Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Doors: 5:30 PM
Program: 6:00 PM

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St. Petersburg Museum of History
335 2nd Ave NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Driving Directions 

Parking, including accessible spots, can be found in the St. Pete Pier's Dolphin Lot (Fees here). Other parking options include the Pier's Pelican lot, the City's SunDial Garage (117 2nd St. N), approximately 3 blocks West of the Museum, as well as metered street parking along Bayshore Drive. 


727-894-1052 ext. 200
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Pride Perspective: Past & Future

Tuesday, June 28 | 6PM
Doors open 5:30PM
St. Petersburg Museum of History

Learn about the history of St. Pete Pride! Moderated by Jim Nixon (City of St. Petersburg's LGBTQ+ Liason), this program starts at 6PM. Doors open at 5:30PM, and a cash bar is provided. 

Hear the perspectives from panelists Brian Longstreth, Rocky Butler, Karen Reese and Rasheeda Johnson! Admission is a $5 suggested donation. Proceeds benefit 9 Colors Initiative and the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

Seating is not pre-assigned, so please arrive early if you have specific seating needs.

About the Panelists:

Brian Longstreth, Co-Founder St Pete Pride, Realtor
Brian Longstreth is a rare native Floridian, born in Bradenton 1961. He moved to Tampa in 1983 and found home in St. Petersburg in 1984. His early career in restaurant and retail lead to him becoming a Realtor in 1992 and getting very involved in the neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. He founded Your Neighborhood Realty in 1999, and opened an office in the newly formed Grand Central District in 2000 with brothers James and Clayton. Brian was instrumental in the resurgence of the Grand Central District, Historic Kenwood and Central Oak Park neighborhoods. This led to becoming very involved in city, county and state politics, supporting LGBTQ+ friendly politicians. Brian was a founding co-chair of St Pete Pride in 2003 and served on the board for many years bringing the International InterPride Conference to St Petersburg in 2009. In 2008 Brian converted an apartment building to GayStPete House B&B, changing the name to Casa Del Merman in 2021 and expanding to a 2nd location in Montanita, Ecuador. One of Brian’s favorite projects was getting the Tampa Bay Rays to become the 2nd MLB team to record an “It Gets Better” video in 2011. In 2014 Brian and brother James took the lead on getting a historic Bungalow donated to Metro Inclusive Health to become the LGBTQ Welcome center in the Grand Central District, only the 3rd in the nation at the time. Brian was also a founding member of Come Out St Pete in 2016 as a means to celebrate National Coming OUT Day locally, and served on the board for several years. Brian led a group of investors to open Punky's Bar and Grill on Central Avenue in 2015, selling his interest in the business in 2021, but not before meeting his future husband Yuttaphum (Sam) Thotsawat, whom he married in October 2021. They have two rescue dogs, Whiskey and Cola. Brian and business partner Steven Sroufe have spent a lot of time in Montanita, Ecuador this year, opening Casa Del Merman at Gay Montanita House, Merman Beach Club bar and restaurant, and Sunset Chill Lounge. Plans are underway for condominiums and an LGBTQ+ retirement community in Montanita soon, as well as expanding Montanita Pride in July 2022. 

Rocky Butler, Founder & President of 9 Colors Initiative
Rocky Butler, the Founder and President of 9 Colors Initiative, an organization dedicated to empowering the LGBTQIA+ community through unity, has been a leader in the St. Petersburg, Florida community for over a decade. Butler is credited with bringing “Ballroom”, a cultural staple in the Black and Brown Queer community, to the area and has been a leader in the Ballroom community since 2011. Currently serving as Chair of Diversity and Oversight for the St. Pete Pride organization, Rocky has centered Diversity and Equity work as both a passion and social responsibility. As a Community Activist, Advocate and Educator, Butler has been featured in the Ujima National Men’s Conference, Ujima Men’s Collective, Sysco Pride Month Lecture Series, BHA Conference and he served as a Ryan White Care Council Member. Butler is also an experienced and sought after event planner and has organized St. Pete Pride Intersectional events, Ballroom Competitions, Juneteenth observances, and Community “FrensGiving” events to provide fellowship opportunities for LGBTQ+ members that do not have means to cook their own Thanksgiving dinners or are estranged from their own families.  

Karen L. Reese, Chiropractic Physician
Dr. Reese graduated from Life University as chiropractic physician in 2000 and founded The Joint Spinal Center, Saint Petersburg in 2004. She was previously a professional photographer. Karen was Tampa Bay Business Guild (TBBG) board member from 2005-2010. She was the first female board vice-president and president of the Tampa Bay Business Guild. TBBG is now known as Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber. Prior to TBBG, she delivered food to people suffering with HIV/AIDS, aided people with spinal cord injuries, and a research team studying multiple sclerosis. Karen was also a security volunteer for multiple state athletic competitions as well as the 1996 Paralympic and Olympic games.

Rasheeda Johnson, Trans Services Navigator, Metro Inclusive Health
Rasheeda Johnson (She, Her, Hers) is the Trans Services Navigator for Metro Inclusive Health. A Chicago native, Rasheeda moved to the Tampa Bay Area last year in pursuit of helping with the disparities in the trans community. Receiving a M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies, Rasheeda’s true calling is working in the community. Throughout the year, Rasheeda has been built partnership amongst the local organizations, bars, and restaurants to ensure the inclusion of trans identifying persons.

Jim Nixon (Moderator), LGBTQ+ Liason & Director of the Mayor's Action Center, City of St. Petersburg
 Jim Nixon currently serves in dual roles as Director of the Mayor's Action Center and LGBTQ Liaison. As Director of the Mayor's Action Center, he is responsible for the daily operation and strategic implementation of the Mayor's Action Center, which processes citizen requests for assistance with services and distributes them to the responsible departments. Jim helps to ensure each department's responsiveness and works closely with our residents to maintain St. Pete's high quality of life. 

For the last five years, Jim has served as the LGBTQ+ Liaison to the Mayor's office in St Petersburg, FL. As LGBTQ+ liaison, he serves as an accessible and friendly ear to the city's LGBTQ+ community and elevate LGBTQ-related concerns to the city executive and other city officials. He serves as both a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office to the local LGBTQ demographic as well as a representative of LGBTQ interests to the leaders of St. Petersburg Government. 

Over the past five years, Jim has had the honor of working on many initiatives making St Petersburg an Inclusive and welcoming city. He was able to modify the city's Anti-Bullying policy to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all youth-facing services. He assisted in the inclusion of LGBTQ Businesses in the Greenhouse SBE program. He successfully navigated St. Pete's Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index resulting in the city receiving a perfect score every year.

Jim have been a constant marketing force in the LGBTQ+ community throughout Tampa Bay. Nine years ago, he began working on reorganizing a grassroots committee, the St. Pete LGBTQ+ Marketing Committee, to focus on marketing the Tampa Bay area as an LGBTQ+ vacation destination, which directly impacted the IGLTA 2017 Global Convention held in St. Petersburg in May 2017. 

In the past, Jim served as Regional Sales Manager at Watermark Newspaper and held board positions at the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce (formerly Tampa Bay Business Guild) and Florida CraftArt. His work in the attraction arena includes Advertising/Group Sales for Ruth Eckerd Hall before moving to The Dali Museum in 2012 as Group Sales/Membership Manager for five years. 

Jim completed Smart Ride #15 And #16, a 2-day, 164-mile bicycle ride from Miami to Key West to raise funds and awareness of HIV/AIDS services throughout Florida. 

In December 2018, he was named one of Watermark Newspaper's "Remarkable People of 2018". In May of that year, he was honored to represent the City of St. Petersburg during a week-long fact-finding delegation to Cuba to explore LGBTQ+ Cuba, business opportunities that celebrate inclusion policies, and the impact of current U.S. policies on the Cuban people. In 2020, Jim orchestrated the installation of the Progressive Pride Street Mural and petition FDOT to light the Sunshine Skyway in pride colors last June. 

Jim is a proud fur-parent to Woody and Rocky, his two Boston terriers. He organized St. Pete's Boston Tea Party; a Boston Terrier walks through downtown St Pete. They hosted over 100 Boston Terriers to parade through the streets of our fantastic city every December. On the weekends, you will find him cycling or camping and taking road trips to Florida state parks.