Pride parade taps Sam Brinton, Esera Tuaolo, Violet Chachki

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Atlanta Pride lets out a final piece of fab gay fodder to build anticipation toward its festival now just days away. Organizers released names of two hornorary grand marshals and a special guest from variant corners of the LGBT universe.

On Monday, the committee’s annual Pride Guide went online with news that gay former NFL player and Atlanta Falcon Esera Tuaolo and ex-ex-gay activist Sam Brinton are the 2015 honorary grand marshals for Sunday's parade. On Tuesday, Pride officially confirmed the nods.

“We are pleased to welcome these national figures to Atlanta and are delighted they are participating in the 2015 parade,” Jamie Fergerson, Pride’s executive director, said in a prepared statement.

Tuaolo (photo, center) famously caused a stir in 2002 when he came out after his NFL career ended, three years after he played with the Falcons during the team's Super Bowl run. Tuaolo will also appear at Atlanta Eagle on Friday to kick off Pride weekend at the leather bar.

Brinton (right) is best known for turning his survival of so-called “conversion/reparative therapy” into a career in motivational speaking. You might also recognize him for a flaming pink Mohawk atop a usual outfit of high-heeeled pumps with a suit or tux.

On top of the grand marshal nods, Pride also acknowledged a special guest near and dear to local hearts. Gay Atlanta’s own Violet Chachki (left), the reigning queen of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will be the guest of David Atlanta during appearances in the parade and the Starlight Cabaret. Let’s just say that lately she gets around, from riding porn stars, to melting you down and hogtying you.

With official guests like these and a slew of others at unofficial Pride Weekend events, you better get ready. The full announcement from Atlanta Pride:

ATLANTA PRIDE ANNOUNCES 2015 SPECIAL GUESTS

Atlanta, Georgia. – The Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) announced today the addition of several special guests throughout the 2015 Atlanta Pride Festival weekend!

2015 Parade Honorary Grand Marshals are: Sam Brinton and Esera Tualo.

Honorary Grand Marshals are selected from individuals who reside outside of Georgia, representing the LGBTQ community on a national scale. 

Festivalgoers know Sam Brinton, Senior Policy Analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center in DC, for his efforts to end the practice of “conversion/reparative therapy.”  As a survivor himself, he knows all too well the damage such practices can do.

Esera Tualo is a retired NFL player, author and speaker who has spent his post-NFL career working with the league to combat homophobia.  He also serves as a Board Director for the National Gay & Lesbian Athletics Association.

In addition to the Honorary Grand Marshals, the Starlight Cabaret will welcome a special guest this year as well!  Violet Chachki will make an appearance, which is sponsored by Atlanta Pride Media Partner, David Atlanta Magazine.  The RuPaul Drag Race winner will join local performers to close out the festival weekend on Sunday evening.

APC Executive Director, Jamie Fergerson, said of the Honorary Grand Marshals “We are pleased to welcome these national figures to Atlanta and are delighted they are participating in the 2015 parade!”

Fergerson continued, “We appreciate our media partners for all of the support they give our organization and specifically the festival.  David Atlanta Magazine stepped up this year and that allowed us the opportunity to include an exciting performance by Violet Chachki as a part of the Starlight Cabaret!”  She added, “We thank them for that and are looking forward to a great end to a special weekend!”

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