Photo via cityofstpete/Flickr
'What has made St. Pete truly special for me was the warmth with which I was embraced, not only as a new resident, but as a member of the queer community. '
As one of the area’s newer transplants, I drove from Seattle to St. Petersburg, picturing an idyllic setting nestled between the Bay and Gulf, lined with palm trees, white sand beaches, and rainbow flags. Once I arrived, I was not disappointed.
I was delighted to find an eclectic mix of people, spaces, art, entertainment, experiences, food and drink within a quick drive to the beach. What has made St. Pete truly special for me was the warmth with which I was embraced, not only as a new resident, but as a member of the queer community. I’ve had the opportunity to live all across the country, and I’ve never felt as welcome as queer person as I do in St. Pete. This speaks volumes about the beauty and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community in the area. To stand so proudly in a time that often tells you not to is an act of bravery and love not to be overlooked. The people of St Pete are the reason it is such a gem, and I am incredibly excited to be part of a city and an organization that embraces that spirit.
This year’s Pride is on track to be the biggest and best yet, embracing all of the incredible individuals who created, built, grew, enjoy, and love St Pete Pride.
I am honored to be part of an organization that wants to be better, that strives to hear from those that historically have not been represented by Pride, and I am proud that those voices and stories will lead our organization into its 20th Anniversary season and beyond. Pride, as an event, means so much to me. I remember my first Pride and how it felt to look up and be surrounded by people who represented me. That is an experience St Pete Pride aims to replicate for all LGBTQ+ people in and around the Tampa Bay area. No matter what the outside world is telling you, you belong here, you belong with us, not only in June but all year long. St Pete Pride will continue to work outside of June with our outstanding community partners to ensure the visibility afforded to us lasts long after the glitter is swept off the parade route.
St Pete Pride is all of ours. It is the culmination of our right to exist in our bodies in whatever way we see fit. It is a reminder to everyone that we belong here and are not going anywhere. It is a time when we all fit in, we move safely together, and we don’t back down to the pressure to conform. It is a moment, set aside from everything else that is going on in the world, to celebrate the amazing people in our community and bask in our collective joy. In 2022 the importance of St Pete Pride cannot be overlooked and I look forward to sharing Pride with you!