Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Celebration 2018

AIDS Food Store volunteers walk down Ocean Boulevard carrying a rainbow flag at last year's Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Celebration 2018.

It's Pride weekend in Long Beach.

That means the city is raising up a few more rainbow flags and celebrating all things LGBTQ for the 36th year in a row. And this year's theme is recognizing what many point to as a pivotal moment in Gay Rights history.

June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Celebration is honoring that anniversary with "A Million Moments of Pride, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall."

On Sunday, the parade will march on in celebration and recognition of that anniversary, stepping off at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Ocean Boulevard and Lindero Avenue. 

Early birds not only get a better spot to view the parade, they also get to watch the pre-parade show at the parade grandstand between Junipero and Cherry avenues on Ocean. Cheer Los Angeles, a cheerleading group for adult men and women, will be kicking off the performance. Jewels Long Beach will be hosting giveaways, including tickets to the Gay Pride Festival. 

The route will follow Ocean Boulevard until it reaches Alamitos Avenue, where the parade will end.

"Long Beach Pride is celebrating inclusiveness and recognizing all people because of their strengths," Megan Kerr, Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education member, said. "The parade is a wonderful symbol of inclusiveness and community."

Kerr was selected as one of this year's parade grand marshals, receiving the Whitey Littlefield Community Bridge Building award. Organizers said that Kerr was selected for her contributions to the school district and outspoken support for LGBTQ youth, advocating for policies that create a more positive school environment for all students.

“I am so excited and honored and humbled to have been selected," she said. "I’m lucky to be in a position with the school district where I can impact policy to be more supportive of LGBTQ students and protect people’s rights and uplift and celebrate the students in our community."

Kerr will be in a car next to the LBUSD entry, towards the front of the parade.

Selected as the Grand Parade Marshal is Kate Linder of "Young and the Restless" fame. She was selected for her many years of advocacy for LGBTQ people in television, including the TV Academy’s now-defunct AIDS awareness and fundraising organization.

Another grand marshal this year is Delta Work, a Long Beach native and RuPaul's Drag Race alum, who was selected as this year's Marilyn Barlow Parade Grand Marshal. The former Miss Gay Pride Long Beach is an Emmy Award winner for her work as a producer for RuPaul; she is part of a traveling dance cabaret and a professional wig stylist. 

Selected as the Morris Kight Political Grand Marshal is the LGBT+ powerhouse Equality California. The organization is the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the state.

Karina Samala was selected as the Judith Doyle Community Grand Marshal for her many years of advocacy for transgender people. She has worked directly with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, producer of the Queen USA, Queen of California and Queen of the Universe Transgender Pageants and is a member of LAPD’s Community Police Advisory Board Jail Division and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department LGBT Advisory Council.

Mario Ernesto Gonzalez is this year's Robert Crow Community Grand Marshal. Gonzalez has 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, has served on the board of The Center-Long Beach and is a Long Beach State graduate.

Finally, the Dr. Robert Garcia Youth Grand Marshal Award goes to Oliver Nieto, an 18-year-old transgender boy. He is the first transgender Student Council President of Renaissance High School and was personally selected by Mayor Garcia for this award.

Also in the parade, and of "Orange is the New Black" fame, is Brad William Henke. In the show, Henke played Desi Piscatella, a gay prison guard at Litchfield Federal Penitentiary and resident bad guy in seasons four and five.

Henke will be walking in the parade alongside the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Parking for the event is available at the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., which is past the end of the parade, which ends at Alamitos Avenue, and next to festival grounds.

The pre-parade show is at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 19. The parade will step off at 10:30 a.m. at Lindero Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.

For more information about the Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade, go to longbeachpride.com.

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstutzman@gazettes.com.

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