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St Pete Pride Announces 2016 Grand Marshals

Apr 22, 2016

St Petersburg/Tampa Bay, FL, April 19, 2016 – St Pete Pride announced today five Grand Marshals for the 14th St Pete Pride Parade, held the Saturday during the June 24-26, 2016 weekend.

Honorary Grand Marshal:

  • U.S. Representative Kathy Castor is the Tampa Bay area’s voice in the U.S. Congress. She is serving her fifth term and represents Florida’s 14th Congressional district, which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. She was originally elected in 2006 and re-elected by voters in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, and is the first woman to represent Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in the U.S. Congress. Prior to serving as U.S. Representative, Ms. Castor represented Hillsborough County as County Commissioner, and was the lone vote against the Rhonda Storm/Hillsborough County policy banning public library displays that promote Gay Pride and Lesbian Pride Month.
Community Grand Marshals:

  • Anastasia “Annie” Hiotis is the Chief Operating Officer of the law firm of Carlton Fields. Annie has been extensively involved with Equality Florida since 2009 and to date, either Chairing or being an active member of the St. Petersburg Equality Florida Steering Committee. As a result of years of activism, at its gala in May of 2014, Equality Florida presented Annie with its Voice of Equality Award. She and her partner of 24 years, Connie Lancaster, have been staunch supporters of the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, sponsoring its annual launch party each year since 2011. They were also significant benefactors to the recently opened LGBTQ+ Welcome Center.
  • Lucas Aiden Wehle is the Trans & Youth Coordinator for Metro Wellness & Community Centers. When transitioning fully into maleness Lucas had, in turn, made a silent pact with community based activism. Lucas spoke to raise awareness, developed and led workshops, presented in classes at Universities and K-12 schools, and mentored other trans students. For Lucas, “no one wins unless we all do”. This attitude helped him become elected as Vice President of the Trans+ Student Union in 2014-15.
  • Miguel Fuller is the host of the morning drive-time show The Miguel Show on Cox Media Group’s HOT 101.5, and has a long and rich history of LGBTQ+ advocacy, on and off the air. During his sophomore year at South Georgia College in rural Douglas, Georgia, he started the college’s first Gay-Straight Alliance despite community opposition, and was later involved with the planning of Savannah Pride. While in Panama City, Miguel worked with at-risk gay youths at a local Panama City high school. Miguel would later build partnerships with the AIDS Walk Tampa Bay, and assisted in educational, how-to videos on HIV Testing with the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas. Miguel is the first openly gay, African American radio host in Tampa Bay and has won reader’s choice awards for Best Radio Personality.
  • Friends of the Festival, Inc. (FOF) is a non-profit (501c3) organization that produces the Tampa Bay International Gay, Lesbian Film & Arts Festival, which began in 1990 through the outreach of several local community based organizations. The first Film Festival was created as a fundraiser under the name Pride Film Festival, followed by Suncoast Film Festival. Then in the late 1990’s became known as the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) and in 2015 renamed the Tampa Bay International Gay, Lesbian & Arts Film Festival (TIGLFF). Over the course of the past 25 years, TIGLFF has showcased thousands of films for the LGBTQ+ community of Tampa Bay. Originally located at the historic Tampa Theatre on Franklin St., TIGLFF has helped usher in a renaissance of Tampa’s downtown. In 2015, however, the film festival relocated to the Palladium Theatre in downtown St. Petersburg.
The Honorary Grand Marshal is chosen by St Pete Pride, while the Community Grand Marshals are nominated by former Grand Marshals and then selected by the community at-large.

“The 2016 Grand Marshal class is our most diverse yet and truly showcases the best of our community,” says Scion Provenzano, St Pete Pride Board President. “They represent everything we are and can be, and are true role models for future generations.”

Eric Skains, Executive Director, adds, “We live in a world now where most people, gay and straight, feel the LGBT community has won full equality in this post-marriage equality world. With state laws being passed in North Carolina and Mississippi, this is obviously not the case, and each one of these individuals are on the forefront of achieving true legal, health, and social equality.”

The 14th St Pete Pride Parade is the premier event of St Pete Pride Weekend and will step off at sunset, Saturday, June 25 in the Grand Central District. With an estimated combined attendance of over 250,000, St Pete Pride Weekend is the largest event in Florida celebrating diversity. The event is held each June in order to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969, considered the birthplace in history for the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement. 

Registration for parade contingents is open until June 10 at register.stpetepride.com. Over 4,500 walkers and more than 150 groups are expended to participate.

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Posted by: J. Aller

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