The purpose of the Resource Center is not only to provide a welcoming communal space to the large LGBTQ population of Gulfport and Pinellas County, but also to establish a sense of awareness and advocacy for a segment of the Gulfport community that is ingrained in the very fabric of the community; it’s history, unique sensibility, and accepting creative spirit. The LGBTQ Resource Center is a is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit.
Phone: (727) 893-1074
Gulfport Public Library
5501 28th Ave, South Gulfport, FL 33707
Here is a listing of upcoming events for the next three months! Please call 727-893-1074 for more info
LGBTQ Film Series CURED Online Screening June 17-30 and a Discussion June 30 See article for details.
“Prelude to Pride” EventLGBTQ Flag Raising Event at the Gulfport Library Saturday, May 29, at 4 PM
Saturday May 29, 2021 from 4PM to 10PM- Opening of the 4th Annual ArtOut. You may view the art during this exclusive. Art will be showcased through the month of June. See Article for more details.
Saturday, June 5, 2021 @ 2:00 pm EDT
Saturday Special Edition
Writing Herstorical Fiction
An Author reading and discussion with
Ellen M. Levy, author of “Struggles in a Boston Marriage”
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 @ 7:00 pm EDT
“ReadOut Write On” Sonja Franeta and Winn Gilmore facilitating a 90-minute writing workshop By, For and About
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 @ 7:00 pm EDT
Interactive Author conversation with
Jane Fleishman author of “The Stonewall Generation: LGBTQ Elders on Sex,
Activism & Aging.”
Saturday, June 26, 2021 @ 2:00 pm EDT
Saturday Special Edition
Debra Gish hosts author readings and discussions from her book “Crone Chronicles 20-20: Intimately Inspiring Glimpses into the Lives of Wise Women 52+”
Visit mygulfport.evanced.info/signup/calendar for regular updates on all library programs.
A quarterly newsletter keeping you informed about what’s happening at the Gulfport Library’s LGBTQ Resource Center.
Susan Gore, Board President
The past year of COVID challenged your Resource Center, as it has everyone. ReadOut: A Festival of Lesbian Literature was our last live event, held just days before American went into self-isolation and City facilities like the library closed to the public. No more monthly movies or programs. No ArtOut exhibit or other June events celebrating LGBTQ Pride. It has been a long and lonely year!
Necessity continues to be the mother of invention, though. Remember when no one knew about Zoom and working remotely was a contentious topic? Your board learned to adapt. Could ReadOut be done virtually? A survey of past participants revealed a resounding YES! fueled by hunger for connection. Barriers of time, distance and the expense of traveling to Gulfport dissolved online as the twin goals of inclusion and accessibility exploded into realization. Nearly 1000 participants from 22 countries heard more than 101 authors and entertainers over 26 hours of incredible readings and performance of literature by, for and about lesbians. What amazed me equally was the intimacy Zoom brought to the events. No craning over heads to see or straining to hear. It felt as if each speaker was reading and talking directly to me. Yes, I missed the hugs – a lot! Next year, ReadOut will bring together the best of both as an online and in-person event on Feb. 18-20, 2022.
The Resource Center has a new partner, too. We are honored that the Raymond James Pride Inclusion Network (PIN) chose us as the beneficiary of their virtual drag bingo event on June 23. Look for the link elsewhere in ShoutOut. We look forward to a growing relationship with “RJay!”
A Friend Who Bakes, at 2901 Beach Blvd. in Gulfport, also has offered to share proceeds from the sale of their really yummy cookies, pies and more on May 28-29, as they celebrate Pride Month with specially decorated goodies. Go there and enjoy helping support the Resource Center with every delicious bite! Gulfport Pride begins May 29 with the annual Pride flag-raising at the library, led by out gay Council member, Paul Ray, and the grand opening of this year’s ArtOut exhibit. Join us LIVE or on Zoom for the flag-raising at 4 p.m., followed by a live and Zoom tour of art on LGBTQ themes in the library. We are very pleased and appreciative to be a beneficiary of Gulfport Pride, as well!
But wait, there’s more…. Excitement is in the air as plans for events this June morph to reflect changes in CDC guidance about gathering together. The Resource Center is back – and we will never be the same, thanks to the creativity and commitment of your board and a dedicated group of volunteers! Thank you, too, for your continuing support and engagement as we grow into a resource for LGBTQ people and our allies everywhere.
Raymond James Signs on as a Corporate Partner
The Resource Center has acquired a great new corporate partner. Representatives from the Pride LGBTQ+ Inclusion Network of Raymond James met with the Resource Center board recently and have offered to provide support such as volunteers to staff events, help with logistics and more.
According to Cassandra Masessa, manager, fitness the Pride LGBTQ+ Inclusion Network (PIN) brings together LGBTQ associates and allies to build and retain a diverse workforce while creating an inclusive environment.
“We are committed to providing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender associates along with their allies, with the support and resources they need to grow and excel at Raymond James,” said Masessa.
“We search throughout the local community every year for LGBT organizations that could use help whether it be financial or volunteer assistance. The LGBTQ resource center was something we came across this year as part of our search and we wanted to see how we can help,” said Chris Fecke, co-chair of the RJ initiative.
Board president Susan Gore heralded the new relationship as exciting and demonstrates again the respect the Resource Center has acquired from our award winning status as the only Resouce Center of its kind at a public library in Florida.
Fecke said the Pride Inclusive Network receives strong support both from gay and straight allies and from senior leadership.
“Our local chapter meetings usually have around 30 members in attendance, but we are always looking for ways to grow that number. Large events like lunch and learns or the St Pete Pride parade can gather over 150 participants,” said Masessa.
Fecke has had some experience with a similar group within Tech Data, the sponsor of the last St. Pete Pride parade before the virus sidelined it last year and again for 2021 Both Facke and Masessa said that Raymond James has a strong commitment to community
involvement and they are proud that the PIN has such a dedicated commitment from the organization for which they work.
“We always like to give back to the community that we work and live in. We would like to make sure that we are getting the firms name out there and show the community how much we care about them,” said Masessa.
The 4th annual ArtOut – ArtOut 2021 is coming for PRIDE Month!! The LGBTQ Resource Center is proud and excited to present 17 local Gulfport LGBTQ artists and allies with a variety of work from three dimensional art work to large fine photography to beautiful portraits of our best four-legged friends. All of this will be on exhibit in the Gulfport Public Library during normal hours from May 28,
2021 thru June 30, 2021. The artists exhibiting in ArtOut 2021 include:
Dr. Beverly Boyarsky
Doreen Bryant (in remembrance)
In addition, there will be an introduction of the artists at the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony at the first “Gulfport Pride” event on Saturday, May 29, 2021 starting at 4 PM on the south lawn of the Gulfport Public Library. After the flag-raising, the library will remain open exclusively for ArtOut until 6 PM allowing guests to view the ArtOut 2021 exhibit. Some of the artists, will participate to guide
guests in the library to see the exhibit. There will be a requirement for wearing a mask inside the library and crowd size will be controlled. Also, the “Gulfport Pride” will feature a vendor market on Beach Blvd from 4PM to 9PM that will benefit the LGBTQ Resource Center.
Come start your PRIDE month with an art exhibit and stay to enjoy a wonderful Gulfport street vendor event. See you there!
- The Renunciations By Donika Kelly
- The Secret to Superhuman Strength By Alison Bechdel
- Everybody (Else) Is Perfect: How I
Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks, and Likes By Gabrielle Korn
- Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir By
- The Queens’ English: The LGBTQIA+
Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial
Phrases By Chloe O. Davis
- Black Girl, Call Home By Jasmine Mans
- Gay Bar: Why We Went Out By Jeremy Atherton Lin
- Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York By Elon Green
- Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 By Sarah Schulman
- Milk Fed By Melissa Broder
- She’s Too Pretty to Burn By Wendy Heard
- Malice By Heather Walter
- Kate in Waiting By Becky Albertalli
- Between Perfect and Real By Ray Stoeve
- 100 Boyfriends By Brontez Purnell
- The Girls I’ve Been By Tess Sharpe
- Detransition, Baby By Torrey Peters
- Sorrowland By Rivers Solomon
- The Vanishing Half: A Novel By Brit
- The Way I Used to Be By Amber Smith
- A Secret Love
- Two of Us
- The Capote Tapes
Raymond James Financial Pride Inclusion Network We’re excited to have Tampa Bay Drag Legend Alexis De La Mer host Virtual Drag Queen bingo again this year for our second annual event on June 23rd at 6:00pm ET. Proceeds from this event will go to support the Gulfport Library LGBTQ Resource Center and their community initiatives. Be sure to share information for this family-friendly event with your family and friends so we can expand the giving to the worthy cause. A $10 minimum donation (excluding host tip) is suggested per player.
The Gulfport Players return to the Catherine Hickman Theater June 10 – 20 for Birds of a Feather, by award-winning LGBTQ playwright Marc Acito. Roy and Silo, two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo, adopted an egg and birthed Tango, the real-life chick depicted in And Tango Makes Three. Can love conquer all? Select your socially-distanced seat(s) when you buy tickets online.
The City of Gulfport, FL will host its inaugural Pride event on May 29, from 4-9 PM to benefit the award-winning LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Public Library. Socially distanced activities will step off with Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band just prior to the Pride flag-raising ceremony and include the ArtOut Opening Reception and vendors showcasing art, pride gear, services and resources that serve the community. Event organizers will take extra precautions following CDC recommendations to keep our event safe and healthy: vendors will be socially distanced and required to wear masks. Event guests are encouraged to wear masks as well, masks will be available courtesy of Visit St Pete Clearwater and the City of Gulfport. As always, admission and parking are complimentary during Gulfport special events. More information can be obtained by contacting Suzanne King / SuzFest@gmail.com / txt 727-417-5494 or by visiting our Gulfport Pride event page.
A Friend Who Bakes is contributing a portion of their Friday and Saturday sales of yummy cookies, desserts and specially decorated baked goods featuring Pride/Trans flag colors to the LGBTQ Resource Center May 28-29. Visit A Friend Who Bakes at 2901 Beach Blvd. South as you stroll downtown Gulfport on Friday or Saturday. They are open extra hours, 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, during ArtWalk.
It’s a win-win: you get the calories, we get the dough! 😉
Come celebrate a Prideful Artwalk in downtown Gulfport on Friday, June 4, 2021 from 5pm – 9pm.
This creative town comes alive each First Friday, buzzing with art and music.
Free entry & free Parking. Information and artist applications.
This Just In…
ReadOut Leading Lesbian and Theologian Liz Edman Honored
Episcopal priest, political strategist and lesbian activist, Rev. Liz Edman, was named one of “11 women shaping the church in 2021” by Sojourners Magazine on March 8, International Women’s Day. Liz read from her book, Queer Virtue, and led a lively discussion on the intersection of feminist and queer theology at ReadOut.
Congratulations to Liz and to ReadOut for hosting such a timely conversation!
Applications Open for the Resource Center’s 2021-2022 LGBTQ $1,000 Scholarship
The LGBTQ Resource Center is pleased to announce applications are open now until September 15 for our second $1,000 scholarship to help an LGBTQ student further their education. The funds may be used for tuition, books or other expenses related directly to attending a post-secondary educational institution, trade school or training program. All high school graduates or GED holders are urged to apply. The winner will be announced in October. Contact email@example.com with questions. More information can be found at https://mygulfport.us/lgbtq-resources/
“Cured” Film offered for Free Online Screening June 17-30 and a Discussion June 30
The film will be available for screening June 17 to June 30. A zoom discussion is scheduled to follow the screening on the last night. Watch your email for a link! The film was made possible by a generous donation from one of the Resource’s supporters.
Five years in the making, CURED illuminates a pivotal yet largely unknown chapter in the struggle for LGBTQ equality: the campaign that led the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its manual of mental illnesses. Before this momentous 1973 decision, the medical establishment viewed every gay and lesbian person as diseased and in need of a cure. Business and government used the mental-illness classification to justify discrimination and
bigotry. As long as lesbians and gay men were “sick,” progress toward equality was nearly impossible.
Incorporating a trove of newly unearthed archival material — much of it unseen for decades — CURED takes audiences inside this riveting narrative to chronicle the strategy and tactics that led to a crucial turning point in the movement for LGBTQ rights. Indeed, following the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, the battle that culminated in the APA’s decision marked the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. CURED sheds new light on this victory — which was far from inevitable — while situating the APA story within the larger context of the modern movement for LGBTQ equality. You will be amazed at how far we have come!
Watch your email for links to this important screening and the discussion on June 30!
Saturday, June 5, 2021, at 2 pm EDT
ReadOut Saturday Special Edition: “Writing Herstorical Fiction.” Celebrated author Ellen M. Levy reads from her book about lesbian relationships, Struggles in a Boston Marriage, followed by interactive participant discussion about writing on lesbian issues with a perspective that blends history and fiction.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 7 pm EDT
ReadOut WriteOn featuring international lesbian feminist activist and author Sonja Franeta, and celebrated author Winn Gilmore in a 90-minute writing workshop by, for, and about lesbian literature, with prompts and interactive
Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 7 pm EDT
ReadOut special Wednesday event: Jane Fleishman, award-winning author of The Stonewall Generation: LGBTQ Elders on Sex, Activism & Aging, presents an interactive discussion with participants on lesbian issues including sex, activism, and aging.
Saturday, June 26, 2021, at 2 pm EDT
ReadOut Saturday Special Edition: Debra Gish, author and international lesbian feminist activist, reads from her book, Crone Chronicles 20-20: Intimately Inspiring Glimpses into the Lives of Wise Women 52+, and facilitates the 90-minute, interactive participants discussion by, for, and about lesbians.
Crone Chronicles 20-20
Introducing Board Member Edie Daly
Weaver, Quilter, Writer, Powerhouse
Edie Daly is one of a rare breed, a native St. Petersburg. Here, at age 6, she discovered the power of circles of women as a Brownie Girl Scout. Her favorite metaphor is a spider web, whose strands are connected organically to channel women’s energy out and in, each strand depending on the others. “I always knew I was different, but I thought it was because of my dyslexia,” she said. In the 1950’s Edie did what women do, and moved away, married, had children. She began identifying as a lesbian after realizing her long friendship with Doreen, a teacher of her oldest son, and she held a shared romantic attraction.
Edie returned to St. Pete in 1981, “I didn’t know any lesbians when I came back to St. Pete, so I joined NOW. I still didn’t know any until we opened a bookstore, The Well of Happiness. Within a month I knew 200 lesbians!”
With that, the weaving began. In 1982, Edie co-founded WEB, the Women’s Energy Bank, based on feminist consensus-based principles. In 1984, WEB organized St. Pete’s very first Pride event, a “sidewalk march” (that didn’t require a City permit) of 15 women from Williams Park to City Hall. “It was very scary. There were more police than women, and they videotaped everything,” she said with a smile. WEB met monthly, sometimes more often, for 21 years. “I cried for two years when WEB broke apart in 2003. My partner, Jackie, and I introduced a transgender conversation to the group, and there was a faction that wouldn’t accept transgender women,” she recalled with sadness. “I love lesbian-only space, but I know the only place I can really control having it is in my living room…and I am committed to inclusion in organizations like the LGBTQ Resource Center.”
In 2013, WEB donated approximately 200 lesbian-themed books to the Gulfport Library. They became the foundation of the library’s LGBTQ Resource Center, which has evolved into more than 7,000 books, CDs, DVDs, and other resources that educate and entertain the entire Gulfport community. “We are so very fortunate that Edie joined the RC board in 2020,” said Board President Susan Gore. Edie added, “Working in coalition is my other passion; it’s a way to create intersectional webs. I know we need to reach out to people of color, particularly Black women, by presenting programs that are of interest to Black and Brown folks, and by going to them and instead of expecting them to come to us.”
As a board member, Edie was integral to the creation of ReadOut’s Festival of Lesbian Literature as a virtual event, as well as its continued programs. “I was never a writer until computers came along with spell check. Before that, I never put anything on paper,” she says, smiling again. “Readout has taken the Resource Center to a new level. I hope interest in cyberspace and the connections we made through necessity this year will continue when we
start meeting in person again.”
As the Resource Center’s program chair, Edie’s passion and persistence make it a good bet the Resource Center’s programs will grow. Someone must have been listening in when this new international medium was labeled the WorldWideWeb.
Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan: Writing Partners for Life
Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan love words – word play, finding the exact word, and using words to craft fictional relationships where dramatic tension emerges from risking transparency rather than from lies, subterfuge, and misunderstandings. These University of Minnesota English majors inspire each other as writers and as life partners, attempting to live the values their books embrace.
Both participated in ReadOut 2021. Our 90-minute conversation has been edited for clarity and length:
Susan: Becky, your novel A Light on Altered Land has just been named one of four finalists for the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Best General Fiction Award. Congratulations! Please describe the “Goldies” for those who may be unfamiliar with them.
Becky: The Golden Crown Literary Society (CGLS) is the leading international organization for editors, publishers, readers, and writers of books about women loving women. Last year’s annual GCLS conference was similar to this February’s virtual ReadOut, with lesbian authors reading from their published works over several days. The Goldie Award winners will be announced at GCLS’s virtual conference in July.
Nancy: The effect of Zoom at GCLS and at ReadOut was interesting. Surprisingly, these virtual events felt more intimate than live conferences. First of all, we were closer to the speakers; there is no back of the room on Zoom. Second, there were no distractions from other participants (all on mute) or the surroundings. Presentations didn’t even have to be interrupted for long meal and bathroom breaks.
Susan: You both have popular lesbian themed books in print. How are they similar and different?
Becky: My first two books as well as my most recent title are fiction. A Light on Altered Land was inspired by Patricia Highsmith’s book and the film, Carol, with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Nancy and I were on a cross-country trip when the character Kathryn Kepler popped into my head. Kathryn is a celestial being; her last name alludes to Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. Ellie Belmont represents the earth – monte bella means beautiful mountain. Ellie is also modeled partially on Nancy, who taught college English. I put “Easter eggs” from Carol and Star Trek in the novel; it’s fun to imagine readers finding these hidden gems.
Nancy: I’ve published mainly nonfiction, including essays in anthologies and periodicals. Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence was an unusual book in 1985, published in seven languages and eleven countries. On My Honor: Lesbians Reflect on Their Scouting Experience, originally published in 1997, features the experiences of 33 Girl Scouts. An updated edition was released last month as a paperback and eBook.
When Becky and I first got together, we had a long conversation about how important Girl Scouting had been to me. She said “That’s your next book!” I was shocked to discover no book had been written about lesbians in the Girl Scouts. The title comes from the Girl Scout pledge, but it also points out the national organization hasn’t always lived up to its commitment to honor all members and staff, including lesbians. Kristen Renn’s experience of being fired from her summer job is a painful, and not unique, example.
In March 1992, Kristen was an Assistant Dean at Brown University and Liaison for LGB Concerns (pre-T or Q). When she was quoted in the Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin about her work with gay and lesbian students, she did not mention the Girl Scouts. In May, Kristen learned her summer camp contract was not being renewed. When Kristen contacted the local council, the leaders told her they believed she “knew why.” It was a devastating betrayal for a woman who had spent 22 years as a Girl Scout, a volunteer, and a summer staff member.
Susan: For those looking for a silver lining, between 1993 and 1995 Kristen testified repeatedly on behalf of “gay civil rights” bills before Rhode Island House and Senate legislative committees. In 1995, a bill supporting equal treatment finally passed. As Kristen said in 1997, “I do not believe that every cloud has a silver lining. And I do not believe that I was made to go through tremendous rejection and pain and loss because someday I would make a difference to one senator in Rhode Island. . . . I do believe that living with honor, honesty, and fairness is the right way to live.” Others credit her testimony with turning the legislative tide.
Susan: You two have an interesting way of editing: reading your work aloud to each other. Why do you do that?
Nancy: When Becky and I co-wrote Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully: A Journey with Cancer and Beyond (2007), we edited each other’s chapters via shared Word documents, which worked fine. But with A Light on Altered Land, Becky and I read drafts of the entire book aloud to each other – twice – and discovered hearing the words facilitated fine-tuning them. Recently, I’ve been reading A Light on Altered Land by phone with my AFS exchange sister in Turin, Italy. Luisella wanted to read Becky’s novel, but English is her third language, and she needs frequent explanations to understand the writing. As Luisella and I alternate reading chapters aloud, Becky’s metaphors and her humor leap off the page. This month, the novel has been released as an audio book, so people can have it read to them by a professional voice actor. Susan: What would you say to authors, especially those writing for lesbian audiences?
Becky: Write what you like to read—mysteries, romance, sci-fi, whatever. Find a lesbian writers’ support group where you can critique each other’s work. Attend conferences such as the LGBTQ Resource Center’s ReadOut and the Golden Crown Literary Society conference, where you are exposed to all sorts of writers and genres. Find a good editor.
Nancy: Read everything you can. Buy the award-winning titles from lesbian publishers like Bella Books, Bold Strokes, and Bywater Books. Take an online or in-person writing class. Subscribe to Sinister Wisdom, I Heart LesFic (I Heart Lesfic), The Lesbian Review, Lesbian Connection, Les Rêveur (Les Rêveur), and other publications. Join the Golden Crown Literary Society book club, where authors of the month’s title often join the discussion.
An interview by Susan Gore