San Francisco Pride’s Grand Marshals are the public emissaries of Pride. They represent a mix of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. With the help of community input, Pride selects these groups and individuals as Grand Marshals in order to honor the work they have put into furthering the causes of LGBT people.
San Francisco Pride recognizes community leaders and one infamous detractor in the following categories:
- Celebrity Grand Marshals for the 2012 Parade
- Organizational Community Grand Marshal
- Individual Community Grand Marshals
- Pink Brick
Celebrity Grand Marshals
Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal
Selected by San Francisco Pride Board of Directors in April
Activist poet, writer and cultural theorist Judy Grahn is a professor in the Women’s Spirituality Master’s Program at Sofia University. She has published three poetry collections, eight chapbooks, a novel, four nonfiction books and numerous short stories and articles. Her work has won her an NEA grant, an American Book Review award, an American Library Award and a Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Since 1965, Grahn’s writings have inspired and fueled second wave feminism, women’s spirituality movements and lesbian activism. Grahn was a member of the first lesbian feminist collectives on the West Coast, the Gay Women’s Liberation Group, which established A Woman’s Place, the first women’s bookstore, and The Woman’s Press Collective, the first all-woman press.
- Edward the Dyke and Other Poems
- Another Mother Tongue
- A Simple Revolution
- She Who
- Blood, Bread, and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World
- Mundane's World, An Ecotopian Novel
- Love Belongs to Those Who Do the Feeling
Gilbert Baker Pride Founder's Award
Dr. Ted McIlvenna is an 82-year-old United Methodist clergyman who was assigned in the early ’60s as a missionary to those persons who had chosen alternate sexual explorations and identities in their lives. Ted’s father was a missionary to the Native Americans and the lumbering towns of the Pacific Northwest. From his earliest days, he showed talents in music and the arts, as well as, being a star athlete. Because of certain creative abilities, scholarships, and academic opportunities were always open to him and he graduated and was trained both as a scholar, a theologian and an art historian, and finally chose as his ministry to be an advocate of sexual rights as human rights.
Ted is now the President of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and Trustee of the world’s largest collection of erotic materials. Ted considers the present award a great honor which he share with his wife of 58 years, his two children, his many grandchildren, and his many great grandchildren.
In accepting the Award, McIlvenna stated, "Most people are fortunate in their lives to have had ‘giant hours’ that they will always cherish. I appreciate the SF Pride Committee recognizing the giant hours I’ve had working with and fighting for the LGBTQ community.”
The Gilbert Baker Pride Founder's Award honors those who have made a significant and historical impact on the LGBTQ community and the movement for LGBTQ rights.
Community Grand Marshals
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Selected by San Francisco Pride Board of Directors in April
Executive Director of the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project. A participant in the Stonewall Riots, and later incarcerated at Attica State Prison, Miss Major was a participant in the 1971 uprising. Politicized by the prison riot and the influence of Frank “Big Black” Smith, she dedicated her life to community building and providing direct care and services to other trans women, including years of activism and advocacy on behalf of prisoner’s rights. While many LGBT heroes are honored for their work in affecting policy, a consistent theme in Miss Major's personal history has been that interpersonal caring and connection in itself is a revolutionary act.
This has meant making sure trans women in need are cared for - providing medical services when needed, hotel rooms if they are on the street. After nearly 40 years, she has deeply impacted a generation of trans women of color, and has inspired generations after her to get involved in their local communities. She was involved in numerous HIV/AIDS organizations in San Diego in the 1980s, providing home health care services to those in need. She helped establish an AIDS Memorial Garden at the San DIego Veteran’s Administration. After moving to San Francisco in the early 1990s, Miss Majors became active with City of Refuge, as well as the Tenderloin AIDS Research Center as the Transgender Services Program Coordinator. While at TARC, she innovated unstructured “drop-in” services, which enabled her to provide services to a wider range of community members than other programs had previously achieved. It has been said her physical presence, whether accompanying physicians to prisons, to providing direct health services, had a direct impact on community members’ ability to trust these institutions and accept treatment, affecting hundreds of lives.
She has been the recipient of dozens of awards by municipal and state organizations. Recently, the building that houses five NYC organizations committed to social justice for and by LGBTQGNC people of color, as well as poor and low income people: The Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE!, Queers for Economic Justice, Streetwise & Safe, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, was renamed the Miss Major-Jay Toole Building for Social Justice.
She identifies as a father, mother, grandmother, and grandfather to her own children, and to many in the transgender community.
Selected by community vote in March
Like many young #girlslikeus, 16 year-old Jewlyes Gutierrez loves taking family vacations, going to theme parks, shopping, and singing along with her favorite artist, Carrie Underwood. One day she would like to be a cosmetologist, and cuts, dyes and styles her family member’s hair.
While she and her family always knew she was different, Jewlyes came out to her family when she was 14. Although her family sometimes struggled to understand what this meant for her life, she always had their strong support. This wasn’t always true at Hercules Middle/High School in Contra Costa County, where she is now a sophomore. She went through many years of abuse and bullying, seeking help from school administrators to no avail.
One November day last autumn, she realized she had enough, and fought back. In spite of video evidence showing her punched and kicked while trying to run away, she found herself charged with battery, while the three students who harassed her received no charges. An online petition in support of dropping the charges gathered over 200,000 signatures in just a few weeks.
In February, after weeks of public scrutiny, the case was referred to a conflict resolution program, which will allow the charges to be dropped. While the legal case may soon be over, the local community continues to confront the issue of bullying and how LGBTQ youth are treated in the public school system. In a year of unprecedented turnout in public participation, nearly twice the number of voters from the previous year, Jewlyes Gutierrez won with 54 percent of the vote.
Tommi Avicolli Mecca
Selected by the San Francisco Pride Membership in April
Director of Counseling Programs for the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. Avicolli Mecca’s life work has been set firmly in the rebellious and creative spirit that has made the City’s culture iconic in the American imagination. An activist, writer, singer, and performance artist, he has been an organizer of countless demonstrations and rallies as an advocate for housing rights, justice, and community compassion for the least fortunate in society.
In the 1990s Avicolli Mecca played key a role in the development of three temporary shelters for homeless LGBT Youth in the Castro district, the Simply Supper food program at Metropolitan Community Church, and a shower program for LGBT and homeless day laborers at Mission High School. Still involved in LGBT homeless and affordable housing issues, Mecca is currently working on a new LGBT shelter run by Dolores Street Community Services.
During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, Avicolli Mecca co-founded the Castro Tenants Union, advocating against the evictions of gay men with AIDS In the Castro, and played a key role in launching the Tom Ammiano write-in campaign for mayor. While ultimately unsuccessful, the campaign’s effectiveness stunned the political establishment and brought national attention to the growing economic divide in San Francisco, ultimately enabling a majority of progressives to win seats on the SF Board of Supervisors and returning the city to district elections.
Avicolli Mecca is editor of “Smash the Church, Smash the state: the Early Years of Gay Liberation,” Co-Editor of “Avanti: Popolo: Italian American Writers Sail Beyond Columbus,” and “Hey Paesan: Writings by Italian American Lesbians and Gay Men.” He is also a performance artist whose latest work includes “this boy is just so strange,” a musical that recently debuted at the Eric Quezada Center in the Mission.
Selected by San Francisco Pride Board of Directors in April
Melanie Nathan is an attorney, mediator, equality activist, and human rights advocate. Born in South Africa. Nathan received her law degree from the University of Witwaterstrand. She used her training to assist African workers living under apartheid in the 1980s. After immigrating to the U.S., she founded Private Courts, Inc., a mediation and human rights advocacy firm in Marin County, California.
Melanie Nathan has been involved in numerous struggles affecting LGBTI people in the USA and abroad. From testifying at Senate hearings on the Uniting American Families Act, to advocating for the release of an undocumented lesbian partner from detention, Nathan has touched both individual lives and influenced policy affecting thousands.
Nathan is a prolific blogger and journalist who uses her writing as a platform for her advocacy work. In addition to reporting on issues impacting LGBTI communities around the world, she writes with a focus on the USA and Africa., Her blog, O-Blog-Dee-O-Blog-Da, serves as a platform for Nathan and her guests to highlight their work in a world where gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, intersex, and gender-free people are the subjects of persecution and discrimination.
Nathan is Co-Producer of Gay U.S.A. the Movie, by filmaker Kristina Lapinski, a documentary debunking the myths that impact gay rights.
Organizational Community Grand Marshal
Selected by community vote in March
“The mission of the San Francisco Trans March is to inspire all trans and gender non-conforming people to realize a world where we are safe, loved, and empowered. We strive to create a space for our diverse communities to unite and achieve the social justice and equality that each of us deserves.”
Several activists answered the call and organized the first Trans March on June 25, 2004 with a gathering in Dolores Park followed by a march to Civic Center. A few hundred people attended the first march, twice as many the next year and it's been growing ever since.
The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco's largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world. It's always the Friday of Pride weekend and thousands of people attend.
Honorary Grand Marshal
Selected by the San Francisco Pride Board of Directors in January
Enlisting in the army in 2007, Chelsea Manning, became an intelligence analyst, and rose to the rank of Specialist, receiving a high level security clearance. Deployed to Iraq in 2008, living and working under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Manning experienced severe isolation and bullying from her fellow soldiers. In 2010, Manning began to share information with the website Wikileaks, ultimately releasing hundreds of thousands of files, pager messages, diplomatic cables and video.
Manning’s release of information had far-reaching consequences, exposing controversial excesses by the American military, including the video of a Baghdad airstrike killing civilians, known as “Collateral Murder,” the “Guantanamo Files,” containing secret documents relating to detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, detailing the detention of dozens of innocent Afghans and Pakistanis as well as the release of 251,287 State Department cables.
Arrested in May, 2010 and convicted in August 2013, Manning is currently confined at the military correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Only history will inform us of the ultimate impact of her disclosures. The 2013 SF Pride Board’s controversial decision to revoke her status as Grand Marshal fueled an international controversy and created intense strife within the local LGBT and progressive communities. In January, in the spirit of community healing, and at the behest of SF Pride’s membership, the newly elected SF Pride Board of Directors reinstated Manning’s status as an honorary Grand Marshal for the 2014 Celebration and Parade.
Manning’s official representative at the 2014 Celebration and Parade will be trans-rights activist Lauren McNamara.
Past Grand Marshals
More Grand Marshal History 2003-2008
|Marion||Abdullah||2006 Community Grand Marshal|
|Tom||Ammiano||2000 Community Grand Marshal|
|Erick||Argüello||2008 Community Grand Marshal|
|Jennifer||Beals||2006 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Joan||Benoît||2008 Community Grand Marshal|
|Robert||Bernardo||2006 Community Grand Marshal|
|Billy deFrank LGBT Center of San Jose||2006 Organizational Community Grand Marshal|
|Sgt. Elliot||Blackstone||2006 Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal|
|Randy||Burns||2005 Community Grand Marshal|
|Marvin||Burrows||2008 Community Grand Marshal|
|Joey||Cain||2008 Community Grand Marshal|
|Dolores||Caruthers||2007 Community Grand Marshal w/ Laura Espinosa as a couple|
|Ilene||Chaiken||2005 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Margaret||Cho||2000 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Cecilia||Chung||2006 Community Grand Marshal|
|Cristy||Chung||2006 Community Grand Marshal - shared honor with Lancy Woo|
|Alan||Cumming||2004 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Equality California||2005 Organizational Grand Marshal|
|Laura||Espinosa||2007 Community Grand Marshal w/ Dolores Caruthers as a couple|
|Doretha||Flournoy-Williams||2005 Community Grand Marshal|
|Stuart||Gaffney||2007 Community Grand Marshal w/ John Lewis as a couple|
|Marina||Gatto||2003 Community Grand Marshal|
|Calvin||Gipson||2004 Community Grand Marshal|
|Marga||Gomez||2003 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
2007 Community Grand
2004 Honorary Grand Marshal
|Heklina||2004 Community Grand Marshal|
|Page||Hodel||2007 Community Grand Marshal|
|James||Hormel||2005 Community Grand Marshal|
|Happy||Hyder||2004 Community Grand Marshal|
|Inter-Club Fund||2005 Organizational Grand Marshal|
|Honey||Labrador||2006 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Cyndi||Lauper||2008 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Reichen||Lehmkuhl||2006 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|John||Lewis||2007 Community Grand Marshal w/ Stuart Gaffney as a couple|
|Evan||Low||2008 Community Grand Marshal|
|Alec||Mapa||2005 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Vicki||Marelene||2003 Community Grand Marshal|
|Armistead||Maupin||2003 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Dr. Kathleen||McGuire||2006 Community Grand Marshal|
Grand Marshal w/ Davina Kotulski as a
2005 Community Grand Marshal
|The Producers of "Milk"||2008 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Stuart||Milk||2008 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Peggy||Moore||2005 Community Grand Marshal|
|Juanita||More||2005 Community Grand Marshal|
|National Center for Lesbian Rights||2005 Organizational Grand Marshal|
|Gavin||Newsom||2004 Community Grand Marshal|
|Gay Asian Pacific Alliance||2008 Organizational Grand Marshal|
|John||Newsome||2007 Community Grand Marshal|
|Pat||Norman||Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal 2007|
|Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS)||2005 Organizational Grand Marshal|
|Rev. Troy||Perry||2004 Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal|
|Terry||Person-Harris||2003 Community Grand Marshal|
|Dr. Carol||Queen||2001 Community Grand Marshal|
|Rainbow World Fund||2007 Organizational Community Grand Marshal|
|Kate||Raphael||2004 Community Grand Marshal|
|Drago||Renteria||2005 Community Grand Marshal|
|Sal||Rosselli||2006 Community Grand Marshal|
|Donna||Sachet||2005 Community Grand Marshal|
|Jose||Sarria||2005 Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshall|
|SF TEAM||2005 Organizational Grand Marshal|
|Theresa||Sparks||2008 Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal|
|Mabel||Teng||2004 Community Grand Marshal|
|Esera||Tuaolo||2005 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Julius||Turman||2008 Community Grand Marshal|
|Bruce||Vilanch||2004 Celebrity Grand Marshal|
|Hank||Wilson||2003 Community Grand Marshal|
|Lancy||Woo||2006 Community Grand Marshal - shared honor with Cristy Chung|