Community To Elect Grand Marshals

Tom Ammiano, Melissa Etheridge and the Reverend Cecil Williams are among the nominees on the annual San Francisco Pride Parade Grand Marshal Ballot. The candidates, nominated by members of the public from around the country and by the general members of SF Pride, span the worlds of politics, public service, entertainment, social justice, journalism, academia, faith and community activism.

Pride President, Calvin Gipson, said :

"Only in San Francisco would you find Margaret Cho, Jesse Ventura and Jesse Jackson on a ballot with community activists. The nominees are a very diverse group of people yet all, through their work, embody this year's theme, It's About Freedom. The honor is particularly poignant this year as we celebrate our 30th anniversary and we look forward to seeing how the community votes."

Among the community activists nominated are Dr. Susan Stryker (Executive Director of the Lesbian & Gay Historical Society), Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin (founders of the Daughters of Bilitis), the Rev. Jim Mitulski (Pastor of the MCC in the Castro), Felicia Park-Rogers (Executive Director of COLAGE - Children of Lesbians and Gay's Everywhere), Andrea Shorter (Names Project) and leatherman Keith Truitt. Joining them are local entertainment divas Page Hodel (promoter of The Box) and Audrey Joseph (promoter of Club Universe and Pleasuredome).

Noticeable also this year are couples. Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton who were "married" just over a year ago in a controversial ceremony in Sacramento presided over by Rev. Don Fado, join Rev. Cecil Williams and his wife Janice Mirikitami of Glide Memorial Church, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, and Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher on the list on nominees.

Voting will take place at polling booths staffed by Pride Committee Board members and staff at the junction of Castro and 18th Streets on April 1 and April 8 between 10 am and 6pm, at the junction of Folsom and 8th Streets on April 8 between 6pm and 10pm and at the junction of Polk and Sacramento Streets on April 2 between 2pm and 6pm.

To encourage a more diverse selection, voters will be able to vote for three choices in the individual category. In addition, ballot papers will appear in the local LGBT press in the weeks ahead. The results will be discussed by the Board at its meeting in early May and either one or more grand marshals will be selected.

Pride Executive Director, Teddy Witherington, explained:

"It may be that the vote will result in a clear winner. The Board will listen to the voice of the community and in the event that there are two or three nominees who poll well, may decide to make them all grand marshals. We'll wait and see what the results are before making any decisions."

In addition to voting in the individual category, voters will also be able to vote for their favorite organization in the organization category.

A complete list of the nominees in both categories is attached.

This year's San Francisco Pride Parade & Celebration takes place over the weekend of June 24/25. For more information call (415) 864 3733 or check out the website at www.sfpride.org.

ENDS

For further information please contact Teddy Witherington at : (415) 864 0831 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee Inc.

Year 2000 Grand Marshal Nominees

Individuals

Sup. Tom Ammiano
Jeanne Barnett & Ellie Charlton
Paul Bauer
Margaret Cho
Ellen DeGeneres
Melissa Etheridge & Julie Cypher
Page Hodel
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Audrey Joseph
Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon
Rev. Jim Mitulski
Comm. Pat Norman
James Osborn
Felicia Park-Rogers
Andrea Shorter
Michaelangelo Signorile
Dr. Susan Stryker
Keith Truitt
Gov. Jesse Ventura
Rev. Cecil Williams & Janice Mirikitami

Organizations

AIDS Emergency Fund
Black Brothers Esteem Program of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation
El Modena High School Gay/Straight Alliance (Orange County)
Equal Benefits Advocates
Gay & Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California
Project Open Hand
Pro Latino
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus & Dr. Stan Hill
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
SMMILE (South of Market Merchants and Individuals Lifestyle Events)
Tom Waddell Health Center