June 1 marks the start of Pride month where in St. Petersburg, rainbow flags proudly soar throughout downtown, but it’s now the date of a fight against transgender rights.
On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports. The measure states that a female athlete’s eligibility for sports teams is contingent on their biological sex.
“I want to express my disgust with the governor for signing the trans bill today. He signed it this morning on June 1, if you don’t think that was intentional, you are kidding yourself,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said in his opening remarks on Tuesday morning during the ceremonial rainbow flag raising at City Hall.
“I say this to you governor, we expect more from you that we got today,” Kriseman said, who has been a longtime advocate for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community.
The ceremonial flag raising represents the kick off for month-long events that will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Although the governor’s decision may have soured the mark of Pride month, the city has events planned for every weekend that will attract thousands of residents and tourists.
“For a governor who claims to care about economic development, being a diverse, welcoming, tolerant community is an attractive community to Fortune 500 businesses. You want them to relocate to the state of Florida, then you be a city that celebrates pride,” Kriseman said. “Not one that closes off communities and shuts off people.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, safety protocols will be in place as many events and activities will be held outdoors.
Typically, the community hosts the St. Pete Pride Parade that generally welcomes at more than 2oo,000 people to St. Petersburg.
The major pride events to take place this month include:
Light up with Pride: June 1 from 8:30-11:30 p.m.: St. Pete will light its landmarks in rainbow color during the evening on Tuesday evening
PrideFest’s Kickoff Reception: June 3 from 6-9 p.m. at Sirata Beach Resort
Pride Run St. Pete and Pride OUTside: June 5 from 7 a.m.- 2 p.m. at Vinoy Park: People will get to run along the city’s waterfront. The run is limited to 750 participants and runners must pre-register. Complementing the event will be the outdoor festival the Pride OUTside event at Vinoy Park.
We Are Family Pride Event: June 12 at 11 a.m.-5 p.m.: 375 Bayshore Dr. NE. The event will celebrate LGBTQ+ families and allies in North and South Straub Parks and the St. Pete Pier.
There are many other events that will be held throughout the month. For more details and a list of all the events, visit stpetepride.org.