Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake will serve as grand marshal of next month’s Pride parade and will officiate at a mass wedding of gay and lesbian couples at the Pride festival the following day, organizers announced this week.
“Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s commitment to the LGBT community has been undoubtedly one of the best records in Maryland and for the City of Baltimore, from her early position in supporting marriage equality in Maryland to her commitment to combating gender identity anti-discrimination and violence in the city,” said Matt Thorn, interim executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore, which organizes Pride.
The mayor, a regular attendee of Baltimore Pride, also officiated the first gay and lesbian weddings in Maryland on Jan. 1, 2013. The Baltimore Pride parade and block party will be held June 15 and the festival and weddings will follow on June 16.
This year, the Pride Committee is also showcasing the work of local activists and advocates. Beginning this year, Baltimore Pride will select two ‘Activists of the Year’ to ride in the Pride Parade. The 2013 Activists of the Year are Shawnna Alexander and Jamal Hailey. Alexander is celebrating 31 years of entertaining. Hailey is an advocate for marginalized groups, especially youth and LGBTQ communities of color.