St. Petersburg’s LGBTQ Center – Traveling in Our Fabulous Gay World

Author: , March 7th, 2019

St. Petersburg LGBTQ Center

In our travels from coast to coast in the USA we usually stop by the LGBTQ Center when we arrive in a city. So far in the past 18 years we have found two outstanding ones. In the past we have written about the one in Denver. On our way down to Florida last month we visited the St. Petersburg LGBTQ Center. Jim Nixon is the Director and Liaison and is one of the most professional and friendliest Directors that we have met. The LGBTQ liaison serves as an accessible and friendly ear to city’s LGBTQ community and elevates LGBTQ related concerns to the city executive and other city offices. Serving as both a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office to a local LGBTQ demographic as well as a representative of LGBTQ interests in the leaders of St. Petersburg Government. He plays an advisory role within the government branches.

The LGBTQ Welcome Center in June 2014 in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. Only the third in the nation. As a function of Metro Inclusive Health, serves the area as an LGBTQ visitors’ resource, coffee house, youth center (safe space) and provides a wide range of business resources, education activities and entertainment events.

Among the many things that they offer are:

  • Visitor Information with our partnership with Visit St Petersburg/Clearwater
  • Relocation information with our partnership with the St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce
  • Supportive Membership Program for referrals of LGBTQ Businesses
  • Local LGBTQ Artist and Maker Boutique
  • Coffee and Scooped Ice Cream Parlor
  • HIV Testing and Social Program from LGBTQ Youth and Seniors

Website: https://www.lgbtqwelcomecenter.org/

They are located at 2227 Central Avenue St. Their hours are Monday thru Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, noon to 5 PM. Their phone number is 727.201. 4925.

Here is a link to the city website where they are very proud of their LGBTQ community. Just scroll down to read about the LGBTQ part: http://www.stpete.org/mayor_s_office/index.php

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS goes to Jim Nixon and what he is doing in the LGBTQ community in St. Petersburg. More people in other cities needs to be as kind and considerate and professional as he is.

Jim Nixon

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

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TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Florida Holocaust Museum

Author: , May 27th, 2017

Holocaust Museum - St. Petersburg

When we were in St. Petersburg, Florida earlier this month we visited the Florida Holocaust Museum which is one of the largest such museums in the country.  This year they are celebrating their 25th Anniversary.

Their permanent exhibit, “History, Heritage and Hope” is on the first floor and features original artifacts, videos and photos. It deals not only with antisemitism but also with other victim groups. The Nazis classified not only Jews as ‘the enemy” but also included Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Afro-Germans as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Homosexuals.

Holocaust MuseumThe centerpiece of the museum collection is an actual train box car that transported victims of the Nazi regime to the concentration camps. It rests upon original track from the Treblinka Killing Center as a silent tribute to those who perished on the Holocaust.  Seeing this is a VERY daunting and somber experience.  Just to think of all the hatred in the world both in history and in today’s world as well !  Everyone claiming to be a right wing Christian and or ‘born again Christian needs to visit this museum as well as everyone else in the country!  You will walk away with a new appreciation toward life. The 2nd and 3rd floor has changing exhibits of art and history.
Besides having artifacts, photos, exhibits, etc. the museum also runs several programs of outreach within the community with the aim of continuing their mission of human rights. To put it simple…… they are an excellent and outstanding organization.

They are now having a very special exhibit thru July 2:  NAZI PERSECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS – 1933-1945. Between 1933 and 1945, 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code dating back to 1871.    Some were imprisoned, others were sent to concentration camps.  Of the latter, only about 4,000 survived. In 2000, fewer than 10 of these men were known to be living.  The exhibit is full of LGBT history with stories, photos and artifacts.

Holocaust MuseumFive of the survivors came forward in a documentary to tell their stories for the first time, considered to be among the last untold stores of the Third Reich. The documentary, “PARAGRAPH 175” tells of a gap in the historical record and reveals the lasting consequences, as told through personal stories of gay men and women who lived through it. including Karl Gorath, Gad Beck, the half-Jewish resistance fighter who spent the war helping refugees escape Berlin, Annette Eick, a Jewish lesbian who escaped to England with the help of a woman she loved; Albrecht Becker, German Christian photographer who was arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality, then joined the army on his release and Pierre Seel, the Alsatian teenager who watched as his lover was eaten alive by dogs in the camps. If you REALLY want to read a heart wrenching story, just ‘Google’ Perre Seel, actually ‘Google’ all of these people.

They are having a special film showing at the Museum on June 21 at 6:30. The FHM Film Series:  Paragraph 175. This event is free and open to the public! If you are unable to attend the see the movie yourself as it is at many local libraries as well as thru Amazon.com.
The Museum is located in downtown St. Petersburg at 55 Fifth Street South and their hours daily are 10 AM to 5 PM. You can call them at 727.821.0100 or visit their websites: www.thefhm.org or https://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/

We want to thank Kristen Wright at the Museum for her assistance.

We dedicate this travel column to Siegbert “Siggi” Wilzig, (1926-2003) who was a Holocaust survivor and  the Father of Sir Ivan, Sherry Izak and Alan Wilzig and the husband of our dear friend Naomi Wilzig,(1934-2015),

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

Queer St. Petersburg, Florida

Author: , April 17th, 2017

Queer St. Petersburg, Florida

It’s a hot and humid summer night in St. Petersburg, Florida and flood lights are streaming down hard upon Tropicana Field where the Tampa Bay Rays are about to face the San Francisco Giants. Every last ticket has been sold for this home game (a first for the Rays), and thousands are slipping into black T-shirts bearing the team’s signature burst. It’s a night of excitement here in sunny St. Pete, but also one of somber reflection. This is no ordinary baseball game.

Less than one week prior, a 29-year-old gunman rushed into Pulse Nightclub in Orlando (just 105 miles away) and massacred 49 people while wounding 53 others. As a nation grieved, the Rays sprung into action by creating an impromptu Pride Night to benefit the victims and families of the shooting. It included a tribute to the victims, the singing of the national anthem by LGBT choral group Una Voce, a showcasing of the Pride flag on the field, and tens of thousands of fans donning free shirts that read “We Are Orlando” in rainbow colors. It was incredible.

But this is only one reason to love St. Pete, a quirky sun-drenched metropolis whose cultural attractions, stately downtown and LGBT friendliness are often overshadowed by other Florida cities. Some facts about Pinellas County: It is Florida’s second smallest county, but home to nearly one million people and by far the densest in the state. It boasts 35 miles of sandy beaches and a total of 588 miles of coast- line. It is the birthplace of both Wikipedia and Hooters and its mid-June Pride celebration is the largest in the Sunshine State. In short, it’s an interesting place.

I begin my weekend by cruising the Pinellas Byway away from the city and toward my hotel in sunny St. Pete Beach. The tollbooth attendant greets me with a fist bump (an auspicious beginning), and soon I am checking in at the Kimpton Hotel Zamora (3701 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach Tel: 888-809-1588. www.thehotelzamora.com), a Gulf-facing Mediterranean-style resort adorned with dramatic white archways, curvy balcony rails, and gangly palm trees standing guard on all sides. I am checked in by a slender young man and his senior counterpart. I believe both are gay and were handpicked just for my arrival. I enjoy their banter as they check me in (and check me out, if you know what I mean).

By Jason Heidemann – Full Story at Passport Magazine

St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg

Author: , August 13th, 2016

Salvador Dali Museum

Traveling around the county as we do, we really appreciate visiting different museums and historical places. St. Petersburg, Florida has the absolutely fabulous Salvador Dali Museum. It houses the largest collection of Dali’s works outside of Europe. The museum’s collection includes 96 oil paintings, over 100 watercolors and drawings and 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objet d’art.

Salvador Dali MuseumThe museum is the home of 7 of the 18 ‘masterwork’ paintings by Dahl, the most of any museum in the world. Other than the Dali Theater-Museum in his home town of Figureres, Catalonia, Spain which Dali created himself, this Museum has the world’s largest collection of Dali’s works.

We were really amazed at the diversity of Dali’s works. There are those who say once you have seen three or four Dali’s the rest are all alike. Nothing could be more false than that. His range does go from A to Z and everything in between. You would think that perhaps you were seeing art work by a number of different artists when in reality it was all Dali! and truly unbelievable. Visitors come from all over the world to visit this museum. We have visited the Museum 3 times and can’t wait to return.’

Salvador Dali MuseumThey have their Avant-garde Studies which is an online publication by The Dali annually that aims to inspire and inform the public about Dali’s work, the avant-garde movements that shaped him as an artist and the impact Dali’s life on the avant-garde still to this day with talks and conferences.

The Museum’s Education and Activities department is a vital link between the permanent and visiting collection and the many community that they serve. Dali’s live and art afford numerous opportunities for students, teachers, scholars and interested individuals and groups to explore a wide range of topics, engage the mind, and reflect on human experience.

Salvador Dali MuseumThe history of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg is extremely interesting. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse of Cleveland, Ohio purchased their first Dali in 1942 and kept purchasing for over 40 years. They first opened their Dali Museum in 1971 in Cleveland. In 1982 they moved their Dali Museum to St. Petersburg.

In 2008 a new building was built to house the Dali Museum at a cost of over $30 Million and officially open in January, 2011 and now located in the beautiful downtown area at One Dali Blvd They are open daily 10 AM to 5:30 PM and until 8 PM on Thursdays. They have a great Museum Store and outdoor Gardens. Visit their website at: http://thedali.org/
and their phone number is: 727.823.3767

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

Five Things to See in St. Petersburg, Florida

Author: , February 21st, 2015

St. Petersburg, FloridaSt. Petersburg doesn’t really feel like Florida. It’s more like a city you’d find in the Pacific Northwest, with artists’ lofts, mountain bikers and cute barista boys. Sometimes it feels like a Southern city, with street art murals and a new foodie wave and a downtown live music scene that’s bursting out of almost every bar. It took the best that Florida had — the Southern gothic architecture, the palm trees, the beaches, and the sunshine — and left behind the homogeneous strip mall boredom that’s come to define so much of the Sunshine State. It’s not as international as Miami or as gay as Fort Lauderdale, but definitely worth adding to our gay travel map.

Here are the five things you can’t miss:

1. Dali Museum: A world-class museum in a city of 250,000 is really unheard of, which is why this city, as small as it is, deserves to be in the same conversation as places like Portland and Asheville. The Dali’s recent Dali/Picasso exhibit — the only one of its kind outside of Barcelona — was a stunner, and the upcoming surrealist exhibits are intriguing. The museum is right downtown, so if you’re traveling for some art, stay at the nearby Birchwood. Makes for a great Sunday afternoon escape from the sun after a morning of strolling the farmer’s market.

2. Original Frenchy’s Cafe: Frenchy’s is the quintessential seafood shack. Located on a quiet street off the main drag in nearby Clearwater, this hole-in-the-wall is beloved by locals. Get the grouper cheeks or the grouper sandwich. There are a few iterations of Frenchy’s (the Rockaway Grill nearby) so be sure you find your way to the original.

By Man About World Staff – Full Story at Towleroad.com | St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

New LGBT Welcome Center Opening in St. Petersburg

Author: , December 20th, 2014

St. PetersburgThe brightly-painted craftsman bungalow at 2227 Central Avenue next to the Metro Wellness thrift shop is meant to be a warm, inviting place for LGBT visitors, residents and youths.

Here LGBT teens can find a safe weekend hangout and tourists can get acquainted with a city already well-known for its massive gay pride parade.

St. Petersburg recently earned a perfect score on LGBT social issues from the Human Rights Campaign for granting same-sex partner benefits and prohibiting gender identity discrimination, so the new welcome center appears a good fit for a community that already has embraced a spirit of inclusiveness.

By Josh Boatwright – Full Story at SDGLN | St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

Tampa Bay Targets LGBT Tourists

Author: , December 6th, 2014

Tampa Apple MapsTo have and to hold and to hitch it up in the Sunshine State: That’s the honeymoon-swoon allure of a new Visit Tampa Bay ad campaign created in anticipation of Florida soon eradicating a ban on same-sex marriage.

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court ruled that a stay in the state’s ban on same-sex nuptials will be lifted Jan. 5 because of the ban’s unconstitutionality.

If that holds up, Visit Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County’s nonprofit tourism branch, would “almost immediately” court betrothed-minded LGBT folks with its glossy new “To Have and To Hold” blitz. There will be matrimonial-specific print ads in the Northeast, the Middle Atlantic, Ohio and Texas; digital ads in Chicago and Dallas; and conquerwithpride.com, a microsite listing local events, hotels and services.

By Sean Daly – Full Story at the Tampa Bay Times | Tampa Gay Travel Resources

St. Petersburg, Florida Celebrates First Annual Transgender Pride

Author: , November 17th, 2014

St. petersburg Transgender Pride

Sixty or so people attended the first-ever Transgender Pride gathering inside St. Petersburg’s Metro Wellness and Community Center on Nov. 8. The gathering included food and drinks as well as an array of transgender entertainers.

The highlight of the night was the honoring of Dr. Kathleen Farrell, who announced her retirement at the beginning of the month.

By Steve Blanchard – Full Story at Watermark | St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

St. Petersburg Pride A Success Despite Problems

Author: , September 21st, 2014

RussiaIn a stunning show of poise, purpose, and power, organizers of the International Queer Culture Festival made the event — also known as QueerFest — a reality in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday even as thugs and public figures tried to stop them.

According to GLAAD, and a report from one of the organizers of St. Petersburg QueerFest, Vitaly Milonov, the infamous anti-LGBT member of the city’s legislative assembly (and proponent of Russia’s so called anti-homosexuality propaganda law) had to be barricaded from entering by event as did other bigoted hooligans.

Nevertheless, the homobphobes allegedly assaulted guests by spraying them with a green, noxious substance, by pushing guests, and in at least one case, by rying to pull a festivalgoer by the legs out of the event while fellow QueerFest attendees kept their friend away from the thugs by pulling back the victim by the arms.

By Thom Senzee – Full Story at The Advocate | Russia Gay Travel Resources

A Gay Travel Guide to St. Petersburg

Author: , July 2nd, 2014

St. Petersburg, FloridaWhether you’ve lived in the city for five years or have passed through for just five minutes, I think most people will find that St. Petersburg is a very relaxed city.

Having lived there a short time myself and worked there, I found that the people of St. Petersburg love taking each moment as it comes, savoring every experience, and devoting time to stop and smell the flowers (even literally, at the city’s own botanical garden!).

St. Petersburg is a bustling city: The fifth-largest in Florida. St. Petersburg actively competes with other major U.S. cities in terms of LGBT rights and protections, and is making great strides in that realm in just a short time. How short? The current mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman, only took office in January of this year, and since then he has appointed an official city liaison for LGBT affairs and signed the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry national pledge.

By Mike Halterman – Full Story at Edge Boston | St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources