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    2018 San Francisco Pride Community Grand Marshals and Honorees

    Six Community Grand Marshals and eight Awardees will be honored at the 48th annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade on June 23 and 24. Please join us in congratulating them and cheering them on during the Pride events and beyond. As San Francisco Pride Executive Director George Ridgely, Jr., said: “We are inspired by the accomplishments and aspirations of these individuals and organizations, and we are glad Pride can be a part of their recognition.”

    He continued, “Every year, Pride brings almost a million people to San Francisco in celebration. Pride is also an opportunity for our LGBTQ+ communities to reflect on our past and look to the future. The 2018 theme for Pride, Generations of Strength, encourages us to express our gratitude to those before us who organized against and stood up to injustice, recognize those among us who advocate tirelessly for our progress, and lend our support to those who will lead us into the future.”

    “In this spirit of solidarity and strength, San Francisco Pride is pleased to be honoring this exemplary collection of individuals and organizations,” Ridgely added. “Our communities are, have been, and will be better for their contributions.”

    Community Grand Marshals

    Kin Folkz – Selected by Public Vote
    Kin Folkz is an award-winning educator, human rights artivist, author, community catalyst, founder of the Oakland Pride Creative Arts & Film Fest, the founder of the Oakland Queer +Trans Open Mic, a BiNet USA National Board Member, Oakland LGBTQ Center’s Healing Arts Director, a member of Black Lives Matter Bay Area and Queer Black Lives Matter.

    San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band – Community Grand Marshal, Organization, Selected by Public Vote

    The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band is the first openly gay musical organization in the world, inspiring the formation of all other LGBTQ bands, choruses and other groups around the globe.

    Brian “Chickpea” Busta – Selected by the SF Pride Membership

    Brian “Chickpea” Busta has been bringing light, laughter, art and music to San Francisco’s LGBTQ community since 1989. He founded Gay Glow Street Theater, the Temple Whores drumming troupe, was Grand Duke of the Ducal Court, inspires audiences as the comic figure “Amber Alert” and is the current Creative Director of Comfort & Joy.

    Billy Curtis – Selected by the SF Pride Board of Directors
    Billy Curtis is a committed community activist and advocate. In 1999, Billy was hired as UC Berkeley’s first full time Director for LGBT Resources and is currently the Director of the university’s Gender Equity Resource Center.

    Soni Wolf – Selected by the SF Pride Board of Directors
    Soni Wolf (1949–2018) was a founding member of Dykes on Bikes®. Please see the tribute to her in this issue.

    Jewelle Gomez – Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal, Selected by the SF Pride Board of Directors
    Jewelle Gomez is the author of seven books, including the double Lambda Literary Award-Winning vampire novel The Gilda Stories. She has taught creative writing and popular culture at institutions of higher learning from San Francisco State University to Hunter College in New York. She’s written for numerous publications and is playwright in residence at New Conservatory Theatre Center.

    Heritage of Pride Awards

    Aria Sa’id – Heritage of Pride – 10 Years of Service Award

    For those organizations, individuals or other entities that have contributed at least ten years of consecutive service to the LGBTQ community.

    Aria Sa’id is a writer, cultural icon, policy strategist and the Founder/Director of the Kween Culture Initiative.

    Jen Orthwein – Heritage of Pride – Pride Freedom Award

    For outstanding contributions to advancing civil rights and freedom for LGBTQ people.
    Jen helped to launch the Detention Project at Transgender Law Center, leading the way to access to gender affirming surgery and gender expression for transgender prisoners in California. Jennifer co-founded Medina Orthwein LLP, a queer-owned, civil rights law firm that focuses on employment discrimination and transgender prisoner rights.

    Shaun Haines – Heritage of Pride – Pride Community Award

    For outstanding service to LGBTQ communities.
    Shaun Haines, the founder of San Francisco Impact Partners, works to produce events to support and provide resources for our community. He serves on the LGBT Cultural Heritage Strategy and Economic Development Committee, the Police Chief’s LGBT Forum, Castro Community on Patrol and the Stop the Violence Campaign.

    Carolyn Wysinger – Heritage of Pride – Pride Creativity Award

    For outstanding artistic contribution to the LGBTQ community.
    Carolyn Wysinger is an author, blogger, speaker, high school educator and the host of the podcast The C-Dubb Show.

    Commemoration Awards

    Ali Marrero-Calderon – Gilbert Baker Pride Founder’s Award

    For those who have made a significant and historical impact on the LGBTQ community and the movement for LGBTQ rights.
    Ali Marrero-Calderon began working for gay rights in the 1970s, fighting against the Briggs Initiative. In 1974, Ali joined GENTE, the first Lesbian of Color Organization in California. Ali belonged to Gay Latino Alliance (GALA) and Mujerio (a Latina lesbian organization) and worked with Shanti Project in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Ali has belonged to Dykes on Bikes since 1976 and was their first Emeritus member. Today, as part of the National Steering Committee of OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change), Ali fights for the rights of Old Lesbians, especially Old Lesbians of Color.

    FAIR Education Implementation Act – José Julio Sarria History Maker Award
    Awarded to Bay Area people who make extraordinary changes in the way society views the LGBTQ community.
    Convened in 2014 by Our Family Coalition, over half a dozen organizations comprise the FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition, and work to see this historic education reform thoroughly implemented across California. The FAIR Education Act, SB 48 (Leno), was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012. It amends California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community in history and social studies curriculum. California is the only state in the nation to have such LGBT-inclusive legislation in place.

    Kate Kendell – Teddy Witherington Award
    Recognizing those individuals who have contributed a longstanding, large body of work to the LGBTQ community.
    Kate Kendell leads the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of LGBTQ people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Under Kendell’s leadership of twenty-four years, NCLR won the California marriage equality case in 2008 and was later part of the team of attorneys to secure national marriage equality in 2015. Together with GLAD, Kendell led NCLR to file a federal lawsuit challenging Trump’s transgender military ban in August 2017, which secured a nationwide preliminary injunction stopping the ban from moving forward.

    Pamela Peniston – The Audrey Joseph LGBTQ Entertainment Award
    For those who have made a significant and historical impact or left an indelible impression on the LGBTQ community and the movement for LGBTQ rights, through their artistic expression or through their contribution within the entertainment industry.
    Pamela Peniston is a founding member and Artistic Director of the Queer Cultural Center (Qcc). Since 1998, Peniston has provided visionary leadership for Queer Cultural Center’s iconic program, the National Queer Arts Festival—now celebrating its 21st year—commissioned generations of LGBTQI artists & artists of color and provided opportunities for them to discover their voices and connect with their communities. Peniston and Qcc have mentored and inspired queer artists who have become leaders and changed the cultural landscape of queer arts across the nation.

    More comprehensive biographies, photos and information about San Francisco Pride’s Community Grand Marshals and Honorees can be found online (