ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Saint Pete is ranked as one of Florida’s top cities for inclusivity of LGBTQ+ people. In the grand central district, you'll find a center contributing to that.
The LGBTQ Welcome Center opened in 2014 and is run by Metro Inclusive Health. It's only the third in the nation of its kind. The center holds youth and senior programs as well as mixers for new residents and businesses in the area.
“The welcome center has actually been a beacon of the organization and has been for a really long time. It serves as a place for not only for people coming or visiting the area to find out what is or what things the LGBTQ+ can do in our area or also find like-minded people. It also is a place where we do regular events,” explained Brian Bailey, the chief marketing and experience officer for metro inclusive health.
Metro Inclusive Health also has a space right next door to the welcome center called inclusivity. It has a health center that provides several services including primary and pediatric care, HIV testing, and more. Bailey said having a center like this is a great resource, especially in a community that already celebrates inclusion every day.
“This is the 20th year of Pride in St. Pete, and it has grown to be the largest Pride celebration in the southeastern United States. It's bigger than Miami, it's bigger than Atlanta. So, to us, it's a great return to what a diverse and welcoming community that this area St. Pete and Tampa Bay is,” explained Bailey.
The LGBTQ Welcome Center also has resources for tourists who are looking for information on local restaurants and attractions. You can learn more about the Welcome Center here.