O’Connell named Celebrity Grand Marshal and joins previously announced honorees Phill Wilson as Community Grand Marshal and the Los Angeles LGBT Center as Organizational Grand Marshal
May 30, WEST HOLLYWOOD: Christopher Street West (CSW) – the 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the annual LA Pride Festival and Parade in West Hollywood presented by Verizon – today announced its final 2019 Grand Marshal, actor and writer Ryan O’Connell. In 2019 O’Connell blazed new trails of LGBTQ representation with his hit Netflix show, Special, and is being honored for using his voice and platform to expand visibility for LGBTQ people. He will join this year’s parade as the 2019 Celebrity Grand Marshal, along with the previously announced Community Grand Marshal Phill Wilson and the Los Angeles LGBT Center as the Organizational Grand Marshal for LA Pride 2019 on Sunday, June 9, 2019, which will be presented on television for the first time thanks to an exclusive three-year deal with KABC-TV.
Ryan O’Connell is an actor, writer, and producer who can currently be seen starring in SPECIAL, an eight-episode short-form series on Netflix, which he wrote and executive produced. The series is loosely based on O’Connell’s own upbringing and experience as a gay man navigating the world with cerebral palsy. He is the author of I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, part-memoir, part-manifesto which was published by Simon & Schuster in 2015 to critical acclaim. He served as the Editor of Thought Catalog and has contributed to Vice, BuzzFeed, and numerous other publications. O’Connell’s writing career spans television as well. He recently served as an Executive Story Editor on NBC’s revival of Will & Grace and was on the writing staff of MTV’s Awkward.
“I’m honored to be one of The Grand Marshals at LA Pride. My hope is that every young LGBTQ+ person is proud of who they are and that they dream about who they can be. Can’t wait to live, laugh, love with you all as we celebrate who we are and celebrate the brave shoulders that we all stand on,” said Ryan O’Connell.
“We are thrilled to have Ryan as our Celebrity Grand Marshal. He has broken much needed new ground on ensuring that all LGBTQ+ people are represented in entertainment and media. We know, living here in Southern California, that inclusive imagery can change hearts and minds across the country and around the globe. Ryan represents the very best in harnessing creative talents to effect positive and meaningful change,” said Estevan Montemayor, CSW board president.
As the exclusive television and digital broadcast partner, KABC – Southern California’s most-watched television station – will feature pre-parade coverage throughout Eyewitness News on Sunday morning. Star and executive producer of Disney Channel’s “Raven’s Home” and proud member of the LGBTQ community, Raven-Symoné, will join KABC’s Ellen Leyva and Brandi Hitt as they co-host the two-hour live broadcast from 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., from parade central at Holloway Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard. Also joining the ABC7 team along the parade route will be Eyewitness News reporter Veronica Miracle and OTRC entertainment host, Karl Schmid. A pre-parade preview show will also air Saturday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m.
Ticket sales and proceeds from the LA Pride Festival support and fund the LA Pride Parade and CSW’s philanthropic efforts. This includes community-wide programs like Casa del Sol, a joint project with APLA Health that provides low-income housing to people living with HIV/AIDS, and PLATform, a policy, leadership, and advocacy training program to help amplify the voices of the transgender community. Additionally, proceeds benefit the USC GLASS Endowed Scholarship, a grant program awarded to students to help them conduct research affirming the important role the LGBTQ+ community plays in society today. Funds raised will also help CSW prepare for its 50th anniversary in 2020.
To learn more about LA Pride, purchase tickets, get event updates and be added to their email list, please visit lapride.org. Follow all of LA Pride’s happenings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Share your LA Pride experiences using #JUSTUNITE.
About Christopher Street West (CSW) & LA Pride
Christopher Street West (CSW), a 501(c)3 non-profit, organized the world’s first permitted parade advocating for gay rights on June 28, 1970, as a response to and in commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion on Christopher Street in New York City the year prior. Since then, we have built a rich history as an active voice for the LGBTQ+ community across the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Today, we continue to produce the globally-recognized LA Pride Parade and Festival every June in the City of West Hollywood. We also organize a number of events throughout the year with our nonprofit, philanthropic, community, and corporate partners. Visit lapride.org for more information.
Christopher Street West engages with JJLA LLC in the event production and management of the LA PRIDE Festival & Parade. For more information on JJLA visit www.jj-la.com. LA Pride is made possible thanks to generous sponsorships from its corporate partners like Verizon and supports from the City of West Hollywood.