Coming out in style at St. Pete Pride
Thousands of people turned out for St. Pete Pride over the weekend, and with them, a sea of body glitter, homemade shirts and rainbow everything. I was drawn to a few people in particular to get the story behind their looks:
I was amazed at how vibrant and pronounced the colors were on Katherine Olson’s rainbow mohawk. Olson, who is a lesbian, said she went to The Modern Man Grooming Salon in Gulfport for the ‘do. “I’ve never colored my hair other than natural colors,” she said, but her stylist, Lisa Merriweather, convinced her to try the dye, which lasts around six weeks, Olson said. And if you look closely below the mohawk, you can see a heartbeat symbol her stylist added in honor of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims.
This body glitter on Bianca Williams, 23, caught my attention. And so did Williams’ eye for deals. She bought the glitter at Michael’s for about $5 with a 40 percent off coupon she found online. A steal, especially considering it stayed on when she got rained on earlier in the day. “Rain or shine we're gonna be glittery,” said Williams, who is pansexual.
Michael’s also came in handy for Carlie and Bama Hanson. They made their shirts with no-mess and easy-to-use iron-on letters from the craft store. The Tampa couple, who married in May, made shirts for last year’s St. Pete Pride, too, embossed with “bride-to-be.” “We just like to match,” Carlie Hanson, 23, said.
By this point, I felt like I was sweating my face off (and my bareMinerals Prime Time primer + Blemish Therapy powder, which actually held up pretty well despite the Florida post-rain humidity). But Mike Betters, 28, and boyfriend Frank Simpson, 45, stayed cool. “It felt like you had nothing on,” said Betters of the swimsuits, which he and Simpson bought for around $32 at A Touch of OZ, a store at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg.
I saw the Gay Pride Cat shirt earlier in the day on someone and knew I wanted one. So I went on a mission to find local artist Chad Mize, who had a booth at the block party. He started the design in 2009 and the shirts two years ago, but this was the first year the Gay Pride Cat came to life with the cat head he’s wearing above. "I like to use humor to send out a message,” said Mize, who is gay. And for $21.40 with tax, mission accomplished. Shop his shirts here.