By Jack Dunn, Communications and Operations Associate

This year across the country we’re seeing more and more positive representation of our trans communities in LGBT pride celebrations. LA pride put the ‘T’ before ‘LGB’ in naming their celebration, and many pride celebrations have named transgender Grand Marshals. Here we focus on some major cities and the trans folk they’re honoring!


Danielle Askini

danielleDanielle Askini is a social worker and internationally influential trans* activist. Based in Seattle and Stockholm, Danielle is the founding Executive Director of Gender Justice League, Washington State’s trans* and allied activist collective. Danielle has served as Program Manager for Q-Law, the National Program Director for GSA Network and is currently the Policy Director for Basic Rights Oregon. Her work has also spanned to Sweden where she helped RFSL – The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights – change the 1972 law “regarding sex-changes in some circumstances” that required trans* people to undergo forced sterilization. Danielle’s work has spanned a number of progressive causes including safe-schools work and reforming HIV/AIDS policy, though the underlying focus has always been on elevating trans* community and experiences. Danielle will be Grand Marshal for Seattle’s 40-years-of-Pride celebrations on June 29.

San Francisco

Janet Mock

janetJanet mock is a writer, an advocate, and the New York Times bestselling author of ‘Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More’, the first memoir of a young trans woman, that celebrates self-actualization and self-love. In 2012 she launched #GirlsLikeUs, a movement that encourages trans women to live visibly. Janet is a board member at the Arcus Foundation, a global organization advancing social justice and conservation issues, and an advisor for the {young}ist, a young people-powered media site. The Anti-Violence Project, ADCOLOR Awards and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have honored Janet for her work. She was also named Woman of the Year in 2013 by the feminist site Vitamin W and named to OUT magazine’s Out 100 list, GOOD magazine’s GOOD 100, the Center for American Progress’s 13 Women of Color to Watch, the Huffington Post’s 23 Inspiring Women Blazing Trails for the LGBT Community and The Grio’s 100 most influential African-Americans. Her work has been nominated for a Women’s Media Center Award and a GLAAD Media Award. She has been chosen as ‘Celebrity Grand Marshal’ for San Francisco Pride, which will take place  June 27-29.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy


A participant in the Stonewall Riots, incarcerated at Attica State Prison, politicized by the prison riot in 1971 and now Executive Director of the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) Miss Major dedicated her life to community building and providing direct care and services to other trans women, PARTICULARLY TWOC, including years of activism and advocacy on behalf of prisoner’s rights.

Miss Major has inspired generations to get involved in their local communities. She was involved in numerous HIV/AIDS organizations in the 80s, helped establish the AIDS Memorial Garden in San Diego, and in the 90s moved to San Francisco and became active in the City of Refuge and Tenderloin AIDS Research Center as their Transgender Services Program Coordinator. While at TARC, she innovated unstructured “drop-in” services enabling her to reach previously unsupported parts of the community, and her physical presence alone – accompanying physicians to prisons or providing direct health services – had a direct impact on community members’ ability to trust these institutions, affecting hundreds of lives. She has been the recipient of dozens of awards by municipal and state organizations, most recently the building housing five NYC organizations committed to social justice for LGBTQGNC people of color & low-income people was renamed after her. She has been chosen as ‘Community Grand Marshal’ for the San Francisco pride, which will take place June 27-29.

Jewlyes Gutierrez

jewlyesLike many young #girlslikeus, 16 year-old Jewlyes Gutierrez loves taking family vacations, going to theme parks, shopping, and singing along with her favorite artist, Carrie Underwood. One day she would like to be a cosmetologist, and cuts, dyes and styles her family members’ hair. Jewlyes came out to her family when she was 14 and although her family sometimes struggled to understand what this meant for her life, she always had their strong support. This wasn’t always true at Hercules Middle/High School in Contra Costa County, where she is now a sophomore. She went through many years of abuse and bullying, seeking help from school administrators to no avail. Last November she finally fought back and, in spite of video evidence showing her punched and kicked while trying to run away, she found herself charged with battery while the three students who harassed her received no charges. An online petition in support of dropping the charges gathered over 200,000 signatures in just a few weeks and in February, after weeks of public scrutiny, the case was referred to a conflict resolution program, which will allow the charges to be dropped. But while the legal case may be over, her struggle highlighted the bullying and mistreatment LGBTQ youth endure in the school system and the need for change. She has been chosen as ‘Community Grand Marshal’ for the San Francisco pride, which will take place June 27-29.

Chelsea Manning

chelseaEnlisting in the army in 2007, Chelsea Manning, became an intelligence analyst, and rose to the rank of Specialist, receiving a high level security clearance. Deployed to Iraq in 2008, living and working under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Manning experienced severe isolation and bullying from her fellow soldiers. In 2010, Manning began to share information with the website Wikileaks, ultimately releasing hundreds of thousands of files with far-reaching consequences including exposing controversial excesses by the American Military. Arrested in May 2010 and convicted in August 2013, Manning is currently confined at the military correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Only history will inform us of the ultimate impact of her disclosures. The 2013 SF Pride Board’s controversial decision to revoke her status as Grand Marshal fueled an international controversy and created intense strife within the local LGBT and progressive communities. In January, in the spirit of community healing, and at the behest of SF Pride’s membership, the newly elected SF Pride Board of Directors reinstated Manning’s status as an honorary Grand Marshal for the 2014 Celebration and Parade.

Trans March

Black text on purple background reading "Trans March" with a white star in the middleThe mission of the San Francisco Trans March is to inspire all trans and gender non-conforming people to realize a world where we are safe, loved, and empowered. They strive to create a space for our diverse communities to unite and achieve the social justice and equality that each of us deserves. Several activists answered the call and organized the first Trans March on June 25, 2004 with a gathering in Dolores Park followed by a march to Civic Center. A few hundred people attended the first march, twice as many the next year and it’s been growing ever since. The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco’s largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world. It’s always the Friday of Pride weekend and thousands of people attend.


Christian Axavier Lovehall

christianRevolutionary, artist, poet, and man of trans experience Christian Axavier Lovehall participated in his first protest at the age of seven, and founded Philly Trans* March in 2012. He is a conscious HipHop artist (Wordz the Poet emcee) dedicated to creating art for social change. He is a part of the Philly Trans* Health Conference planning committee for 2014, and is featured in a documentary ‘HISphoria’ that addresses his daily struggles with gender dysphoria and premieres June 19. He currently works at ‘Morris Home’, a one-of-a-kind holistic residential treatment center for at-risk trans and gender variant individuals in Philadelphia. He was chosen as Grand Marshall for Philly’s festivities, which happened June 8.

New York City

Laverne Cox

laverneLaverne Cox is a critically acclaimed actress best known for her role in the Netflix original series ‘Orange is the New Black’ where she won the Dorian Rising Star Award for her groundbreaking role as Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African-American transgender woman. Laverne is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on mainstream television (Time Magazine named Sophia the 4th most influential fictional character of 2013), produce and star in her own TV show (‘TRANSform Me’, nominated for a GLAAD Media Award), and appear on an American Reality TV Show (‘I Wanna Work for Diddy’, which also won a GLAAD Award.) She has won the Courage Award from the Anti-Violence Project, the Community Leader award from the LGBT Community Center, and the Reader’s Choice award from Out Magazine. She has been named one of The Grio’s ‘Top 100 Influential African-Americans’, Huffinton Post’s ‘Top 50 Trans Icons’, Out Magazine’s ‘Top Out 100’ and Metro Source Magazine’s ’55 People We Love’. Laverne is a renowned speaker on gender expectations and living authentically, featured on CNN, MSNBC, HLN, VH1, Fox News Latino, and has recently signed a book deal with Harlequin. She is also working on a documentary titled ‘Free CeCe’ in order to heighten visibility surrounding CeCe McDonald – a transgender woman who was controversially sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison for second-degree manslaughter after defending herself against a racist and transphobic attack. She has been named Grand Marshal for New York city pride, which will take place June 24-29.

Queens, New York City

Melissa Sklarz

Melissa Sklarz is a longtime political activist working with the Democratic Party and the LGBT communities of New York. She became the first transgender person elected to office in New York in 1999 when she was elected Judicial Delegate from the 66th Assembly District. In 2004, Melissa became the first transgender person from New York to be part of the state delegation at the Democratic National Convention, by being appointed to the Credentials Committee in 2004 and again in 2012, and the Rules Committee in 2008.  Melissa was also the President of the Stonewall Democrats of New York City for the past two years. She helped bring civil rights to transgender people in New York City when INT 24 became law in 2002, served on the Working Group with the New York Human Rights Commission to flesh out the law, and has been a lobbying leader for GENDA (Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act) since the bill was developed.

Locally, Melissa served on Community Board 2 in Manhattan for 6 years, is the current secretary of Northern Regular Democrats of Queens, sits on the NYPD Commissioner’s LGBT Advisory Committee, helped Hetrick-Martin Institute with its new transgender program for young adults, and was on the SAGE Advisory Committee for LGBT seniors. Melissa is currently serving on the Board of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the LGBT state wide political lobbying group based in New York and in Albany.

Bushwick, New York City

Reina Gossett

Reina GossettReina Gossett is the membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) as well as the 2014-2015 Activist-In-Residence at Barnard College’s Center for Research on Women. Prior to joining the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Reina worked at @Queers Queers For Economic Justice where she directed the Welfare Organizing Projected and produced A Fabulous Attitude, which documents low-income LGBT New Yorkers surviving inequality and thriving despite enormous obstacles. Prior to her work at Queers for Economic Justice Reina was awarded the George Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship by the Open Society Foundations to work with LGBT people navigating criminalization.She has been named Grand Marshal for Bushwick Pride in New York, which will take place July 12.

Lourdes Ashley Hunter

Originally from Detroit Michigan, Lourdes Ashley Hunter was an original Globe Bushwick member, co-founder and core member of the Audre Lorde Project’s TransJustice, and co-founder of the Trans Women of Color Collective of Greater New York. She has influenced trans* inclusive policy reform resulting in revised employee training, and the development and implementation of cultural competence training and best practices at government entities such as New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) and The New York City Police Department (NYPD). A 2013-2014 LGBTQ Advocacy Fellow at The Rockwood Leadership Institute, a member of the LGBTQ Advisory Board of Essex County, Executive and Director of The Healing and Restoration Ministry at Rivers at Rehoboth. Ms. Hunter has dedicated her career to civic engagement, public service, social change and racial justice.She has been named Grand Marshal for Bushwick Pride in New York, which will take place July 12.


Kaleo Ramos

Photo of Hawai'ian trans man and Grand Marshal Kaleo Ramos in an open white button-up shirt, smiling.Kaleo Ramos is a licensed special education teacher and LGBTQIA activist from Kane’ohe on the Island of Hawai’i. Since 2007 Kaleo has served as an active part of Hawai’i’s LGBTQIA community, earning pageant titles including Mr. Glam King Casanova 2007, Mr. Fashionista 2008, and Emperor of Hawai’i 2009. Following his reign as Emperor Kaleo became involved in a number of organizations including co-chair of GLSEN Hawai’i, board member and camp mentor with CREATE One ‘Ohana, chair of the Privy Council for the Imperial Court of Hawai’i, administrator of Trans Spectrum Hawai’i, and council member to the LGBT Hawai’i Youth Coalition. Kaleo also serves as a liaison for a number of organizations, which include the Life Foundation Hawai’i, GSA Hawai’i, Pride at Work Hawai’i, YWCA Kaua’i, PFLAG Kaua’i, Equality Hawai’i, and the Hawai’i Youth Services Network. He most recently joined in as an active resource to Family Court here in Hawai’i, working to support our LGBTQIA youth within the juvenile justice system. Other involvements include the Hawai’i youth suicide prevention task force, University of Hawai’i’s Safe Zone trainings, and advisory committee on effective practices for LGBT persons reporting sex abuse, as well many as other engagements, which provide services for the betterment of conditions for our LGBTQIA community. Outside of his activism work, Kaleo is currently working on a Masters degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis on Multicultural Education.


Karen Scot

Karen_SmilingKaren Scot is an award-winning teacher and film producer/screen-writer. She has taught Science at Yosemite High School for 24 years, she is a multiple Who’s Who in America’s Schools teacher, being awarded that accolade over ten times. She has been awarded the Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence in Teaching, and is a California Distinguished Educator. She has been many times a teacher of the month, and has educated over five thousand students. Over her thirty year educational career she has coached and trained California State Champions in Science Fair, Science Olympiad and Odyssey of the Mind, with her OM team taking fifth place in world competition defeating Russia. She has received honors for excellence in teaching science students by the Department of Energy/Cray Research Foundation. Miss Scot’s Native American Science team took fifth place in the all tribe western Native Science Championships. Karen has written and/or produced eleven feature films, as well as being a Major in the California Cadet Corps and graduating first in her police academy class. She plays piano, guitar, bagpipes and sings, as well as being a plumber, electrician and a carpenter.


Do you know of more? Let us know in the comments section below!