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St Pete Pride 2008 is this coming Saturday!!!

Scott Elliott about about 7 years ago

St. Pete Pride is please to announce that Janice Langbehn has agreed to be our Grand Marshall this year. Janice is not a house hold name yet but her story is compelling especially in light of the current attempt to deny gay partners any rights. In Janice's Own words, here's what happened: Lisa and I always wanted to have a family together. Early into our 18-year relationship, we became foster parents to many beautiful and exceptional children. We adopted four children and made them a permanent part of our family. Our children came from an underprivileged and abusive background, so Lisa and I made an effort to spend a lot of time together as a family. We thought it would be nice to get out of the cold and head to the Caribbean that February. We took our kids on an R Family Vacations Cruise to the Bahamas. While we were still docked in Miami, the children went to the upper deck to play basketball and Lisa went to cheer them on. Suddenly, she collapsed. Lisa had always been very healthy and there were no warnings that she was ill or that her life was in danger. Our children carried her down to the ship's stateroom. I took one look at her and knew it was serious. She couldn't talk or stand up. Luckily, Lisa and I knew sign language; I asked if she had hit her head and she emphatically signed "no." I began to worry that she had had a stroke. I had no idea that this would be the last time that I would see Lisa alive. Lisa was rushed to the trauma unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Instead of being met with compassion and patience when I arrived, the hospital's social worker was confrontational and rude. He told me that I was in an antigay state and that I would need to produce a health care proxy before I would be allowed to see her. The intake nurse also refused to give me any information. The children and I waited for what felt like forever for word on her condition. I couldn't believe that we were being treated like we weren't Lisa's family. We had spent almost 20 years of our lives together, were raising children together. If that's not family, I don't know what is. I explained to them that I was Lisa's life partner with medical power of attorney.. Luckily, I got in touch with a friend and she immediately faxed over our power of attorney papers and medical documents. Hours passed before I heard anything about Lisa. Finally, a neurosurgeon told me that she had a massive and fast bleeding brain aneurysm. By then, it had been hours since the last time I saw Lisa. Another neurosurgeon came out to the waiting area and informed me that the aneurysm was too massive and that my Lisa was moving toward brain death. Other than being allowed to watch Lisa receive the ritual of the Last Rites, we were barred from being by her side for more than eight hours until her sister arrived. Lisa had been alone all that time, even though we were just 20 steps away. By the time I was allowed to hold Lisa's hand to soothe her over to the other side, her hand was cold. I could tell that she could no longer hear our words. Months after Lisa's death, the state of Florida still had not released her death certificate to me because we were not a recognized couple. Without it, our children's Social Security benefits were held up, as were their life insurance benefits. So we grieved for what was. We grieved for the immeasurable loss of Lisa and we grieved for all the other same-sex couples and their families facing discrimination on a daily basis. Lisa and I never set out to change the world or change how others accept gay families. We just wanted to be allowed to live equally and raise our children well. All we wanted was to be treated with dignity in a time of tragedy. It's hard to believe that was too much to expect. The Board of St. Pete Pride believes that this story and ones like it are necessary to put a personal face on the consequences of Amendment 2.

Other upcoming events include Pride & A Movie Chad Allen and Margot Kidder in "On The Other Hand, Death" Sponsored by St. Pete Pride and Clip Tampa Bay, we'll be one of the first people in the country to see "On The Other Hand, Death" a murder mystery from HERE! Films. Read on... Taste of Pride Wine Tasting and After Party Come experience a Taste of Pride at Nova 535. We're sampling a selection Barefoot Wines with light hor'duerves. Read on... Laughter in Paradise and After Party with ANT and CHRISTINEOLEARY Our annual comedy festival will be held on June 27th at Nova 535. This years line up includes ANT ("Last Comic Standing") and Christine O' Leary. Come enjoy an evening of laughter and stay for the LIP after party. Immediately following Laughter in Paradise, is the After Party featuring DJ Pride. Dance party begins at 10 PM. Read on... Promenade and Street Festival Where the Magic Happens Come be a part of the Promenade and Street festival then rock until dawn at the pride after parties. For the boys, mystic Krewe of Babylon presents "Return to Babylon" and TwirlGirl presents "Rock Loud, Rock Proud" for girls who like to rock! Read on... D-Tox A Tea-Dance to cleanse your soul Come let the music and dance cleans the weekend and prepare you to face the year with pride. Read on...

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