Long Beach Pride 2018: ‘Transparent’ actress Alexandra Billings named parade’s celebrity grand marshal

LONG BEACH — Alexandra Billings, who plays Davina on the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning hit Amazon show “Transparent,” will be the celebrity grand marshal for the Long Beach Pride Parade — the first time a transgender person has had the title, Q Voice News has learned exclusively.

The Pride Parade will take place May 20 at 10:30 a.m., stepping off at Ocean Boulevard and Lindero Avenue and marching west to Alamitos Avenue.

The Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival will take place May 19 and 20 along Shoreline Drive at Marina Green and Rainbow Lagoon parks.

Alexandra Billings, who plays Davina on the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning hit Amazon show “Transparent,” will be the celebrity grand marshal for the Long Beach Pride Parade — the first time a transgender person has had the title.

Billings also made history as the second transgender actress to play a transgender character on television when she played Donna in the 2005 ABC telefilm “Romy and Michelle: A New Beginning.”

Billings, a USC theater professor, was an assistant professor at Cal State Long Beach. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the university and delivered the commencement speech for CSULB’s College of the Arts in 2015.

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Billings has appeared on “How To Get Away With Murder,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and the Amazon series “Goliath” with Billy Bob Thornton.

She also had guest starring roles on “Eli Stone,” “E.R.,” “Karen Sisco,” “Nurses” opposite Lynn Redgrave.

Billings life story, “From Schoolboy to Showgirl,” was nominated for an Emmy for best documentary.

Billings has been living with HIV since 1995, and has been an advocate for HIV health initiatives, as well as transgender issues and rights.

She was inducted into Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2007 and was the grand marshal for the Chicago Pride Parade in 2009.

In 2016, Billings received the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award, which recognizes outstanding members of the LGBTQ community who live openly and freely in the public eye.

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After receiving the award, Billings thanked the audience, but also said, “I look around, and I see you all, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you’re here. You look great. You look swell, and it’s wonderful that you’re here eating the chicken.

“It’s delightful, but I must tell you that we have to do something more than sit and speak and talk to our neighbors and eat great food and put on fancy clothes,” she said.

Billings challenged the audience to use their voices to speak loudly in order to create change and ultimately, equality for the LGBTQ community.

Billings and her wife, Chrisanne Blankenship-Billings, were married in a commitment ceremony in Chicago on Dec. 4, 1995. They were legally married in 2009.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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