Congratulations to our 2015 Atlanta Pride Grand Marshals!
To read the full press release about this year’s Grand Marshals, click here.
Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC)
The AGLCC (Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce) exists to promote the economic growth and advancement of our LGBTQ and allied business members, our non-profit organizational members as well as our corporate partners and their employees, through advocacy, leadership, education and support.
They serve their community by helping to grow and advance LGBTQ businesses, and to educate and develop LGBTQ professionals in being the best they can be in their professional lives. The more successful they are at building the LGBTQ business community, the better equipped their community is as a whole to generate jobs and advance equality for all LGBTQ community members in Atlanta.
Swami Jaya Devi Bhagavati
Swami Jaya Devi Bhagavati is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Kashi Atlanta, a nonprofit urban Yoga Ashram that has served the spiritual needs of the LGBTQ community for 17 years. Through weekly classes and weekend immersions, Swami teaches many LGBTQ students how to consume the world and live from the deepest realms of the heart.
Swami Jaya Devi’s formal work with the LGBTQ community began in 1997. Faced with the tragic impact of HIV/AIDS, she developed the first Immune Yoga, Meditation and Breath class in the Southeast at the Grady Infectious Diseases Clinic, teaching patients and supporting doctors and nurses. Soon after, she started what would later became the Kashi Care Team to provide assistance for those in the final stages of AIDS. In 1998, Swami founded Kashi Atlanta, where she continued to teach weekly AIDS/HIV+ Yoga Classes. She began focusing her teaching on spiritual growth, and Swami is credited with creating an inclusive and embracing spiritual home for LGBTQ seekers, including launching a Trans* & Queer Yoga program two years ago.
Swami Jaya Devi is a monk in the lineage of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, herself a longtime vocal advocate of the LGBTQ community. Kashi Atlanta has been voted Atlanta’s Best Yoga Studio by Creative Loafing every year since 2000, and Swami has been voted Best Yoga Instructor since 2006.
I am a wife, a mother and an educator living and teaching in the Cobb County area my entire life. Approaching my 20th year of marriage with my high school sweetheart in 2016, my 20th year of teaching in the fall of 2015, and my son’s 16th birthday in August, this is a time of reflection. All people should be allowed to feel the power and wonder of a family united not just by love, but also by law. After years of LGBTQ advocacy within my classroom, I am happy to co-sponsor the Hillgrove High LGBTQ+ club with my colleague, Kelly Colvin, after she was asked by students for sponsorship. We are the “plus”. We are their allies. LGBTQ are just letters until someone points out the face and the name of the person representing each symbol. This person sits beside you in class. This is my role. When our club signs are taken down, we replace the signs. When we get complaints over our rainbow club shirts, we walk with a bigger and brighter rainbow. We must be the catalyst for awareness. What type of teacher would I be to do otherwise? I am honored to be this person. — Stefani Blackmon
Ulester Douglas is executive director of Men Stopping Violence (MSV), a nationally acclaimed organization dedicated to ending male violence against women. He is also a psychotherapist and community organizer with extensive training and experience working with individuals, families and communities marginalized based on social status including gender, race, sex, class and sexual orientation. Ulester completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and has received numerous awards including a National Institute of Mental Health Fellowship; Second Sunday of Atlanta Community Service Award; the National District Attorneys Association’s Stephen L. Von Riesen Lecturer of Merit Award; The Ford Motor Company Freedom Unsung Award; and Unity Fellowship Church Atlanta Community Service Award. He has authored and co-authored curriculum, book chapters and peer reviewed articles on family violence. He has been interviewed by national and local media including The New York Times, CNN, PBS, TV One, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, CBS 46 Atlanta, 11 Alive, WSB TV, V103 and the AJC. Ulester serves on the board of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and was recently appointed by the governor to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.
La Trina P. Jackson
La Trina P. Jackson, a Georgia native, serves as a board member and community leader/imam for her local mosque, Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) Atlanta chapter. She also serves on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation an integrated, interfaith, intergenerational, and international peace and justice organization.
Trina is a teacher/human dignity advocate as a public high school science teacher in Atlanta, GA. She will begin doctoral study of Educational Policy and Social Foundations at Georgia State University in the Fall 2015.
Her other community activating/agitating work includes growing justice in the US criminal justice system through challenging the policies of mass incarceration and the death penalty. Her work also raises awareness about why #Black Lives Matter and its connections to Palestine/ Israel and other US sanctioned violence and imperialism. Her spiritual/philosophical roots are sown deep into both mysticism and naturalism that foments her passion for inter-religious peacebuilding, and local food security.
Trina lives with her spouse, Kim, on a local urban farm raising food, goats, chickens, and bees.
Raynae’ Jones, 44, was a late bloomer and came out at the age of 32. At that time she was a mother of three. Since then she has been lobbying for LGBTQ rights. Raynae’ is the Executive Director of South Georgia Pride in Valdosta, GA and has been volunteering with the organization since 2010. She has been involved in the coordination of their Pride Festival that is held every 3rd Saturday in September. Equality is her passion and she looks forward to the day when she can legally marry her partner of twelve years, Holly Jones.
Raynae’ lives in the small town of Stockton, just outside of Valdosta, where her partner is a beekeeper. Their “Lesbian Honey” is a popular treat at festivals. However, Raynae’ has many jobs, but out of all she does, being a Mama is her favorite. The couple shares a beautiful two-year-old daughter, Ayla, as well as Raynae’s other wonderful children, Loretta, Dianna & Grady. She also loves being a Nana to her three grandchildren.
Raynae’ knows that all the hard work she puts in will pay off. She looks forward to when her children will be able to live in the rural south where every family is legally protected.
Gus Kaufman, Jr., Ph.D.
Gus B. Kaufman, Jr., Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and longtime social activist. He cut his teeth as an activist writing and editing for the Great Speckled Bird underground paper, and went on to co-found five nonprofit organizations, including Men Stopping Violence and The Rainbow Project, devoted to ending abuse in LGBT relationships.
As a professional his areas of expertise include healing and preventing abuse and trauma, and related to that the use of body signals in psychotherapy. He has worked to bring these together with his passions for justice and authenticity—all tied to his work on gender and sexual orientation. Gus is a former national vice-chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a one hundred year old peace and justice group. He has trained workers in prisons, schools, the armed services and professional organizations on these issues and has received the First Existential Congregation’s Susan B. Anthony award, the Rainbow Center (now Sojourn—Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender & Sexual Diversity)’s Rainmaker award and the National Association of Social Workers Stone Soup Award. Gus loves nature and people and is an out, proud, single gay man.
Transgender advocate Tracee McDaniel is motivated by a strong desire to ensure that all transgender and gender non-conforming people also receive Equality, Justice and Human Rights protections. Tracee was the first transgender person invited to deliver a key-note speech at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in 2007 has lobbed the United States Congress to support a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and to increase HIV/AIDS funding.
Tracee founded Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, and organization that provides fundamental services to the transgender community including transitional and emergency housing. JCT is also is the official organizer of the Atlanta Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) celebration, the annual vigil that memorializes transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been lost to murder or suicide.
Additionally, Tracee has served on the Atlanta Police Department’s L.G.B.T. Advisory Board, Mayor Reed’s Working Group on Prostitution (WGOP), and is a member of the Board of Directors for Transgender Health and Educational Alliance. Tracee is also a Vetted Trainer for the United States Department of Justice and faciliates transgender cultural compentency trainings for law enforcement agencies. Most recently, Tracee briefed the White House on how economic inequality affects transwomen of color.
Daniel Ashley Pierce
Daniel Ashley Pierce is a Lost N Found Youth success story. He is a student at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw Georgia. He is a resident of Acworth Georgia just a few miles from his hometown of Kennesaw. He has a wonderful partner and a Chihuahua. Daniel was a subject of a viral YouTube video last August that shocked the LGBTQ community worldwide. He was featured in The Advocate, Huffington Post, CNN Doctor Drew, Georgia Voice and Project Q. He was blessed with the love and support of millions that sent comments, letters, emails, donations and more love he could ever ask for. He found his family in the friends that came around him and helped him through. He joined the board of directors for Lost N Found Youth. He is honored to be one of Atlanta Prides Grand Marshals for Pride 2015.
Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN)
Originally founded as The Rainbow Center in 2001, the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN) became an independent agency in 2013. SOJOURN promotes increased understanding and acceptance of individuals across the entire spectrum of gender and sexual orientation in the Southeast through education, outreach and advocacy, inspired by Jewish and universal ethics and ideals. SOJOURN works throughout the South, training mental health professionals and school staff members in LGBTQ-specific suicide prevention programs, assisting Jewish communities across the South to ensure their communities – including every single Jewish institution – synagogues, camps, schools, and more – are truly welcoming to all people, and in the political advocacy arena, training clergy in grassroots activism and engagement, including this past year’s fight against the so-called “religious liberty” legislation.
Charles Henry Stevens
Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Charles Henry Stevens of Philadelphia served aboard the US Navy’s brand new Haven-class hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) during the final bloody days of the Pacific campaign in World War II, and continued his service during the Korean Conflict, amassing an admirable number of 13 medals, including the rare China Service Medal when the Repose was stationed on the Whangpoo River in Shanghai. Many years later, during the battle to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that barred gay and lesbian people from serving openly in the US military, Charles Stevens rebuffed the claim by then Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos that “his” Marines would be better off without the “distraction” of gay men who would “undermine unit cohesion in combat.” “When I was putting Marines back together again, and they were screaming for their mamas,” said Stevens, “they didn’t seem to care a whole lot that I was gay.” Charles’s argument became one of the most effective justifications in defeating DADT: wounded US service members are better off having their lives saved by a gay medical technician than by dying on the battlefield because the medic had been kicked out for under DADT.
Trans* and Friends
Trans* and Friends is a youth focused group for trans* people, people questioning their own gender, and aspiring allies. We provide a facilitated space to discuss gender, relevant resources, and activism around social issues. Whether silently or aloud, we ask folks to consider their own gender in a transient world. This is a project of the Feminist Outlawz. We meet on the first and third Mondays at Charis Books and More.
Mr. Jesse McNulty Sr., M.Ed., co-founder/co-facilitator of Trans* and Friends, is a 19 year veteran teacher of at-risk youth, a co-founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, and sponsor of the newly formed GSA at his middle school, a 1st in Dekalb County. Known as Sir Jesse [SJ] among progressive communities, he is an advocate for LGBTQQIA+ and queerly situated youth.
Sarah Meng, MS, LAPC, NCC, has been a co-facilitator of Trans* and Friends since 2006. A mental health counselor in private practice, Sarah specializes in issues related to identity development. Her work with the Trans Resilience Project has been published in academic journals and presented at professional conferences. Sarah is also an active volunteer with Georgia Safe Schools Coalition and a co-director of Tiny Doors ATL.
Nominations from the community were accepted for 2015 Atlanta Pride Grand Marshals. Click here to nominate an individual or an organization to be a Grand Marshal after you have reviewed the guidelines below.
You are welcome to submit multiple nominees, but each separate nomination requires a new form to be completed: only one group or individual is allowed per form.
Nominees do not have to identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. We welcome heterosexual allies as nominees.
Nominees are not required to be political in nature. Nominees of all gender identities and expressions are welcome.
Individual nominees must reside in Georgia. Organizational nominees must be based in Georgia. The Atlanta Pride Committee (APC) encourages the nomination of individuals or groups that have ties to our local and state communities.
While it is not required that you personally know the individual you are nominating, we encourage it. An inability to provide contact information about the nominee may make it difficult for APC to get in touch with the nominee if they are selected to serve.
APC DOES NOT ACCEPT NOMINATIONS OF INDIVIDUALS CURRENTLY CAMPAIGNING FOR POLITICAL OFFICE, AS THIS MAY GIVE THE APPEARANCE OF AN ENDORSEMENT.
If an organization is nominated and selected as a Grand Marshal, the group will receive four VIP/Sponsor Party tickets and four VIP Festival Passes and will have the ability to have two members ride in the APC-provided convertible in the Atlanta Pride Parade on October 11, 2015.