Capital Pride Alliance has announced the grand marshals of the 2019 Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 8.
Those being bestowed with the honorary title include transgender activist and advocate Earline Budd; Pulse shooting survivor and gun reform advocate Brandon Wolf; Matt Easton, the political science valedictorian for Brigham Young University, who came out during his valedictory speech; and Hailie Sahar and Dominique Jackson, cast members from FX’s Pose.
As grand marshals, the honorees will march in the Capital Pride Parade, which kicks off from 21st and P Streets at 4:30 p.m., and will be specially recognized at several events held prior to the parade, including the Capital Pride Heroes Gala on May 31 and Capital Pride “Crack of Noon” Brunch on Saturday, June 8.
“These grand marshals perfectly exemplify our theme of Past, Present & Proud,” Ryan Bos, the executive director of Capital Pride Alliance, said in a statement. “It is a momentous year for Pride and we are to have such diverse, dedicated and valued advocates in the LGBTQ+ community serving as grand marshals.
“To recognize how far we have come in the 50 years since Stonewall, we must remember our history and work towards imagining our futures,” Bos added. “These Grand Marshals epitomize what it means to be engaged with the struggles, needs, and hopes of the growing and changing LGBTQ+ community.”
All of the honorees expressed their gratitude at being named grand marshals.
“The impact Pose has on me is overwhelmingly beautiful. It has allowed me to be in a position of visibility as a representation for our LGBTQ+ community,” Sahar said in a statement. “I feel so empowered to be a voice for so many voiceless people.
“Many of our youth have personally expressed their excitement and gratitude for a show like Pose. Many youth have said my character, Lulu, has given them hope to survive and strive for their dreams,” Sahar added. “I’m humbled to be a part of a show that is changing history and giving others the opportunity to see someone on the screen who reflects them and speaks for them.”
Wolf called being named a grand marshal an “incredibly humbling honor.”
“The origins of Pride are rooted in activism, advocacy, and a stubborn, relentless fight for our rights,” he said. “As inclusion and equality come under attack from those in power, I am proud to see our community tapping into our activist roots. May we honor the victims of Stonewall & Pulse with action.”
“I am so humbled and excited to be a grand marshal for Capital Pride 2019,” Easton said in a statement. “As I stated in my graduation speech, I am proud to be a gay son of God — I believe that every part of who I am and who we are as a community is exactly as intended. We each have a purpose and place in this world, and that alone is worth celebrating.
“When I came out just a few weeks ago, I had no idea the impact it would have,” Easton added. “I am excited to be a grand marshal in this year’s parade and to show the power and positivity that comes from living authentically. I am thankful for my community — both at home and here in DC — and am honored to be a part of something as magnificent as Capital Pride.”