Today, the Nashville Pride Board of Directors announced the Grand Marshals for the upcoming Nashville Pride Parade presented by Bridgestone and supported by Alliance Bernstein. The parade will take place on Saturday, June 22nd at 10 a.m. starting at the top of Broadway at 8th Avenue culminating at the bottom of Broadway at 2nd Avenue. The Nashville Pride Festival will take place Saturday, June 22nd and Sunday, June 23rd at Public Square Park in Downtown Nashville celebrating the 31st Anniversary of Pride in Nashville.
The 2019 Grand Marshals and Honorees represent a mix of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities over the last number of years. With the help of community input, Nashville Pride selects these groups and individuals to honor the work they have put into furthering the causes of LGBTQ people.
The 2019 Grand Marshal for the Nashville Pride Parade is The Students of Stonewall and members of the JustUs program from The Oasis Center. On naming these groups as the Grand Marshal of this celebration, Matthew Gann, President of Nashville Pride shared, “Our mission is to bring people together to celebrate the history, lives, and the advancements our community has made the past 50 years since the Stonewall Riots in New York City. Those events started the modern day LGBTQ rights movement and we feel it is only fitting our parade is led by those that will lead us the next 50 years – the Students of Stonewall and JustUs students from The Oasis Center.”
The Students of Stonewall and JustUs program from The Oasis Center is a youth action and leadership component of Just Us at Oasis Center, which brings together a diverse group of high school seniors from Middle Tennessee who are committed to transforming Nashville into an open and affirming community for all people. On this announcement, Joseph Clark, Director of the Students of Stonewall program shared that “By using their most powerful tools, their voices and experiences, these young people truly embody the spirit of the Stonewall movement. With their bravery and audacity, they will continue to pave the way for a more equitable future for LGBTQ people, now and for the next 50 years.
2019 Grand Marshal Honorees include retiring Nashville CARES Executive Director, Joseph Interrante and out Country Music artist, Ty Herndon.
As the first openly gay director of a non-profit organization in Nashville and the first HIV-positive director of an HIV/AIDS organization in Tennessee, Joseph Interrante has been active in progressive LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS programs for over 40 years.
Interrante made HIV/AIDS support, research and activism his life work after his first life partner’s illness and death from AIDS in Boston in 1983. During his 25-year tenure with Nashville CARES, Interrante has become a leader in HIV prevention, services, and policy in the Southeastern United States. Most recently, he worked to support the creation of Brothers United, the first HIV prevention program in the south designed by and for African American gay and bisexual men. More recently, Interrante was instrumental in the creation of My House, a one-stop health and wellness center serving gay and bisexual men regardless of HIV status — that has become the largest provider of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment in the state of Tennessee.
Grammy-nominated recording artist Ty Herndon is no stranger the music scene in Nashville. With a career spanning two decades including 20 Billboard charted singles and five million albums sold, Herndon sees no signs of slowing down. Starting his career as a cast member at OPRYLAND USA, Ty has since had numerous top 10 hits including his chart-topping, “What Mattered Most.” In November 2014, Herndon was the first major male country music artist to come out as gay publicly. Shortly after, he made history with the first-of-its-kind country music event with GLAAD, titled The Concert for Love and Acceptance. The event designed to bring attention and support to at-risk youth, specifically in the LGBTQ community, has heralded national attention and support from famous artists around the globe.
Herndon has been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community organizations and many other groups over his career including the Trevor Project, Make A Wish, the Human Rights Campaign and Feed the Children. In 2018, Ty was honored with the HRC Visibility Award as a recognition of using his talents and visibility to better the lives of LGBTQ people. This fall, Herndon will be releasing a new 10-track compilation album titled, “Got It Covered” featuring reimagined hits and covers of some of Herndon’s most favorite songs including an alternative version of his 1995 debut single, “What Mattered Most.”
Nashville Pride honors and applauds this year’s Grand Marshals and Honorary Grand Marshals, in recognition of their contributions to the LGBTQ community and movement.
The 31st annual Nashville Pride Festival will take place in Public Square Park on Saturday, June 22nd (10 a.m. – 9 p.m.) and Sunday, June 23rd (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.). The festival is expected to draw over 40,000 people and will feature more than 200 vendors, three stages with local and national touring acts, kids and family zone, youth area, dance tent, and more.