It’s been a long time coming, but for the first time in history, a transgender pride march kicked off the St. Pete Pride parade.
Nathan Bruemmer, who joined the St. Pete Pride organization in February as the only transgender board member, was the brainchild behind the TransPride March.
St. Pete Pride Executive Director Eric Skains and Bruemmer met several times leading up to Pride weekend to decide how to best honor and recognize trans community members.
Skains and fellow board members, all extremely supportive of any and all ideas by Bruemmer, suggested a separate event be planned as part of Pride weekend, as has been done with other Pride weekend celebrations throughout the country.
According to Bruemmer, Skains had concerns over the lack of time allotted to plan an event of this magnitude.
Bruemmer assured Skains that it was still possible and was insistent that the TransPride March lead off the St. Pete Pride Parade, rather than be organized as a separate event.
“For so many reasons, I said this has to be connected and it has to lead off the parade,” Bruemmer says of his conversation with Skains during the planning phases of Pride weekend.
“Elevating trans voices is critical and long overdue.”
The hope of the march was to inspire all trans and gender non-conforming people to realize a world where trans people are safe, loved, and empowered.
The trans march included an estimated 750 marchers who walked from Albert Whitted Park to Straub Park, where the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade route began.
“We marched in hope, but it was balanced with the awareness of challenges faced by so many people in the trans community, especially for people of color and immigrants.”
Other groups and non-profit organizations, like Tampa’s Project No Labels, joined in on the TransPride March, then jumped onto their own float for the start of the Pride Parade.
Equality Florida provided funding for t-shirts that were handed out to the first 500 participants.
“At the end of the parade, young people and parents showed such joy on their faces. Not just happiness, but pure joy,” says Bruemmer. “Parents of trans youth came up to us to tell us how grateful they were for this opportunity. Many of them had kids too young to march in the parade.”
“Although we face many hurdles ahead, it was an empowering experience to take part in the parade,” continued Bruemmer. “We have a kaleidoscope of problems facing our community, but this was a first step – acknowledgement. I’m not sure if everyone felt the same as I did, but I felt a spiritual and surreal energy that day. I hope this sparks a lot of little fires to continue good work.”
In the days that followed, dozens of community members took to Facebook to share their excitement and gratitude for the TransMarch.
New Port Richey resident Denise Brogan-Kator shared her TransPride March experience, which turned into a blog post on the Family Equality Council website a few days later.
“This year marks 25 years since I first came out as transgender. During that time I’ve lived 14 years in Florida and I had never been to a Pride event here. On June 24 I marched in the inaugural Trans-Pride parade in St. Petersburg, FL (located in the same county in which I lived when I came out two and a half decades ago). It is deeply moving to me that my first Florida Pride event is one that celebrates being transgender. I did not always celebrate this.”
Brogan-Kator summarized her thoughts with a note of thanks to parade organizers. “I am deeply grateful to the organizers of this march that they have provided me with this opportunity.”
Bruemmer’s not sure where things go from here, but he’s reveling in the success of last week’s accomplishments.
To read more about the St. Pete Pride March, click here.
To readh Brogan-Kator’s full blog post, click here.