Indy Pride Announces Parade Grand Marshals

For the first time ever, a quartet of notables will lead the pack in the June 14 procession.

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It’s with great pride (of course) that the grand marshals of the 2014 Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade have been announced. Featured are “a Bag Lady, an Indiana Fever guard, and two prominent soldiers in the battle against HJR-3,” says Indy Pride Inc. Here’s a look at these four individuals and the organizations they represent:

TRAILBLAZER

Coby Palmer is that “bag lady,” a pioneer in the Indianapolis LGBT community as far as activism to combat HIV/AIDS is concerned. He recently turned 70 years young and has served his peers as a stalwart advocate for healthcare since 1982, when AIDS was called GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency). The Indy Pride Bag Ladies group of (mostly bearded) drag queens raised roughly $56,000 in 2013 toward the cause of eradicating and educating about HIV/AIDS, adding to its fundraising over the years: upwards of $1 million. That cohort is one of the oldest service-meets-social organizations of its kind nationwide.

INDEFATIGABLE

Meanwhile, Megan Robertson and Freedom Indiana, along with Rick Sutton and Indiana Equality Action, led the fight against ill-fated same-sex marriage bill HJR-3 last fall and early this year for the state’s LGBT residents. Indy Pride says the state’s LGBT population was “under attack” by HJR-3 proponents, going so far as to term Robertson and Sutton “soldiers.” IM recognized Robertson in December 2013’s Best of Indy feature as the city’s Best Gay-Marriage Advocate.

FEVER WHEN YOU KISS ME …

Layshia Clarendon of the Indiana Fever’s WNBA organization arrived as the ninth overall pick in last year’s league draft. The team recently announced a Pride Week event involving LGBT fans being officially recognized at a game and then greeted by Fever head coach Lin Dunn and Clarendon afterward for a discussion near the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court. In a prepared statement, Clarendon says, “I am honored! It will be a great experience for all of us to join together in community for a common goal and make a stand for equality and acceptance. We all deserve to belong and be loved.” Her inclusion in the festivities is on trend with the near-litany of college- and pro-athlete disclosures this year about sexual orientation.

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