When this summer’s Pride parade sets off en route to Penn’s Landing, it will be led by a collection of individuals who’ve marshalled countless efforts to promote LGBT equality.
Philly Pride Presents, which organizes the annual Pride celebration, recently announced that Steve Glassman, chair of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and Rue Landau, chair of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, will serve as the grand marshals of this year’s Pride parade, June 14.
“This is a way of recognizing these people who’ve gone beyond what is expected of them to help make sure the gay community has basic rights,” said Franny Price, president of Philly Pride Presents.
Price noted that Glassman has been a stellar representative for the LGBT community in state-level, as well as local, legislative issues.
“Steve has always been working for our community, and not just in Philadelphia but throughout the entire state,” Price said.
Glassman expressed gratitude at having been chosen to lead the event.
“I’m deeply honored and looking forward to celebrating our pride with the rest of the LGBT community,” Glassman said.
Landau, who became the first out lesbian appointed to lead the PCHR when Mayor Nutter selected her last summer, has also been a strong advocate for the community. Landau successfully led the effort to reinstate the transfer-tax benefit for domestic partners in the city and has spearheaded the commission’s investigations into numerous anti-LGBT discrimination cases.
“Rue’s a great advocate for the local LGBT community and is always out there working for equality,” Price said.
Landau said she was proud to represent both the LGBT community and the PCHR in the upcoming parade.
“It is quite an honor to be chosen as one of the grand marshals for this year’s parade,” Landau said. “As our community continues to fight for equality and justice, it’s important to highlight the PCHR’s role in protecting the rights of the LGBT community.”
Additionally, two young LGBT advocates, Sergio Morales and Talya Washington, will serve as the parade’s youth grand marshals.
Morales and Washington, both 20, have been involved at The Attic Youth Center for a number of years.
Carrie Jacobs, executive director of The Attic, said Morales, who worked on the organization’s peer support prevention program, is a “great role model for the younger kids” and noted that Washington has been a tireless advocate for LGBT-rights issues, calling her an “activist-in-training.”
Jacobs noted that the youth grand marshal positions provide young LGBT individuals some rarely given but deserved acknowledgment.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to recognize our youth, and it’s also a great opportunity for the youth also so that they can really feel like a part of the community in a way that they’re not usually given an opportunity to because they’re younger,” Jacobs said.
In addition to the marshals, Pride organizers chose Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector James Tiano as this year’s Friend of Pride.
Price said Tiano, the police liaison to the LGBT community, has been integral to improving police-community relations.
“He’s helped create a relationship between the police and the gay community that wasn’t really there before,” she said.
For more information about this year’s Pride celebration, visit www.phillypride.org.