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The Diversity Arts Program allows LGBTQ Youth a place to be themselves in Pinellas County

Posted at 4:30 PM, Oct 09, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A Pinellas County artist has created a haven for LGBTQ youth to feel comfortable, have fun and express themselves.

The program is called Diversity Arts.

“This is a place where they can be among their peers, where they totally understand where they are coming from,” said artist John Gascot, who created the program.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Gascot said he had nowhere to really be himself, he wanted to give teens in Pinellas County something more. Diversity Arts was born.

“Expression is very important to us, you know there are kids that can express things through art even before they are ready to express it vocally or outwardly to somebody,” said Gascot.

William Robitzsch, of St. Pete High School, said when it comes to after school activities there aren’t many options.

“I think that like a lot of people are too scared to show that they are ok with it so they just kind of ignore the LGBTQ community,” said Robitzsch.

Kai Wooten, of Dixie Hollins High School, said it’s a great opportunity to share advice on everything from painting a landscape to sketching out a plan to handle life’s next obstacle.

“You can find a lot of people who are like you and who are going through similar things and you can kind of relate to each other,” said Wooten.

Samuel Vanmiddlesworth, or Gibbs High School, said drawing comes easy to him but making friends is a little more challenging.

“I’m usually alone secluded in my room when I draw to express my feelings and stuff like that but it’s nice to sit around some people, talk sometimes, it’s nice to have that human contact,” said Vanmiddlesworth.

For more information on Diversity Arts go to