With gay marriage now recognized nationwide and RuPaul's Drag Race taking up a coveted prime time spot on Thursday nights, people tend to miss the ongoing issues affecting the LGBTQ community as a whole. An example of this occurred in Colorado, when a baker refused to make a cake for a gay wedding. The worst part? The Supreme Court absolved him of any wrongdoing. I know how it feels to be judged harshly for being gay and it's not fun. However there is a silver lining, I've learned not to take things so personally. Now I'm stronger, more confident and truly comfortable in my own skin.
I came out when I was 14 and have been celebrating Gay Pride ever since. It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since I came out...The realization that I have spent more than half of my life living openly as a gay man is surreal. Being gay is part of who I am. It wasn't a choice, it's my truth. A truth I celebrate every single day, by sharing my life with my best friend. That said, I was beyond thrilled to partner with ABSOLUT, a brand that has a long history of celebrating the LGBTQ community. In fact it was the first spirits company to support us and it has continued to do so for the past 32 years (and counting)!
Fast forward to last weekend in St. Petersburg, FL. where we celebrated Pride 2018! Erik and I landed in Tampa at 10pm and by 11:30pm we were checked in, changed and walking into a fabulous local club: Greg's Enigma, which houses a piece of the iconic
longest Rainbow Flag by Gilbert Barker from 2003, it's a true piece of LGBTQ history.. We danced the night away with our ABSOLUT fam, I drank ABSOLUT and tonic with lime, while Erik preferred ABSOLUT and cranberry with a splash of orange juice. It was the perfect start to our weekend, but it was just the beginning.
Saturday we had lunch by the pool before co-hosting ABSOLUT'S Pride 2018 pool party with Everett Williams and Angelis Borges at The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. If you don't follow them already, you're welcome. I have to say that everyone we worked with was incredible, it was so much fun and I left with a new heard of friends. After the pool party we went on a pub crawl through the gay pride festivities! This trek included several ABSOLUT cocktails and even Jello shots, before we ended up back at the pool which gave us an elevated view of the street...it was the perfect spot to watch the parade! Saturday night began with a casual poolside dinner, before we all swapped our bathing suits for real clothes and went out for a night cap. The drinks were flowing and we were all smiles as we danced, boogied and laughed so hard that my face hurt the next day.
On Sunday we all took it easy, reminiscing about our magical weekend while eating burgers by the pool. We probably would have spent the entire day by the pool, but a little Florida thunderstorm came through relocating us to a bar patio instead. We had our final cheers with some delicious cocktails and all went our separate ways. I could not have asked for a better weekend, or better people to spend it with. I am so blessed and grateful to work with such wonderful people. I hope everyone had a glorious pride weekend and I hope we can get to a place where pride isn't solely celebrated on one day...one weekend...or even one month, but every day.