Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride is proud to announce the 36th Annual Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade Grand Marshals with this year’s theme “A Million Moments of Pride, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall”. The Grand Marshals are nominated through community members and selected by the Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Board members. The Grand Marshals are selected awardees are based on their service to the LGBT+ community.
Participating in the parade on Sunday, May 19th will be the Grand Parade Marshal, Kate Linder. Kate has portrayed Esther Valentine on CBS’ The Young and the Restless for 37 years; it has been the #1 rated soap opera every week for 30 years. In 2008, Linder received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Linder has a busy feature film career as well; she was in the recent feature films Hysteria, Erased, Miss Meadows, Garry Marshall’s Mother’s Day, Dead Love and The Charnel House. Linder is also in several upcoming feature films including Charlie Matthau’s Book of Leah, Stereotypically You and Voice from the Stone.
Linder has been involved has supported the LGBT+ community over her career. She was a founding board member of TV Cares, the TV Academy’s now-defunct AIDS awareness and fundraising arm. She produced an annual award show honoring positive medial portrayals for people dealing with AIDS/HIV and more. She has always participated in LGBT+ charity events. She has participated as a judge in drag contests and competition but focuses on the serious, especially AIDS/HIV awareness and fundraising, as well as LGBT issues like harassment and equality.
Selected as the Marilyn Barlow Parade Grand Marshal is Delta Work! Delta, a Long Beach native, is one of a select group of female impersonators who nabbed a coveted spot on the reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2011. Boasting a career of over 20 years in the art of impersonation, Delta, a former Miss Gay Pride Long Beach, is part of an elite group of entertainers who produce the world-acclaimed Dreamgirls Revue of Southern California with their home at Hamburger Mary’s. In 2016, Delta was brought behind the scenes as a creative producer on RuPaul’s Drag Race. In 2018, she nabbed her first Emmy Award for her work on the reality show as a producer making her the first and only contestant on the show to ever achieve that distinction. As a creative wig stylist, Delta’s work has been seen in campaigns for MAC cosmetics, on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and in television commercials for Google. Her strong social media presence has made her a very popular mainstay on internet shows like Vh1’s ‘The Pit Stop.’ In addition, she provides content for the cable channel Logo as a commentator and other television shows as a contributing writer. Delta performs in six weekly Southern California-based impersonation revues and travels nationally as a cabaret entertainer.
Selected as the “Morris Kight” Political Grand Marshal is the LGBT+ powerhouse Equality California! Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, leading the Golden State’s fight for full LGBTQ equality for the past 20 years. They bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. They advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating, and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve.
Selected for the “Whitey Littlefield” Community Bridge Building Award is Megan Kerr! Megan is a lifetime Long Beach resident with over 16 years of service to Long Beach schools. Before being elected to the Board of Education in 2014, she was an engaged parent advocate, volunteer and PTA member in the Long Beach Unified School District, with experience in classrooms, offices, music programs, sports programs, and green teams in several LBUSD schools. Megan is a current member and the immediate past president of the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education. She an engaged and strong presence in the community, regularly collaborating to improve the lives of the students, families, and communities in Long Beach. She is a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, but especially our local students. Her first meeting after her election was with the high school youth at The Center to hear the needs of this important population of students. She advocates for the implementation of policies that improve safety, provide access and nurture a positive school environment for all students. She has supported GLSEN teacher and staff trainings, FAIR act implementation in materials and curriculum, and access to clubs and opportunities to engage with the greater community. She also serves on the board for the California Conference for Equality and Justice, a human relations organization dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and racism through education, conflict resolution and advocacy. She actively supports programs such as The Center, the CARE program at St. Mary’s, the GSA Network, and is a strong supporter of the programs and services provided by the City. She works with Sparky and the Gang animal rescue and fosters pups in need of forever homes. She lives in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach with her spouse Andy, children Christian (23), Evan (20), and Emma (18). Dogs Harley (12), Jack (3), and Bill (3) and miscellaneous foster pups.
Chosen for the Judith Doyle Community Grand Marshal is the Karina Samala! Karina was born in Manila Philippines, the 7th child of 7 sisters. She is a graduate of M.I.T. Philippines with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering. Worked for 12 years as a Senior Process Engineer for Northrop-Grumman Corporation. Karina is currently the producer of the Queen USA, Queen of California and Queen of the Universe Transgender Pageants. As an active member of the LGBTQ community for over 25 years, Karina Samala has been actively involved in campaigning for equal rights and human rights for transgender in Long Beach and Los Angeles County. She is currently the chair of the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission Transgender Advisory Council, and a board member of the City of West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board. The board gives recommendations to the city and the City Council on matters relating to the transgender community such as employment, housing, health care, education, equal rights and hate crimes prevention. Ms. Samala was also the chair of the City of Los Angeles Human Services Commission Transgender Working Group that developed and formulated the creation of a now active “Recommended Model Policies and Standards” for the Los Angeles Police Department’s interactions with transgender individuals. She has also worked with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department on Transgender Policies. She is a member of LAPD’s Community Police Advisory Board Jail Division and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department LGBT Advisory Council. In addition to her duties on these commissions, Ms. Samala also serves on the Boards of Asian Pacific Islander Pride Council and the Asian Pacific Aids Intervention Team, as well as the President of the Board of Directors of the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood.
The Robert Crow Community Grand Marshal is Mario Ernesto Gonzalez! Mario was born in Long Beach and starting serving his community by activity volunteering in local elections and in the community in his teens. At 16, he started working at City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services as a Peer Health Educator and then as a Health Education Associate. He managed a variety of programs including a peer-provided teen pregnancy prevention program staffed by high school and college students. He also managed an HIV education and prevention program and a mobile resource center for young people. Mario served as the Health Department liaison at local, regional, county and state HIV/AIDS planning groups to advocate on behalf of the greater Long Beach area. Mario is currently the Manager of Community Relations at the Port of Long Beach. He is the Port’s primary community liaison and oversees a team of community outreach professionals. He is responsible for community engagement, educational outreach and special events. Mario is best known for his support and fight for the LGBT+ community especially youth, as well as the community senior members. He volunteered for the LGBT+ community for many years, including serving on the board of The Center-Long Beach, where he helped raised thousands of dollars for programing and services. He also helped with the creation of the festivals first family oriented Teen Pride event, the Family Fun Zone and the Senior Zone with the support of the Port of Long Beach. Mario also served on the board of the Community Hispanic Association (Centro C.H.A.) Inc. and advocated to workforce development programs and services youth of color. Mario attended California State University, Long Beach, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science, a Master of Science degree in Public Policy and a Public Relations Certificate University of California, Los Angeles.
As for the Dr. Robert Garcia Youth Grand Marshal Award, the Mayor has selected Oliver Nieto. Oliver Nieto is an eighteen-year old transgender boy who advocates for trans and LGBT+ rights freely and is a big believer in needing to have dysphoria to be trans. His first language is Spanish and identifies as Hispanic American. He is a Senior and is the first transgender to be Student Council President of Renaissance High School for the Arts (RHSA) in downtown Long Beach. He plans to attend California State University Dominguez Hills Fall 2019 to study Graphic Design. He has been awarded RHSA’s Digital Art Award for Continuing Excellence. Recently, he has been commissioned by the Long Beach Police Department’s Women’s Advisory Group to design a sticker to spread awareness about sexual assault for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. At California State University Dominguez Hills, Oliver plans to study Graphic Design and hopes to one day become a Cartoon Animator. His journey as a transgender individual has been tough, especially coming out to a now accepting family. He knows the journey is not over yet and he plans to strive through the hard days knowing that one day it will get better. His goal is to help as many people as possible, LGBT+ or not, and encourage them to persevere through the rough times and remind them that “It Does Get Better”.
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. For more information log onto www.longbeachpride.com.