Boston Pride Grand Marshals: Erica Kay-Webster, David V. Bermudez, Samuel Brinton
Boston Pride Marshals: Ellyn Ruthstrom, Woody Glenn
Boston Pride Honorary Marshal: Mayor Thomas M. Menino
2015 Grand Marshals
Erica Kay-Webster is a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, the birth of the LGBT Rights Movement. Rising from the ashes of the destruction of her own life due to severe discrimination as a transgender woman, today Erica is one of the most celebrated transgender women in the world because of her continuing human rights advocacy through the non-profit Foundation for International Justice. The Foundation advocates in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, nationally, and internationally on many issues including women’s rights, LGBT rights, domestic violence, human trafficking, international peace, and homelessness. Through the Foundation, Erica has created the Promise Place School Initiative, a residential living and learning environment for homeless LGBTQQIA youth. The first Promise Place School is scheduled to open on Cape Cod in September 2015 and will initially accommodate 50 youth from throughout Massachusetts. Promise Place School is the very first program in the United States to include education as its key component in ending chronic homelessness and preparing youth for a successful life upon graduation. The School will operate as an independent school, which broadens its funding resources and provides the ability to create a scholarship program for continuing education and an endowment fund in perpetuity. The Foundation is already in discussion with the City of Boston to open the second location there, with the strong support of the Boston City Council and Mayor Marty Walsh. Erica is the acting CEO and Interim Executive Director of Promise Place School.Erica has served as a past board member and as Vice President of PFLAG of Cape Cod, where she remains as an active member and volunteer. Erica and her husband David Webster are members of the Cape and Islands Democratic Council. Erica is also a writer, an architectural interior designer, and an independent journalist with the Women’s Media Center in Washington, DC. She and her husband David currently live on Cape Cod and are members of the Barnstable Unitarian Universalist Church, where they both have served on the Welcoming Congregation Committee.
David Velasco Bermudez
David, the son of a Pentecostal minister and Puerto Rican mother, was born in New York City and raised in the Bronx. As a boy, he always loved singing. He grew up in a family of music. His mother was a radio singer in the 1940s. As a young adult, David performed in many Off-Broadway plays as well as productions and private performances in Puerto Rico, Florida, California, and Cape Cod. David attributes his love of music and the diverseness of the music industry to his ability to find himself as a gay man. As David has said, “music is the language that everyone understands.” David was also a participant in the 1969 Stonewall rebellion in New York’s Greenwich Village. The revolt was the spark that ignited the modern gay rights movement. In 2005, David was named to the executive committee of the STONEWALL Veterans Association in New York. To this day, David continues to speak at colleges, middle schools, churches, and private groups, advocating for LGBT rights. This June, on the anniversary of Stonewall, David and his spouse Bob will celebrate 41 years together. David was the first Stonewall Veteran to be married in a same-gender marriage. The ceremony was conducted at their home on Cape Cod in 2004.
Whether he’s walking the halls of Congress to help educate the Hill on the differences in nuclear reactors or belting out his favorite tunes with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, it is hard to miss Samuel Brinton and his bright red mohawk. The signature hairstyle started as a dare in graduate school and continues to turn heads, along with Sam’s characteristic stilettos. As the Clean Energy Fellow at Third Way, Samuel is concentrating on a year-long project near and dear to his heart: nuclear energy policy. From advanced nuclear reactor guides for Congress to education on nuclear waste storage options, he is bringing a fresh perspective on licensing, investment strategies, and policy improvements in the field of atomic energy and waste management. Before joining Third Way, Samuel was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying nuclear science and engineering and technology policy. The busy life of Boston was a big change from Samuel’s undergraduate years, surrounded by the wheat fields of Kansas. When not intently studying nuclear physics papers, Sam is an ardent activist against the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy. His work consists of weekly trips to universities across the country to share his experiences and to educate on how to pass legislation banning the practice. He has spoken before the United Nations, Google Headquarters, and Congress, and has also been featured in interviews with TIME, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Guardian, New York Daily News, and many others. You might not expect a nuclear scientist from Kansas to have a bright red mohawk, but that is part of the reason Samuel has it. Having a chat on preconceptions is right up his alley. Whether it’s on technical topics or social issues like supporting LGBT survivors of conversion therapy, Samuel is always willing to have the tough conversations with an open mind.
Ellyn Ruthstrom has been deeply involved with the national bisexual movement and LGBTQ community for over 20 years. Most recently, Ellyn was President of the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) for ten years and is the current Treasurer for the organization. In 2013, Ellyn co-facilitated the first White House Roundtable on Bisexual Issues that convened 33 bi activists from around the country to meet with the Obama Administration. Her efforts also helped to establish the Bisexual Leadership Roundtable, an online organizing and support network for bi leaders around the US. For nine years, she edited the Bi Women’s newsletter, a national bi-focused publication published by the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network. Ellyn regularly speaks at colleges, national conferences, and public forums about bisexuality and the bi movement. Ellyn served as a state commissioner with the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth for two years while she was also the Editor-in-Chief of Teen Voices, a national feminist magazine and website created by, for, and about teen girls. She is currently the Executive Director of SpeakOUT Boston, the oldest LGBTQ speakers bureau in the nation. Ellyn is also a writer and editor and has published in a variety of print and online publications, including the Women’s Review of Books, The Review Review, Huffington Post, and Bilerico.com.
Woody Glenn has been committed to civil liberties throughout his life. In Boston, he was actively involved in three of the four BGLT community centers over the years, and helped establish bisexual organizations to improve the visibility and integration of bi people in the larger queer communities, developing what has become one of the most vibrant and supportive bisexual communities in the country. Born in 1950 in New York City, Glenn grew up in a family dedicated to social change. He began his career in social work in 1968 at Head Start in Trenton, New Jersey. As a result of the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969, he came out as bisexual to family and friends. In 1972, he moved to Boston to be part of a developing queer community and did his first radio interview about bisexuality for the National Organization for Women (NOW). In 1973, he first marched in Boston Pride and organized a men’s support group. He enrolled at UMass Boston in 1976, majoring in Sexual Health Education and Community Social Change and earning a BA in Social Work in 1979. While at UMass, he worked in the University’s Health Education Center doing peer sexuality counseling with college students, and ran support groups and a film series on human sexuality. In 1985, he co-founded what is now the Bisexual Resource Center with life partner, Alan Hamilton. Four years later, they incorporated the organization as a non-profit and Glenn served as its president through 1995. In 1991, he attended the first International Conference on Bisexuality in Amsterdam and helped organize several conferences thereafter. As a consultant to Fenway Community Health’s BiHealth Program from 1999 to 2004, he organized and ran volunteer trainings and support groups. From 2001 to 2003, he served on the board of what is now Marriage Equality USA. He retired from active leadership in civil liberties and social change work in 2004 and since 2003 has lived with his family in Somerville.
2015 Honorary Marshal
Mayor Thomas M. Menino
Thomas M. Menino was Boston’s 53rd Mayor, serving from 1993 to 2014. A strong and committed supporter of Boston Pride and the LGBT community, Mayor Menino instituted the rainbow flag raising as an official City event heralding the start of Boston Pride Week. Over his tenure as mayor, he consistently led the Pride Parade in the streets of Boston, and joined the community at many marquee events. His leading position in the parade year after year is an apt metaphor for his decades of work on behalf of the LGBT community: never one to drag his feet or simply to follow trends, Mayor Menino insisted on being at the forefront of the Pride movement – whether it took the form of a parade or the struggle for equal rights, acceptance, and inclusivity. During his twenty years at the helm of Boston, Mayor Menino ensured that our city was a safe, fair, and welcoming place. Boston Pride will always be grateful for his friendship and proven leadership.
Thank you to all members of the community who voted and/or nominated a person or an organization to the 2015 marshalship. And congratulations to all nominees for the great work they are doing on behalf of our community.
The 2015 Marshals were announced on Wednesday, March 25th, at Boston Pride’s Spring Open House.