In a trend that started a few years ago, the Atlanta Pride Committee has named multiple grand marshals for 2012. Six individuals and two organizations lead the Oct. 14 parade down Peachtree Street and Piedmont Avenue.
The committee selected individuals from Atlanta’s gay politics, religion, military, education and nightlife realms rather than its old formula of choosing one female and one male grand marshal. A fraternity for masculine-identified lesbians and Atlanta’s oldest camp drag troupe are also grand marshals.
“We are so proud of our 2012 Grand Marshals,” Glenn Paul Freedman, Pride’s board chair, said in a prepared statement. “It is going to be really exciting having such a diverse group of individuals representing the LGBT community at the Atlanta Pride Festival this year.”
Selecting from more than 50 community nominations this year – the most Atlanta Pride has ever received – the committee says in Wednesday’s announcement that the 2012 grand marshals were chosen for significant contributions to the LGBT community in Atlanta and the state.
Check out Pride’s full announcement below, but hang onto your hats. The Grand Marshal list isn’t complete yet. Honorary Grand Marshals – people “who do not live in Georgia, who have a national or international reputation and are committed to LGBT-related causes and activism,” according to Pride – will be named in the coming weeks.
Vandy Beth Glenn
Vandy Beth Glenn is a Georgia native, writer, editor, public speaker, and transwoman. She lives in Decatur, with her human partner and four feline dependents. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. In October 2007, she was fired from her job at the Georgia General Assembly for announcing her intention to change gender from male to female, a move her boss described as “inappropriate.” With the help of Lambda Legal she brought a federal case before the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia and later the federal Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Both courts—four unanimous judges—described her firing as “illegal” and required the state government to restore her job in December 2011. She has been back under theGold Dome ever since. She has been interviewed by various media outlets, including ABC News, NPR, the Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GA Voice, and Washington Blade. She received awards from Southern Voice, the Human Rights Campaign, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, and was a GA Voice newspaper’s Person of the Year for 2011. She has spoken at public events in Atlanta, Washington, Fort Lauderdale, and Connecticut. She writes and blogs at vandybethglenn.com
Jeff is the executive director of Georgia Equality, an organization that works to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities throughout Georgia. One of Georgia Equality’s lead programs is the facilitation of the Georgia HIV Advocacy Network. Jeff began advocating on LGBT and AIDSrelated issues as a college student in the mid-1980’s and has continued his advocacy on these issues since that time. He has been involved in a wide variety or grassroots and legislative advocacy campaigns and has served as either an executive director or board member to a number of local and national organizations working on issues related to gay and transgender rights, access to healthcare, community empowerment and HIV/AIDS. Jeff has received numerous awards and recognition for both his advocacy andnonprofit work from organizations such as the National Center for Human Rights Education, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Atlanta City Council, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and several publications and organizations within the local LGBT and HIV communities. He is a current board member of Georgians for a Healthy Future and the national Equality Federation, and is a former board member of the Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief (CAEAR) Coalition.
Danny Ingram is the National President of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) and served in the United States Army from 1988 to 1994. Following a 1992 statement made in support of Bill Clinton’s promise to lift the ban, Danny became one of the first soldiers to be discharged from the US military under the then new “Don’t Ask, Dont Tell” law in April 1994, 10 days before his ETS date. Sixteen years later, Danny was invited by the Obama White House to attend the Presidential Signing ceremony that repealed the DADT law. Danny serves as Treasurer of the DeKalb County Democratic Party and is a Senior Business Analyst at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was the recipient of the 2003 Don Bratcher Human Relations Award in recognition for his work in helping establish domestic partner benefits for University System of Georgia employees. Danny lives inDecatur, GA, with his partner Harry. Highly active in various veterans’ issues, Danny is a Life Member of AVER, AMVETS, Veterans For Peace, and the Alexander Hamilton Post of the American Legion.
Dr. Julie Kubala
Dr. Julie Kubala is the Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Women’s Studies Institute at Georgia State University. She earned her doctorate from Emory University in 1997 from the Institute of the Liberal Arts, where she focused on feminist and queer theory, literary and cultural criticism, and personal narrative. Dr. Kubala was one of the community members who came together toorganize and hold the first Dyke March in Atlanta. She was also an integralpart of the formation of what is now the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life at Emory University. Last year, she was one of the organizers of the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association Conference in Atlanta and has a history of volunteer work with Estrofest, Cliterati, Amazon Feminist Group, Lesbian Avengers, Queer Progressive Agenda (past), Act Up, MondoHomo, Sisters in Sports, and Girls’ Rock Camp. Currently, she is affiliated with the East Point Possums, Faces of Feminism, Black Out, and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation.
Rev. Joshua Noblitt
Rev. Joshua Noblitt is the Minister of Social Justice at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta. His specialized ministry involves leading program and volunteer opportunities related to all social justice issues as well as working in private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, mediator and mitigation specialist. Rev. Noblitt completed his Master of Divinity at Emory University in 2004 and his undergraduate studies at Greensboro College in 2000. Rev. Noblitt serves on the Board of Directors for the Reconciling Ministry Network, a national organization that seeks full inclusion for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people in the United Methodist Church, is a member of the Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board, serves as Vice President of the South Atlanta Civic League, and is a 2011 LEAD Atlanta alumni.
Anita Rae Strange
Anita Rae Strange, also known as Blondie, has been an entertainer for over 30 years and began her career at the Clermont Lounge, where she still performs today. Known for her “tough-as-nails” persona, Anita Rae is a passionate activist around HIV/AIDS causes and is atireless advocate for LGBT rights while struggling against economic hardship and health concerns. She is a symbol of perseverance for many people who look to her for inspiration as she continues to entertain despite the racial stigma, which surrounded her for much of her career as one of the only African-American performers at a predominately white club, and aging. The subject of the documentary “AKA Blondie,” Anita Rae has a cult following with many LGBT fans and admirers and is gaining wider attention as the documentary makes it rounds on the film festival circuit.
Alpha Chapter of Sigma Omega Phi Fraternity, Inc.
The national fraternity Sigma Omega Phi was founded in 2008. Atlanta is the national headquarters as well as the home of the Alpha Chapter. The Fraternity is for all masculine-identified gay females also known as Studs, AGs, Doms, Butch, Masculine of Center, Masculine Queer, etc. Thischapter is currently small in terms of members but is large in the amount of community service in which they are involved. Members feed the hungry and provide blankets to the homeless in winter. They tutor masculine-identified gay females with studying for their GEDs through their national program, the SCHOLAR Program. Additionally, the group hosts several of the fourth ThursdayReal Bois Talk Health program discussion groups. They have helped several masculine-identified homeless youths. They routinely serve as volunteers for several of the LGBT community large events along with developing and helping each member grow.
For over 33 years, theArmorettes have been premier fundraisers for HIV/AIDS in the gay and lesbian community while providing the absolute best in camp entertainment. They have raised well over $1.9 million for AIDS support services. Over 70 men have donned drag to help raise money for this worthwhile cause as members of theInfamous Camp Drag Queens of the South. Each member of the troupe, from theoriginal cast of seven to the current cast, has dedicated a part of his or her life to serving causes in the gay and lesbian community. Raising money, awareness of issues, and providing a good time to anyone who would spend a Sunday night with them has always been their aim. From the original Homecoming event that raised just over $2,000.00 for AID Atlanta to the current cast of tireless volunteers who are committed to many community causes, the Armorettes continue their legacy of service. The Armorettes perform every Sunday at Burkhart’s at 8:00 p.m. and every third Saturday of the month at The Heretic Backroom Burlesque Show.