Houston PrideMeet the Marshals 2024Pride 2024

Meet the Grand Marshals of Houston’s New Faces of Pride

Houston’s New Faces of Pride honors LGBTQ community leaders at their first festival and parade.

Houston’s New Faces of Pride will host their Pride parade on Saturday, June 22, in downtown Houston. Headliners for the afternoon Pride festival are Billy Gilman, Lauren Sanderson, and Chris Housman. The full afternoon festival schedule is at newfacesofpride.org/festival-line-up. 

This year’s theme, “Rainbow Revolution,” is all about celebrating progress, embracing change, and igniting the spirit of unity. All are invited to join in making this day a spectacular showcase for Houston’s vibrant LGBTQ community.

Bryan Cotton, president of the organization, says, “Houston’s New Faces of Pride is dedicated to celebrating and supporting local nonprofits, businesses, and individuals in our community. We look forward to seeing everyone from all over the city at the festival and parade on June 22—and the official After Party at Post HTX featuring DJ Marti Frieson, with DNVRMX.” 

Grand Marshals for the parade were selected by a Houston’s New Faces of Pride committee to honor their years of dedication and service to Houston’s LGBTQ community. 

What: Houston’s New Faces of Pride downtown parade 
When: Saturday, June 22,  7:30–10:00 p.m.
Where: Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby Street
Info: tinyurl.com/38ta7f6s

Houston’s New Faces of Pride
Male-Identifying Grand Marshal: Ian L. Haddock

36, He/They/Any pronouns used respectfully

Houston’s New Faces of Pride Male-Identifying Grand Marshal Ian L. Haddock

“As a person who puts my head down and does the work, I focus on what needs to be done—and not necessarily what will bring me influence or popularity. Being a grand marshal will allow me to stand for the communities I passionately serve. We all need the visibility and opportunity to do our part to make the world a better place.” — Ian Haddock

Known for:
Haddock is founder and executive director of The Normal Anomaly Initiative. He previously worked in local, county, regional and national organizations to seek forward mobility of Queer people of color. He is a contributing columnist for Outsmart and has written for The Grio, Logo/NewNowNext, Houston Chronicle and The Statesman. He received a GLAAD Media Award for an appearance on The Jennifer Hudson Show.

Haddock was awarded Living Legend by Houston Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Black History Maker by United Black Ellument at the Resource Center in Dallas, Trailblazer of the Year by the African American State of Emergency Task Force, Emerging Leader of the Year by the National African American Gay Leadership Conference (NAESM), Hometown Hero Award by the Carolyn Taylor Lee Foundation, 40 Under 40 Public Health Catalyst by the Boston Congress of Public Health (publisher of HPHR [Harvard Public Health Review] Journal) and the Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Award by the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus.   

Sitting on the Texas Pride Impact Funds Board of Directors, Haddock advocates for more resources for organization in rural communities and/or serving Queer people of color. Across the South, he helps create systems and structures for economic ecosystems for communities with the least resources.

Haddock believes Queer joy is necessary, and he helps create spaces like the Black Queer Advancement Festival that gives a significant platform to Black Queer artists and spaces that center on the Black LGBTQ+ community. Believing that the world we desire starts with us, he works with elected officials, policymakers and policy implementers for a more just society. As a writer, he tells stories of often overlooked people to ensure their narratives are documented. Haddock feels he still has a lot to learn, grow and be and is driven by his passion for change.

Favorite cause:
Ending the HIV epidemic.

Dream to change the world:
To one day realize we are all “normal anomalies” and embrace our differences as beautiful things, knowing we are much more alike than different.

Ultimate life mission:
To work himself out of a job (and not have to do work he doesn’t like to be successful).

Favorite hashtag:

Houston’s New Faces of Pride
Female-Identifying Grand Marshal: Iris Rodriguez

61, She/Her

Houston’s New Faces of Pride Female-Identifying Grand Marshal Iris Rodriguez

“Being named a grand marshal is a significant honor that acknowledges your past efforts and empowers you to continue your work with renewed energy and confidence while building connections with other activists. it allows you to address broader audiences and engage with media, policymakers, and the public. Leading a Pride event underscores the importance of celebrating the ongoing journey toward full equality, justice, and acceptance.” — Iris Rodriguez

Known For:
Rodriguez was born in Mexico and raised in Houston by a single mother as one of eight siblings, living in a household of laughter, love, hard work, and the belief that all people are equal and deserving of respect. She gives full credit to her mother, Marie Dolores Belmont, for giving her the passion and drive to live a life of service. Working as a bartender at Kindred Spirits, she spent most of the 1980s serving drinks to members of the LGBTQ community. She witnessed bar raids, the first AIDS blood drive, and many LGBTQ+ Political Caucus events. She has served on multiple committees of the Kindred Spirits Foundation, Inc. and has been an active board member for over ten years. She is the first Hispanic female in the Houston Fire Department, serving for three decades and presently ranked as a captain. Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, she is a veteran of three wars and one humanitarian conflict. She is an artist and a world traveler. She played in the original Montrose Softball League and the Houston Women’s Softball League. She competed in the 911 Games “Guns and Hoses” benefiting Texas Special Olympics, where she was undefeated in this Police Department vs. Fire Department boxing tournament. She has run Houston marathons and competed in adventure racing. On her off time, she can be found sporting a tool belt and remodeling her 120-year-old home. She is proud to identify as a gay/lesbian member of Houston’s LGBTQ community.

Policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusion in workplaces, schools, and public services; mental-health support within the LGBTQ community; educating others about LGBTQ issues and the importance of inclusivity; empowering LGBTQ youth and providing them with role models, support systems, and safe spaces to express their identities.

Favorite Causes:
Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and human rights.

Dream to Change the World:
Show up, engage, listen—then do something positive to bring about change.

Ultimate Life Mission:
Live life with optimism and happiness, and advocate for positivity.

Favorite Hashtag:

Houston’s New Faces of Pride
Transgender Grand Marshal: Meghan Fairbanks

52, She/Her/Hers

Houston’s New Faces of Pride Transgender Grand Marshal Meghan Fairbanks

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized. I personally believe that one of the most powerful ways we can combat transphobia and homophobia, or any kind of bigotry, is through visibility. People are much less likely to hate someone they know. My personal belief in visibility aligns with the goals of Pride: celebrate who we are, combat stigma, and show the world that it’s okay to be different.” — Meghan Fairbanks

Known For:
Meghan Fairbanks is a late-blooming transgender woman who came out at age 47. Lived in Houston most of her life. Day job working in information technology for an energy management company. Finds ways to be involved in the LGBTQ community, with a particular focus on the trans community. Founder of Trans & GenderQueer Houston (TGQH), a social group for trans and gender-nonconforming folks to show up, be themselves, and find community. TGQH was named as a finalist Favorite LGBTQ Social Group in the 2023 OutSmart Gayest & Greatest awards. Board member of the Transgender Foundation of America (TFA Houston) and member of Houston Transgender Unity Committee. Secretary of Harris County’s LGBTQIA+ Commission and a member of their advocacy and communications committees. Member of the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus who is involved in candidate screenings, the Rules and Administration Committee, and recently volunteered to assist with the Fundraising Committee.

She is also known for “being everywhere.” Shows up to as many activities as she reasonably can. Traveled to Austin numerous times during the last legislative session and has testified before the legislature, the Department of Family and Protective Services, the State Board of Education, and local school boards. Often seen in the crowd at protests and demonstrations. Shares her knowledge of navigating these spaces and does what she can to empower siblings in the community.

The awards include being the 2022 recipient of the Horizon Award from the Houston Transgender Unity Committee, the 2023 OutSmart Gayest & Greatest winner for Most Valuable Female Trans Community Volunteer, a finalist for both Most Prominent Female LGBTQ Activist and Most Prominent Female Trans Activist, and the 2023 recipient of the Monica Roberts Transgender Activist of the Year award from Equality Texas.  

Will continue to be active in all of the organizations in which she is currently involved, with one more on the horizon. She foresees continuing attacks coming from the Texas Legislature during their next session in 2025, so she plans on traveling to Austin as much as possible to combat these attacks. She will support the efforts of the many advocacy organizations who work on the community’s behalf and will also work to empower and mobilize folks who want to get involved both in Houston and Austin.

Favorite Cause:
Transgender rights

Dream to Change the World:
The normalization of the idea that “some people are just trans, and that’s okay.”

Ultimate Life Mission:
The starfish parable: she may not be able to help everyone, but she wants to try and help as many folks as she can.

Favorite Hashtag:

Houston’s New Faces of Pride
Organization Grand Marshal: Rice PRIDE

Rice Pride: 45 (founded during the 1979–1980 academic year)
Gonzales: 22, He/Him/His
  |   Holladay: 21, They/Them

Rice PRIDE Co-presidents Jorge Luis Arnez Gonzales and Cole Holladay

“The members of Rice Pride feel incredibly grateful to have our work formally recognized. This recognition empowers us to continue the work we do. Standing up to discriminatory policies like Texas Senate Bill 17 can feel like an insurmountable task, given how the legislation is designed to keep Queer people from living fulfilling lives. However, the response we have gotten motivates us to continue our activist efforts to foster safe spaces and community for everyone at Rice, in Texas, and beyond.”  

Known For:
Rice PRIDE is Rice University’s undergraduate student organization for LGBTQ students, known for creating a variety of community events ranging from outreach initiatives with organizations such as Legacy Community Health to events celebrating queer joy and culture—including drag shows, formals, and now a Pride parade around campus. Recently we have been known for providing honorary membership to students from public colleges and universities negatively impacted by Texas Senate Bill 17. Through an honorary membership, any student from a public college or university can access resources offered through Rice PRIDE’s Queer Resource Center and attend any events organized by Rice PRIDE. 

Intersectionality has been a top priority in Rice PRIDE’s agenda, especially since Rice PRIDE has historically been considered a predominantly white space among members of the Rice community. The organization works to ensure collaboration with other organizations on campus such as the Black Student Association, such that we can foster spaces that highlight the nature of intersectional issues within the queer community. Additionally, when organizing events where nonprofit organizations are invited to the table to engage with members of the Rice community, they work to ensure invitations are extended to nonprofit organizations like The Normal Anomaly Initiative to further connect students with intersecting identities. Most recently, they organized an interfaith event where people from multiple faiths and denominations could talk about their experiences being both queer and an active member of their faith.

Favorite Cause:
Rice PRIDE’s initiative that opened its doors through an honorary membership program to students from public colleges and universities affected by Senate Bill 17 showed the power students can have in impacting the wider community. It showed how Rice PRIDE could use their privilege as an organization at a private institution like Rice (where the effect of SB17 was minimal) to stand up against bigoted and unsubstantiated legislative policy. It was fulfilling to observe the power that students can have when they organize to fight for queer equality.

Dream to Change the World:
To continue leveraging community engagement and grassroots efforts to fight for equality for the queer community at Rice, in Houston, and beyond. Whether it is by standing up to harmful policy or by creating community-building events, Rice PRIDE hopes to foster spaces where they uphold queer equality and queer joy.

Ultimate Mission:
To create a space and environment at Rice, and in Houston and beyond, where they are able to achieve liberation for their community, ensuring that they address intersectional issues and achieve equality for all.

Favorite Hashtag:

Houston’s New Faces of Pride
Honorary Grand Marshal: Rep. Al Green

76, He/Him

Houston’s New Faces of Pride Honorary Grand Marshal Rep. Al Green

“As a longtime ally of the LGBTQ+ community, it is my supreme honor to be selected as a grand marshal for the New Faces of Pride parade. Being honored as a grand marshal will assist me in highlighting the work of prominent causes that seek to eliminate invidious discrimination and create equality.” — Rep. Al Green

Known For:
Congressman Green is known for being the congressional member who first (and now annually) sponsored the original LGBTQIA+ Pride Month Resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As a member of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, Green has advocated and voted for legislation beneficial to the LGBTQ community. He is the co-sponsor of the Equality Act, the LGBT Data Inclusion Act, the International Human Rights Defense Act, and the LGBT Pride Act. He has cosigned a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services supporting gender-affirming hormone therapy.

Green has supported the Financial Services Racial Equity, Inclusion and Economic Justice Act, which includes the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act. He voted for the Equality Act H.R.5, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in a wide variety of areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.

He has also introduced H. Res. 746, the original National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resolution of 2021, which for the first time included language acknowledging the experiences of LGBTQ people and their experiences with intimate-partner violence.

He has advocated for and supported legislation to provide safe and secure housing for LGBTQ youth. As such, he introduced H.R. 166, the Fair Lending for All Act, explicitly adding protections for LGBTQ persons against discrimination in finance, including home loans.

He has also introduced H.R. 8269, the Parity, Accountability, and Transparency in Housing Data Act of 2022 (PATH Data Act of 2022), which would improve the collection of housing data with respect to gender identity and sexual orientation. Green plans to continue this work by winning reelection to Congress and continuing the fight for equality.

Favorite Cause:
The establishment of a Department of Reconciliation, with a Secretary of Reconciliation who reports directly to the U.S. President and whose mission will be the elimination of all forms of invidious discrimination.

Dream to Change the World:
Eliminate all forms of invidious discrimination.

Ultimate Life Mission:
To live in a world free of invidious discrimination.

Favorite Hashtag:

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Brandon Wolf

Brandon Wolf is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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