MIAMI BEACH – March 19, 2012 – LGBTQ rights activist, author, lecturer and transgender issues advocate Chaz Bono will headline the Fourth Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade as Grand Marshal, announced Babak Movahedi, president of the Pride board of directors.
Bono will lead the parade by riding in a vintage Rolls Royce convertible waving to an anticipated 60,000 fans and supporters who are expected at this year’s parade and festival. The Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade kicks of at noon on Sunday, April 15, along Ocean Drive from 5th to 15thStreets. The year’s Pride weekend is presented by Stolichnaya® Premium vodka.
“Chaz’s courage, activism and contributions to the whole community stand as inspirations to us all,” Movahedi said. “We are extremely proud to have Chaz, who is a true trailblazer, as our Grand Marshal this year.”
The only child of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher, Bono came out as a lesbian to his parents at 18-years-old in 1987, but he did not come out publicly until April 1995 in an interview with The Advocate, the national gay and lesbian news magazine.
Bono’s decision to come out prompted his public work in support of LGBTQ rights and social justice. He has contributed as a writer-at-large toThe Advocate and became spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, promoting National Coming Out Day. Bono also served as Entertainment Media Director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
An acclaimed author, Bono has written three books including last year’s Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man – a ground-breaking and candid account of a 40-year struggle to match his gender identity with his physical body and his ultimate transformation from female to male. He told Oprah Winfrey on her May 10, 2011 show, “as early as I had memory and consciousness, I was a boy.”
Other books include Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families, which is based on Bono’s own stories and experiences as well as the experiences of about a dozen other gay people and their family members; and The End of Innocence: A Memoir.
His first documentary, Becoming Chaz, is an intimate and honest documentary revealing the humanity and courage it took for him to ultimately embrace his true self. The film received a standing ovation at its Sundance debut and was nominated for three prime-time Emmy Awards. Rosie O’Donnell also predicted the film to be a breakthrough in molding the American conversation about transgender issues. The world premiere of this highly anticipated documentary took place on May 10, 2011 on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
His follow up, Being Chaz, chronicles Bono as he embraces his new life and he prepares for his debut on the 13th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars amidst controversy and threats to his life over his decision to participate in the show.
Bono began his public speaking career in 1995 as the keynote speaker at the annual fundraising event for the Mautner Project, the national lesbian health organization. Since then, he has spoken at numerous LGBTQ events for other national organizations such as The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). He has also served as a featured speaker at Gay Pride events in cities all across the country.
While Bono has found great fulfillment in his work as a national activist, his true passion lies in reaching out and raising awareness among young minds through college lecturing. He also facilitates workshops in conducting tolerance in the workplace for major companies and corporations.
At the podium, Bono candidly shares his personal journey of attaining sobriety, gaining acceptance from his family and proceeding with his transition in the public eye. He touches on a range of LGBTQ issues including marriage equality, portrayals of gays and lesbians in the media, issues related to the coming out process, gays and lesbians in the workplace, gay and lesbian politics, transgender equality, issues facing transgender youth, and the physical and emotional process of hormonal and surgical transition.
Bono continues to create visibility, increase awareness and impact change for transgender issues. He lives in Los Angeles.
Following the parade, the Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival will feature musical performances by Kristine W, Wynter Gordon, Jessica Sutta from the Pussy Cat Dolls, JoJo, Frenchie Davis and Inaya Day; a roster of international DJs, including Scotty Thomson; as well as 125 LGBTQ-friendly vendors and businesses; a food court; refreshments; and a family-friendly play area.
Coming into its fourth year, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown into the largest, single-day event of the entire year in Miami Beach. The hugely successful event in 2011 attracted more than 40,000 people from all walks of life, all parts of the country, all age groups and all orientations. The mission of Miami Beach Gay Pride is to bring together members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community, their friends, allies and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of the LGBTQ community by producing free, safe, quality mass-appeal events that are open to all, including the Parade, Festival and allied Miami Beach Pride sanctioned events. For more information as well as a schedule of events that begin April 12, visit www.miamibeachgaypride.com.
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