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LGBT Community Shows Its Pride In St. Pete

By CARLOS MONCADA The Tampa Tribune

ST. PETERSBURG - With transgender advocate Susan Stanton serving as grand marshal, the fifth annual St. Pete Pride parade and street festival drew tens of thousands of people who reveled down the city's main street Saturday for the splashy, flashy unleashed expression of gay culture.

Stanton received a rock star's reception as she rode down Central Avenue in a silver Mercedes-Benz convertible. She is the former Largo city manager who, when known as Steve, was fired in March after revealing that he planned to undergo a sex change.

Wearing a pink sleeveless top, white slacks and dark glasses, the blonde-haired Stanton was greeted by a long line of spectators who cheered and applauded, shouted "Yeah, Susan," or "Go, girl," and handed her roses, beads and other gifts.

"It was very fun," Stanton said later. "It's the most significant, emotional outpouring I've ever experienced. It was very humbling."

Organizers billed the event as the biggest gay pride celebration in Florida, attracting up to 60,000 people, some from around the state and the Southeast.

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