Grand Marshals 2009 (Archive)
    About Grand Marshals
    Celebrity Grand Marshals
    Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal
    Organizational Community Grand Marshal
    Individual Community Grand Marshals

About Grand Marshals
    San Francisco Pride’s Grand Marshals are the public emissaries of Pride. They represent a mix of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the LGBT community.  With the help of community input, Pride selects these groups and individuals as Grand Marshals in order to honor the work they have put into furthering the causes of LGBT people.
    San Francisco Pride recognizes community leaders and one infamous detractor in the following categories: Individual Community Grand Marshals, Organizational Grand Marshal, the Pink Brick Recipient, and Celebrity Grand Marshals.

Celebrity Grand Marshals 2009

Cloris Leachman

Photo Credit: Karen Itagaki

    Cloris Leachman is an Emmy and Oscar-winning actress best known for her roles as the self-involved neighbor, Phyllis, on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and as Frau Blücher in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. She was recently paired with professional dancer Corky Ballas, as a contestant on season seven of Dancing With the Stars. Her list of awards is record-setting, with eight Primetime Emmy Awards-more than any other female performer- and one Daytime Emmy Award; she has been nominated more than 20 times. She also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show.
    Leachman began her career in television and films shortly after competing in the Miss America Pageant as Miss Chicago in 1946. Prior to that, she was very active in theatre starring in many productions at the Des Moines play house. She made her feature film debut in Robert Aldrich's film Kiss Me Deadly, and one year later appeared opposite Paul Newman and Lee Marvin in The Rack.
    Some of her more recent work includes the role of Grandma Ida on Malcolm in the Middle, and wine-soaked, former jazz singer and grandmother, Evelyn, in the feature film Spanglish opposite Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni.
    Most recently Cloris appeared on the hit show Dancing with the Stars and lasted seven weeks before being voted off.  If all this wasn’t enough she managed to travel to Berlin to shoot the new Quentin Tarantino film, Inglourious Bastards,  also starring Brad Pitt. In the next three months Cloris will have two other films in theaters, New York I Love You and the animated film Ponyo!

Lieutenant Dan Choi
    Lieutenant Dan Choi graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 2003 with a degree in Arabic and Environmental Engineering. He served as an infantry officer and served and extended combat tour in Iraq (2006-7). His fluency in Arabic and West Point degree became very useful to the Army’s mission in Iraq as he did not need to use an interpreter. He served as a combat leader, government liaison, and reconstruction officer, rehabilitating water infrastructure. When he returned home he began his first love relationship with his current boyfriend, despite the ban on gay military service. He decided he could not lie about love and so left active duty in 2008. He continued to serve in the Army National Guard. As a founder of “Knights Out,” the West Point LGBT Alumni organization, he fights for the repeal of the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and reminds all soldiers that they are not alone, and they should never be ashamed of being honest with themselves and others. He declared his sexual orientation publicly on national television, resulting in his recent notification of discharge despite his desire to continue serving.


The MILK Team: Bruce Cohen
    Bruce Cohen and his producing partner Dan Jinks are the producers of MILK, directed by Gus Van Sant. MILK won two Academy Awards, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor, Sean Penn, and received eight Oscar Nominations, including Best Picture. Bruce and Dan won the Best Picture Academy Award in 2000 for producing American Beauty.  The Jinks/Cohen Company has also produced Down with Love, Big Fish, The Forgotten, and The Nines. In television, Bruce and Dan have executive produced Traveler, Side Order of Life and the Emmy-award winning Pushing Daisies. Bruce has been an LGBT activist for years, was the LA Finance Chair for "No on 8" and has been honored for his work in the community by the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, the NGLTF, LAMBDA and Outfest.

The MILK Team: Dan Nicoletta

Photo Credit: Amron Yu

    Dan Nicoletta is a San Francisco based photographer who began his career in 1975 working in Harvey Milk’s camera store in the heart San Francisco’s Castro district. He was involved in several of Milk’s political campaigns including Milk’s victorious election to public office as one of the first openly gay elected officials in the world. Nicoletta has continued to document the reverberations of Milk’s legacy for over thirty years serving as a key point person for LGBT civil rights and Milk related research.
    Dan’s work has been featured in numerous settings, including the Academy Award -winning film Milk by Gus Van Sant, the Academy Award-winning documentary The Times Of Harvey Milk by Rob Epstein and Richard Schmiechen, and the award-winning documentary Sex Is by Marc Huestis and Lawrence Helman. (Berlin Film Festival – Best Gay Documentary 1993).
    His work has also appeared in numerous periodicals and books including: Randy Shilt’s Mayor Of Castro Street, Susan Stryker and Jim Van Buskirk’s Gay By The Bay and Harold Evans’ The American Century and also the ten year anniversary catalog Out At The Library - Celebrating The James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center and MILK A Pictorial History of Harvey Milk which includes photos he made on the set of MILK the film.
    Dan’s work has been in numerous group exhibitions and he has had solo exhibitions at Overtone Gallery in Los Angeles (2009), Mace Gallery (1994) and a major solo retrospective at Levi’s Strauss Corporate Headquarters (1996).  His work has been collected by the Wallach Collection of Fine Prints and the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library and the Schwules Museum in Berlin and by many private collectors.  He is a graduate of San Francisco State’s Bachelor of Arts program and was born NYC in 1954 and raised in Utica, New York.

The MILK Team: Howard Rosenman
    One of Hollywood’s first openly gay producers, Howard executive produced Common Threads: Tales from the Quilt, winner of both an Academy Award for Best Documentary and a George Foster Peabody Award for Outstanding Journalism. He also executive produced The Celluloid Closet, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and won Mr. Rosenman his second Peabody Award. His third documentary, Paragraph 175, was about gays in the Holocaust.
    Howard’s career began on Broadway, working for Katherine Hepburn in the Andre Previn musical Coco, the story of Coco Chanel, in 1968. He worked his way to Hollywood and has produced and executive produced countless features, series, and TV movies among them Steve Martin & Diane Keaton’s Father of the Bride, Gloria Swanson’s Killer Bees, Joel Schumacher and Dyan Canon’s Virginia Hill, Randall Kleiser’s All Together Now, Barbra Streisand’s The Main Event, Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Nic Cage & Brett Ratner’s Family Man , Maryam D’Abos documentary Bond Girls are Forever and David Milch’s John from Cincinatti on HBO. Recently, Howard was seen on-screen playing real-life founder of The Advocate, David Goodstein in Gus Van Sant’s Oscar-winning Milk. He just acted in Edoardo Ponti’s Coming and Going and is about to produce John Curran and Al Pacino’s Betsy and Napoleon, Queen Latifa’s Slammer, Eytan Fox, Gal Uchovsky and Motty Reif’s Birthright and Bill Guttentag’s Jonah.
    Howard co-founded Project Angel Food, a lifeline to people affected by HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. Since its inception in 1989, the Project Angel Food Program has prepared and delivered more than 3.4 million meals. He currently serves on the board of the Center for Jewish Culture & Creativity.
    Born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, Howard's parents were both seventh-generation Jerusalemites. He has a large family in Israel and is a devoted supporter.  His partner is Lebanese, half Sunni Muslim and half Christian Maronite. As a couple they cover all bases and obviously are on the vanguard of coexistence in the Middle East. 


Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal 2009
William Beasley

Photo Credit: Chris Boyd

    William “Bill” Beasley made his start as an activist in 1957 doing civil rights work in Atlanta, Georgia.  Bill has been a fierce advocate for African-American and LGBT rights for many years.  As a young man, Bill attended Atlanta University where he joined the civil rights protests and where he also first came out as a gay man. 
Bill is particularly proud of his participation in a lunch counter sit-in at a segregated lunch counter at the Peach Street and 7th building in the west end of Atlanta.  Bill was arrested at that action but his participation in the initial sit-in at Peach Street and 7th sparked a series of sit-ins that eventually lead to the integration of Atlanta businesses and restaurants.
    Bill has been involved in a number of other rights movements since then.  Bill moved to Long Beach, California, in 1968 where he participated in the anti-war movement.  Bill was particularly involved in protests in front of a Dow Chemical facility on Wilshire Boulevard.  Bill played a lead role in organizing these protests which sought to expose Dow Chemical’s role in producing toxic agents used in the Vietnam War.
    Bill was also heavily involved in the gay rights movement in Los Angeles and was one of the founding members of Christopher Street West, Los Angeles’ pride organization.  Bill moved to the Bay Area in 1971 where he began working with San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Celebration Committee.  Bill stayed involved with the Gay Freedom Day Committee through its transformation into the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee.  Among other contributions, Bill was one of the original advocates for the inclusion of the words ‘Bisexual’ and ‘Transgender’ in the Pride Committee’s title.  The two words were added to the organization’s name in 1996.


Organizational Community Grand Marshal 2009
    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
One hundred years ago in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Today the California State NAACP boasts 62 branches and 30 youth units mobilized across the state to help ensure justice and equality for all.


Individual Community Grand Marshals 2009
Joe Hawkins

    Joe Hawkins is a noted Oakland California community activist and community organizer and was selected as one of Click Magazine’s top 25 Elite Black gay men in America.
    Mr. Hawkins was the first black gay man to appear on national television on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1989, defending his right to parent his then 6-year-old son.  Mr. Hawkins is co-founder of the East Bay AIDS Walk and is co-producer of the nation’s largest Black LGBT Film Festival in Oakland California.
    Mr. Hawkins also owns one of the nation’s first Black gay lifestyle websites
and produces the largest black gay men’s events in the northwest as well as the nation’s only national event celebrating gay erotica and men of African or Latino descent called Blatino Oasis.
    A military veteran, Mr. Hawkins’ work in the community has been recognized by the White House and has been featured on Good Morning America and in numerous publications to include USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

Molly McKay & Davina Kotulski

    Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski were fighting for marriage equality before there was a "movement." Davina and Molly were married in San Francisco on February 12, 2004 while participating in their annual marriage counter action. Molly is an attorney, who is currently Marriage Equality USA Media Director and former EQCA Field Director. Davina is a psychologist, life coach and author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage. She previously served as the Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA. Molly and Davina are featured in several marriage equality documentaries including Freedom to Marry and Pursuit of Equality.

Shannon Minter
    Shannon Price Minter is the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where he served as lead counsel for same-sex couples in the California marriage case and in the challenge to Proposition 8.
    He also serves on the board of Equality California and is an active member of the transgender community.

Andrea Shorter
    Andrea Shorter led And Marriage For All, a public education campaign reaching out to African Americans on the importance of same sex marriage equality.  She recently joined Equality California to its statewide coalition efforts with faith-based communities and communities of color for its recently launched campaign Win Marriage Back: Make it Real! to restore marriage for same sex couples.
    A longtime advocate in the LGBT community, she is the co-chair of the Bayard LGBT Rustin Coalition, and is on the Board of Directors of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club. She is the former Deputy Executive Director of the NAMES Project Foundation/AIDS Memorial Quilt.
    Andrea has served as a Trustee of the SF Community College District, and as a Treasurer of the LGBT Caucus of the California State Democratic Party.  She is President of the SF Commission on the Status of Women.

Helen Zia

    Helen Zia is an award-winning journalist and scholar who has covered Asian American communities and social and political movements for decades. She is the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. President Bill Clinton quoted from Asian American Dreams at two separate speeches in the Rose Garden.
    Zia is former executive editor of Ms. Magazine. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, books, and anthologies. She was named one of the most influential Asian Americans of the decade by A. Magazine.
    A second-generation Chinese American, Zia has been outspoken on issues ranging from civil rights and peace, to women's rights and countering hate violence and homophobia. Helen and her spouse Lia Shigemura were plaintiffs in an anti-Prop.8 lawsuit. Helen’s immigrant mother also gave a sworn affidavit, which was presented on behalf of marriage equality to the California Supreme Court.
    In 1997, she testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the racial impact of the news media.