ABOVE: Cheryl Hawkes and SuZie have been named Community Grand Marshals for St. Pete Pride. Image from Cheryl Hawkes Facebook.

St. Pete Pride has announced the Grand Marshals for this year’s St. Pete Pride Parade following open nominations and an online community vote.

Out of the Closet (OTC) was chosen for Organization Grand Marshal for its “integral part in its community’s daily life,” St. Pete Pride shared. “In addition to being a thrift store where you can donate and buy unique and fashionable pieces, OTC offers a full-service pharmacy and free HIV Testing for all who come in.”

Four Community Grand Marshals were also named, beginning with SueZie and Cheryl Hawkes. The two were married as husband and wife, though SueZie spent years struggling with her gender identity. After 14 years, the organization wrote, the duo “couldn’t continue living in the public’s perception [and] chose to pursue transitioning.”

“Pillar of St. Petersburg” Robert (Bob) Pope was also named. “Mr. Pope is widely known as the founder of Metro Wellness,” St. Pete Pride shared, “which started to support the AIDS crisis and has expanded to a full service medical center including LGBTQ+ health care, counseling and HIV prevention.”

Rounding out the list was Matt Lassen, a proud, gay, eight-year Air Force veteran. Lassen has worked to ensure LGBTQ veterans are treated “equally and honorably,” St. Pete Pride noted.

The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade will be held June 23.

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