FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grand Marshals are selected by the Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Board members and are selected based on their service to the LGBT+ community.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2018) – Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride is proud to announce the 35th Annual Long Beach Gay Pride Grand Marshals: Alexandra Billings, Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, the Port of Long Beach, Reverend John P. Huffman, Porter Gilbert, and married couple Jessie Haase and Debbie Lambert. Grand Marshals are selected by the Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Board members and are selected based on their service to the LGBT+ community. The parade will be held on Sunday, May 20th, with a 9:30 am Pre-Parade Show at the Parade Grandstand located on Ocean Blvd between Cherry Avenue and Junipero Avenue. The parade step off is at 10:30 am on Ocean at Lindero Avenue.
Participating in the parade on Sunday, May 20th, will be the Grand Parade Marshal, American actress, teacher, singer, and activist Alexandra Billings. A Cal State Long Beach Alumni, Alexandra is among the first openly transgender women to have played a transgender character on television. Alexandra stars as “Davina” in Amazon’s multi-award winning television series “Transparent.” She has guest starred on “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “E.R.,” the pilot “Nurses” opposite Lynn Redgrave and the Ryan Murphy pilot “Pretty/Handsome.” She starred in the ABC film “Romy and Michelle: A New Beginning,” one of the first times a transgender actress played a transgender character in the history of television. Her life story “From Schoolboy to Showgirl: The Alexandra Billings Story” for PBS television was nominated for an Emmy for Best Documentary.
Selected as the “Morris Kight” Political Grand Marshal is a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community, Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez. Lena was elected in June of 2014 and unanimously re-elected in 2018 to represent the First Council District of Long Beach. Growing up in a working-class family where her father was a truck driver and her mother worked in aerospace, Lena was taught from a young age the value of hard work and dedication. Lena is also one of the most outspoken allies for the LGBTQ community on the Long Beach City Council. She has fought for additional funding for meningitis outreach and prevention, made sure that LGBTQ people were counted in the homeless count and lead a proclamation to officially declare the third week in May as Long Beach Pride Week in Long Beach. Additionally, she has brought several LGBTQ groups to City Hall to make presentations in front of the City Council including Long Beach Pride, Gender and Sexualities Alliance and the Long Beach Imperial Court to name a few.
Selected for the “Whitey Littlefield” Community Bridge Building Award is Port of Long Beach. The Port of Long Beach has been a longstanding supporter of the LGBT+ community including diversity programs at The Center Long Beach, as well as Teen Pride and the Family Fun Zone at the annual Long Beach Pride Festival. The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in innovative goods movement, safety, and environmental stewardship. The Port is served by 175 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports worldwide. Customer service, community engagement and environmental sustainability are at the core of the Port’s operations. In 2017, industry leaders named the Port of Long Beach the Best North American Seaport — the 19th time in the last 22 years — in recognition of the Port’s service, innovation, and reliability.
A major economic engine for the region, the Port handles trade valued at more than $180 billion each year and supports hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs. The Port is undertaking $4 billion in planned capital improvements this decade to support trade growth and strengthen its ability to serve the goods-movement industry, Port clients, and the community. Find out more at polb.com.
Chosen for the Judith Doyle Community Grand Marshal is the Reverend John P. Huffman, Metropolitan Community Churches (MMCs), as a Gay man living in an era where so much
change was happening for our formerly oppressed brothers and sisters, he felt a call to reach out to the LGBTQ Community and offer as much support and assistance as he could, so often this may have been through donations, as we have all learned the value of a well-stocked arsenal of reserves in these fights for equality. Rev John and the church volunteers help make sure that all of the church’s outreach programs function; they have their annual Toy Drive Event, benefitting the patients and families of those serviced by the C.A.R.E. Program at St. Mary’s Medical Center; they host an open house dinner on Thanksgiving, as well as, on Christmas, they have a monthly 4th Saturday Clothing Bank, Sack Lunch, and ID Assistance Program as well; in these events we enjoy with such warmth seeing two communities come together as one; a uniting of the world as one, as we all so anxiously hope for, where LGBTQ persons and Heterosexual persons stand and work side-by-side, making more note of their similarities than their differences.
The Bob Crow Community Grand Marshal is Porter Gilbert. Porter is the Executive Director for The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, where he has served for more than a decade. Porter holds both a BA and MA in Women’s Studies from UCLA and Claremont Graduate University. He attended his first Pride festival at the age of 14 in 1999 and has made sure to attend at least one Pride event every year since. In 2010 Porter joined The Center’s staff and began his career at The Center determined to strengthen the organization’s infrastructure to support every LGBTQ person seeking support. Under Porter’s leadership, The Center’s budget and staffing have increased more than fivefold to a $2,000,000+ organization with 20 staff members serving more than 25,000 people annually. His advocacy efforts have also resulted in the City’s quick compliance with laws creating equitable healthcare opportunities for trans and gender nonconforming city employees and revisions to Long Beach Police Department Policy to reduce the likelihood that the Department will unfairly target gay and bisexual men. Most recently, Porter worked with the League of California Cities on a guidebook to assist cities with creating employment policies that treat trans and gender non-conforming employees with fairness and dignity. Porter currently serves as a Commissioner for the County of Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations and also sits on the Advisory Boards for the Master of Public Health program at California State University Long Beach and the Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center and serves as secretary for the 4th Street Business Association.
The recipient of the Marilyn Barlow Community Grand Marshal is married couple Jessie Haase and Debbie Lambert, founders of I-Own-It.Today. The organization is a Long Beach based 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing goods, services, and leadership mentoring to the community for three years. They believe they have been brought together for a purpose. They have both been blessed with an opportunity to use and share their talents, as well as, their expertise to give back to the community. Their mission is to provide sustaining goods, services, and education to people in need, and inspire all to serve. Their vision is that all people will one day have the skills and education to live a full, independent life, and lead their own mission to serve those in need. The organization provides groceries, snacks, clothing, and toiletries to assist struggling individuals and families to help make ends meet. They also provide opportunities for all to volunteer at community events. They continue focus teaching on how to share the talents we have with others, and working together as a team servicing those who are struggling. With their giving, they also provide service connections to help individuals and families help themselves. It is about growth toward independence not enabling.
As for the Dr. Robert Garcia Youth Grand Marshal Award, the Mayor has selected Kobe James. Kobe James is a recent graduate of Jordan High School, class of 2017. During his high
school years, he had been very engaged and active in leadership and youth empowerment programs taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered to him through leaders, as
well as, mentors investing in his success. He’d been involved in programs such as Omega Brothers Leadership Program, which has been the most impactful program that has truly
changed his life. Kobe served as the elected president of the fraternity-based program his senior year. With the help of the Jordan W.R.A.P [Winners Reaching Amazing Potential], Kobe had the opportunity to be a more involved and informed stakeholder in his community. He gained a personal appreciation and recognition of his leadership skills and abilities and has volunteered for projects and events like Activate Uptown, Long Beach Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade 2017, My Brother’s Keeper Long Beach, and helped name the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library and participated in the Grand Opening, along with many other community events. He has been named the Long Beach YOUTH OF THE YEAR by the boys and Girls Club for the year 2017. He is also the My Brothers Keeper Health Equity Violence Prevention Youth Leadership Cohort for the City of Long Beach and has served as the Youth Advisor for the program.
The parade kicks off at 10:30 am at Ocean Blvd and Lindero Avenue. It travels West on Ocean Blvd and ends at the curve on Alamitos Avenue. Over the past several years, the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Celebration has become one of the premiere Pride events nationwide now attracting thousands of participants over two days. The Festival Celebration includes seven large dance areas including a main stage, which has featured musical artists such as Grammy
Award Winner Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Maya, India.Arie, and Village People.
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Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride, Inc.