NYC Pride announces its four Grand Marshals slated to lead the 49th NYC Pride March on Sunday, June 24, 2018. Billie Jean King, Lambda Legal, Tyler Ford, and Kenita Placide will helm this year's "defiantly different" demonstration of LGBTQ+ members of the community. This year's NYC Pride March also undergoes a change to its iconic route along 5th Avenue. The new route refocuses the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ movement to a place of prominence at the beginning of the March.
Billie Jean King is a sports icon and a champion for social change and equality. Named one of the '100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century' by Life magazine, King was recognized for her work in the social justice arena. President Obama awarded King the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In 2017, Fox Searchlight released the critically acclaimed film, Battle of the Sexes, starring Academy Award® winner Emma Stone as King.
Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve the full recognition of the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. In the past year alone, Lambda Legal has sued to stop the transgender military ban, defended marriage equality nationally, fought federal, state and local-level discrimination, and continued to advocate for the most vulnerable members of our community – including youth, seniors, the trans community, and communities of color.
Tyler Ford is an award-winning gender advocate, writer, and speaker, whose creative and critical writing on queer and trans identity inspires, comforts, and challenges a diverse spectrum of audiences. Ford is also the Associate Editor at Condé Nast's them, a next-generation LGBTQ community platform.
Kenita Placide is OutRight Action International's Caribbean-based Advisor and the Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE). She has been an advocate for HIV and human rights, youth and LGBTI issues, for over 12 years. Instrumental in organizing the first OECS regional security and human rights training for LGBT and sexual rights defenders in 2011, she made history co-coordinating the Caribbean's first International Dialogue on Human Rights in 2012.
"This year's selection of Grand Marshals, bring forth the very essence of what it means to be 'Defiantly Different' in social and political unrest," Julian Sanjivan, NYC Pride March Director. "King, Lambda Legal, Ford, and Placide are defiantly brave, defiantly unique, and defiantly a share of our wondrous LGBTQ+ community."
This year's theme, 'Defiantly Different,' speaks to the breadth of the LGBTQ+ community as a unified people and our tenacious individuality.
The 49th NYC Pride March will commence at noon on June 24, at 16th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan. The route proceeds through the West Village and Midtown, passing by the historic Stonewall Inn, and ends on 29th and 5th Avenue. The new route is in anticipation of the record number of attendees scheduled for Stonewall 50 / WorldPride 2019. This route also aims to reduce the overall time of the March procession, and reduce wait times for the more than 350 marching groups prepared to step off.