Here are your 2022 St Pete Pride Grand Marshal nominees! Cast your vote in the form below
Alexander Jones, founder and artistic director the downtown St. Pete international nonprofit dance company projectALCHEMY, is a graduate of University of South Florida, recent MFA graduate Hollins University studying dance. A native Floridian, Jones is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association and has performed for 13 years for Walt Disney World. Community and collaboration are at the forefront of Jones’s dance works with company, as well as in and around St. Pete. He serves as the Dance Artists in Residence at the Studio@620, assisting in dance programming alongside Bob Devin Jones. Recently, Jones has been appointed Dance Specialist for the Rusche Dance Studio at The Pruitt Arts Education Center at WADA, where he helps to program dance classes and workshops for movers of all ages and ensure that local dance artists have access to affordable rehearsal space to create work and continue their movement practices.
Ashley is a best selling author and speaker of Empowering Differences. She works tirelessly to raise money for the LGBTG+ Community in the St Petersburg and Tampa Bay areas. She is on the board of GLAAD bringing LGBTQ+ rights to the front. Ashley supports people in showing people and employers why hiring people in the LGBTQ+ and Black and Brown community is empowers the company which brings thoughts outside the box propelling companies to the front on the line. All this while raising two biological teenage boys and being a role model for all to look up to.
Bob Devin Jones is in his 18th year as Artistic Director of The Studio@620. Bob has been involved locally as a board member in many cultural and educational organizations including Creative Clay, American Stage, Palms of Pasadena Hospital, Free Fall Theatre, Florida Craft Art, Arts Advisory, Morean Art Center, and Friends of Jack Kerouac. In 2004 Bob co-founded The Studio@620 with David Ellis. The Studio has been awarded many grants, citations, and awards including a national grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Gobioff Foundation, The Florida Humanities Council, State of Florida and the City of St. Petersburg. Bob has been awarded the Tampa Bay Lightning Hero Award, Bank of America Hero Award, as well as citations from Equality Florida, Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, St.Petersburg Arts Alliance MUSE Award, the Tampa Bay Buisinesses for Arts and Culture Impact Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the Green Book Tampa Bay Black Arts Gala Award for Creativity, and was presented a key to the City of St. Petersburg. He lives in the Old Southeast neighborhood in St. Petersburg with his partner of 24 years, Jamie Howell and their cat Simone.
Brian Longstreth is a rare native Floridian, born in Bradenton 1961. He moved to Tampa in 1983 and found home in St. Petersburg in 1984. Brian was a founding co-chair of St Pete Pride in 2003 and served on the board for many years bringing the International InterPride Conference to St Petersburg in 2009. One of Brian’s favorite projects was getting the Tampa Bay Rays to become the 2nd MLB team to record an “It Gets Better” video in 2011. In 2014 Brian and brother James took the lead on getting a historic Bungalow donated to Metro Inclusive Health to become the LGBTQ Welcome center in the Grand Central District, only the 3rd in the nation at the time. Brian was also a founding member of Come Out St Pete in 2016 as a means to celebrate National Coming OUT Day locally, and served on the board for several years. Brian led a group of investors to open Punky's Bar and Grill on Central Avenue in 2015, selling his interest in the business in 2021, but not before meeting his future husband Yuttaphum (Sam) Thotsawat, whom he married in October 2021. They have two rescue dogs, Whiskey and Cola.
Carla Bristol, Collaboration Manager at St. Pete Youth Farm, enjoys strengthening her St. Petersburg through arts, culture and community. Although Bristol continues to contribute to the regional arts and culture landscape, she has spent the last three years focused on Community Building, Social and racial justice and youth development. Her work with St.Pete Youth Farm addresses nutrition insecurity within the South St. Pete Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) and provides local youth access to Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, arts, Food Systems Education and weekly mental health support. Bristol was part of the team who responded to community needs at the very beginning of shutdowns around Covid-19 in mid-March of 2020. Bristol led a team to provide food and PPE kits with a weekly free breakfast and multiple weekly food distributions. Bristol also initiated a program with Youth to feed the houseless population in Saint Petersburg.
Christopher was born and raised in the Pinellas County area. His first introduction to promoting positive change within the community started when he was 16 and attended his first St Pete Pride. At the time, other than to close friends, he was not out yet, however, he recalls feeling extreme comfort in being able to be himself. A few years later, just before entering his senior year, Christopher came out as gay and, after graduation, had his family attend Come Out St. Pete’s Pride Night at the Rays, where he remembers feeling so empowered that there were organizations trying to promote positive change in our community. Shortly thereafter, Christopher had to struggle with what many youth are facing, where he was forced into a situation where he had to struggle with the still ongoing low-wage and non-affordable housing crisis’, all of which has since inspired him to do whatever he can to help those in need. Currently, Christopher resides in St. Petersburg, going to SPC as a full-time student studying Political Science, and while working on the board of directors for Come Out St. Pete, he is committed to working to better the area to make a more diverse and loving community for all.
Cole Foust is a transgender artist, musician, advocate, researcher, speaker, and proponent of radical acts of love. Cole’s aspirations in life have always embodied his personal motto, “We can change the world one compassionate conversation at a time.” He is a Florida native, originally born in Tampa and now happily rooted in St. Petersburg. In 2019, Cole received Watermark's Remarkable People award for his work in community organizing, non-profit leadership, and activism. Cole is pursuing his Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Florida. He is currently providing pro bono counseling services as a student intern at a Florida-based practice dedicated to serving people of marginalized identities, especially those who are LGBTQ+ and/or people of color. His motivation for continuing his education is to affect policy on a federal level and he aims to design services that will end suicide among transgender youth and adults.
De'Mario Jives is a black LGBTQ actor and YouTube influencer who resides in Tampa, FL. De'Mario is the creator of the KingJivesShow. His innovative show educates millions of people across the world on issues facing the LGBTQ community, religion, and social issues. King Jives is a household name in the black LGBTQ community across the nation and teaches love and acceptance of all people.
Derek Baxter (He/Him/They/Them) is a proud Gender Queer Asexual Homoromantic working to amplify the voice of the Ace Community. He has been involved within the LGBTQIA+ Arts Community in Tampa Bay for over 28 years, beginning in high school when he came out freshman year and worked as a queer advocate, making evocative performance art (albeit as a hormonal teenager). Over the past 28 years, Derek has directed numerous queer plays and musicals, created tons of queer performative art, and has dedicated his life to serving numerous Queer Live-Arts organizations. His current focus on queer-driven art is a collaboration between Metro Heath Inclusive and Eight O’Clock Theatre; a summer production of RENT, specifically focusing on current and historical sexual health, queer stigma, and mental health awareness. Using his one-of-a-kind experimental style and collaborative skills, he spreads messages of self-acceptance, inclusivity, and the importance of embracing and communicating one’s own authentic ideas.
Coming out in 1976 in Tallahassee, FL was a very tough thing. As the first openly gay student to enter the Program and Medical Sciences at Florida State University, I was able to show people that we are all normal. Once I finished my training 1985, I became one of the only doctors seeing HIV/AIDS patients in St. Pete. I was a founding board member of The American Academy of HIV Medicine, 1999. I traveled the state teaching doctors how to provide HIV care to the Medicaid patients. I founded Love the Golden Rule Inc. in 2013 and opened the clinic in 2014 with the mission statement of “We are a group of people dedicated to advancing and enhancing the lives of anyone who ever had a dream”. My passion is to treat all people equally and allow them to reach their full potential. We have cured over 1500 people of Hepatitis C, treating many of these people at no charge. We have continued to provide care to the HIV community as well as the LGBTQ community. Our Transgender patient population is growing, and we are very happy to see anyone no matter what their gender identity or gender expression is.
Dr. Howell is a psychologist who has dedicated himself to advocacy and support of the LGBT community for over 20 years. As an undergraduate student he found himself on the front lines of HIV prevention work where he provided community workshops and volunteered at an AIDS Service Organization. He has worked to create a safe space in Tampa for LGBT individuals in need of mental health services. Over the past several years, he has made a tremendous mark in his work with the transgender community by providing free group therapy to transgender and gender diverse youth as well as their parents. As an openly gay psychologist, educator, and LGBT expert, Dr. Howell strives to shed light on bullying, suicide, and homobigotry when possible. His group practice, Center for Psychological Growth, has been located in Ybor City since 2012, and he co-founded the Institute for LGBT Health and Wellbeing in 2017 with an emphasis on training, education, and LGBT research regarding health, wellness, and healthcare disparities. He truly lives his life according to his favorite quote: “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World" - Gandhi.
Ella K. Coffee was born in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to her family's hometown of Plant City, Florida at the age of eight. During her collegiate days, Ms. Coffee was an active member and leader within the Black Student Union and statewide student organization of Florida African-American Student Association (FAASA). It was during that time she realized the importance of one's voice and using the power we have as a community. After college, she spent eight years with GTE/Verizon and moved into the non-profit world writing grants and running an after-school program. For the last 14 years, she has been involved with the election arena in one fashion or another. In the manner of working for Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections or being more partisan by working on various campaigns, President Obama in '08, Kriseman in '17, and Cross for State Senate District 24 as the campaign manager. Ms. Coffee currently works for the State of Florida as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Darryl Rouson, district 19. Ms. Coffee and her wife Ms. Alonda Vaughan have 3 adult children and soon nine grandchildren all living here in Florida.
Farron is a three-time Emmy Award winning journalist and loves the ability to share the stories of others with the world. You can currently watch her weekday mornings at 10 a.m. as the co-host of the lifestyle show Daytime on News Channel 8. Prior to this role, Farron lived in South Florida where she worked as a news anchor and as a public relations professional. She was an integral part of getting Palm Beach County’s first public transit bus that supports the LGBTQ+ community. Farron is a Texas native, and she grew up in Fort Worth, received her bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and then continued her academic studies at Syracuse University where she obtained a Master’s of Science. Farron is proud to call the Sunshine State her home now and does not want to move anywhere outside of the Tampa Bay area. Farron and her wife enjoy exploring new restaurants, going to live musical performances, volunteering at church and of course, binging on Netflix. They have a small dog named Prince Harry, who currently gets the royal treatment at their home. They are also very excited to soon become first-time mommies, as they are adopting a baby girl who is due in August.
J. Carl DeVine, a Florida native from Arcadia, serves as Executive Director of Banyan Tree Project, Inc. and a Community Advocate for AHF in St. Petersburg, FL. He has been involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS for over 30 years. His efforts led to the state’s first summit for Black males and initiated a statewide institute for Black men. He is a voice that speaks truth to power concerning issues of equality, fairness, and justice. He is a visionary who has inspired many to address the unmet needs in their communities.
My name is Jason Fields and I am a proud resident of St. Petersburg Florida! I have lived in the Bay Area for now 15 years, and I love calling St. Pete home! My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years and married this past 3/12/22 and now reside in Kenwood with our two “girls” – Lola and Loretta. I am a physician in behavioral health at BayCare. Much of my passion is combining fitness and philanthropy and I am in my 7th year of participation in the SMART Ride. Our Team for SMART Ride has raised over $300,000 for area HIV organizations over the years. We ride from Miami to Key West every November and bring HIV awareness and support to St. Pete organizations like Metro and more recently, EPIC. This year will be the 10th Season of “Kick Up Your Heels”…an amateur Drag Show every fall benefitting SMART RIDE. In 2017 I won the Spirit of Service Excellence Award from Metro Inclusive Health for leading the team as Team Captain that year and record fundraising. I love supporting our baseball team and at Pride Night in 2018 I received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Rays! #RaysUP!
Jay Petry is a Licensed Mental Health Professional and widely experienced Life and Business Coach. As an expert therapist, teacher, speaker, and trainer, he has worked with, trained, and mentored a wide range of individuals, from interns to business executives, to entrepreneurs. He is regularly consulted on topics related to life changes, weight loss, overcoming obstacles, persuasion, positive thinking and motivational challenges. In addition to Life Coaching and training, Jay is a sought-after speaker who delivers dynamic and impactful seminars. Jay is also a Qualified Supervisor for Interns in the state of Florida seeking licensure in Mental Health Counseling. Coaching, training, and teaching others how to empower themselves and experience a joyous life is Jay’s life passion. He enjoys expanding his talent in creative and cutting-edge ways through collaboration with like-minded Coaches and Trainers.
Jenny is co-owner of The Body Electric Yoga and Athletic Companies, founded in 2013 with partner Katelyn Grady. She is originally from Columbus, and, after dropping out of Ohio State in 1993, vagabonded about the Pacific Northwest before eventually graduating from The University of Maryland with a degree in Rhetoric. With this degree Jenny began an unrelated and ill-suited career in Information Technology. In 2009, Jenny relocated from DC to St. Pete and slowly transitioned from desk life to salt life. Now, she enjoys teaching hot yoga and strength classes, and dabbles in open water swimming, running, paddling, and climbing. More often she's engaged in less strenuous pursuits, such as napping, reading, and puzzling. You probably know one of her sisters, or her 7-year-old son, Hank.
I currently serve in dual roles as Director of the Mayor's Action Center and LGBTQ Liaison. As Director of the Mayor's Action Center, I am responsible for the daily operation and strategic implementation of the Mayor's Action Center, which processes citizen requests for assistance with services and distributes them to the responsible departments. Jim helps to ensure each department's responsiveness and works closely with our residents to maintain St. Pete's high quality of life. For the last five years, I have been honored to serve as the LGBTQ Liaison to the Mayor's office in St Petersburg, FL. As LGBTQ liaison, I serve as an accessible and friendly ear to the city's LGBTQ community and elevate LGBTQ-related concerns to the city executive and other city officials. I am serving as both a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office to the local LGBTQ demographic as well as a representative of LGBTQ interests to the leaders of St. Petersburg Government.
John Gascot is a Queer Latinx visual artist and activist. His paintings promote diversity and strive to create conversations around social injustice and inclusion. He is the Founder and President of Diversity Arts. The nonprofit supports underserved youth and communities by providing safe environments, guidance and materials for creative self-discovery, expression, and sociocultural interaction. John has also served on committees and boards for Equality Florida, Come Out St. Pete, and the Gobioff Foundation.
Julius Vaughn is a native of the Tampa Bay area, born at MacDill AFB, and currently resides in the City of Largo with his partner of 9 years, Jason. Julius is a very familiar face among the LGBTQ+ community here in the Bay Area and has recently just celebrated his 50th birthday. This year, he’s being recognized as one of the 2022 TBBJ’s Business of Pride Voice Honorees for his work with FatMarker Clothing. Julius acts as not only the spokesperson for the lifestyle brand, but also acts as one of its models, representing the plus size community. He believes in being too loud, too proud, too much and unapologetically himself… helping others to turn what may be seen or deemed as a negative into a positive. Within our community, that segregates among different body types, outlooks, ages, styles, etc., he and his company stress the importance of celebrating and accepting all of us. Julius also holds his MBA/MKT from Western International University and participates with such organizations such as the onePULSE Organization out of Orlando, the Trevor Project, and most recently with Tampa Pride: FatMarker’s design having been featured as the official t-shirt design.
Justice Gennari (He, Him, His) is the President & CEO of the Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber, an organization of more than 300+ LGBTQ+ owned and allied businesses from around the Tampa Bay Region. Since joining the Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber, they have seen it grow in recorded numbers and achievements, including hosting the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce International Business and Leadership Conference in 2019, providing a multimillion-dollar economic impact to the region. In 2021, after more than two years of turmoil among the restaurant industry, Justice worked with NGLCC, and Grubhub to provide access to grants to LGBTQ+ & allied restaurants within Tampa Bay with a range from $5,000 - $100,000. Justice is responsible for the strategic direction, and overall operations of the Chamber, as well as membership outreach, retention, and advocacy efforts. He leads the Chamber’s mission to “advance common business interests, economic growth, and equality in the workplace and society.” He presently lives in Tampa, FL with his Fiancé Eric and their dogs Tucker & Gunner.
Kori is a 14-year resident of St Pete, and has served as the Entertainment Director for St Pete Pride, and Director of the Miss St Pride Pageant for 12 years. She held the title of Miss St. Pete Pride in 2010. She is an accomplished costume designer, and a very active volunteer in the community, working with organizations such as St Pete Pride, Metro Inclusive Health, Empath and ComeOut StPete, to name a few. She has hosted and led an Annual Toys for Tots fundraiser for the last 11 years, raising nearly $100k in cash, and over $80k in toys for the youth of the Tampa Bay Area.
Mark Sforzini signs his correspondence “Musically Yours” for a reason. He played principal bassoon with the Florida Orchestra from 1992 – 2007 and conducted the Pinellas Youth Symphony from 1999 – 2002. As a young man in his 30’s, Mark founded the St. Petersburg Opera Company in 2007 and continues to work as its Executive and Artistic Director conducting the Opera’s productions at the Palladium and Opera Central. For over a decade, Mark has also conducted the Tampa Bay Symphony, so his baton is rarely at rest. He has received numerous awards for outstanding contributions to the arts and community from the National Society of Arts and Letters, ALPHA House of Pinellas, Florida Suncoast Opera Guild, and the Hillsborough Music Educators Council. As an out, proud, and visible leader in our regional art and performance scene, Mark lives with his partner of 29 years, Michael, and their beloved boxador, Rhubarb. He holds the unusual title of being the 1979 World Hula Hoop Champion, which is so appropriate because he will literally jump through hoops to protect and promote our LGBTQ and Arts community.
Michele was raised by a family of changemakers in Pinellas County. Her parents both integrated the University of South Florida in the early 1960’s and established themselves as community leaders to set an example for Michele with their dedication to service and to the people. She worked her way through college and fought her way through adversity in law school. Michele then joined the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s office as as attorney for Markeis McGlockton’s family, working alongside civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Markeis was killed in an altercation in a Clearwater parking lot, reigniting the debate over FL’s “Stand Your Ground” law 6 years after the death of Trayvon Martin. The experience made it clear to Michele that running for the legislature could help her do more to fight unjust laws and prevent future tragedies from occurring. Along with representing her community in the state legislature, Michele and her wife are both small business owners. Michele has always spoken truth to power as a public defender, civil rights attorney, and in the state legislature. She is about getting actual results for people that make a difference in their lives.
Mick Ferrari grew up in St. Petersburg and has long been an advocate for kids and young adults, particularly for those from undeserved or disadvantaged backgrounds. He has enjoyed professional experiences as a beauty entrepreneur, radio personality, and high school teacher with Pinellas County Schools and currently serves as chair of the school district’s advisory board for vocational education programs. Ferrari was appointed to the board of directors for Come OUT St. Pete in 2021, focusing on LGBTQ+ Youth support through organizations like Camp OUT LGBTQ Youth Camp and Diversity LGBTQ Youth Camp and Diversity Arts, an arts education program. Mick has served on the advisory board for The Kind Mouse food pantry which provides weekend meals for school kids for the last 7 years in addition to working with a statewide volunteer program for over 2 decades. He as 6 adopted children and resides in St. Petersburg.
Naomi is a pillar of the LGBTQ+ community, and a true role model, mentor, educator, and advocate for the community. With years under their belt of sex education and advocacy work both professionally and independently, and a magnetic personality that naturally attracts people to want to be around them, learn from them, and consult them on anything and everything, especially on matters of personal challenges (and successes!) surrounding the experience and journey that many people face as members of this diverse and vibrant community. Naomi’s own experiences, natural capacity for empathy and compassion, relatability, intelligence, and magnetic personality, make them a perfect candidate for St. Pete Pride Grand Marshall.
Nate Taylor has been in the St Pete/Tampa community for 15 years. Since moving to the area he has been active in the LGBTQ community including previously serving on the boards of St. Pete Pride, Metro Inclusive Health, Rainbow Housing Coalition and most recently the Pinellas Planning Partnership which focuses on health and wellness but more specifically ending the HIV epidemic in Pinellas County. Before working and serving those in his own community, he served those seeking education including those who did not have the means to go to college traditionally to those who transitioned with their military service members to different destinations all over the world. It was always his charge to help others reach a level they wanted but never saw for themselves. Nate also received an award for his work on a yearlong virtual Black and Empowered Series. Different topics from social justice, health lifestyles, HIV in black and brown communities and more were produced and released live on our social channels. With these projects, his goal was to mitigate social isolation while educating and entertaining the community in a safe way.
Nathan is an LGBTQ advocate born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. Nathan consistently gives back to community and is a leader in inclusion and justice. Nathan’s advocacy is grounded by his experiences as a teacher in Florida, as the Director of Operations for a homeless coalition, and as Executive Director of an LGBTQ+ youth center. In early 2017, Nathan joined the board of directors of St Pete Pride as the first transgender board member and initiated outreach and programming for the trans community. That year, Nathan founded the Trans Pride March with over 500 marchers. In 2018 the Trans Pride March grew to over 1,000 participants and in 2019 the Trans Pride March included over 2,000 registered marchers. In 2018, in response to community input, Nathan founded Transtastic, a trans-centered, family-friendly event that included local transgender service providers, local trans musicians, and trans film shorts in partnership with TIGLFF, Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival. Following the success of the Trans Pride March and Transtastic, Nathan co-founded the Tampa Bay Transgender Film Festival in 2019 with TIGLFF board member Kayden Rodriguez.
• Act Up SF 1980’s through 90’s fighting to bring awareness and assistance to those who were dying from AIDs daily all around us. • Fund raising for AID’s care givers retreat in San Francisco when all the funding was being focused on HIV Positive and AIDs healthcare, we found it important to establish a nurturing space for care givers to people with AIDs • As a martial artist for decades, I was one of the organizers of SF street patrol by providing martial arts training the members during the time when the LGBTQ+ community was under attack by both the SF PD and skinheads from the East Bay of SF. • Deeply involved in QueerCore and worked with others to establish KLUBSTiTUTE in the SF mission district for LGBTQ+ who did not want to play dress up drag in the regular clubs. • First openly Gay man on Gulfport City Council. • Founded Gulfport’s own Gay Pride Festival which was awarded Creative Loafings 2021 Best Small-Town Pride • Co-Founded the Gulfport Pride Flag raising event. • Former President and current executive board member of Pinellas County Stonewall Democrats. • Organized the Gulfport presence in many years of St Pete Pride Parades and street festival.
Sheree L. Greer is a writer, artist, teacher, and publisher living in Tampa, Florida. In 2014, she founded The Kitchen Table Literary Arts Center to showcase and support the work of Black women and women of color writers and is the author of two novels, Let the Lover Be and A Return to Arms, a short story collection, Once and Future Lovers, and a student writing guide, Stop Writing Wack Essays. Her work has been published in First Bloom Anthology, LezTalk Anthology, VerySmartBrothas, Autostraddle, The Windy City Times, Bleed Literary Journal, and the Windy City Queer Anthology: Dispatches from the Third Coast. Sheree has received a Union League of Chicago Civic Arts Foundation award, earned her MFA at Columbia College Chicago, and is a VONA/VOICES alum, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice grantee, Yaddo fellow, and Ragdale Artist House Rubin Fellow. Her essay, "Bars" published in Fourth Genre Magazine, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and notably named in Best American Essays 2019, and her latest essay, "None of this is Bullshit" was published at The Rumpus and featured in "Memoir Mondays.”
For over 25 years, SPHF has been helping women in the Tampa Bay area receive the healthcare they need by providing financial assistance for healthcare costs. Started by a small group of lesbians, SPHF became a not for profit and is run entirely by a volunteer Board of Directors. In recent years we added a scholarship program offering two $1,000 scholarships/year for lesbians studying in a healthcare field at St. Petersburg College. One of these scholarships is earmarked for a women of color. As a small grassroots organization we rely mostly on the support of our lesbian community for donations to continue the important work we do. To date we have given over $300,000 to women in our community. To see what we have accomplished in 2021, please check out our Annual Report at www.sphf.org. We would be honored to be one of the Grand Marshalls at the 2022 St. Pete Pride Parade. Thank you for your consideration.
The Tampa Bay Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are the nuns of the LGBTQIA Community. We manifested at the very first St Pete Pride Parade, and laid one of the first bricks that founded the Gaybor District Coalition. Over the past 20 years, we have provided a helping hand to all of the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg community, all while expiating stigmatic guilt, fighting for equality and change, and promulgating universal joy! We’ve also raised over $20,000 in funds for the many community organizations across the bay area that give without expecting that time or money back, such as Metro Charities, EPIC, CASA, Tampa Arts Council, St Pete Pride and more. Our Mission Statement is simple: Help those who help others. Blessed Be!
Tenea D. Johnson is a multimedia storyteller, musician, editor, arts & empowerment entrepreneur, and award-winning author of 7 speculative fiction works, including 2021's releases, Frequencies, a Fiction Album and Broken Fevers, of which Publisher's Weekly wrote "the 14 hard-hitting, memorable short stories and prose vignettes in this powerhouse collection ... are astounding in their originality" (starred review). Her debut novel Smoketown won the Parallax Award for excellence in a speculative fiction work by a person of color while R/evolution earned an honorable mention that year as well. She's had the pleasure of presenting her fiction, musical stories, and stories off the page at venues including NYC's Public Theater and the Knitting Factory as well as St. Pete's Studio @620, Mize Gallery, and Museum of Fine Arts.
Watermark is Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ news source that has served St. Petersburg since 1995, where it maintains an office today. We print up to 20,000 copies for distribution throughout the state and publish a digital edition of our newspaper every other week, focusing on the local, statewide and national headlines impacting St. Petersburg’s LGBTQ community. Further serving the community, Watermark maintains WatermarkOnline.com and publishes numerous annual guides. These resources include the Rainbow Family Guide, Tampa Bay Living with Pride Guide and Wedding Guide. Additionally, Watermark donates more than $200,000 annually in free and sponsor advertising to worthy local and national LGBTQ nonprofits, including St Pete Pride which it has sponsored since its inception. Its Tampa Bay staff consists of Owner/Publisher Rick Todd, Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams, Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent, Creative Designers Dylan Todd and Kyler Mills, Sales Director Danny Garcia and Senior Account Manager Sam Callahan.
The contributions of our local partners enable us to achieve our mission of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community year round. Would you like to contribute to our cause?