GULFPORT, FLORIDA: Starting May 31, LGBTQ Pride Month will be celebrated by a full slate of programs sponsored by the City of Gulfport and the LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Public Library. All programs are open to the public and take place at the Gulfport Public Library (5501 28th Avenue South), unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, May 31st, 6pm: LGBTQ Pride Flag Raising. We are proud that the City of Gulfport displays the LGBTQ Pride Flag every year for Pride Month in June. The Pride Flag raising will take place on the front lawn of the Gulfport Public Library, home of the LGBTQ Resource Center. Join Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson presides, as well as other City councilmembers and officials as Gulfport raises the Pride Flag and displays its inclusiveness of the entire community! FREE
Thursday, May 31st, 7pm: Opening Reception for the 2nd Annual “ArtOut: LGBTQ Artists in Gulfport.” Following the LGBTQ Pride Flag raising ceremony outside the Library, come inside to join us for the opening reception of our second annual ArtOut event! This group art show will feature work by nearly a dozen artists in media including oils, acrylics, photography, ceramics, glass, mixed media and more. The show will remain in place at the Library throughout the month of June. Our opening reception will recognize the participating artists and will include complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvre. FREE
Thursday, June 7th, 7pm: Waltzing Matilda. Join Tampa Bay’s Favorite Drag Performer (Creative Loafing Best of the Bay Reader’s Pick 2013 and 2017) Matthew McGee for the debut of an all-new show: a country western cabaret lovingly titled WALTZING MATILDA. This autobiographical honky tonk revue is more Hee Haw than CMA as Matthew is joined by Tampa Bay’s celebrated music man Michael Raabe (as Clem) for a melodious trip down memory lane featuring songs by some of country music’s biggest stars. Get ready for lots of laughs, big hair and multi-colored fringe as “Miss McGee” two-steps her way into your heart. Appropriate for all ages. Show starts at 7pm. Tickets on sale at Gulfport Beach Bazaar and Gulfport Casino: $20 general admission (doors 6:30pm); or $25 Early Access (doors 6pm, including hors d’oeuvre reception and preferred seating). NOTE: This event takes place at Catherine Hickman Theater (5501 27th Ave. South in Gulfport).
Thursday June 14th, 7pm: LGBTQ Monthly Film Series: “Reel in the Closet” (2015). Join us for this special Pride Month installment of our monthly Film Series. While the LGBTQ community began to experience greater visibility in the wake of 1969’s Stonewall riots, generations had quietly lived their lives before, out of the public eye. Filmmaker Stu Maddux reveals this hidden history by unearthing a treasure trove of rare home movies made by gay people – some dating back to the 1930s – that have long languished in the backs of people’s closets. Projecting the viewer back in time, these private moments open a fascinating window into the surprising vibrancy of unheralded LGBT lives. (Not rated) As part of our Pride Month celebration, we will feature a guest speaker from the Tampa Bay International Gay and International Film Festival (TIGLFF) who will briefly talk about TIGLFF and introduce the film. FREE
Tuesday, June 19th, 12 noon: Can I Be Gay and Still Be Spritual? Often the faith community and the gay community have been at odds with each other… but they don’t have to be. A panel of local faith leaders from the Interfaith Tampa Bay Pride Worship Service (Thursday, June 21), including both Christian and non-Christian viewpoints, will give short presentations about how their faith traditions are working to make themselves more open and accepting to LGBTQ seekers. Since many traditions say we are made in God’s image, does that mean God can be gay too? What does it really mean that Jesus never even mentioned homosexuality? How does being gay affect the quest for enlightenment in non-Western traditions? These and other provocative topics will be covered and there will be time for a Q&A too. Come enjoy a great “lunch and learn” program… feel free to bring your own lunch with you! FREE
Thursday, June 21st, 7 pm: Open Mic and Poetry Slam. Add your voice to a celebration of the spoken word! Slam poetry, readings and storytelling all will be part of this open mic evening. Contact Sam Obeid (firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign up and/or get your questions answered. All are welcome to attend and all may also sign up to participate on the evening of the event. Featuring a special guest appearance by Gulfport Poet Laureate Peter Hargitai. FREE
Sunday, June 24th, 11am – 5pm: St. Pete Pride Festival. Look for the LGBTQ Resource Center booth at this year’s St. Pete Pride Festival. Find out what’s happening at the Resource Center and how to be involved. Join thousands of participants in Florida’s largest annual Pride celebration! The Festival takes place along Central Avenue in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. FREE
For more information, contact the Gulfport Public Library at 727-893-1074. The LGBTQ Resource Center provides collections, services and events throughout the year to the local LGBTQ community, its friends and family, and is a project of the non-profit Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library. Find out more about the Resource Center, the Circle of Friends and the Library on the web at www.mygulfport.us/gpl or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GulfportLibraryFL.