ALSO Youth, a nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ youth in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, is pleased to announce the hiring of James Robinson as Executive Director. He will assume the role on April 13, 2020 and brings 20+ years of nonprofit and fundraising experience to the organization.
Mr. Robinson recently served as Development Director for De LaSalle Academy of Fort Meyers, FL, a school-based program for children living with learning challenges. Prior to relocating to Florida, he served as the Executive Director of Youth Pride - Rhode Island’s only LGBTQ+ Youth Center, where he increased the Center’s programs, services, staff and outreach to youth. He has worked for many organizations over the years in HIV/AIDS activism, healthcare and community development.
We have ambitious plans to continue our growth and outreach into both counties, and we believe James is ideally suited for the role. We also wish to thank Donna Hanley, our interim Executive Director since September 2019 for returning to lead the organization and provide a steady hand while we searched for a new Executive Director,” ALSO Youth Board President, Mary Tavarozzi, stated.
Mr. Robinson holds an advance degree in Urban Affairs from Hunter College in NY and is looking forward to his new role and meeting our community of supporters. He notes “I am so excited to join the dedicated Board and staff of ALSO Youth. It is as important now as ever to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and I look forward to getting started”.
About ALSO Youth: At ALSO Youth we believe that you should celebrate who you are, what makes you unique and why you matter. We provide a safe, inclusive and affirming environment. Our mission is to empower youth to foster relationships, develop personal and professional skills and to create inclusive communities. ALSO Youth is open to young people between the ages of 13-21. Our programs and services build self-esteem and help ready you for various life stages.
On Sunday, October 22nd, Harvest Sarasota came OUT with their hearts for the LGBTQ+ community. Pastor Dan Minor’s message was real, raw and practical. Many Churches and their members struggle with how to Love and align with scripture regarding sexuality, and here’s a great example.
Pastor Minor has 2 siblings who are gay including his sister Erin Minor, the Executive Director of Harvest House Transitional Centers. Below is a clip from Sunday's sermon where you will see one Pastor leap with blind faith and we’re hoping he lands on solid ground with support from the community.
Later in the pastors sermon he stated: "I don't care where you are, who you're with, what you do, what it looks like... you are not only welcome here, you're celebrated here and we want you to have an opportunity to pursue and receive and experience the grace of God." To watch the full video CLICK HERE.
Dr. Boyd Lindsley has been elected chair of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. The 23-member board is from a 22-county region of Florida, which includes Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples.
Lindsley began volunteering for Planned Parenthood in 2011 and joined the board in 2013. He and his husband, Michael Farmer, live near Orlando, where he is the senior associate director for the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media. Lindsley is a recognized leader in the LGBTQ community and serves on committees for Equality Florida and the Zebra Coalition.
Three years after launching services for transgender patients, the program at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida continues to grow rapidly. The number of transgender patients receiving services has increased from 180 during the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year to 1,152 during 2018 – 2019.
“As a member of the LGBTQ community, I know how important these services are,” said Dr. Boyd Lindsley, chair of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “We are proud to provide sexual and reproductive health care that is inclusive, compassionate and non-judgmental.”
Transgender services are offered at ten health centers in the 22-county region that includes Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples. Patients can receive hormone replacement therapy, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and sex education that includes transgender people’s identities and experiences. While most patients live locally, some travel from other states, including Georgia and Virginia.
“The most rewarding part of working with this program is seeing the dramatic change in patients,” said Michelle Tarte, a physician’s assistant at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “Patients often struggle with depression when they arrive and are extremely happy by the time they complete the program. It is life-saving.”
The mission of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida is to provide affordable access to comprehensive reproductive health care and accurate health information through patient care, education and advocacy.
The Voices of Sarasota Holiday Concert, December 8, 2019 “Tis The Season…” In celebration of its 22nd anniversary, Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota is proud to present a holiday concert featuring the universal theme of celebration! The musical event will be held at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center (Holley Hall), 709 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236 on Sunday, December 8 at 3 p.m. Diversity’s singers will enchant audiences with songs of celebration. The concert program will include “Everywhere Christmas Tonight” and beautifully arranged classics like “Once in Royal David’s City“ and “Away in a Manger”. Diversity will also perform songs of celebrating who we are including “True Colors”, “This is Me” and others.
Tickets to “Tis The Season…” are $20 in advance, available from Diversity’s singers or online at www.DiversitySarasota.org. If not sold out, tickets may also be available at the door at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center prior to the concert.
For more information, please call 888-550-6279.
DIVERSITY: THE VOICES OF SARASOTA’S MISSION: Through songs of hope and inclusion, our LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly chorus celebrates all of humanity and inspires our community to embrace equality.
Non-Profit Organization: ALSO Youth
Favorite LGBT Group: Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota
Annual Event: Sarasota Pride - Winter Wonderland!
LGBT Activist: Shannon M Fortner
LGBT Owned Business: Mellow Mushroom Sarasota
Favorite Business: The Reserve SRQ
Area Attraction: The Ringling
Performing Arts Venue: Asolo Repertory Theatre
Pet Lodging: SPOT srq Dog Grooming
Realtor: Jim Jablonski
Insurance Agency: Allstate Insurance Agent: Richard Dean Plummer II
Hotel: Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection
Travel Agency: myXOAdventures
Apartment Community: ARCOS Apartments
Church: MCC Church of the Trinity
Salon: SALON FORTY ONE On Palm Avenue
Fitness Center: Balance Health + Fitness
Health Care Professional: Complete Care Group
Community Bank: Sabal Palm Bank
Beauty Spa: The Laser Lounge Spa of Sarasota
Make-UP Artist: MOD Makeup on Demand
Coffee Spot: The Reserve SRQ
Restaurant: Sage SRQ
Chef: Christopher Covelli
Brunch: Station 400 Sarasota
Happy Hour: G2H2 Sarasota - Gay Group Happy Hour
Bar: Purple Rhino Lodge
Bartender: Hunter Vance
LGBT Bar Purple Rhino Lodge
Drag Queen Bingo: Beneva Fruitville's Drag Queen Bingo Bonanza at McCurdys
Boutique: Pixie Dust Metaphysical Boutique
Wedding Venue: Selby Gardens - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Interior Designer: Interior Design Society of Sarasota
Gallery: The Ringling
Artist: Tom A. Ford
Photographer: Samantha Ponzillo Media
Musician: Jami Sophia Gee
DJ: Lucy Blu
Adult Novelty Store: Giggles Sarasota
Drag Personality: Beneva Fruitville
Social Media Personality: Joey Panek
Youth: Tyler Lerch
ICON AWARD: Margaret Good
ALSO Youth, a Sarasota based nonprofit organization that provides peer support services, educational programs, advocacy, and referrals for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth ages 13 to 21, their families and friends, and the community, announced today the resignation of its Executive Director, Nathan Bruemmer, JD, effective August 31, 2019. Mr. Bruemmer had served as the Executive Director for the past two years.
“We appreciate Nathan’s leadership during a crucial time in ALSO Youth’s history and look forward to further growth and deepening of the work spearheaded during his tenure,” said Lana Bruce, President of the Board of Directors.
“As family demands require me to step away, I am proud of the hard work and great strides we have taken over the past years to meet the growing and evolving needs of the youth,” said Mr. Bruemmer. “I am incredibly humbled by the courage our kids have shown by raising their voices to express their needs. It has been my honor to serve them.”
Donna Hanley, MA, LMHC, the former Executive Director of ALSO Youth, will serve as interim Executive Director effective September 3, 2019.
For over 25 years, ALSO Youth has been empowering LGBTQ+ youth and their allies and building inclusive communities. Founded by parents and community members, ALSO Youth serves Sarasota and Manatee counties through advocacy, outreach and by providing a safe space “drop-in” center.
by staff writer, Monica C.
Watermark reported a story today stating: "Sarasota Pride, Inc. announced Aug. 15 that its next PrideFest will be held Jan. 25, 2020, rather than in 2019." Abandoning 2019 is missing out on a significant milestone in LGBT history as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and 2019 is Sarasota Pride's 30th anniversary.
Cindy Barnes has led the organization into its 29th year last year at J.D. Hamel Park and attributes the reason for moving pride this year is because of Oktoberfest. “The park [J.D. Hamel] is hosting Oktoberfest Oct. 18-20 and the city only allows so many events per date within the city limits.” Cindy stated.
“Sarasota Pride moves into the Winter WONDERLAND!” Cindy muses. “We are hoping for cooler weather."
Cindy added that while Oct. 12 WAS available, which could have allowed for a festival in 2019, it conflicted with two other Pride celebrations in Florida. “Pulling from the same resources just makes a successful event almost impossible,” she said.
Joshua Beadle, the owner of SarasotaOUT.com, isn't pleased with Sarasota Pride, Inc's decision to cancel 2019 pride and is now encountering complications. "I have been hard at work on scheduling events for a week-long celebration called Sarasota Pride Week that would have concluded with Sarasota Pride, Inc's festival. Sarasota Pride Week was launched last year by SarasotaOUT.com with no affiliation to Sarasota Pride, Inc. "I created Sarasota Pride Week to address the concerns from the community that Sarasota Pride, Inc. was not being inclusive or allowing the community to be involved. I had many conversations with people who were suggesting to start a new pride. My answer to that was to simply add-on to what Sarasota Pride, Inc has already created so that everyone could be included in some way."
2019 was going to be the second year of SarasotaOUT.com's Sarasota Pride Week. "Anyone that plans events like this knows it takes months of preparation and as of this May - I was under the impression that pride was still happening in October," Joshua stated. "Sarasota Pride, Inc's Facebook and website were not helpful. They were both still promoting 2018's Pride. I needed to speak with someone from Sarasota Pride Inc. directly to confirm the 2019 dates so I could start planning and promoting Sarasota Pride Week including a new event that I was really excited about. I was working on chartering the LeBarge for a Sunset Pride Cruise."
"After contacting Sarasota Pride, Inc. a couple times throughout the year with no reply, I did get an answer from Cindy. She replied very simply to my question about pride being held in October, stating it would be "safe" for me to go ahead and book my events around October dates. And this was in May. " Joshua explained.
"Now, with this turn of events, I'm trying to reschedule events. I've reached out to the LeBarge about rescheduling the cruise and am nervously awaiting their reply." Joshua said. "Why didn't Sarasota Pride, Inc. consider a new location outside the city limits? Why didn't they reach out to the community for help? Why didn't they reserve J.D. Hamel Park a year in advance?" Joshua questioned.
"I do believe Sarasota deserves the BEST! We deserve a pride celebration that rivals Tampa and why not aim for a pride that rivals St. Petersburg! That was my goal with Sarasota Pride Week. It was not intended to change what Cindy and her team are doing, only to enhance it. I do wish Cindy and the Sarasota Pride, Inc. team the best of luck in 2020 and SarasotaOUT.com will do whatever we can to enhance and promote the festival." Joshua said positively.
It appears that some of the community expects more from Sarasota Pride as well. Joshua posted on facebook a week ago asking if anyone has heard anything official about pride, being that it is only 3 months away.
The post received numerous comments with similar complaints of having tried to contact Sarasota Pride, Inc. with no reply.
Berry Ayers aka Beneva Fruitville, who has voiced her opinion numerous times on Sarasota Pride, Inc. commented: " ...The board is made up of a group of friends who is tyrannically run by one person. Cindy’s way or the highway. I have tried to join the board two years ago, was never informed of meetings and was lied to. Their lack of transparency and complete disregard for the community they’re attempting to represent can no longer be tolerated."
In 2017, Beneva Fruitville led a boycott againsts Sarasota Pride, Inc. when the organization didn't want to allow drag performers to participate in the festival.
The boycott began when a local queen reached out to a board member offering to perform at the festival for free and received a response stating there will be music all day and no queens and that's the way they want it.
After a social media outrage, the board released a joint statement that Sarasota Pride, Inc. would be more inclusive, diverse and welcoming to those who felt removed from the Pride Fest schedule. The following year, Beneva was replaced without notice as hostess of Sarasota Pride Inc's pride festival.
Beneva has led the discussion within the community about having a new pride. One she says would be "more inclusive." Joshua doesn't think that is the best answer. "I believe we just need to find a way to work together and create something really BIG. Perhaps we need to have a community forum?" Joshua commented.
Do you think there is a problem with our current pride? Do you think a new pride is a good idea or a bad idea? How do you feel about skipping 2019? Are you excited for 2020? Sound off in the comment section below.
UPDATE: 08/16/19 | Are you interested in joining the Sarasota Pride board? A primary responsibility of board directors is to participate in the development of fundraising events and decision-making regarding Sarasota Pride. Here's a link to submit a questionnaire. The website also states if you have any questions to contact Cindy Barnes directly at 941-320-9268 or message their facebook page.
UPDATE: 08/16/19 | Sarasota Pride, Inc has set up a GoFundMe page today, asking for donations to help with costs of the 2020 pride event.
UPDATE: 08/17/19 | The GoFundMe page was removed.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of SarasotaOUT.com