Because of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, instead of submitting grand marshals to the community for a vote, Dallas Pride organizers chose to name the top seven nominees as co-grand marshals of Dallas Pride 2020: The Pride of Texas.
The seven grand marshals are:
Adam Medrano who represents District 2 on the Dallas City Council, was first elected to office in June 2013. He is one of three openly-gay members of the council.
Medrano was deputy mayor pro tem during his third term, and now, in his fourth and final term on the council, he has been appointed mayor pro tem by his council colleagues.
Medrano has been chair of the city’s LGBT Taskforce for the last seven years.
Under Medrano’s chairmanship, the taskforce has supported full inclusion of spouses and partners of LGBTQ employees in city pension benefits for civilian and first responder employees, full inclusion of spouses, partners and dependents of LGBTQ employees in city healthcare benefits, and for fully-inclusive city healthcare benefits per WPATH standards for trans employees and their spouses and dependents.
The taskforce organized community leader/Dallas Police Department’s task force meeting at Resource Center to discuss updates regarding attacks in Oak Lawn in 2016, and interfaces with Mobility Planning to explore safety implementations in Oak Lawn area in 2016.
The Taskforce established the Outlast Youth 501(c)(3), installed 10 rainbow crosswalks in Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs and championed a resolution to fly the city of Dallas Pride Flag in June this year and each June hereafter.
Medrano previously served on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, elected in 2006. He was elected first vice president of the school board in 2007, then was elected board president three separate times. He also worked as a supervisor with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Medrano volunteers with a variety of public service projects and organizations.
Danny Cabrera,aka “Liquor Mini”
Danny Cabrera has been a flight attendant for American Airlines for 22 years where he has been a part of the flight service recruitment, image and training departments. He helps organize events with the American Airlines PRIDE Employee Business Resource Group, which in 2018 partnered with Billboard Music to sponsor Capital Pride in D.C. At that event, Cabrera was one of the six drag queens representing American Airlines on the main stage at the festival, and in a marketing video filmed for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Last year on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Cabrera was the captain for the drag queens in the March for World Pride in New York City. He helped plan and organize the American Airlines events for World Pride and the Stonewall 50th anniversary, including the history-making Pride Flight from Philadelphia to New York City LaGuardia Airport. He was one of the drag queen crew members for that flight.
Cabrera volunters with the Wings Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that helps American Airlines flight attendants in need and with several other organizations including co-chair for Lip Sync Dallas, more than $170,000 so far.
Cabrera described himself as “a proud member of the Dallas recovery community,” and that one of his biggest accomplishments in life was admitting he had a problem with drugs and alcohol. He has been clean and sober for nine-and-a-half years and in 2017 was chair of the Big D Roundup recovery conference in Dallas. He is the reigning Miss Sober World 2015, and speaks at recovery conferences around the country as well as performing in drag show fundraisers benefitting Texas’ recovery community.
Cabrera is the resort director for VACAYA, an LGBTQ travel company that charters cruises and resort destination vacations, and he is the lead flight crew drag queen member for FABSTAYZ, a company specializing in vacation rentals that are safe and friendly for the LGBTQ travelers. He is currently working with Reservoir and Toyota Music Factory to bring the biggest drag brunch ever to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and is planning “The Fly Queens,” an online reality mini series starring Liquor Mini and four other drag queens that are also flight attendants by day.
Linze Serrel, aka Bill Lindsey
Bill Lindsey is a hairstylist by trade, but his true passion is advocating for the LGBTQ community. Lindsey has been of fundraising for more than 35 years to assist any cause that needs him, whether that be as Bill Lindsey or as Linze Serrel. For the last 33 of those 35 years, Lindsey has worked with his then-partner/now-husband Michael Champion, aka Sable Alexander, to raise much-needed funds for organizations and individuals spanning the full spectrum of the LGBTQ community.
Beginning in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s and beyond, the two founded and then led an organization called Glitz-n-Glitter that brought together a variety of performers that staged regular shows benefitting LGBTQ community organizations and, sometimes, individuals in the community who were in need, either due to unexpected circumstances or long-term need.
Lindsey as Linze Serrel is a live singer and a former Voice of Pride semi-finalist. He has won numerous drag titles over the years, including Miss Charity America twice and the Official Miss Gay Texas at Large Pageant in 2005.
But Lindsey considers his most important title to be that of director of fundraising and sponsorships for the Miss Gay Texas State Pageant System, which he and Champion founded and own. The Miss Gay Texas State Pageant System was founded in 2008 and is, like the couple’s other undertakings, focused on fundraising for the community.
Lindsey has such a passion to raise money for the community that he has brought numerous well known entertainers to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to help raise money for worthy causes, and he has been instrumental in raising more than $91,000 for community organizations like the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, Educare, North Texas Pride and many more. Lindsey/Linze’s motto is “Raising one dollar at a time for any cause!”
Sable Alexander, aka Michael Champion
For his “day job,” Michael Champion is a registered nurse and is nationally certified as a director of nursing in administration. As Sable Alexander, he has partnered with his then partner/now husband Bill Lindsey, aka Linze Serell, over the last 33 years to help a large variety organizations and set precedents in fundraising for the LGBTQ community.
In the late 1980s, Champion and Lindsey founded the Glitz-n-Glitter troupe, which brought together a variety of entertainers — from drag queens and drag kings to live singers to even a fire-earter — to stage regular fundraising shows for organizations and individuals in need across the LGBTQ community spectrum. He is also co-owner with Lindsey of the Miss Gay Texas State Pageant System since 2008, a pageant system based on charity and, for the last five years, has been the chairman of the pageant system.
Sable Alexander is Miss Charity America Emeritus, and he won the Official Miss Gay Texas State at Large Pageant in 2006.
Champion has worked closely with community bars to stage fundraising shows benefitting the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, EduCare, North Texas Pride, the Miniature Schnauzer Rescue of North Texas and many more.
Champion has worked tirelessly to educate the community about HIV and on dealing with LGBTQ people in the aging and long-term care communities. He receive the National Director of Nursing in Administration award in 2009 and again in 2017, and is a dedicated healthcare worker and a dedicated advocate for the LGBTQ community.
David Hearn, born in Tennessee began working the stock room at JCPenney in 1973 while going to night school. He moved into the company’s visual merchandising department in 1975 and was promoted to be visual manager for the Knoxville JCPenney in 1978. From there, Hearn moved around the country as he moved upward in the JCPenney company until 1988, when he was transferred to JCPenney Corporate Office in Plano. He worked at the corporate headquarters until 2011 when he retired after 38 years with the company.
Hearn has had two partners who died of AIDS. The first was Gerald Kennedy, his partner from 1972 to 1980, who died in 1987, and Greg Dollgener, his partner from 1989 to Dollgener’s death in 1994. In 1996, Hearn and a group of his friends founded the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund in memory of Hearn’s partner, and Hearn has served on the organization’s board as president and treasurer since its founding.
Through the years, Hearn has participated in numerous organizations, including being a member of GALA North Texas from 2012-2017, a member of the GALA North Texas Business Group from 2013-2017, and being on the board of AIDS Services of McKinney from 1996-1998, a member of Cathedral of Hope since 1996, and on the board of AIDS Arms — now Prism Health North Texas from 2012-2105. At AIDS Arms/Prism, he was chair of the People and Operation Committee from 2013-2015 and on the Research and Development committee as well as on the committee formed to review the new marketing direction for the organization and as co-chair for the 25th Anniversary Lifewalk.
Hearn has been recognized many times for his volunteer awards, including KRLD Citizen of the Week for volunteering with AIDS Services of McKinney, the 2009 Open Heart Award from C.U.R.E., the Randy Franklin Memorial “I Care” Community Service Award from Dallas Bears, the 2012 Hearts and Heroes Spirit Award from Health Services of North Texas, the 2015 John Leaphart Memorial Award for Community Service from the Leather Knights, the 2016 RVA LGBTRole Award voted on by Dallas Voice Readers, the 2016 Heart and Hands Award from AIDS Arms, the 2018 Linda Sparkman Memorial Spirit Award by the Miss Gay Texas State Pageant System, the Diamond Rose Award from the United Court of the Lone Star Empire.
Cassie Nova, aka James Love
James Love grew up in and around Dallas. He first did drag for a Presidents Day show benefitting the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and he was president of DGLA’s youth group, GLYA, in the early 1990s.
James has worked in the Rose Room, the largest show bar in the South, since 1993 and became the Rose Room show director about five years ago. He is also a contributing columnist for Dallas Voice, offering help and humor every other week in his Ask Cassie Nova column.
Love and his husband of 17 years live in Midlothian with their five dogs and a giant tortoise named Ruby.
Kristi Wilson is the national accounts manager for Andrews Distributing and a longtime LGBTQ community advocate. She’s worked for Andrews for 14 years and since the beginning of her career has served as Andrews’ primary representative for the company’s partnership with the Dallas Tavern Guild.
Wilson regularly attends Dallas Tavern Guild meetings and said she appreciates the chance to support the LGBTQ community through building relationships and spreading awareness. Her goal as the voice of Andrews has always been to work hard to earn the trust and confidence of those in the LGBTQ community.
In addition to her work with Dallas Tavern Guild and supporting bars and organizations, Wilson has for the last decade has also worked with Caven Enterprises’ The Holiday Gift Project for Sam Houston Elementary.
Wilson and her husband Mike, an active LGBTQ advocate for the last 25 years, have been married for 15 years and have two children, Garrett and Brylee.
When asked what the Grand Marshal nomination means to her, Wilson said, “It means so much to even be acknowledged as someone who has made an impact in this community; that is what I have wanted from the beginning. I hope to continue to work closely with the Dallas Tavern Guild and all the bars and organizations contributing to this community.
“Pride is not about one day or one event,” she added. “It’s supporting everyone all year. I’m blessed to even be nominated for such an honor.”
From Staff Reports
Dallas is digitizing Pride in 2020, and all the fun starts online Saturday, followed Sunday morning by a virtual drag brunch. And Sunday afternoon, Pride organizers are asking Dallasites to get dolled up and put on a properly socially distanced Pride display all over town.
All of the events will be streamed online at DallasPride.org and on the Dallas Pride social media channels on both YouTube and Facebook.
Pride events online are free and accessible to everyone with internet access.
Pride weekend officially kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, with Dallas Pride Livestream, hosted by TV personality Ron Corning and comedian/author/playwright Del Shores. The celebration includes entertainment and celebrity cameos by the likes of queen of Bounce Big Freedia, David Hernandez from the seventh season of American Idol, dance music icon Kristine W, American Idol season 14 top five finisher Rayvon Owen, country music star Ty Herndon, Brody Ray from season 13 of America’s Got Talent, Adrian Lea of PRIMADONNA and CrisDee.
There will also be messages from community members, not to mention some special surprises.
The new Dallas Pride interactive marketplace will give attendees the chance to click on tents in the virtual festival to learn more about the organizations and companies that support the LGBTQ community, not to mention finding products and services to purchase and causes to support.
Then at 9 p.m. on Saturday, the party continues with a streaming dance party featuring music from DJ Deanne and Dorian Electra.
Log back in at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 26, for the Dallas Pride Drag Brunch. Mack “Marsha Dimes” Campbell will host the online fundraising drag show to benefit local LGBTQ causes including Coalition for Aging LGBT, AIDS Services of Dallas, Equality Texas, TGRA, Miss Gay Texas Pageant System and the United Court of the Lone Star Empire.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., Jenny Anchondo and Ron Corning host CW 33’s 30-minute special, The Pride of Texas.” The show will feature highlights from past Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parades along with interviews and “Profiles in Pride” segments. Del Shore returns to help co-host the special program.
Dallas Pride Executive Director Jaron Turnbow suggested that “Everyone can get involved in supporting Dallas Pride,” decorating their homes or putting signs in their yard, and sharing those images on social media with the hashtag #DallasPride.
“This may be our most inclusive celebration yet!” Turnbow enthused. “People who may not have been able to attend our events in the past can be with us this year,” he continued. “Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ community or a friend, family member, other ally or supporter, we really hope you enjoy this event with us.”