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Mayor to be joined by local dignitaries at S.A. Pride Parade
QSanAntonio.com, July 3, 2009

When Mayor Julian Castro marches down Main Street on July 4 as Grand Marshal of the 2009 Gay Pride San Antonio Parade, he will be in the company of several local dignitaries.

The Mayor will be joined by State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Bexar County District Judge Ron Rangel, 45th District Court Judge Barbara Nellermoe, Bexar County Judge Monica Guerrero, Director of Public Health Dr. Fernando Guerra, San Antonio College President Robert Zeigler and Bexar County Democratic Chair Carla Vela.

Parade organizers said the Parade would include an appearance by a special guest whose name will be announced at the event. While we cannot divulge who this special guest is, we can say that last April she rode on a float in two Fiesta parades.

At press time, no one on the San Antonio City Council had accepted the invitation to march. District 1 Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros once again declined. Organizers have invited her the past three years but she’s never attended. The parade is held in Cisneros’ district, an area that contains nearly all of San Antonio’s gayest neighborhoods.

The Gay Pride San Antonio Parade will be held at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 along North Main Street between West Dewey Place and West Laurel Street. For more information about the Gay Pride San Antonio Block Party and Parade go to GayPrideSA.org.

Pride San Antonio Parade Roster (subject to change)

Mayor Julian Castro -- State Senator Letcia Van de Putte -- Director of Public Health Dr. Fernando Guerra -- Judge Ron Rangel of the 379th District Court -- Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Carla Vela -- 379th District Judge Ron Rangel -- Bexar County County Court #7 Judge Monica Guerrero -- 45th District Court Judge Barbara Nellermoe -- San Antonio College President Robert Zeigler -- Bears of San Antonio -- Bexar County Green Party -- Bonham Exchange -- Brunswick Thousand Oaks Bowl -- City Nights Nightclub -- Classic Chassis Car Club -- Diablos Football Team -- Flyboys Flag Troupe Houston -- Gay Pride SA Bowling Tournament Winners -- Gillman Mitsubishi -- Heat Nightclub -- JD and Victor's Hair Salon -- LGBT Youth and Allies of San Antonio and GSA Network sponsored by Fiesta Frenzy -- Luther's Restaurant -- Metropolitan Community Church -- Pegasus-1 -- Pegasus-2 -- Pegasus-3 -- Pegasus-4 -- Royal Sovereign Imperial Court of the Alamo Empire -- SA LGBT Chamber of Commerce -- Saint Nightclub Car -- Saint Nightclub Newcomer of the Year -- Samba San Antonio -- San Antonio Gender Association -- San Antonio HS Youth Sponsored by Chad Nall Realty -- San Antonio Metro Health -- SGI-Buddhist Group -- Silver Dollar Saloon -- Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio -- Texas Gay Rodeo Association -- TWT -- We Are Alive

Letters of support pour into City Hall | Proclamation: Mayor declares PrideFest Day

Photos -- Activists thank Mayor for Pride Parade participation

Mayor Castro to be Grand Marshal of S.A. Gay Pride Parade
QSanAntonio.com, June 9, 2009

Julian Castro will make history on July 4 when he becomes the first Mayor of San Antonio to ever appear in the Gay Pride Parade as Grand Marshal. Organizers say they are hoping that Castro’s participation will encourage others on the City Council to take part as well.

Parade organizers say the move to elicit the Mayor’s participation started last March 29 when as a candidate Castro attended the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio endorsement meeting. At the meeting Phillip Barcena, President of Gay Pride San Antonio, invited all of the candidates to take part in the annual parade.

In the weeks leading up to Pride Month, organizers of Gay Pride S.A. have been in email contact with the Mayor and City Council members urging them to take part.

Local GLBT activists see Castro’s move as a positive one for the community.

"The local San Antonio Human Rights Steering Committee is excited that San Antonio's new Mayor, Julian Castro, will be our Grand Marshal of this year's event," said George Page, an HRC San Antonio Governor. "It is great to see our city leaders continue to support our community."

"We always knew that Mayor Castro would follow through on his pledge to help us celebrate Gay Pride Month and especially the Gay Pride Parade. We are thankful to him for keeping his pledge," said Lynne Armstrong and Roberto Flores, Co-Chairs of the Stonewall Democrats.

"I want to say, thanks to our new Mayor," says Barcena. "I believe that this truly puts San Antonio on a new path. This is really a quality of life issue. His presence is a statement that everyone matters in San Antonio. In our experience with the new Mayor we have found that his word is real. We believe San Antonio will find that when needs are brought to his attention he will be a careful listener and a concerned leader."

Previous parade Grand Marshals have included Police Chief William McManus, former Marine Sergeant Eric Alva, State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, former Sheriff Ralph Lopez, and former City Councilwoman Elena Guajardo. Last year’s parade included the participation of Congressman Charlie Gonzalez and then candidate for Sheriff, Amadeo Ortiz.

The Gay Pride San Antonio Parade will be held at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 along North Main Street between West Dewey Place and West Laurel Street. For more information about the Gay Pride San Antonio Block Party and Parade go to: GayPrideSA.org.

For a complete list of all events during Pride Month in San Antonio check out QSanAntonio's Proud2BQ 2009 Guide at qsanantonio.com/proud2bq.

Activists thank Mayor for Pride Parade participation
Photos by Antonia Padilla, June 12, 2009

Between 25 and 30 GLBT activists went before the City Council meeting on June 11 to publicly thank Mayor Julian Castro for acting as Grand Marshal of the Gay Pride S.A. Parade on July 4. The three main speakers were Phillip Barcena, President of Gay Pride S.A., retired Marine Sergeant Eric Alva and Dan Graney, President of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus. All of the GLBT activists in the room stood while during the presentation and applauded enthsiatically after each speech. At the end, the Mayor thanked the speakers and said he was looking forward to being in the parade.

Castro to Lead Gay Pride Parade
WOAI Radio, June 10, 2009
Newly minted San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will be the grand marshal of next month's Gay Pride Parade, 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports. "I think it’s an important way to say that San Antonio is a very inclusive city," Castro said. "We don't just tolerate diversity, but we appreciate diversity among our citizens."

Castro-ville: A 21st century, gay-friendly city
By Elaine Wolff, San Antonio Current, June 11, 2008
Mayor Julián Castro knew roughly what to expect when he agreed this week to serve as the Grand Marshal of San Antonio’s July 4 Gay Pride parade — the first San Antonio mayor to do so — and in less than 24 hours, conservative talk-radio host Adam McManus had marshalled his self-styled "Adam’s Army," urging them via web and airwaves to bombard the new mayor with pleas to withdraw.

Proclamation: Mayor declares PrideFest Day
QSanAntonio.com, June 11, 2009
Mayor Julian Castro released a proclamation on June 11 that declared June 13, 2009 as PrideFest Day in San Antonio.

Gay community thanks Mayor Castro
WOAI-TV, June 11, 2009
Gays and lesbians in San Antonio are publicly thanking Mayor Julian Castro. They were at Thursday's city council meeting to show their appreciation for his decision to serve as the grand marshal for this year's Gay Pride Parade. It will mark the first time that a San Antonio mayor has taken part in the event.

Castro's gay-parade role targeted
San Antonio Express-News, June 12, 2009
Mayor Julian Castro's historic decision to serve as grand marshal of the city's Gay Pride Parade July 4 is either an embarrassment or a bold step into the future for San Antonio — depending on whom you ask.

Letters of support pour into City Hall
QSanAntonio.com, June 11, 2009

Hundreds of San Antonio’s GLBT citizens have taken the time to thank Mayor Julian Castro for his decision to participate in the San Antonio Gay Pride Parade. Some of them have sent us copies of their letters. Here are a few.

As a gay citizen of San Antonio, I feel very, very proud today because of your decision to accept the role as Grand Marshall of this year's San Antonio Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, July 4. I watched the news on TV last night and heard you speak about San Antonio being a "cosmopolitan" city with rich diversity and that we should be a "welcoming" city and not just a tolerant one.

Thank you for not only keeping your promise to participate in our Gay Pride Parade, but also for speaking so eloquently and courageously on this subject. You will be attacked by the religious right and others who view the world through the lens of hatred, ignorance and prejudice. I want you to know that you have our "back" - not only of the LGBT citizens of this city but also of the thousands of straight allies who support equality for all. You are on the right side of history on this one, dear Mayor, and so I say, "Adelante con confianza y sin verguenza!"

Thank you again for exercising bold leadership by accepting the invitation to lead our Gay Pride Parade this year!

-- Daniel Graney

This email is to thank you for your words on KTSA this morning with Trey Ware. I was encouraged and felt recognized a "real person" when you defended your decision to be Grand Marshall when Jack Finger called gays despicable and morally corrupt (or words to that effect). I will be participating in the Gay Parade as part of the Color Guard, riding my horse with the Texas Gay Rodeo Association. We will proudly pave the way for you and other parade participants as your escort on the Parade Route. I will be carrying the Gay Flag - with Honor, Pride and Joy.

-- Lisa Smith-Nell

I just wanted to send a note to tell you to stick to what you believe is right! We as LGBT citizens of San Antonio and their sympathizers did that when we elected who we thought would be the best fit for everyone in San Antonio, not just a select few. I pushed the Julian Castro button for Mayor when voting for this reason. You represent all - not some.

You have the full support of the majority and I expected this reaction when it was announced that you would be the Grand Marshal. The same host and the same station did the same thing when HEB announced support for its employees and the LGBT community a few years ago and the positives were many (as I am sure you are experiencing now) and positive.

You do what you feel is best for the city of San Antonio and representing everyone - - - remember LGBT rights isn't about any "special rights" but the right to be treated equally. You are doing that now and the Jesus I know never hated anyone.

-- Ron Clarke, Vice Chair - BEAT AIDS Coalition Trust, Secretary - American Veterans for Equal Rights San Antonio, President - Community Unitarian Universalist Church

I am almost 65 and the Gay [Pride] issue has somewhat passed me by, but your participation is so very important. I have been with my wonderful partner for 37 years and God has blessed me with the most loving and trusting relationship. I have been a Roman Catholic all my life and even my faith does not understand that being gay is not a choice. The only choice here is to accept it, not to be it. Please be strong and pay no head to those that still harbor prejudice. Unless I have truly misunderstood Christ’s lesson, it was to 'love' your fellow man, something many 'Christians' seemed to have missed.

-- Stephen Sadler & Leonard Juarez

Thank you for stepping up to be Grand Marshall of the 2009 Gay Pride parade. As a parade it’s not much but as a statement of solidarity your participation is huge. You will most likely get 5 negative emails (or more) to every positive one on this subject. Don’t let that bother you. Losers always tend to be more vociferous – because they feel threatened (for various reasons!). The gay community voted for you. We support you now!

-- Ron Anderson

I just want you to know I am at your side in terms of the Pride parade and I will let others know to send you support.

-- Patricia Castillo, P.E.A.C.E. Initiative.

On behalf of the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce, I would like to express our support and gratitude for your decision to participate in this year's LGBT Pride Parade. The San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce was created exactly one year ago this month; with the mission of giving a voice of empowerment to the LGBT owned and LGBT friendly businesses in San Antonio. Our membership has grown to over 80 plus members in the short time we have been in existence and we expect to exceed 150 members by the end of this year. Our membership includes a vast array of businesses that provide many services to the citizens of San Antonio. Within the membership of our Chamber, you will find San Antonio's doctors, bankers, teachers, hotel operators, insurance agents, realtors, restaurateurs, builders, and many other diverse businesses.

We understand that there will be people with beliefs of bigotry and discrimination, who will denounce your decision and your show of leadership. Please know that our community proudly applauds your display of leadership. It is refreshing to have a leader like you, that recognizes the value that all of San Antonio's citizens brings to our city's rich diversity. We are proud and honored to have a leader who realizes that what affects one segment of our community, affects us all. You are always welcome to attend any of the Chamber meetings or events as our honored guest. Please feel free to contact me anytime, if we can be of service to you or our great city

-- Darrell Parsons, President, San Antonio, LGBT Chamber of Commerce

I would like to extend my deep gratitude and appreciation for your participation at the upcoming Gay Pride San Antonio Parade on July 4, 2009.

People of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community are your neighbors, friends, family members and co-workers. We are teachers, doctors, veterans, lawyers, and students—old, young, Latino, African-American, Anglo and Asian. People of the GLBT community add to the rich diversity, envied culture heritage and dynamic workforce the makes San Antonio a truly great and inclusive city.

But sadly, we face discrimination, harassment and abuse on a daily basis. Many times a year—we hear the horror stories of innocent people being brutally murdered for who God made them.

We need people like you—who value freedom, equality and celebrate diversity—to fight for us and commonsense values. Without your dedication and support—the ideals we hold so dear as Americans—will fail.

With courageous allies such as yourself, we can beat back oppression and intolerance—and bring equality to all San Antonians.

Thank you for your support and dedication to the GLBT community and for being a leader for ALL the citizens of San Antonio. Together, we will be on the right-side of history.

-- Timothy Hanson