Pictured from left, Michael Gauthier, Councilmember Yolanda Roman, Jo Silverleaf, Gail Biron, Charlene Metrano and Christine Gallagher. The team is holding a string of gay pride flags that will be used as a valance around the outside top of the trolley. At eye level, a string of printed reproductions of a painting by Silverleaf entitled, “Gulfport Loves Orlando.” Gallagher said as the group unraveled the decorations from last year, “Wait, we’re a little twisted.”
eginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 24, six Gulfportians gathered to decorate the city’s 28-passenger trolley, which is a Gulfport staple in the annual LGBT Pride parade in St. Pete. The parade will be held at night on Saturday, June 25. City officials are expecting a crowd from 70,000 to 100,000.
“We’ve always recognized the value of this event,” said Gulfport Councilmember Yolanda Roman. “This year, our participation symbolizes a sign of unity and community because we represent Gulfport, the country and Orlando. We have no hesitation participating regarding the tragedy that happened in Orlando. This will most likely be the biggest Pride event in the country.”
The trolley is a show of support for the central Florida city that on June 12 experienced the worst mass shooting in United States history at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub, that left 49 people dead and 53 others wounded.
Pictured from left, Michael Gauthier and Christine Gallagher, both of Gulfport. Gallagher, owner of The Cell Phone Solution on Gulfport Boulevard, led the donation effort of six local businesses that funded 16 cases of beads that will be tossed by trolley riders during Saturday night’s Pride parade. Besides her own, other businesses included O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille, Salty’s Gulfport Bar, Little Tommies Tiki and Time Systems. “Every person on the trolley will have their own bag of beads to throw out,” Gallagher said.