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Long Beach Pride 2019: Parade grand marshals announced

Delta Work Long Beach Pride Parade

Delta Work is one of the grand marshals who will be participating in the Long Beach Pride Parade May 19. Photo: Long Beach Pride.

LONG BEACH — The grand marshals for this year’s Long Beach Pride Parade include a daytime soap opera actress, a drag queen, and two transgender activists.

Long Beach Pride

The Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival will take place May 18 and 19 at Marina Green Park and Rainbow Lagoon along Shoreline Drive. The Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade will march along Ocean Boulevard May 19. Tickets, $20 each day plus service fees, are available online.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is this year’s theme for Long Beach Gay Pride.

Long Beach Pride 2019: 50th anniversary of Stonewall Riots is festival, parade theme

Long Beach Pride Parade grand marshals

Members of the public nominated potential grand marshals, who were selected by the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Board.

Here are the grand marshals:

Kate Linder

Linder has portrayed Esther Valentine on the CBS daytime soap opera “The Young and the Restless” for 37 years.

A Pasadena native, Linder was a founding board member of TV Cares, the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences now-defunct AIDS awareness and fundraising arm.

Linder also produced an award show honoring positive portrayals of people living with HIV or AIDS.

In 2008, Linder received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Linder is only the third actress to earn a star solely on the merits of acting on a soap opera.

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Delta Work

Long Beach native and former Miss Gay Pride Long Beach, Delta Work won an Emmy Award in 2018 as a producer on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” She started working behind-the-scenes on the show in 2016 and appeared on the show as a contestant in 2011.

Delta Work’s career in the art of impersonation spans more than 20 years. She helps produce the acclaimed Dreamgirls Revue drag show, which takes place every Tuesday at Hamburger Mary’s West Hollywood.

Delta Work also is a creative wig stylist.

Equality California

Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization and has been fighting two decades for equality.

Last year, Equality California supported state bills that require law enforcement to receive LGBTQ training and give unmarried same-sex couples parental protections.

Megan Kerr

Kerr is a long-time Long Beach resident and was elected to the Long Beach Unified School District’s Board of Education in 2014.

Kerr’s first meeting after that election was with LGBTQ high school youth at the Long Beach LGBTQ Center to hear their needs, according to her biography.

Previous to joining the school district’s board, Kerr spent more than 16 years in the district as a volunteer, parent advocate, or PTA member.

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Karina Samala

Samala is chair of Los Angeles’ Human Relations Commission Transgender Advisory Council and a board member of West Hollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board. The board gives recommendations to the City and the City Council related to the transgender community, including employment, housing, health care, education, equal rights, and hate crimes prevention.

Samala also was chair of the Los Angeles Human Services Commission Transgender Working Group that developed policies and standards for the Los Angeles Police Department’s interactions with transgender people. She has also worked with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on transgender policies.

Samala is a member of the police’s Community Police Advisory Board Jail Division and the sheriff’s LGBT Advisory Council.

Samala produces the Queen USA, Queen of California, and Queen of the Universe transgender pageants.

Mario Ernesto Gonzalez

Gonzalez has worked with Long Beach Pride, helping organize the festival’s Teen Pride, the Family Fun and Senior zones with the support of the Port of Long Beach. Gonzalez is the port’s manager of community relations.

Gonzalez is a former board member with the Long Beach LGBTQ Center.

While working at the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Gonzalez He managed an HIV education and prevention program and served as the health department liaison at local, regional, county and state HIV/AIDS planning groups to advocate on behalf of the greater Long Beach area, according to his biography.

Oliver Nieto

Nieto is an 18-year-old transgender and LGBTQ activist.

A senior at Long Beach’s Renaissance High School for the Arts, he is the school’s first transgender student council president.

Nieto plans to attend California State University Dominguez Hills in the fall and study graphic design. He wants to be a cartoon animator.

Nieto has been commissioned by the Long Beach Police Department’s Women’s Advisory Group to design a sticker for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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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