather 200,000+ people downtown along the waterfront for our annual St Pete Pride Parade. Similarly, the Pride Festival in the Grand Central District could not be held safely for the 50,000+ people it usually draws. Yet we felt the loss of cancelation in 2020. How could we do this safely in 2021? We met with city officials and public health experts, reviewed the CDC guidelines, and creatively imagined how to spread people out over space and time in order to create a socially distanced Pride. PrideFest was born! This new format of four themed weeks in June with four outdoor 10

events spread over four Saturdays allows us to celebrate Pride while following pandemic guidelines and it allows our community partners to safely host dozens of other events as well! After reworking the logistics of time and space, we knew it was time to focus on healing our hearts. 2020 was a hard year. As we begin to come out of the pandemic, we grieve those lost to illness, violence, and despair. As we reflect on the protests that occurred in our back yard and all over the world, we remember that Pride, too, was born from rebellion. And as we embrace the ideal that We All Rise Together, we recognize that we must reach out and create new partnerships. Since pandemic guidelines state that we must limit the number of attendees, we are selling tickets for each event. We are using this new structure to develop new community partnerships by donating a portion of our ticket sales to several amazing local organizations. We encourage you to learn more about them and hope you will support them. We often refer to the social justice advocacy of Pride as “the work.” And it is most definitely work. However, St Pete Pride is honored to engage in this work and advocate for LGBGTQ+ people and for our community. As we move forward, St Pete Pride encourages others to join in our fight for equity. We encourage everyone to celebrate their Pride because we are strong, we are resilient, and We All Rise Together.


ST. PETE PRIDE We honor our LGBTQ+ employees and allies who help make Bloomin’ Brands as diverse and inclusive as the communities we serve.


Dear Proud LGBTQ+ residents, visitors, and allies, Welcome to St. Pete Pride! This year’s celebration will look a little different due to COVID-19, but I am certain that it will be just as enjoyable. The St. Pete PrideFest 2021, which includes four weeks of themed events to celebrate our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual community. Our monthlong celebration will include: Outdoor Adventure Week from June 1 - 6, Family Week from June 7 -13, Arts + Qulture Week from June 14 to 20, and Taste of PrideFest from June 21 to 27. For more information on pride events happening during June 2021, please visit Now, more than ever, we must be demonstrative in our support of the LGBTQ+ community. If you are an ally like me, we must continue to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbors. We must continue to tell the world that St. Pete is a place where diversity is not just tolerated but celebrated. This is my final St. Pete Pride as your mayor. I want to thank you for your support throughout the years, for helping to make sure the ‘Sun Shines Here’ in June and throughout the year. Please know that I will always stand up for you, and next to you. Thank you again,


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Board of Directors, Executive Committee Nathan Bruemmer, Board President & Acting Executive Director (he/him) - Nathan currently serves as the Acting Executive Director and Board President of St Pete Pride. Born and raised in the Tampa Bay area, he has worked as a community organizer and advocate for over twenty years focusing on the needs of the most marginalized including LGBTQ+ youth, the transgender community, and those impacted by food and housing insecurity. Nathan is a passionate educator who enjoys providing training and technical assistance through a collaborative learning process. Nathan holds a Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of South Florida. Tiffany Freisberg, Board Vice President & Marketing Committee Chair - Tiffany is the CoFounder and Creative Director of LionMaus Media, a creative advertising & social agency with Pride-supporting clients like Tampa General Hospital and Riverside Recovery. Originally from London, England, after a 10-year stint in Jupiter, FL Tiffany moved to St. Pete during Pride 2019 with her wife and three daughters, and proudly serves as VP with a focus on strategic communications, design, and storytelling. Tiffany has a B.A. in Literature and a Masters in Shakespeare from University College London. Stanley Solomons, Treasurer - Stanley joined the Board of St Pete Pride in the fall of 2008 as Promenade Chair. He served as Secretary, Co-Chair,

Vice President, President and currently serves as Treasurer. He graduated from St Petersburg High School and the University of Alabama. He returned to St Pete in 2003 after having worked as a financial analyst for Credit Suisse in Zurich. Stanley is glad to be home. Molly Robison, Board Secretary & Operations Committee Chair - A fairly recent transplant to Florida, Molly moved from Colorado to Gulfport because she had enough of scraping car windows and shoveling snow! As a long time human rights advocate and proud LGBTQ parent, joining the St. Pete Pride Board was a great fit. Molly’s professional background is in non-profit administration, special event planning, and major gift solicitation . She brings experience, enthusiasm, and dedication to the St. Pete Pride Board. Currently, Molly works at EPIC (Empath Partners in Care) an HIV/AIDS services organization serving Hillsborough & Pinellas counties. Susan McGrath, Board Member - Susan devotes much of her work and personal time to issues of advocacy and to supporting pro-equality candidates. She serves as executive director for the Florida Consumer Action Network, an organization that advances progressive issues on behalf of Florida. She is past president of Pinellas Stonewall LGBT Caucus and Campaign Chair for a Florida LGBTQ+ Caucus. She has served on the St Pete Pride Board since 2015, and was an inaugural elected St Pete Pride Grand Marshal in 2014. She is a long-time member and Board of Director of King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church. She lives in her craftsman bungalow in Historic Kenwood with her two rescue pups, Lulu and Gracie.


COVID-19 Protocols St Pete Pride has approval for limited spectator attendance at Pridefest; therefore, visitors must purchase advance tickets online, as limited capacity will be enforced. Currently, no tickets will be available for purchase the day of any of the official St Pete PrideFest 2021 events. Additionally, ALL events will operate under the City’s “Race to Safe” COVID-10 guidelines. Under these guidelines, St Pete Pride requires ALL attendees, vendors, volunteers, staff, and visitors to St Pete Pridefest 2021 to follow these approved guidelines: •

• •

Masks/facial coverings MUST be worn at all times and there is a “no mask, no entry” policy at ALL St Pete Pride events. A temperature check will be conducted, and a temperature greater than 100.4 will result in no entry. Social distancing MUST be followed at all times. Enhanced safety precautions MUST be followed at all official St Pete Pride events until further notice.

We ask supporters, attendees, vendors, and volunteers to read and adhere to these procedures, self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, and conduct a CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker before you arrive. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms MUST stay home. According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Anyone who develops symptoms while at an event is advised to leave the event grounds immediately and contact St Pete Pride’s COVID-19 Event Safety Plan Manager at 727-342-0084. For additional COVID-19 pre-event information and questions, please send an email to Your patience and understanding is very much appreciated as we navigate these necessary steps together. Let’s all do this “The St. Pete Way.”

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Turning Points By Dr. Kanika Tomalin In 2003, Brian Longstreth and other activists organizing St. Pete’s inaugural Pride event sought history. The request: a proclamation, acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of St. Pete’s LGBTQ community. Rick Baker, Mayor at the time, refused to sign it. So Rick Kriseman, then a St. Petersburg City Council member, did. “I had no hesitation about signing it. I didn’t think twice about it,” he said. “The LGBTQ community was - and is - an important part of the fabric of St. Petersburg. To not recognize the role that community plays, I thought, was wrong.” Much more than a piece of parchment, that scroll of whereas clauses signed solely by the Council member from District 1 underscored the annual celebration as an integral keystone of our city’s cultural landscape. And, it lay claim to the dignity and respect every citizen seeks, and deserves, for a segment of our community too long and too often overlooked. It set in motion more than a decade-long evolution of inclusion and advocacy that has propelled St. Petersburg to the top of the list of America’s most welcoming communities; an accolade that would leave any progressive mayor proud, every progressive city pleased. But Kriseman didn’t do it for the legacy. More than seventeen years later, as he leads the same city, now as its highly-popular mayor closing in on the first half of the final year of his second term, he is very clear as to why he stepped up to sign St. Pete’s first Pride proclamation all those years ago. “It was the right thing to do.”

Turning Point Now, several times a year, St. Petersburg City Council Chambers fill with members of the

LGBTQ community coming to receive acknowledgement, support and gratitude for critical contributions that advance the City toward its goals. Every June, the Pride flag is raised over City Hall. St. Pete has earned a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index every year since Kriseman was elected. LGBTQ liaisons work in high-profile positions in the Mayor’s Office and police department to ensure pathways to progress and safety are navigable realities. Partnerships with agencies and organizations with a mission of LGBTQ-inclusive service are funded and fostered by the City, and economic development that intentionally considers and elevates opportunities for St. Pete’s LGBTQ community thrives. “If creating a culture of inclusion is in fact my legacy, that makes me proud…but, I think it’s what everyone should do,” Kriseman said, in reflection. “I don’t look at it as though I’m doing something special. I just look at it as what should always be the case.” “Leadership starts at the top and you have to demonstrate it if you want others to follow. I’m certainly thrilled to see that we have become a city that is known for its diversity and inclusivity. It’s a big part of what has attracted people here. I hope I played a part in that. And, I hope always being very open and candid about it over the years has brought people along with me.”


Like “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” Rick Kriseman has brought people along with him on a journey where inclusion serves as an engine of actualization for his city’s highest aspirations. And, a key turning point in that journey and the city’s psyche began with Kriseman’s personal aspirations to ascend to the Mayor’s Office. In 2013, after six years in the Florida legislature, Kriseman tossed his hat in the ring to become the 53rd Mayor of Florida’s fourth-largest city. Lagging in the polls and armed with little more than optimism in what was shaping up to be a competitive race, Kriseman’s decision to march in the annual Pride Parade shifted a waning tide. He would be the first candidate for mayor to ever march - a glimpse into his intent, if elected, to represent every citizen of St. Pete. On foot, he and his handful of supporters turned onto 30th Street toward Central Avenue and walked into the waiting imaginations and expectations of a changing city ready for leadership that sees value in every person. The crowd erupted. “The energy was amazing,” Kriseman remembered, willing back welling tears that watered his eyes. “For the first time in the history of the city people saw someone running for Mayor who was leading on their issue - the things that they cared about the most. For the first time they saw someone who was aligning themselves with their community - and it was a turning point,” observes Kevin King, Kriseman’s long-time advisor and Chief of Policy and Public Engagement. It was a figurative and literal turning point - for the parade, for Kriseman’s campaign, for our City. Kriseman’s participation turned the page on a new chapter in St.Pete’s story and the whole community gathered, crowded on the curbs along the parade route, to help


write it. “It felt like this was your town,” said King. It was a first signaling of the dawn of a new day where every voice, every truth, every dream matters. Thousands of people, ready to be seen and respected - a sea of smiling faces, high fives and clapping hands, saluting the man who was running for Mayor to recognize their worth. “It was powerful. The emotions. The energy from the crowd. It permeates still today. The first time we did the Trans March, a few years back, for instance… Every time we come together in unity around this important celebration, the energy from the crowd, it just carries me,” Kriseman said. “We’ve created a culture here,” he added. “I wanted a city where everybody felt welcome in every space. I didn’t want lip service. You can talk about creating opportunity and policies for everyone, including the LGBTQ community. But, if you aren’t putting processes in place to ensure that those things actually are happening, then its just lip service.” “We set the tone right from the beginning with our vision - our mantra - I share it everywhere I go. And, I work with people who are equally committed. It’s not just me. It’s all of us. You’ve got to ingrain in people’s minds our goal of being a City of Opportunity - certainly inclusive of the LGBTQ community - over and over again. And, then work on it, every day, until it becomes the truth.” Dr. Kanika Tomalin is the Deputy Mayor and City Administrator of St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Interview with Suzie Dorner By Tiffany Freisberg Suzie Dorner, a Tampa General Hospital COVID ICU nurse manager, was named an honorary Super Bowl captain. She was invited to participate in the ceremonial coin toss as the second-ever female coin flipper in Super Bowl history. Her girlfriend Melanie accompanied her to the game.

Q. How did COVID change your day-to-day job? A. COVID turned all of our lives upside down and changed healthcare. One minute, I was the nurse manager of the MICU (medical intensive care unit), and the next thing I knew, I was leading my team through a global pandemic. I worked with executives and leaders to advocate for the needs of my team, create new policies, and transform how we deliver nursing care. My team went through an emotional rollercoaster, and I had to be there to hear them, support them, and educate them so they were armored to care for our patients. Q. How did COVID affect you personally? 24

A. COVID took a toll on all of us. As a healthcare worker, I maintained a somewhat normal routine by continuing to go to work everyday. However, we all missed out on normal life events such as birthdays, weddings, traveling, family gatherings, and the like. As patients took their last breaths, my team was there holding their hands and FaceTiming their loved ones as they said their final goodbyes. That was very difficult and hit home for me as I lost both of my grandmothers during the pandemic. While they did not have COVID, no one from my family was able to be there with them. The facilities they were in did not have the capability to facilitate FaceTime, but I know they were in the hands of exceptional

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nurses. After losing my grandmothers, I made sure that my team had enough support and technology to be able to FaceTime so families could see their loved ones and say their goodbyes. Q. What was the first thing you felt when you heard you’d been selected to flip the coin at the Super Bowl? A. I was in utter disbelief! I’m just a kid from Akron, Ohio managing a COVID unit. How in the world did I get selected to represent all of healthcare in such a monumental event?!? Once it sunk in, I was beyond humbled and honored! Q. When did you first know you were gay? A. When I was 25, I went on vacation to Jamaica with my best friend. I realized I had feelings for a woman, and I came out to him on a boat in the middle of the ocean. He confessed to me that he had feelings for men. At the time, it was the most relieving, exhilarating, and freeing moment of my life! Q. Were you out to your colleagues before the Super Bowl, and do you feel accepted? A. My team and my colleagues who know me know that I am gay. Tampa General Hospital is a very diverse and inclusive organization (it’s actually where I met my girlfriend!). I have never felt discriminated against or like I do not fit in! Q. What made you decide to wear a Pride bracelet to flip the coin?

A. As you can imagine, selecting an outfit for this event was very stressful! I knew that I wanted to represent the LGBTQ+ community but I wanted to do it subtly. I browsed shoes that had rainbows but nothing was “speaking to me.” Right before I was about to leave for the game, I went to grab something out of my car and the bracelet was right there. I knew it was the perfect addition to my outfit and I am so glad that I wore that bracelet! Q. Have you been to St Pete Pride before? What are you looking forward to most about Pride this year? A. I’ve been to almost every Pride since moving to Tampa! It is an event that I look forward to every year! The thing I love most is feeling and seeing the love, pride, and inclusivity. I know this year isn’t going to be the same, but I think the St Pete Pride leadership team has done a phenomenal job planning a month of safe and exciting events!


The Strides of Pride By Ray Roa Larry Biddle and David Warner met in the ‘90s, entered a civil union in 2003 and were married in 2012. Their lives before and with each other have been devoted to advocacy. (Biddle is currently chairman for Community Foundation of Tampa Bay’s “Plus Project,” which raises money for grants to programs that support the LGBTQ+ community.) Pride is a time to celebrate progress and bring others into the community, but it’s also a good opportunity to catch up with the lifelong activists. Here are highlights from our chat.

Photo by Nicholas Cardello

David Warner: I mean, there’s a Trans Lives Matter movement, particularly because of the violence against trans women in this country. Those stories just have to keep getting told. I think it’s important that parents of trans kids are coming out and talking about how this affects them. Personal stories gradually change people’s minds, so we have to tell those and make sure there’s no going back. Q. Do you think new legislation around voting might deter folks from the ballot box?

MEET THE CHIEFS: Larry Biddle (L) and David Warner at CL’s Meet the Chefs in 2017. Q. Progress has been made, but do you ever feel like “How are we still here and talking about some of these things?” Larry Biddle: All the time. You know, a few steps forward, then we’ll start moving back before we go forward again. It’s always been that way. Q. What does being an advocate look like now? 28

DW: I hope people see this as even more reason for them to get out and vote no matter what it takes, because if they make it twice as hard to vote, we have to make it twice as urgent for people to get out and vote. It’s not like they’re banning voting, but they’re going to make it really difficult. That means all of us have to be vigilant about how we get our voices heard. Q. The pandemic tied organizers’ hands, but do you feel like a void was created within the LGBTQ+ community by not having a Pride celebration last year? LB: I think it made us more organized because we realized we had so much at stake, more than ever before. Even though we didn’t have Pride last year, I think it refocused us and reformed


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our way of thinking, from waving flags, to saying, “Let’s get organized and get stuff done.” I personally think that this new format is better than what we had before. Q. Pride can energize someone to want to do more for the LGBTQ+ community throughout the calendar year. What can that person do? LB: One thing is to continue to create viable services that are specifically addressing the needs of that community. DW: There is a need for us to continually express our pride because there are still so many people who can’t feel proud. It’s easy to forget that there are people not far from us who are closeted and scared. They need to believe that there’s hope for them and that there’s a way that they can live happily. I think that message is an important one to give. A lot of gay people will tell you that you come out every day. You come out when Larry takes my arm or when we’re going down a sidewalk in a place that isn’t necessarily a gayborhood. You come out when you talk in passing, to a cashier about your husband. All those things are part of a gradual coming out process. At first, that whole idea of saying somebody was your husband was kind of quaint because there was no way we could ever call each other “husband.” Then when it became possible, it was like, “Wow, that’s something to get used to,” and now it’s just a matter of fact. That’s sort of a metaphor for the whole process of coming out in your life I think.




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Returning to Pride By Carey Mears “The only way to be emotionally in a place is not to be there physically.” So muses Jorge Luis Borges in a recorded conversation for Radio Municipal in 1985. After considering a list of literary sons who’ve set novels in their homelands as expats, he speculates that we can only access the true spirit of a place through our memories. Having spent a year living (mostly) within our minds, aimlessly scrolling through old photos, dreaming about the places we’d like to return to, might we agree? Had you ever felt as emotionally connected to a movie theater as you did from your couch, trapped in streaming purgatory? Pride, I think, is evidence to the contrary. Occupying a physical space filled with LGBTQ+ people is precisely what allows an LGTBQ+ person to feel the fullness of their emotions - just ask any LGBTQ+ person what their first Pride experience was like. Sure, finding community on the internet can be sustaining in the same way that an afternoon protein bar can carry you to dinner (and, indeed, it’s the only option that many people have for a variety of reasons), but for most in the LGBTQ+ community, there is no substitute for the wave of relief, excitement, and joy that crests and falls upon their turning the corner and catching the first sights and sounds of Pride. For the first time in two years, Pride returns to the city and brings with it significant structural change. June’s 2021 Pride season will take the form of PrideFest, an impressive month-long celebration combining smaller, partnered events with large-scale signature events happening each weekend. Prepare to occupy LGTBQ+ spaces physically and emotionally as often as your stamina and schedule allow.

front: first, that we are not yet out of the woods, and special COVID-19 regulations –including limits on crowd size– must be met throughout June (advance registration is required to attend any of the PrideFest events, for example); second, that the PrideFest concept may be uniquely suited to reintroduce Pride in the wake of a pandemic and two-year hiatus. A prototypical Pride it is not. So, what is it about PrideFest that befits this long-awaited homecoming? 1. Lasts the entire month of June. Okay, this one is perhaps the most obvious, but it doesn’t make the prospect of having a month’s worth of Pride activities any less exciting.

Veteran Pridegoers may feel an initial twinge of disappointment upon learning that the parade is not slated for June. (Discussions about when and how to reintroduce the parade are ongoing.) However, there are two things worth considering on this


How better to end a Pride drought than with four consecutive Pride weeks? This year, set a goal of attending a couple of events each week. Meet new people and make plans to meet up throughout the month. Take the time to meaningfully engage with the community simply because there’s ample time to do it, and see where it takes you. Regardless of how you design your PrideFest experience, you’ll get to enjoy a sense of renewed energy pervading St. Pete all month long as it welcomes back a tradition that is central to its identity. We are emerging from a prolonged period of collective grief, and meeting this moment with a prolonged period of celebration seems a fitting way to transition into what comes next for us and for our city. 2. Choose your own adventure. In the midst of this transition, people are reentering the world at staggered, individual rates. Masks and social distancing will be required throughout PrideFest, but a person’s ability to participate may vary by event or evolve throughout the month. Having a diverse and lengthy calendar of activities will allow you to create a personalized Pride agenda based on your comfort level or ability to socialize in addition to your interests and schedule. You need not worry about missing one of the signature events, thereby postponing your celebration another year. Inclusion is a core principle of Pride, and PrideFest’s structure seems to minimize barriers to entry by providing a number of ways to safely participate. 3. Try new things. How many times have you flipped through an issue of Creative Loafing, spotted an upcoming event that interested you, and allowed yourself to forget about it or talked yourself out of going? PrideFest is not only an opportunity to return to something we’ve been without; it can be a time to begin shaping the post-pandemic versions of ourselves. Make June the month that you try new things for the sake of trying them. Partnered events held during the week may occur outside 36

of PrideFest on a routine basis. Let PrideFest be your excuse to attend for the first time, knowing that others will be doing the same. Over the weekends, there will be new venues to see and reimagined ways to gather and experience Pride during the signature events. Pride season, pandemic or not, is about building community and knowing that you belong no matter who you are or where you go. Take advantage. Go forth. 4. Be intentional. PrideFest is many things: a roadmap, a reunion, a party. It can also be a blank canvas, a time to take your personal reflections from the pandemic and begin putting them into practice. Are there things you said you wanted to make more time for, to explore, to get involved with? Did you want to spend more time outdoors, get better about making plans with people you haven’t seen in a while, attend more concerts and art exhibits? Whatever the case, PrideFest –with its wide-ranging list of offerings– seems a great place to start. This June, take the things that you learned were most important to you during the pandemic, and find opportunities to live them out during PrideFest. There has always been something inspiring and affirming about how loudly the City of St. Pete celebrates diversity relative to its size. PrideFest’s events may host fewer attendees, but following a year of loss, isolation, and a recent slew of anti-trans legislation in this state and others, there’s good reason to believe that this year’s Pride will reach farther and be felt more deeply than in years preceding it.


Throughout the month of June, St Pete Pride will host 4 themed weeks to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community while showcasing the best of St. Pete. Each weekend, thousands of people will (safely) gather for signature events hosted in outdoor locations, while all month long, over a hundred participating St. Pete restaurants, cultural institutions and retail partners will attract guests with events, discounts and Pride-friendly offerings.

St Pete Pride has worked diligently to design a creative and safe Pride with a twist with the goal of giving our LGBTQIA+ community the opportunity to gather, educate and celebrate while ensuring safety and wellness in the time of COVID-19. This year most events will be ticketed to enforce capacity regulations.

Learn more about our COVID safety measures by visiting

The Events PrideFest Kickoff Reception - Thurs, June 3 Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach. 6-9pm. $10/ticket. Kick-off Celebration, sunset, beach vibe, limited free apps, drink specials! PrideFest Stonewall Reception - Fri, June 25 The James Museum, 150 Central Ave, St. Pete. 6pm - 8pm. $40/ticket. The Stonewall Reception is our annual must-attend event for sponsors, VIPs, and friends. Tickets include hors d’oeuvres, open bar, and museum access.

Outdoor Adventure Week Signature Event: Pride OUTside - Sat, June 5 Vinoy Park. 7am-2pm. $5/ticket. Anchored in Vinoy Park, join us for waterfront live music, local vendors and interactive experiences. Participate in a yoga class, or sit back and enjoy a variety of roaming entertainers! Plus, join us for our Pride Run St Pete: 5K and Diva Dash from 7-10am! (Runners must pre-register).

Family Week Signature Event: We Are Family - Sat, June 12 St. Pete Pier, North Straub Park, South Straub Park. 11am - 5pm. $5/ticket. Join us for a gathering of LGBTQ+ families and allies on the beautiful downtown St. Pete waterfront in North and South Straub Parks and The St Pete Pier! Enjoy family focused vendors, entertainment and activities in this first-of-its-kind Pride event as we celebrate the family culture of St. Pete and beyond.

Arts & Music Week


Signature Event: Arts + Qulture - Sat, June 19 The Factory, 2622 Fairfield Ave S, St. Pete. 4pm - 10pm. $5/ticket. Stroll the grounds of The Factory, a new 8-acre, mixed-use space in the Warehouse Arts District. Soak in music, art and dance around every corner. To honor Juneteenth, the program will include a celebration of Black, Queer culture.

Taste of PrideFest Week


Signature Event: Pride Picnic + Fireworks by Trulieve - Sat, June 26 North Straub Park, South Straub Park. 2pm - 9pm. $5/ticket. Food trucks, festival vendors, and Pride Fireworks by Trulieve at dusk (~9pm)! PrideFest’s final event will invite visitors to spend an evening along the beautiful bayside waterfront, enjoying picnics, musical performances, and a fireworks display that will cap off PrideFest in dramatic fashion.

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St. Pete’s New Sexual Health Destination EPIC’s Sexual Health Center is bringing essential sexual health and disease prevention services to St. Petersburg this summer. The Center will provide education, support and resources empowering all people to achieve better sexual health and well-being.

Go ahead. Rock the boat.

Here in Key West, we show our Pride 365 days a year. But each and every June, we literally go all out. Key West Pride is back. And this year’s celebration of LGBTQ+ freedom and diversity is one gala you won’t want to miss. From pool parties and street fairs to drag brunch, wine tastings and the unhinged Fetish Ball, one thing’s for sure. Key West Pride will leave you even prouder than you were before. 305.294.4603 For the latest protocols on health & safety in The Florida Keys, please visit our website.

Services include: STI diagnostic and treatment services, pregnancy testing and referrals, PrEP and PEP education and medication as well as sexual health education services and workshops with an onsite sexpert.

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The Grand Central District By David Foote The motto in the Grand Central District is “This is where the locals go.” It is bordered by the two distinct and unique neighborhoods of Palmetto Park and Historic Kenwood, whose residents are not only the District’s neighbors but also its collaborators, shaping the artistic and economic growth of the District. The Grand Central District has provided a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community for over two decades and was instrumental in creating one of the largest celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community in the southeastern United States, the St Pete Pride Parade. With more than 80 LGBTQ+ owned and/or managed companies in the District, the area boasts one of the highest concentrations of such businesses in the country. The Grand Central District is home to more than 350 locally owned and operated independent businesses, spanning between 16th and 31st Streets and 1st Avenue North, Central Avenue, and 1st Avenue South. It is a designated and accredited Main Street by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a member of the Florida Main Street program. The Grand Central District is the longest-tenured Main Street District in St. Petersburg and recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary. One of the primary directives of the Main Street program is economic revitalization and repurposing of existing structures, and the Grand Central District has taken this concept to another level. After suffering a drastic economic decline in the 1980s, it has become a thriving community full of interesting shops, arts and

craft studios, professional and personal services, health and wellness providers, local breweries, and a variety of restaurants and bars. Long-time businesses have also seen great improvements and are benefiting from the efforts made in the Grand Central District. Art studios and galleries are visible throughout the Grand Central District. The arts community is woven into the fabric of the District, which is home to several of the impressive building murals that have become part of the St. Petersburg culture. The District is pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly and has electric vehicle chargers, rental bicycles and scooters. It is also easily accessible through the city’s public transportation system. As the city continues to reinvent itself, the District will provide a home, an entrepreneurial enclave, and creative space for interesting people with imaginative ideas and dreams. Whether you want to come for an hour or for a day, the Grand Central District has something for you.


Know Your Pride Flags LGBTQ/Gay

The iconic rainbow pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker for the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day celebration. He wanted the flag to be a symbol of hope and liberation, and an alternative to the symbolism of the pink triangle. In the original eight-color version, pink stood for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.

The agender pride flag, created by Salem X in 2014, has seven horizontal stripes. The black and white stripes represent an absence of gender, the gray represents semi-genderlessness, and the central green stripe represents nonbinary genders. The aromantic pride flag consists of five horizontal stripes: green, light green, white, gray, and black. In this order, the stripes represent aromanticism, the aromantic spectrum, aesthetic attraction, gray-aromantic and demiromantic people, and the sexuality spectrum.


Aromantic The bisexual pride flag, designed by Michael Page, was first unveiled on December 5, 1998. Its aim was to represent and increase visibility of bisexuals in the LGBT community and society as a whole. This rectangular flag consists of a broad magenta stripe at the top, a broad blue stripe at the bottom, and a narrower, deep lavender band occupying the central fifth. Page stated, “The pink color represents sexual attraction to the same sex only (gay and lesbian). The blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight) and the resultant overlap color purple represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi).”


The asexual pride flag was created in 2010 by an Asexual Visibility and Education Network user. It consists of four horizontal stripes; the black stripe represents asexuality, the gray stripe represents gray-asexuals and demisexuals, the white stripe represents allies, and the purple stripe represents community.

Asexual The term demisexuality was coined in 2008 by Asexual Visibility and Education Network. The prefix “demi” is derived from the Latin term dimidium meaning “divided in half.” The term demisexual refers to being halfway between sexual and asexual. A demisexual person is someone who can only experience sexual attraction or desire after an emotional bond has been formed. In the demisexual flag, the black chevron represents asexuality, gray represents gray asexuality and demisexuality, white represents sexuality, and purple represents community.


JJ Poole created the genderfluid pride flag in 2012. It has five horizontal stripes: pink for femininity, blue for masculinity, purple for both masculinity and femininity, black for lack of gender, and white for all genders.




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St. Pete Pride

Mayor Rick Kriseman and the City of St. Petersburg wish everyone a happy Pride Month 50


Marilyn Roxie, a genderqueer writer and advocate, created the genderqueer pride flag in 2011. The lavender stripe is a mix of blue and pink—colors traditionally associated with men and women—and represents androgyny as well as queer identities. The white stripe, like in the transgender pride flag, represent agender or gender-neutral identities. The chartreuse stripe is the inverse of lavender and represents third gender identities and identities outside the gender binary.

The intersex flag was created in July 2013 by Morgan Carpenter of Intersex Human Rights Australia. Interex people do not exhibit all the biological characteristics of male or female, or they exhibit a combination of male and female characteristics, at birth. The purple circle symbolizes wholeness and completeness and is a reference to the intersex community’s fight for bodily autonomy and integrity.

Lesbian (labrys design)


The labrys lesbian flag was created in 1999 by graphic designer Sean Campbell, and published in June 2000 in the Palm Springs edition of the Gay and Lesbian Times Pride issue. The design involves a labrys, a type of double-headed axe, superimposed on the downward-pointing black triangle, set against a violet background. The labrys was associated with the mythological Amazons and was adopted as a symbol of empowerment by the lesbian feminist community in the 1970s. The black triangle is a reference to the downward-pointing black triangle lesbians were made to wear in Nazi Germany. The color violet is associated with lesbians due to the poetry of Sappho.

This version of the lesbian flag is a derivative of an earlier “lipstick lesbian” flag that had shades of pink with a red lipstick mark. It was introduced on Tumblr in 2018, with the color dark orange representing gender nonconformity, orange for independence, light orange for community, white for unique relationships to womanhood, pink for serenity and peace, dusty pink for love and sex, and dark rose for femininity.


Kye Rowan created the non-binary flag in 2014. Each stripe’s color represents a different type of non-binary identity: yellow for people who identify outside of the gender binary, white for non-binary people with multiple genders, purple for those with a mixture of both male and female genders, and black for agender individuals.


The pansexual pride flag was introduced in October 2010 in a Tumblr blog. It has three horizontal stripes: the pink represents attraction to women, the blue represents attraction to men, and the yellow represents attraction to everyone else, such as non-binary, agender, bigender, or genderfluid people.


The colors and design of the polysexual flag are based on the pansexual and bisexual pride flags, borrowing the pink and blue stripes and replacing the yellow and purple stripes with a single green stripe. Polysexuality is a self-identifying term that is somewhat amorphous. Polysexual Polysexual identity is often related to gender identity and is used by some people who identify outside the gender binary. People who refer to themselves as polysexual may be attracted to third gender people, two-spirit people, genderqueer people, or people who are intersex. Polysexuality can be the exclusive attraction towards non-binary genders or sexes, or polysexual people l may be attracted to one or both binary genders or sexes. A transgender woman, Monica Helms, designed the transgender pride flag in 1999. The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes: two light blue, two pink, with a white stripe in the center. Helms described the meaning of the flag as follows: “The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes Transgender next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives.”


What Is Pride? By Tamara Leigh Famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered a speech in my hometown of Rochester, NY on July 5th, 1852 called “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” It discussed the dramatic irony of celebrating freedom while millions of Black Americans remained enslaved and brutalized. I often consider it when I consider Pride. Pride is widely looked at as a celebration of freedom, authenticity, and acceptance. In the Intersectionality of being Queer and Black in America, those concepts are rarely fully realized within the QTPOC community. One would imagine that marginalized communities would have learned through their own oppression how to uplift other marginalized groups amongst them. The all too unfortunate reality is that racism is alive and well in the LGBTQ+ community, just as it is woven through the fabric of American culture. Pride was in fact never a party. The first Pride was a riot. On a hot summer night in 1969, a collection of Black and Brown Trans folks and throw-away youth in the streets of NYC refused another night of being arrested, beaten, and harassed by the NYPD. After a raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, they said “no more” and ignited a revolution that would birth the LGBTQ Rights Movement and change the lives of the LGBTQ community around the world. Over time, that riot turned into a march, that march into a parade, and that fight of the most marginalized into

a white-washed party that left behind the folks who put their bodies on the line to begin the revolution. LGBTQ freedoms became fighting for marriage equality while a selection of the community (“continued to fight” - unless you mean globally and not the 2015 era in the US) for life. What is Pride? In 2021 (2020?), at least 44 trans and gender non-conforming individuals were murdered in this country and 95% of them were Black and Brown. Already in 2021, at least 15 people have been lost. The “at least’’ serves to illustrate that many of these senseless murders will be of folks who are misnamed, misgendered, and thrown away by law enforcement, our communities, and the media. Pride will always be a celebration of triumph and of our love. It is SO important to remember and recognize how far we’ve come. It is also an opportune time to remember whose fight afforded us those rights and who among us are still fighting for their freedom, authenticity, and acceptance as we celebrate our own. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights is also a fight for Black Lives, for women’s rights, for immigrants’ Rights, to Stop Asian Hate and to keep our Trans siblings safe, housed, employed, and empowered. If you have never been to a Pride, the love is overwhelmingly beautiful. There is something so incredible about standing in community, unafraid and expressing every ounce of your love and authenticity. This year, however, I ask you to take a purposeful moment to remember Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Storme DeLarverie, and the countless unnamed Black and Brown folks who fought for our Pride, and the individuals who are still fighting for the freedom to love and be who they are, even today. I am proud to count myself as one of them.


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Together We Rise By PJ Nowlan St Pete Pride is honored to collaborate with the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum this year. We are proud to announce the Woodson Museum will be a beneficiary of 20% of ticket sales from our “Arts & Qulture” event. The Woodson Museum and St Pete Pride share a belief that “Together We Rise” and are working purposefully to ensure that we build community partners to elevate all members of the African American and LGBTQ+ communities.

In selecting the Woodson Museum as one of this year’s beneficiaries, St Pete Pride considered the organizations’ cohesive Mission Statements and shared dedication to unity and equity. Specifically, the Woodson Museum states, “The mission of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is twofold: 1) To preserve, present, and interpret African American history and to engage a broad and diverse audience through these activities. 2) To promote an understanding among various groups that comprise the St. Petersburg community to enhance our ability as a society to respect, value diversity, and foster equal rights and social justice.” Similarly, St Pete Pride’s commitment to equity was created out of a desire to ensure a safe space for all people of the LGBTQIA+ community of

Tampa Bay, to celebrate unity and the many things that make us similar. We value and respect diversity in its many forms: race, ethnicity, ability, class, faith, age, gender identity, sexual orientation and experience. We honor the visible and invisible qualities that make each of us who we are. We center Black, Brown and Trans voices that so often go unheard because we know Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are the ultimate acts of PRIDE. We are intentionally leaning deeper into our commitment to celebrate and promote respect for the many intersections of the human experience. If you also believe that “Together We Rise,” there are many opportunities to get involved or make a donation. Much more information can be found and donations can be made online at


By Rachel Covello at St. Petersburg, otherwise known as St. Pete or “The Burg” by locals, is one of Florida’s top destinations for fun, sun, culture, art, food, and sunshine. The City lives up to its nickname “The Sunshine City” most days, and for the rare day when the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy.

How Gay is St. Pete?

The Tampa Bay region, in general, is very LGBTQinclusive. But St. Pete takes the “rainbow cake” as the gayest side of the bay. St. Petersburg is home to a very large, and growing, LGBTQ community. For LGBTQ locals, St. Pete offers a laid-back vibe with tons to do and several places to connect with other like-minded LGBTQ people. St. Pete has long been known for attracting gay and lesbian retirees, but there is a younger and more diverse crowd moving here daily, including a growing transgender and nonbinary population.

owners proudly display pride flags and trans flags. It is here you can also find world-class museums, restaurants, a municipal airport, and ferry service to nearby Tampa.

Central Avenue Central Avenue spans the peninsula from the Bay on the east to the Gulf on the west. This retail and entertainment corridor includes dozens of restaurants, clubs, breweries, shops, and more.

St. Pete Area Gayborhoods

The two LGBTQ hubs on Central are the Grand Central District (31st Street to 16th Street) and the Edge District (16th Street to MLK/9th Street).

Downtown St Pete

Make sure to visit the Metro Inclusive LGBTQ Welcome Center.

St. Pete is home to numerous diverse neighborhoods and districts.

St. Pete’s downtown area is home to many LGBTQ people. Throughout the year, business 56

Photo by Rachel Covello,

St. Petersburg The Sunshine City

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Gulfport Head southwest of St. Pete to the nearby charming and quirky town of Gulfport. Anything goes in this waterfront town where the motto is “If it’s too weird for Gulfport, it’s too weird.” Gulfport is an artsy enclave offering visitors a funky, beachy vibe. Gulfport is also home to an award-winning LGBTQ Resource Center and hosts its own pride celebration at the end of May.

Pass-A-Grille, the southernmost tip of St. Pete Beach, is home to a growing LGBTQ popouation, especially for ladies! This beach even has a lesbian-owned botique hotel. On a weekly basis, the ladies gather for Wine Down Wednesdays, beach yoga, and Friday shuffleboard. The Hurricane is also a popular spot for LGTBQ “gaytherings.” And the regional Gay 5K has been hosted along this beach for several years.

St Pete Beaches While the crystal sand St. Pete area beaches don’t specifically have a gayborhood, all are welcoming and inclusive. Still, one is worth mentioning.

Where to stay in and around St. Pete All of the listed lodgings in our Saint Pete Gay Travel Guide are LGBTQ friendly.

Hotels & Resorts Bilmar Beach Resort 106500 Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island Choose from gulf-front rooms, or studio apartments – all feature comfy pillow-top beds and amenities. When it comes to activities, enjoy the private beach, try out various water sports, or go for a dip in one of the properties heated pools. Coconut Inn 113 11th Avenue, Pass-A-Grille This lesbian-owned boutique property offers 11 units, including studios, and one and two-bedroom options. Take a dip in the sparkling blue pool or stroll just 150 steps to the Gulf! Enjoy amenities like complimentary beach chairs, umbrellas, bicycles, beach towels, and more.

Sirata Beach Resort 5300 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach Enjoy a variety of spacious and comfortable guest rooms facing the beautiful white sands and the Gulf of Mexico. At day’s end sip along with the Sunset Spirits Reception as you relax at Rum Runner’s Tiki Bar. The Hollander Hotel 421 4th Avenue North, St. Petersburg This charming vintage property, updated with all the modern comforts in the heart of downtown St. Pete, offers a variety of room types, including suites, and some with balconies overlooking the oasis-like swimming pool and sun deck. The Avalon Hotel 443 4th Avenue North, St. Petersburg Art Deco meets mid-century mod at the Hollander’s sister property. Comfort and style


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come together in this updated historic property. Avalon guests also enjoy all the amenities of the Hollander next door, including free parking and shuttle service around town. Postcard Inn 6300 Gulf Boulevard, St Pete Beach, FL 33706 Choose from 196 modern rooms with creative beachy, vintage-inspired vibe artwork and comfort. Relax in the gardens or float in the largest heated pool on St. Pete Beach.

What to do in and around St. Pete There is so much to do in St. Pete. Many of these businesses have hosted events for or support regional and statewide LGBTQ organizations.

Arts & Culture Morean Arts Center Multiple locations throughout St. Petersburg Morean Arts Center Main Building 719 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg Chihuly Collection 720 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg Morean Center for Clay 420 22nd Street South, St. Petersburg The Dali Museum 1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg The Imagine Museum of Contemporary Glass Art 1901 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art 150 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts 255 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg The Factory 2622 Fairfield Avenue South, St. Petersburg

Gay St. Pete Guest House 4505 5th Avenue North, St. Petersburg St. Pete’s only clothing-optional, dedicated gay bed and breakfast offers a casual tropical vibe in a central location. FabStayz® Vacation Rentals This LGBTQ-friendly vacation rental service specializes in inclusive accommodations. All property hosts are members of the LGBTQ community or supportive allies.

Entertainment Cross Bay Ferry Service Vinoy Basin 375 Bayshore Drive Northeast, St. Petersburg Great Explorations Children’s Museum 1925 4th Street North, St. Petersburg Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 5223 Orient Road, Tampa The Straz Center for the Performing Arts 1010 North WC Macinnes Place, Tampa

Explore the Outdoors Beaches If you want true sun in the fun, no visit to St. Pete would be complete without time at one of the region’s beautiful Gulf beaches. Pass-A-Grille This quaint beachside town is a popular local beach with several restaurants, shops and incredible sunset views. Ft. DeSoto St. Pete area’s largest beach, Fort DeSoto offers three miles of pristine beaches and stunning views of the Gulf and the nearby Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This is a popular RV spot, too!

Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum 2240 9th Avenue South, St. Petersburg Dunedin Fine Art Center 1143 Michigan Boulevard, Dunedin



Sunset Beach Sunset Beach lives up to its name and more. Any time of the day you can enjoy this popular “unofficial” gay beach. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve 1101 Country Club Way South, St. Petersburg Check out the natural habitats and tropical landscapes of this pristine wilderness. St. Pete Pier The Pier is home to the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center and multiple restaurants that are perfect for a relaxing bite or a leisurely meal.

St. Pete Shuffleboard Club 559 Mirror Lake Drive, St. Petersburg With over 110 shuffleboard courts, this beautifully restored historic property the largest shuffleboard club in the world. Sunken Gardens 1825 4th Street North, St. Petersburg The four-acre botanical gardens feels much bigger as you meander along the paths covered by a lush tropical canopy.

Where to Shop in St. Pete The region has several popular shopping areas including downtown Gulfport, Beach Drive, and Central Avenue, to name a few. Atlas Body & Home 919 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Sip, Shop, Hooray 2053 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Beach Bazaar 3115 Beach Boulevard South, Gulfport

Urban Burg Gifts 2253 Central Avenue #101 St. Petersburg

Blue Cottage 2435 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Woodfield Fine Art Gallery 2253 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Lucca Pratta 3011 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

ZaZoo’d 531 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Where to Dine in St. Pete Hungry? Then you’re in luck! St. Pete is home to dozens of restaurants, from high-class fare to casual seafood shacks. There are too many places to go in depth on all of them, so here are a few of our faves: Baba on Central 2701 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Old Key West 2451 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Birch & Vine 340 Beach Drive Northeast, St. Petersburg

Pisces Sushi 99 Highland Avenue, Dunedin

Casita Taqueria Multiple locations

Punky’s Bar & Grill 3063 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Cider Press Café 601 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Red Mesa Cantina 128 3rd Street S, St. Petersburg

Golden Dinosaurs 2930 Beach Boulevard S, Gulfport

Social Roost 150 1st Avenue N, St. Petersburg

Let it Be Ice Cream 3127 Beach Boulevard, Gulfport

Stella’s & Stella’s Sundries 2914 Beach Boulevard South, Gulfport

Love Food Central 2057 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Stillwaters Tavern 224 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg



T:+1 727-363-5138 •


The Studio Public House 2950 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

The Library 600 5th Street South, St. Petersburg

Swingers Bar and Grill 2501 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Valhalla Bakery 2462 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Where to Sip & Socialize in St. Pete Looking to connect with like-minded visitors and locals? We’ve got you covered. Black Crow Coffee Co. 722 2nd St North, St. Petersburg 2161 1st Ave South, St. Petersburg Community Café 1055 4th Street South, St. Petersburg at the Community Oasis

Lucky Star Lounge 2760 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg Quench Lounge 13284 66th Street North, Largo Salty’s Gulfport 5413 Shore Boulevard, Gulfport

The Garage on Central 2729 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

The Dog Bar 2300 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Grand Central Brewhouse 2340 Central Ave. St. Petersburg

The Saint Speakeasy 49 24th Street North, St. Petersburg

Gulfperk Coffee Bar 3107 Beach Boulevard South, Gulfport

Shaded Keg Pub 348 Corey Avenue, St. Pete Beach

Enigma 1110 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg

Southside Coffee Brew Bar 3922 6th Street South, St. Petersburg

Grassroots Kava House 957 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

WELCOME TO THE GAYBORHOOD. SCAN QR CODE NOW! For insider tips, check out our in-depth St. Pete Gay Florida Travel Guide.


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Nomad Clan, SHINE 2018

Find Your Pride

Photo by Edel Mohr

By The SHINE Mural Team The SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival transforms our shared public spaces through the power of art from world-class local, national, and international artists. By using the walls and streets as canvas, the city comes alive with color and creativity. At its core, SHINE promotes accessibility, celebrates the medium, adds character to our surroundings, and allows kids, both young and old, to know that with enough imagination and determination you can make magic happen through art. Crucial to the success of SHINE is a thoughtful curation process. First and foremost, it’s always about diversity. Diversity of style, technique, and message. Every year, we look for

artists who have found their creative voice and can bring their unique and diverse aesthetic to broaden our visual landscape, create new connections, and deepen our cultural perspective.


Photo by Chop Em Down Films

Boys & Girls Club at the Royal Theater SHINE 2019 We want to help people see their environments in new ways, share new stories, and find themselves represented in our ever-evolving outdoor gallery. It all starts with the artists. Honoring their creative expression and celebrating the diversity of their voices.

Once Upon A Shine: A Very Gay Mural Scavenger Hunt is the first city-wide scavenger hunt hosted by your Fairy Dragmother, Miss McGee. Download the free PixelStix app to play. For more information and to register visit www.stpeteartsalliance. org/PRIDE. iBOMS at Grand Central Brewhouse SHINE 2020

Creating art in public spaces requires respectful and responsible consideration for the surrounding community. Ours is a community that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion. So, our art must do the same. Since 2015, SHINE has produced 106 murals from a diverse group of artists representing every continent except Antarctica, 10 different US states, and 48 local artists from a variety of backgrounds.


Photo by Todd Wilkins

PRIDE in the

Thursday, June 24

12-5 pm The EDGE Experience 5-9 pm Savor the EDGE



Rowdies Pride Rowdies Communications In ten seasons of play, the Tampa Bay Rowdies have made it a priority to ensure their home of Al Lang Stadium is an inclusive environment for anyone who wants to come and watch a game in downtown St. Petersburg. “Together Rowdies” has become an ethos of the club in recent years, and it only rings true if everyone in the fanbase, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, feels equally welcomed and valued. In addition to hosting annual Pride Nights at Al Lang over the years, the Rowdies have been proud to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community in other ways. This year, the Rowdies are honored to work with the USL Championship in the recently announced Forever Proud Project. The year-long initiative aims to increase inclusivity, education, and awareness for the LGTBQ+ community across the USL’s entire network of youth and professional clubs. The You Can Play Project, Football v Homophobia,

HomeField Alliance, and PUMA x Trevor Project have all partnered with the USL to ensure the Forever Proud Project can create meaningful change in the American soccer landscape. In 2019, the Rowdies joined the Tampa Bay Rays and other organizations in signing a landmark amicus brief tied to three U.S. Supreme Court cases determining whether LGBTQ+ people are protected from discrimination. The Rowdies signed the brief in conjunction with the


Human Rights Campaign and Athlete Ally, with whom they have another connection. Longtime midfielder Zach Steinberger serves as a Pro Ambassador for Athlete Ally, which focuses on motivating and activating professional athletes across all sports to champion equal access and opportunity in athletics for all players, regardless of gender expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation. “Soccer has opened virtually every door that I have walked through my entire life,” said Steinberger. “It has brought me countless opportunities and endless joy. To deny or simply to make difficult the mere option to experience the life-changing nature of sports is a problem that I am very passionate about correcting. That is why I have fought and continue to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community.” Steinberger also stood with the transgender community in criticizing the recent Florida House Bill 1475, which proposed banning transgender girls from participating in female sports in high school and college.


“No matter how you identify, sports are something that should be a safe and free environment,” said Steinberger, “and to try and take that away from somebody is appalling to me. That is so un-American.” Support for the LGBTQ+ community extends past the efforts of the Rowdies’ front office and players to their fans. Homophobia on the field of play became a point of discussion in the 2020 USL Championship season after an opposing player targeted openly gay San Diego Loyal player Collin Martin with a homophobic slur. In response, Rowdies supporters took it upon themselves to use the spotlight of the Rowdies’ run through the postseason to raise funds for Metro Inclusive Health, a local organization providing valuable health and wellness resources to the LGBTQ+ community.


st. pete PRIDE


Celebrate r u o t a e d Pri t e k r a M June June 4 • 5 • 6

First Dibs Friday 4-8pm ($5 tickets at Saturday 9am–6pm (free) • Sunday 9am–5pm (free)

TAMPA BAY’S LARGEST MONTHLY VINTAGE MARKET • 2200 2nd Ave. S., St Pete, 33712 (across from 3 Daughters Brewing)



Interview with the Grande Dame of the Miss St Pete Pride Pageant, Kori Stevens By Angie Wegner The 12th Annual Miss St Pete Pride Pageant will be May 23, 2021 at 6pm at Postcard Inn on the Beach. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at starting May 1, 2021. Q. Let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? A. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. I had two older brothers. There were a lot of kids around. I never had issues with other kids. I never tried to act any way other than who I was. Maybe it was because we grew up together? They were just “well, here’s who he is.” Q. How did you get into doing drag? A. I think for a lot of us, the first experiences are around Halloween. It’s just something you want to do, so you use Halloween as an excuse. I was dating someone who talked me into doing drag for Halloween. I did it and won $1000 in a costume contest. That was the start. Q. How did you come up with your drag persona? Is it similar to yourself out of drag? A. In most aspects, I’m the same person in and out of drag. I’m a little more outgoing in drag but I’m always very honest and upfront. I do everything with a professional mindset. For me, drag is a business, not a lifestyle. I don’t get in drag unless I’m being paid or helping to raise money for something. You won’t catch me walking around a bar in drag for no reason. Q. What was your first experience with St Pete Pride. A. A new coworker told me to come to St Pete the weekend of Pride so I could experience it. 74

I didn’t know the area but he told me to meet him at a bar on Central Avenue at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. We met and he walked me up and down the street. I got to see the parade and was blown away because of all the celebrations I’ve been to, I’d never seen anything like it! My love for Pride started there. Once I got the responsibility of being Miss St Pete Pride, my love for it just grew to massive proportions. Q. What are the origins of the Miss St. Pete Pride Pageant and how did you get involved?


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A. The first Miss St. Pete Pride Pageant was in 2009. The St Pete Pride Board was hosting the World Pride meeting, and they decided to have a pageant so the winner could perform for their guests from World Pride. It took off from there. I was the second Miss St. Pete Pride. At first, I had no interest whatsoever, but I worked at the popular bar and I was one of the popular girls, so I got talked into it. I entered and won. It was kind of crazy, but it was really cool and it was the start of something absolutely amazing for me. Q. What advice would you give someone if they wanted to start performing as a drag artist? Drag can be very enticing but you have to know who you are and you have to stay grounded. In any type of entertainment, fame can be taken away in a heartbeat so if you’re the type that needs the fame, you probably shouldn’t start. If you can put the job and caring for other people first, you’ll go much further. If you’re having fun, and you’re helping people, and you’re putting yourself out there to help the community, the community is going to help you back. Q. What do you suggest the LGBTQ community do to support drag artists? A. Well, I mean, I’m probably the wrong person to ask that question. I’ve always tried to take care of myself, even when I am struggling. I don’t talk about it a lot. In 2015, my mom passed and it was rough. It was really bad because my mom was in Jacksonville and wasn’t doing well. There was a lot of driving back and forth. I would go to work at the bar, get off work at three in the morning, and drive to Jacksonville. I’d be with my mom for a couple of days and then come back a few days later to work.

should go and have a good time.” I got to Vegas and I went out to see “Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas,” and I was sitting in the audience and my phone rang. I looked at my phone and I just knew what it was, so I didn’t answer the phone. It was really rough for me. I came home that Saturday and I had to perform at a brunch on Sunday morning. I went to work and the DJ introduced me and I walked out to do my number. Everybody in the audience showed me such love and support - it was really one of the most touching moments I’ve ever had. I knew before that this community had embraced me, but that moment was just crazy. It was like, “now I know where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.” You know, I do drag for a living, so I don’t have a whole lot of money. I didn’t grow up with a whole lot of money. My mom had a life insurance policy, but my dad passed three years before she did. She borrowed against her life insurance to pay for his arrangements and to help my brothers out, so there wasn’t a whole lot left to take care of her expenses. I ended up having to go out of pocket and I mentioned it to my best friend. Nobody said anything to me, but the day of her funeral, I got a message that said, “you’re going to kill us.” I’m like, “what are you talking about?” My friend sent me a screenshot of a fundraiser that they were doing on Facebook without me knowing about it. The community raised an amazingly generous amount of money to help me with my mother’s expenses. It was just ridiculous. So, to answer your question, the community does take care of us. They really do. I’ve not met anybody who does drag in this area that feels unsupported, and that shows really just what this community is. It’s just amazing and I love it here.

Once, I went to see her and she was doing really well. She sat up in bed and we talked. I had a vacation scheduled to Las Vegas and I told her that I wasn’t going to go. She said, “Oh, you


Out and Proud 365 Event Sunday, June 27th Join us for “PRIDE IN GRAND CENTRAL” block party, hosted by Come Out St. Pete and The Grand Central District! The 2700 block of Central Avenue will feature local vendors, including a food truck. At 4 PM, check out the Come Out St. Pete royal court at The Garage On Central Avenue. Visit for more event info.

# S T P E T E P R I D E | 3 4 0 0 G U L F B O U L E VA R D | S T. P E T E B E AC H | 3 3 7 0 6 78


Miss St Pete Pride Pageant MAY 23RD, 2021 6PM





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3251 3rd Ave. North, St. Pete | (727) 321-3854




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Growing Up Transgender in Saint Petersburg By Elliott James Darrow

photo by sheri kendrick

I was born in 1998, and grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, in the early 2000s. For the first fourteen years of my life I lived next door to a brave and outgoing lesbian. She and her partner raised a son together who was several years older than me. At a young age I knew I was attracted to girls. I envisioned that one day I’d marry a beautiful woman. Because I was born biologically female and I had a strong woman to look up to right next door, I assumed I was a lesbian. I had yet to learn the difference between sexuality and gender. In school we were only taught heteronormative behaviors, even well into high school. They separated students into groups of girls and boys for physical education, lining up, singing, and eventually even our math and English classes. They told us that the opposite gender was a distraction, or that girls learned at a faster pace than boys. In health class they strayed from discussing homeosexual relationships in regards to sexual education and safety. I had little information about gender identity to work with. My idea of who I was as an individual had become defined by the standards of “the majority.” When I was in my first relationship, I told my mom I did not want to label myself a lesbian, but over time I did. Feelings of being something other than female were not considered because I didn’t know it was an option. I solely thought that if you were born biologically female and felt like a boy, you were a lesbian. In high school I learned the word “transgender” from my first significant other as they were considering their own transition. Thanks to the internet I was able to learn more and discover identities beyond sexual identity. I went to my first St Pete Pride parade at age 16, and was astonished and warmed by the feeling of others around me who felt the same. I started transitioning a

couple years later, after I graduated high school. My anthropology teacher at the USF St. Petersburg campus was the first teacher to call me Elliott and use the right pronouns. She asked appropriate questions and made sure I always felt comfortable in her classroom. I will forever be grateful for that kindness. Since my teens, the queer community in St. Pete has blossomed. LGBTQ-owned businesses and community leaders have strengthened our voices. I have been comfortable becoming Elliott and transitioning into the man I am today thanks to this and supportive friends. I do feel jealousy for the current LGBTQ youth. The amount of resources they have here in St. Pete grows every year. I hope schools will soon follow this example and incorporate support to help LGBTQ kids navigate their identity. Tolerance and acceptance can be taught to all students at every age to create a comfortable learning environment. Giving kids the vocabulary and opportunity to be who they are is the minimum care we can provide. We need to do more. St. Petersburg has the potential to be an example for cities all over the country. We have to continue to fight for the rights of our children, friends and family!


What Being the Mom of a Trans Kid Taught Me By Raffi Darrow Another mother once said to me, “When your children are born, they are characters in your story. Eventually, they start their own storyline in which they are the main character and you are in a supporting role.” It may be hard for a parent to determine when their child’s story has begun and when to let them learn from their own actions. (Notice I did not say “learn from their own mistakes,” because I have learned that sometimes what we think are mistakes at first turn out to be happy accidents in disguise.) As a mother of a transgender son who communicates frequently with other mothers of trans children around the world, I know there are many parents who wonder, “Is this transition for attention? Is my child really trans, or grasping at straws to get through their depression? Is this a response to abuse or trauma? Is this because their friends are doing it? Because it’s cool?” Parents with these thoughts are not alone, and they are not horrible people. They are reflecting on a major change in the life of someone they love - love with their whole being - and want to be sure the process is thought through mindfully. They are considering many angles. They are moving through all sorts of feelings. Going over “what ifs” in your head is not wrong, but at some point we all need to stop ruminating and move forward – move toward growth. What finally helped me move forward was releasing trying to figure out WHY this was happening, and focusing instead on WHAT was happening. I love my child, heart and soul – and seeing him happy while at the same time reiterating that 82

I have his back eventually transcended those questions. Who cares about his clothes or haircut? All of that is temporary. Therapists look for consistency and insistency when helping trans kids. If your child hasn’t wavered the last few years in their transition, then getting them on a path that may fight dysphoria and mental health issues seems like the way to go, in my opinion. Worrying about what other people think and how they may react will only cause anxiety. That’s true of most situations in life. You can imagine all sorts of possible future struggles, or you can focus on NOW - nurture the moment - and move forward while holding your child’s hand lovingly and protectively. You’ll both grow so much from the experience! And that is not temporary. That is forever. One night at dinner, my son asked me something along the lines of, “They say parents of trans kids mourn for the child they used to have. Do you think you are in mourning for me?” Here’s how I responded: “Let’s pretend you told me I couldn’t see my friend Erin ever again. I love Erin, she’s fun and one of my tribe, and I would miss her and be hurt, angry and sad. “When you came out as trans I was scared I would miss the person you used to be. I thought I was being told I would not be able to see the child I love so much ever again. I was so scared of what I MIGHT feel in the future while watching you

transition, but I should have taken the time to actually focus on what I was feeling in that moment. And sitting here, across the dinner table from you, feels a whole lot like sitting across the table from the kid I’ve always had.” It’s still my child’s heart, it’s still his soul, and it’s the same twinkle in his eyes. The rest is just wrapping paper. The real gift is what you find inside the wrapping paper. People ask me if I miss my younger daughter. I’d rather have a happy son living his true life than a suicidal daughter living to satisfy others. I am blessed that my child is still with me and feels close enough to share his life with me. Isn’t it beautiful when people are allowed to be who they uniquely are, and we accept them without boundaries? LOVE, real love, is willing to allow those who you care for to be their authentic selves without any insistence that they satisfy you. This year the trans community is under attack in state after state after state. It isn’t just pain that folks are feeling; it’s palpable fear - fear of what has happened and of what is yet to come. Simply debating anti-trans legislation in more than half the country causes harm. Trans people are watching. Trans kids are watching. Videos are being shared online of brave but vulnerable 8- to 14-year-olds speaking up for themselves in front of our government, and then getting heckled by adults and told they don’t deserve the same rights as their peers. Those kids deserve better. They deserve to have champions coming to their defense and demanding that they be treated as full and equal human beings. Be their champion. Tell your cis-gendered elected officials that they have no right to inspect trans bodies or to police how trans people interact with the world, be it in sports or in bathrooms or in a private conversation with their parent or medical professional. Use your privilege to help those without it.


October 1-10, 2021

Please Visit the HRC “Count Me In” webpage to get started:


Fine Craft Gallery in Downtown St. Pete Ceramics Fiber Glass Jewelry Metal Mixed Media Wood Great for Gifts

Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sundays Noon-5 p.m.

Enjoy free admission to our nonprofit gallery and eight curated exhibitions annually, featuring 250 Florida artists and nationally renowned artists, along with lectures and workshops. Visit 20 Artists’ working studios in ArtLofts upstairs. 501 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida Visit

Walking and Bike Mural Tours Hear the inside stories about the artists and murals on a 90-minute walking tour on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Bike Tours (2 .5 hours) on first Saturdays. Tickets at or call (727) 821-7391 84

OPEN DAILY The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art DOWNTOWN ST. PETE Billy Schenck, A Mirror Image of an Imperfect World, 2000 (detail)











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Embrace the warmth and the welcome.

Bask in the sunlit glow of being truly yourself in one of Florida’s most LGBTQ-friendly destinations. Enjoy every grain of pristine sand on St. Pete Beach, Tripadvisor’s #1 beach in America. Or breathe in the fresh air during a stroll through the shops and eateries of one of our eclectic and inviting neighborhoods. Your senses never had it so good.