Seattle Pride reportedly received over 60 nominees for Grand Marshal slots last December during a community meeting open to the public at Agnes Underground. Among the drafted honorees was George Takei who was announced in March as the Celebrity Grand Marshal to lead the parade. The list of nominees was narrowed down to a select few that represent the diversity of our community and, highlight the various ways we come together to ensure equal rights and social justice for the LGBT community.
Seattle Pride will honor eight community Grand Marshals this year. Five are individuals who have made significant contributions to the LGBT community, and three are organizations working to educate and broaden our horizons. On Wednesday Seattle Pride announced her royal highness, Aleksa Manila, and the dedicated community activist, Zachary Pullin, as two of their Grand Marshals that will lead the Seattle Pride Parade on June 29 in downtown Seattle.
Seattle Pride has worked with Manila throughout the years as an announcer at the Seattle Pride Parade and MC for many of their events. Drug counselor by day – drag diva by night, Manila is an LGBT advocate and performance artist. Her involvement has garnered multiple awards and the recognition as an inspirational community leader in Seattle and across North America.
A queen at heart, Manila holds the titles of Miss GayFilipino, La Femme Magnifique Puget Sound, Miss Gay Seattle, and Empress of Seattle. Her social and professional peers have honored her with many recognitions, like the International Court System’s Jose Sarria Honor for exemplary service to the community, the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle’s Emperor Emeritus George Ray Award, the Seattle Men in Leather Organization’s Community Service Award, the Seattle LGBT Community Center’s Peach Award for Volunteerism. And, in 2013 Manila received the Dr. Bob Wood Award for “Excellence in HIV prevention” from Public Health-Seattle & King County.
Manila founded Pride ASIA whose mission is to celebrate, empower and nurture the multi-cultural diversity of the LGBTQ communities through the Asian Pacific Islander lens. Manila has been involved in many rallies and efforts for marriage equality and trans inclusion. She has worked tirelessly with many organizations and institutions like the University of California – San Francisco, The Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Gay City Health Project, Social Outreach Seattle, Greater Seattle Business Association, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Entre Hermanos, Ingersoll Gender Center, Gender Justice League, International Community Health Services, Chinatown International District Business Association, Saying It Out Loud Conference, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, HIV Vaccine Trials Unit, the University of Washington, Seattle Counseling Service and of course, Seattle Pride.
Zachary Pullin is a community organizer in Seattle and is dedicated to serving LGBTQ, low-income, women, and minority groups. Pullin serves with many organizations that seek social justice and empowerment of the LGBTQ community. An enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana, and a former Peace Corps volunteer, he finds passion in service and illuminating how our myriad identities weave together.
Pullin is currently the Communications Coordinator at the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, and works with Gay City to host conversation events for the Seattle LGBTQ community. He serves as a member of the Capitol Hill Community Council and is a member of Gender Justice League, Northwest Two Spirits Society, and Native American Advisory Council for the Seattle Police Department.
Pullin is a Fellow at the Pomegranate Center; and owns his own communications and design consulting business, hwame creative. He also contributes his creativity as a freelance writer for local and national publications, including Sol&Res, The Seattle Gay News and Advocate.
Additional Grand Marshals will be announced in the following weeks leading to Seattle Pride. The Seattle Pride Parade takes place on June 29 at 11:00 a.m. on 4th Avenue, downtown Seattle. See www.seattlepride.org for complete event details.