Arizona’s longest-running LGBT tradition changes days
By Laura Latzko – April 9, 2015
For the past 19 years, the Phoenix Pride parade has beckoned community groups and clubs, local businesses and organizations, colorful costumes, dazzling dancers and festive floats – and well as spectators from near and far.
For the first time, however, the parade will take place ahead of the second day of the Phoenix Pride festival. The procession will still kick off at 10 a.m. Sunday at Third Street and Thomas Road and run to Steele Indian School Park.
According to Justin Owen, Phoenix Pride executive director, the expansion of the Phoenix Frontrunners’ annual Pride Run and Walk, on the morning of April 11, prompted the parade’s move to April 12.
Last year, Owen said, 120 participating organizations and businesses participated in the parade, adding that approximately 2,000 people walk or ride in floats before a crowd of 15,000 spectators.
Owen said his hope is that moving the parade to Sunday will reinforce the weekend-long celebration.
This year, Owen said, there will be a large number of LGBT employee resource groups, Gay-Straight Alliances, neighboring Pride organizations, local media and community business will have representation in the parade.
Attendees can expect to see the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s Veil of Freedom – a veil the group put up to shield festivalgoers from protesters two years ago.
“Putting up the Veil of Freedom represented that our LGBT community will not take the hate, misinformation and ignorance of the protests anymore,” said Sister Gabby Le Ankles, Abbess-President of the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “When we put it up, it was emotional for some of us. We made history with it … For me, it was the best moment I’ve had at any Pride parade as a Sister.”
For the second year, Trans* Spectrum of Arizona, a Phoenix-based organization with support groups for the transgender community, will walk in the parade and have a booth at the festival.
For support group facilitator Mel Rodis, who transitioned at age 36, last year’s pride parade marked the first time he was out as trans man in a public setting.
“Just to be out in public in a shirt that said, “Proud to be Trans,” was a really big step for me,” Rodis said. “When I was in the parade, everyone was cheering and clapping … It really helped me to feel like the transgender community was being acknowledged and accepted as part of the LGBTQ community in Phoenix.”
Brendan Mahoney Named Parade’s Grand Marshal
He’s served as the LGBT liaison to the Phoenix Mayor’s Office, he’s the founder of the Arizona State Bar Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, he’s a 2014 Echo Hall of Fame inductee and now, Phoenix Pride has named Brendan Mahoney the parade’s grand marshal.
Mahoney, who resides in Phoenix with his husband of 20 years, Gordon P. Street, III, has been active in many facets of community service in Arizona and considers himself a passionate advocate for equality for all people.
As a working sabbatical, Mahoney recently served for two years as Mayor Stanton’s Senior Policy Advisor and leading the Mayor’s team to enact Phoenix’s LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. Mahoney has since worked with other Valley cities on similar ordinances and proposals.
As a founding member and chair of the Arizona State Bar Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, the first of its kind in the United States, Mahoney worked on revisions to attorney’s ethical rules to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in the practice of law. He has also testified before the Arizona Senate as part of the successful repeal of Arizona laws criminalizing sexual activities between members of the same gender.
Most recently, Mahoney conceived of and has worked on the team for the City of Phoenix Equal Pay Act, which was approved 9-0 by council members March 25, changing to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to mirror federal law on the issue. Currently, Mahoney is General Counsel for HBI International.
Source: Phoenix Pride
Phoenix Pride Parade
10 a.m. April 12 (Sunday)
Parade kicks off at Third Street and Thomas Road and run to Steele Indian School Park