Houston’s 2019 Pride Grand Marshals were announced on April 25 at Pearl Bar, and this year’s slate is historic in a number of ways. Although Houston is the nation’s most diverse city, previous Pride marshals have been overwhelmingly white for much of the parade’s 40-year history. That will change dramatically with the upcoming June celebration.
Pride Houston reports that more than 4,500 people voted in at least one of this year’s four grand-marshal categories, more than three times the number of voters that participated in previous years.
Three of this year’s titles went to LGBTQ African-American Houstonians. Shannon Baldwin has been named Female-Identifying Grand Marshal, Harrison Guy is the Male-Identifying Grand Marshal, and Mike Webb is the Non Gender-Binary Grand Marshal.
Baldwin is the third black woman to be chosen as a female marshal, while Harrison is the first black man to win the male marshal title. Webb is the first non gender-binary marshal to be elected.
Harris County’s Precinct 1 constable, Alan Rosen, who is known and loved in the community, is the second law-enforcement official to be chosen as an ally marshal.
Grand Marshal Backgrounds
Shannon Baldwin was recently elected judge for Harris County’s Criminal Court No. 4, along with 19 other African-American women who all won Harris County judicial races in the 2018 midterm elections. She is the first openly LGBTQ African-American judge in Harris County, and only the second such judge in the state. She was previously a partner at Baldwin Williams & Associates, PLLC, where she tried cases ranging from traffic violations to capital murder. Baldwin is married to her wife, Anita Williams, and is a foster mother to a 13-month-old child.
Harrison Guy is celebrating 25 years of being an out and proud gay black man. He has served on the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Advisory Board, and is an inaugural member and current chairperson of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board. Guy recently founded the Charles Law Community Archive, a black LGBTQ history project in collaboration with Houston’s African American Library at Gregory School. Harrison is married to his partner and friend, Adrian Homer-Guy.
Mike Webb is a gender-queer socio-political activist born and raised in Houston. Webb, who uses they/them pronouns, attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, to study political science. They served on the Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives under former Houston mayor Annise Parker, where they were an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. Webb is currently president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.
Constable Alan Rosen was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He has spent more than 27 years in local law enforcement, both in the constable’s office and the Harris County sheriff’s office. He has worked in the patrol and marine patrol units in addition to his involvement with warrants, narcotics enforcement, and mental health. He has been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community throughout his career.
Pride Houston president Lo Roberts introduced this year’s honorary marshals (individuals selected by a special committee comprised of former grand marshals) by recounting the commonly held belief that brave trans women of color were the ones who initiated the Stonewall Riots in 1969. This year is the 50th anniversary of that civil-rights uprising at a gay bar in New York City.
To honor that history, four Houston trans women of color have been chosen to share the Honorary Marshal title: activists Monica Roberts, Atlantis Narcisse, Ana Andrea Molina, and Dee Dee Watters.
In addition to the marshal announcements, Pride Houston announced the headline performers for the 2019 Pride Festival: hip-hop singer Lizzo, non-binary performer Dorian Electra, and rapper Young M.A.
Pride Houston has planned more than 20 official events for Pride Month. The Pride Festival will start at noon on Saturday, June 22, and the Pride Parade will begin moving through downtown Houston at 8:00 p.m. that same evening.
Full biographical sketches of the marshals, and details of the Pride events, will be included in next month’s Pride issue of OutSmart.
This article appears in the May 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.