I am Charles Harshbarger, president of Prime Timers of Tampa Bay. We only have, at present, about 100 members, but our influence is felt in the entire Tampa Bay Metro Area. St. Petersburg, a part of our area, is host to the largest Pride parade and celebration in the state of Florida. This is an extremely "gay friendly" city.
Perhaps it is because of the very large assembly of retired folks who come here. They are very tolerant of different lifestyles. For whatever reason, our Pride event drew a whopping 300,000 people this year. Last year, it was 250,000, so it is still growing.
With an abundance of interest groups geared towards its many LGBT populations, "Asheville May Be the Most LGBT-Friendly City in the U.S." (Livability Magazine), LGBT folks are well integrated into the fabric of Asheville. The abundance of specialized groups, including those for dancers, hikers, walkers, LGBT Elders, vegans, supper club participants, book readers, bar-friendly folks, card players, and movie enthusiasts is wonderful. But that also makes establishing a niche for the Asheville Prime Timers somewhat difficult. The overall population of our region is among the smallest in the constellation of Prime Timers chapters, so we are constantly challenged to provide unique educational and social opportunities for our membership.