The most colorful parade in Florida is this weekend, and it's a fun time, to be sure.
St. Pete Pride is back with a new location along St. Petersburg's waterfront. June is Pride month around the country, a time for the LGBTQ community and allies to come together, have a good time and show love. Check our report for details about this year's parade, events and trends to look out for. (Did you know horror icon the Babadook is making the rounds at Pride festivities?)
Support doesn't have to be a once-a-year commitment. There's no shortage of ways to get involved.
"At the end of the day, it boils down to what do people feel passionate about?" said Eric Skains, executive director of St. Pete Pride. "Chances are, there's an organization that focuses on that."
Metro Wellness & Community Centers is a nonprofit offering health services, programs and HIV testing. Metro Wellness has counseling and support services, and runs the LGBT Welcome Center in St. Petersburg's Grand Central District, a place for (Kahwa!) coffee and directories for gay-friendly beaches, businesses and attractions. metrotampabay.org.
Family Resources has services including SafePlace2Btoo, a program offering life skills, educational and vocational support for LGBTQ youth. In March, Family Resources and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg partnered to host a forum on homelessness among local LGBTQ teens. family-resources.org. Nationally, the Trevor Project (toll-free 1-866-488-7386) and Trans Lifeline (toll-free 1-877-565-8860) provide crisis services and more.
Political-minded folks might get involved with a group like Equality Florida, the nonprofit educational organization and advocacy group working for progressive, pro-LGBTQ legislation ( eqfl.org). Equality Florida has an Honor Them With Action fund for Pulse shooting survivors and families at gofundme.com/forthe49. And the Log Cabin Republicans have a Tampa Bay chapter serving local gay conservatives ( lcrtampabay.org).
Una Voce, the Gay Men's Chorus of Tampa Bay, has performed everywhere from Pride to Carnegie Hall. The chorus welcomes new singers (a short audition is required), or if you can't carry a tune, donations of money or time. Organizers also host fundraisers, like bingo nights at Hamburger Mary's. una-voce.org.
The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival has been going strong for 27 years, showcasing films for the LGBTQ community at Tampa Theatre and Freefall Theatre, among other spots. The film fest is always looking for financial support and volunteers, from ushers to ticket takers. tiglff.com.