LA Pride 2018: Transgender businesswoman Michaela Mendelsohn named parade grand marshal

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Pioneering transgender businesswoman Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn will be the 2018 LA Pride Parade Grand Marshal.

“We are thrilled to have Michaela Mendelsohn – a long-time activist and respected trans woman in business today – as this year’s LA Pride Parade Grand Marshal,” Estevan Montemayor, board president of Christopher Street West, the nonprofit that produces the annual festival and parade, said in a statement Tuesday.


“Michaela has been a strong LGBTQ+ advocate, especially by working to boost the hiring and inclusion of trans people in the workplace. She embodies the spirit of our #JUSTBE campaign and is the perfect person to lead this year’s LA Pride Parade,” he said.

The 1.5 mile parade will take place June 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Santa Monica Boulevard between Crescent Heights Boulevard and La Peer Drive. About 150,000 spectators are expected to line Santa Monica Boulevard to watch the marchers.

The LA Pride Festival will take place June 9 from noon to 1 a.m. and June 10 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in West Hollywood Park on San Vicente Boulevard — between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue — and in the Pacific Design Center Plaza.

Single tickets are $30, and individual weekend passes are $40. Advance tickets can be purchased online.

Pioneering transgender businesswoman Michaela Mendelsohn will be the 2018 LA Pride Parade Grand Marshal. Photo: TransCanWork.


As the founder of TransCanWork – a program promoting transgender inclusivity in the workplace that provides resources to transgender job seekers and trains the businesses that hire them – Mendelsohn has used her success and experience as a seasoned entrepreneur to help the transgender community in the business world.

“I am excited, and deeply honored, to be named the 2018 LA Pride Parade Grand Marshal – especially in a year when self-expression, female empowerment, and trans inclusivity is at the very heart of this year’s #JUSTBE message.,” Mendelsohn said in the statement.


Mendelsohn also serves as the CEO of Pollo West Corp, one of the largest franchises for El Pollo Loco restaurants in the United States. Mendelsohn’s workplace activism resulted in her receiving the 2018 Face of Diversity Award at the National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Conference.

Mendelsohn was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti to serve on the California Workforce Development Board, was the first transgender contestant in the Ms. Senior California Pageant, and worked extensively as a consultant with Jenji Kohan on the development of Laverne Cox’s character in the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.”

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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