Dan Choi, Constance McMillen, Judy Shepard: NYC Pride Grand Marshals
Three faces of Pride will ride as Grand Marshals in this year’s New York City Pride March, June 27:
Judy Shepard, mother of hate-slain gay teen Matthew Shepard, co-founded with her husband Dennis the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is dedicated to working toward the causes championed by Matthew during his life: social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Lt. Dan Choi, West Point graduate and Iraq veteran fluent in Arabic, received a notice of discharge from the United States Army for announcing “I am gay” on the Rachel Maddow show, a direct challenge to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. (That discharge is still classified as “pending.”) A tireless champion of equal rights, Lt. Choi was recently arrested for chaining himself to the White House fence during a demonstration for LGBT rights.
Constance McMillen, who wanted to wear a tuxedo and take her girlfriend to the prom at her Mississippi high school. When those rights were denied by the administration at Itawamba Agricultural High School, McMillen’s case was taken up by the ACLU, and a federal judge ruled that Constance’s rights were violated. While the school went ahead and organized a prom, the majority of her classmates attended a private “dance party” several miles away. Previously, Constance had stood up for the rights of trans classmate Juin Baize.