Creating Your Community ft. Joshua Beadle

Creating Your Community ft. Joshua Beadle

The Steves discuss the Suncoast LGBTQIA+ community with local influencer Joshua Beadle. As creator of , our local G2H2 Happy Hours, and the upcoming Big Gay Beach Party, Joshua has been shaping our queer community for almost a decade.

Transcription of Episode:

Steve: 0:04

Returning happies and new listeners. This is Steve Bennet-Martin,Stephen: 0:08

and this is Steven Martin-Bennet. And welcome to a lifetime of happiness on the Suncoast, theSteve: 0:14

podcast, where we take you on our journey. As we search for the secret to living a happy life on the Suncoast. Well, hopefully helping make your life better along the way.Stephen: 0:22

And today we’ll be talking with the creator of project pride, Sarasota and happy man about town. Joshua Beadle.Steve: 0:29

Yes. But before we get to that, dear, what is making you happy right now?Stephen: 0:34

Well, because of COVID-19 and me being an essential worker, I was at work. Every day, yes. During this, and during the beginning of it, when everything was just so up in the air, we weren’t taking any time off. And all of my PTO just was accumulating and I looked at it and I realized I had a bunch of days I have to take before the end of the year. So I set it up where I’m going to be able to take off every other week. I will have three day work weeks. So that’s very exciting.Steve: 1:10

Yes, it is. Consider me quite jealous, but I know that after the amount of time you’ve spent with the company and how hard you’ve been working, especially this year through COVID, you certainly have deserved the chance to have that extra RNR.Stephen: 1:24

I’m very excited. What about you? What’s making you happy this week?Steve: 1:29

Well, it’s making me happy, but I know it made you happy as well. The long awaited, movie new mutants came out.Stephen: 1:36

Yes. As the tagline from the movie itself said, hell has frozen over. Because no one ever thought it was ever going to get released.Steve: 1:44

Yeah. Yes, but it was, I mean, I wish it came sooner, but I would say it was worth the wait because it was a fantastic movie. It was the highlight of my week between the experience of seeing a movie again, as well as just having it be this movie with these characters, you know, the adapted from the comics that we love and the adaptations of these characters were phenomenal. Iliana is. Probably like now in my top favorite mutants because of this actress, portrayal of her.Stephen: 2:12

Yeah. She was fantastic. And I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to think, because the actress is in a movie. I didn’t care for that much, but it turns out it was just the movie. Cause she’s fantastic.Steve: 2:26

Yeah. It was a great movie. So that’s what made me happy.Stephen: 2:31

Like that is actually happy news in and of itself. The movie, these are back.Steve: 2:36

Yes. Not only did new mutants come out this week, but it’s one of a couple of movies that are coming out in late August into early September.Stephen: 2:45

And if you were a child of the eighties or just enjoyed going to the movies in the eighties, then you probably remember bill and Ted and their excellent adventure. Well, bill and Ted and other members from the original cast are back for a third installment. And that’s just exciting for me because I remember going to see bill and Ted’s excellent adventure and bogus journey. And absolutely loving them. So I’m super excited to see this and like, whether you feel safe going to a theater or you’re going to a drive in, there are ways to see movies. And there are driving opportunities around us and theaters are open. So. If you feel comfortable going support your local businesses, whichever way you can.Steve: 3:33

Yes. A wonderful, and in terms of supporting local, we had the pleasure of speaking to someone who’s made a huge impact on our local community.Stephen: 3:42

And I think that’ll take us right over to the interview. Yes.Steve: 3:46

Wonderful.Stephen: 3:47

Today. We have the honor of speaking with creator of project pride, Sarasota, as well as the founder of Sarasota and the popular H to happy hour. Joshua beetle. Welcome Joshua. Thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today.Joshua: 4:03

Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here. Yes. And assuming that that is not normally how you introduce yourself with that whole blurb, how do you normally introduce yourself to someone you meet them and explain what you do for a living it’s always loaded and I say it’s complicated. So I think that that was beautiful. The way that you did it,Stephen: 4:25

you are many of us not an native Sarasota. What brought you to theJoshua: 4:32

Suncoast? Well, hopefully I was going to say like everyone, it was a boy, but maybe everyone moved to Sarasota because of a boy. But for me it was a. I lived in Pittsburgh in the city and I was a city boy. and I kind of came to Florida because of love. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but I did fall. So in love with the Suncoast and Sarasota in particular, it is such a paradise here. And it’s, I feel like a hidden paradise. Because not, you know, it’s not overpopulated, it’s just right at the moment. So I I’m, I feel blessed that I was able to find it. Yes. How long have you been here now? About 10 years. Okay.Stephen: 5:20

That’s the same as us. We moved in 2011.Joshua: 5:24

Yeah, and I honestly don’t have any desire to leave at anytime soon. So I might be here for life. That’s our plan as well.Stephen: 5:35

Unless, you know, at some point I buy a Villa in Tuscany and we just leave the country.Joshua: 5:40

Yeah. There might need to be listen, if you, if that happens and you need someone to, you know, I don’t know, manage the property. Look me up. Cause you might be able to get me to go for that.Stephen: 5:53

We’ll give you a call in your personal life. What are some things that make you happy or bring you joy?Joshua: 6:01

That’s a good question. I enjoy being. Around my friend, you know, that, I think that no matter what’s going on in your life, as long as you have a good support group, that brings you joy. And my friends are so supportive of all the things that I do. So what also brings me joy is the work that I do, but it’s really great when you kind of have the best of both worlds. And I do so for instance, if I say I want to have. A gay beach party, which I do and is coming up soon. my I’ll ask my friends, I’ll be like, Hey, do you want to help? You know, do you want to maybe help me carry things out? Or there’s a lot of work that goes involved in it. And their answer normally is, do we have a choice? But they mean that in like in the nicest way, they, they definitely want to help out, but it’s just kind of like their way of joking about it, but everybody helps and we all feel like a lot of pride. You know, being able to put on events and do things for the community like that. So I, I, what brings me joy is definitely my friends and my work.Steve: 7:05

Yes. And being one of the most well known LGBT plus people in the Sarasota community. How would you say our community has changed and grown over the years?Joshua: 7:18

That is very interesting. So when, and I’m just gonna maybe give you a really long winded answer. Hopefully it’s not too long, but when I, when I first moved here in 2011, and I’m sure you’re going to be able to go through this journey with me since you guys moved here as well. I didn’t see much of a gay community at all at that moment. Right? I did not see her in the community. That was not on grinder. I thought that that was our gay community. Right. So I I’ve moved here and like I had a drag queen best friend, and she was from Florida. So she kind of knew Sarasota a little bit. And, you know, she knows the areas. Cause like when you’re from Florida, you kind of know all the different surrounding areas that are near you. And so I moved to Sarasota and she. It was like, let’s go out and find the gay and find the gay scene. And so we’d go and we’re driving down the street and we see this sign that says something like, like old town or something. I don’t even remember what the sign said, but she looked at it and she was like, that’s where we’re going to find Gates. So follow that side. So whatever that sign said, it was clearly has a subtext of like that’s where the gays are. So we ended up finding like downtown first street, I think is where we were at. And this is how, like, you know, how new it was. I didn’t even know where I was at. You know, I’m just like, Blindly walking around. And so we were on first street and we stumbled to main street and we go past ivory lounge. I don’t know if you remember ivory or not.Stephen: 8:52

We’re going to ivory Thursday nights.Joshua: 8:55

That was my night.Stephen: 8:57

When I firstJoshua: 8:57

met you. It was so much fun. So that night it was like the first night me being in Sarasota where, you know, and granted, we looked, I guess I left out a part of the story. We were looking around for the gay community, you know, Googling where’s the gay night. And there really wasn’t anything except for maybe barrel 87. And I think we went there and it was great. I loved it. But. W th then walking downtown, you know, and, and going across or finding ivory, we, there was like an art exhibit or something going on inside there. And we were like, this would be a great place to have a gay night. So we walked in, we met with the manager, we told him our idea. We were like, we want to start a gay night. And I had in Pittsburgh, went to this event called Something that’s like all over different cities and it was super popular in Pittsburgh. It was so much fun. I loved going every Friday, you know, like once a month on the Friday. So I was like, and I’m gonna start R a G two H two. And so in that night, like pretty much, 10 years ago is when G two started and cream Thursday started. We started, you know, a couple months later we had to get our, you know, everything together. But that’s kind of like what, introduce me to the city, you know, here in Sarasota and where I kind of got my start in the gay community here. So that’s what I was always craving.Stephen: 10:21

I agree completely because I moved here from Cincinnati. And Cincinnati has thriving, gay community where, and it’s, what’s really great about it. Yeah. Is it all ages? You’ve got everything from the people that are 21 and just first going out to the people that are in their sixties and everybody’s meshing and having a good time. And when I first moved down here, I was like, Oh, Yes, this is a whole different world. Cause I went to school near Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh isJoshua: 10:53

fantastic. Oh, it’s so great. Isn’t itStephen: 10:57

like having Pittsburgh and Cincinnati as my basis for gay knowledge and then coming here, it, there was a void and I love that you started, you know, finding ways to fill the void of. Ways to build the community so that it was more something that everyone was going out and seeing each other and celebrating everything. That’s great about Sarasota.Steve: 11:26

Yeah. I mean, I know that the G to H to H happy hours have been a great hit, but also why don’t you tell us a little bit more for our listeners about Sarasota and what they would find there?Joshua: 11:38

Sure. Well, let me first say a little bit about what G2, H two is. So any listener that might not know what that is. So it’s like a happy hour that travels to a different venue each month. and so it’s a great way to showcase all the great restaurants and Sarasota has. And there’s one, if there’s one thing, sort of knows how to do it, how to eat well, I love all the restaurants. So we’ve been at like, probably over. Definitely well over 90 restaurants at this point and bars and businesses. And so it’s just a great event where people can come and network. And I would say that it’s a little bit more of a older crowd or, you know, more business crowd, which is great because that’s something for them to do. And then, you know, a lot of like the nightclub stuff that I’ve done has taken. Tailored towards a younger crowd. But the thing is, is I love to see it mix, mix and match. I love to see like younger people at the and I love to see older people coming to the nightclubs stuff, but I like that I am very versatile and not just thinking about one thing or one demographic. I try to, you know, take care of everybody. So I’m really proud of that. What happened was, was is that I eventually got to the point where I was like, there’s going to be some, some boy or some girl that comes into Sarasota. That’s younger. That has more, you know, college on this. Maybe they’re coming from LA or something. Cause I learned everything that I learned from Tampa and from Pittsburgh, I kinda made a stop in Pitt or Tampa before I moved to Sarasota. So I learned about like the nightclub life. And everything like that, but I was like, someone’s going to come in that can do it better than I can. And how can I remain relevant to the community and not go into this like hole? Bar Wars thing. Cause you know how that sometimes can get where everybody’s competing for the same people. So I, you know, I, I went to school for graphic design and I really enjoyed making websites. So I said, you know what, I’m going to make a website where everyone can post their events and I’ll sell advertising. And also have a place where you could list event or businesses, because I thought that that was one thing that was really missing from Sarasota. But although it took me like five, six years to get to that level of like, understanding, Hey, this needs to be done. But it really started because I just wanted to remain relevant in a world of like gay bars, which is the worst reason to really do something. But Hey, whatever. So I, you know, I sat down and I went down a lot of wrong paths. I was trying to do it like one way where it was like on WordPress. I don’t know if you guys know WordPress, but it’s a nightmare. Like I hatedStephen: 14:17

it.Joshua: 14:19

Yeah. So, you know, I spent like a couple grand trying to make that work and then I pretty much gave up. And was like, you know what, Sarasota doesn’t need this isn’t that bad. But one night I don’t remember what happened, but it changed my mind. And I sat down and I was like, I’m just going to do this my way, the way that I know how to make a website. And you know, it took me a couple months and I remember it was finished for December 1st of a couple of years ago. And I had like the launch party on December 1st world AIDS day. And a lot of people showed up and I mean, it’s been. Three years now that I’ve had this website up and the community has really received it. So well, I mean, I’ll give you an example of like a moment that I know, Hey, I succeeded is when I go to the, out at the Oslo, I’m not sure. Sure. That is, but it’s really great. It’s their gay night that they have at the Oslo theater. And I went there and there was this guy sitting over there table because they have like a little cocktail reception before the play. And. my, the friend that I was with was the sponsor of the event. And so he got up to say a couple of words for the event. And he was like, look, we have a lot of really important people in the audience tonight. And then he mentioned Josh from Sarasota out. And the guy that was sitting at the table looked at me and said, Oh my God, you’re Josh beetle. I don’t know if he was okay. Expecting someone in hotter or what, but he was like, you’re Josh Mito. And I was like, yeah. And he was like, Oh my gosh, well, I moved here. And, and really was, felt good about moving to Sarasota because I, I ran downstairs, so to and it showed me that there was a, a thriving LGBT community. So I had to laugh cause I was like deriving, but I mean, maybe he was from Nebraska and his expectations were really low. We have a,Stephen: 16:15

we have an existing gay community and we have one that has a ton of potential.Joshua: 16:22

Yes. Yes. Oh, please understand that. I see that potential and that’s what I work towards every day is to help us discover that potential. But I have to be a little satiric satirical a little bit, you know, because I, you know, it’s funny to see that a website that I created as kind of being the billboard for LGBT Sarasota, you know what I mean? So it’s just, it was a cool feeling, but, yeah, so that’s what it kind of, you know, I, I don’t just hear that one. Like I hear it. So often I like, I sometimes joke with my friend being like, I’d love to have it all printed out. So I could sometimes look at these comments that I get from people emails and, you know, text messages or out and about people just being like, thank you so much for what you’re doing. Yeah, it’sStephen: 17:10

brain shattered. And you can just show people on your phone and see what everyone says about me.Joshua: 17:14

I was like, I would not be. Yeah, I would not be above having like a I’m super awesome binder where I just keep every nice thing anyone’s ever written about me. Yup. For affirmation, you need a blazerStephen: 17:26

that has printed all the quotes that people have said. Nice things about youJoshua: 17:31

and a greatStephen: 17:32

idea. You can wear that.Joshua: 17:34

I’m a good person. Yeah.Stephen: 17:38

But you should be proud because it’s a great website. It’s easy to use. There’s a ton of information. And whether you are new to town or you’ve been here for awhile, everybody can find something on there that they may not have known about.Joshua: 17:54

Yeah, that’s really true.Stephen: 17:56

And I alsoSteve: 17:56

earlier, I know you mentioned a beach party. Do you want to tell us about that? Yes.Joshua: 18:01

So I’ll tell you where they gave beaches is if you’re going across, you know, go through the circle st. Armand’s circle and you’re heading towards Lido beach. North Lido beach is like the first parking lot. That’s right there. So there’s going to be plenty of parking because you can park on. st. Arman circle and there’s like a little parking lot there. And then there’s a whole highway, or I don’t know if the highway, but the whole street that has, parking on it, but that first little parking lot, you go onto the beach and you turn right. And it’s about a thousand feet. That way you won’t be able to miss it because there’ll be, I’m doing like 15. 10 foot, rainbow flags on the beach. So it’s going to be super gay, which I’m really excited about. Yeah. Can you get a horse and put like a fake unicorn horn on it for the day? Just going up and down the beach too, right? I’m sure there’s going to be unicorns there. There’s always all kinds of magical creatures and, floaties and mermaids. I mean, it’s. It’s legit and lots of fun, but it’s from, let me go over here. I got to look at my flyer. It’s from 11 in the morning, till 6:00 PM. And it’s going to be so much fine. What else? Oh, yes. Sunday. So it is on. Sunday, September 6th, it’s during labor day weekend. So what a great thing to do for labor day,Stephen: 19:33

best day to have a party on labor day weekend, because you’re not going to be working on Monday. You can do the things you need to do on Saturday and just use Sunday to have fun.Joshua: 19:44

Yeah. Oh my gosh. It I’m telling you. It is so much fun. I remember last year, people, this is old, older gentleman came up to me and it was like, I’ve lived here my whole, and this has never felt like a gay beach, but today it does like, and I was just like, yes, like that’s so cool. So I encourage everybody to come out and, you know, Just to have a great day, you know, stick to yourself if you want, or bring a couple of friends, but it’s going to be so much fun. You know, I might do jello shots. I’m not sure I haven’t decided yet.Stephen: 20:19

Well, one of our favorite things during COVID, if you can have favorite things during COVID a pride car parade through Sarasota. And that was put on by you and your new group project pride. Tell us about project pride. Sure.Joshua: 20:39

I gave it up many, many chances here in Sarasota. Like I thought maybe the first year that I was here, maybe I was missing things because like, like I said, there was no place to go to find out what was going on. So I was like, I must be missing everything. Like, I don’t know where the, of the events are. But, you know, once, five years in, and once I have Sarasota out and I know everything that’s going on in town, and it’s just that one day for five hours, that’s our pride, you know, and after trying and reaching out and trying to get involved, you know, it wasn’t working. So I had always, everybody, Josh, you should start your own pride, you know? And I was always like, that’s not the answer. Like the answer is. Help the pride that is already existing, you know, like be unified, but I tried and tried and tried that for many years and it never worked. And then about, I think maybe last year with Sarasota out, I started. Packaging existing events with Sarasota pride. I don’t know if you are familiar with this, but what I did, it was called pride week and I basically took Sarasota pride, which was on a Saturday. And I added a drag brunch on Sunday, which was mine, you know, like it had nothing to do with them. It was just something that I was doing. So, so I, you know, package all this stuff together. And, it was great because it got the community involved. People that didn’t feel like they were involved with the existing sir pride, was able to have a part of the pie if you will. And so that was last year, then this year I was approached by a couple people and they said we would like to help you. Start a new pride. And so we started going out into the community, meeting with leaders and finding out what they wanted to see in the gay community for an another pride organization. But so, you know, obviously COVID came and our plans got foiled, so we had to quickly pivot and figure out how. Our organization, what our organization is. I mean, really we started and we were like, we’re going to be about social connection. And once you have social connection, then all the other things kind of fall in place. That’s what, at least what I thought. So we decided to do, a bunch of virtual things. We did the. The parade, which was not virtual, but I mean, it was very, very smart. I thought it was in your car. You’re safe. and it was fun. You, you were there, right? I’ve heard it in our pride episode.Stephen: 23:12

We did, we covered it and, but we loved the prey. We decorated the car. We had a great time Remi dressed up for it too.Joshua: 23:22

Yeah. Oh, that’s cute. Yeah, it was great. and you know, the city we’ve been working really closely with the city and they. Send us a message saying that they applauded us for being creative, you know, being creative and being able to figure out a way to celebrate pride during that time. So, you know, the city is like paying attention to what we’re doing, which is really cool. Cool.Stephen: 23:45

And in your personal life, what would you say is a secret that you could share with our listeners of how to live a happy life?Joshua: 23:56

All right. Well, I love to plant. Plants. And that makes me so happy. And I think that. People, I think a lot more people should garden and go outside and get some fresh air and get your hands dirty. Plant plants find out about different plans. I know that might sound like a weird person saying that, but it really makes you calm and you’re kind of bringing life into this world rather than going out and just, you know, making babies, you know, make some plants. Well, I mean, we have never met a plant that we couldn’t kill. Yes,Stephen: 24:38

I’m going, I have a bamboo plant at work and I have a money tree.Joshua: 24:45

I was gonna say here. Yes, but I mean, we had, we somehow managed within six months of having our home managed to kill a Palm tree.Stephen: 24:54

Yes. We killed a Palm treeJoshua: 24:56

and I, how do you kill a Palm tree?Stephen: 24:59

It was actually Irma that killed it, butJoshua: 25:01

I mean, Yeah, it could have been us. Yeah.Stephen: 25:04

We tried to have our first time going to the farmer’s market. We bought herbs to have an herb garden that didn’t last three days. Same made it about a week early.Joshua: 25:15

Those are really hard. There they are. Cause you have to water them constantly. Like if not twice a day in the heat of Sarasota so I can feel your pain. I was like, then we know why they die.Stephen: 25:27

You know, we did not do that properly. So. Where can all of our listeners find you on social media? Like allJoshua: 25:35

your apps. Well, the funny thing is, is I don’t even know all my app apps. So if you want to seriously, I don’t. I was like looking before the show. I was like, what, what am I at? Because I know they’re going to ask that, the best way is to add me as a friend personally, on, on Facebook, because then you’re going to get all everything. Cause it’s just a mix of everything. So that’s at, Joshua underscore beetle. So that’s the best way, but then, you know, we have Sarasota on Facebook and Instagram and that’s at S R Q out. So that’s pretty easy. And then project pride is. Project for at project pride. SRQ I believe, I’m sorry. I don’t know. And the glory of podcasting is we will find this information as well and add it to the show notes. So any listeners, you can always just spell it out to the information and just click it all there.Stephen: 26:33

And we don’t want them to forget about G to H two, because that is all inclusive for the gays and theJoshua: 26:39

lesbians and everybody. Yeah. Yeah. Clearly, not those very deep. I heard you say it. Yeah. It’s for everybody. it’s, it’s a lot of everything that I do is so much fun. I think that that’s like one of the things that I like really try. To make sure, you know, it’s so easy to when you start to go to some of these charity events or something that it’s just, you it’s cute and everything, but there’s not fun in it. And so I want to make sure that like, that’s what I’m bringing to Sarasota. That’s kind of, my legacy is I want people to have fun feel good. You know, Sarasota has a lot of potential, like we said, and there’s no reason that we’re not. Using our resources where we should be using the beaches we should be using like the Lubars, you know, I have a gay cruise on the bars, you know, there’s just so much stuff that we can do. And our imagination is the limit so well,Stephen: 27:33

that is actually, I couldn’t agree with your sentiments even more. And that’s a perfect place to end Joshua beetle. Thank you so much for hat for.Joshua: 27:43

Thank you so much for having us on our hour podcast. Yes. Thank you.Stephen: 27:48

Thank you so much for being on our podcast. There we go. It’s like, I’ve never done this before.Joshua: 27:56

I heard a lot of fun. ThankStephen: 27:58

you. And we’re back. We’re back.Steve: 28:00

Welcome back everyone. And thank you again.Stephen: 28:04

Yes. Thank you so much. That was really great. It was great. Learning more about you and all the wonderful things you’ve done to help the Sarasota gay. Community.Steve: 28:14

Yes. And you could be our next fan as well. All you need to do is leave us a review on Apple podcasts, like us on Facebook and engage with our posts or at us on Twitter at happy lifeStephen: 28:28

pod. And the reminder that if you know of an entertainer, a business or a service that brings you. Happiness or is just a joy to have on the Southern coast. Suggest them to us. You can find us personally on Facebook. You can find the podcast on Facebook, or you can email

About the Author
Steve Bennet-Martin is a senior living expert by day and a podcaster by night. With a passion for creating positive content that can help people, he now is working to help the community he lives in, the seniors that could benefit from his expertise navigating the complex systems of aging, and helping others learn how to share their voice through the magic of podcasting.