More Pride grand marshals named
by Heather Cassell
The board of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee Inc. on Tuesday selected three community grand marshals and the lifetime achievement marshal for this year's parade.
"These individuals are so enormously talented and generous of spirit and of their time," said Executive Director Lindsey Jones. "Leaders each of them, they inspire us all and make our community and world a better place. My heartfelt thanks to each of them for their many contributions."
Pat Norman was selected for the lifetime achievement grand marshal. Partners Laura Espinosa and Dolores Caruthers (who count as one marshal), Robert Haaland, and Page Hodel were selected as community grand marshals.
Norman, 68, was the first lesbian president of the San Francisco Police Commission and she has been actively involved in the AIDS, health, and human rights movements. She serves as a commissioner on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and she founded the Institute for Community Health Outreach in 1988.
"I am just absolutely full of pride," said Norman. "I'm very honored. To even think about my being a lifetime achiever is quite a number so I'm very, very happy."
Partners and community activists for 14 years, Espinosa, 42, who identifies as a lesbian, and Caruthers, 52, who identifies as bisexual, transcended great odds to participate in their community. Espinosa emigrated from Mexico at the age of 11 because she was gay and Caruthers has battled serious health problems over the years. Despite the challenges both women have faced they have been committed to LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues in Marin County.
"Laura and I are so ecstatic about being selected!" wrote Caruthers in an e-mail. "This is on the level of winning an Oscar (to us) and we are pleased and very happy to be chosen by our community."
Robert Haaland, 42, a transgender queer man, is tightly woven into San Francisco's political fabric. He was the first transgender candidate to win an elective office in San Francisco when he won a seat on the Democratic County Central Committee. An organizer for SEIU Local 790, Haaland sits on the city's Board of Appeals and he was recently elected as co-chair at Pride at Work, an LGBT labor organization.
"I'm incredibly honored and excited," said Haaland about his selection. "Some of the grand marshals that have already been chosen are some of our greatest leaders in the city and I'm proud to serve with them as Pride marshal."
Page Hodel, 50, has been the soul of the Bay Area music scene, creating a spirited dance community both in the queer and straight communities, for 25 years. Beyond the music, Hodel has been a dedicated fundraiser for the LGBT and feminist communities supporting a variety of health issues, including AIDS and cancer.
"I'm very, very honored and really excited and really looking forward to participating in this event that I've been going to since 1975," said Hodel. "The Bay Area and San Francisco is so dear to me so I'm really excited to be honored in that way."
Grand marshal selections are not over. The Electoral College (past grand marshals) is expected to names its choice June 8.