The 2018 St. Louis Pride Parade Grand Marshal is Angelica Ross, a multi-talented artist. She’s the co-star of the Emmy-nominated and Gotham Award winning web series, Her Story, a leading trans activist and founder of the nonprofit, Trans Tech Social Enterprises. Ross is an accomplished writer and executive producer and the 2016 recipient of the Human Rights Campaign’s visibility award. She is most recently starring in the new Ryan Murphy-helmed series Pose.

 

 

Congratulations on being this year's St. Louis Pride Parade Grand Marshal.   Have you grand marshaled before?

 

No, the St. Louis Pride will be my first Pride as Grand Marshall.

 

Do you have a favorite LGBTQ Pride memory you can share?

 

Yes. The most memorable pride for me was my very first Pride in Rochester, NY in 1998. The Song "Unspeakable Joy" by Kim English was on repeat and I was getting my first taste of freedom after graduation high school a year early at the age of 17. It was also that same Pride that a drag queen by the name of Helena Troy helped me to find my name, "Angelica".   She asked me what did I want to inspire my name. Sitting there wearing my white glittered angel wings I told her that I wanted my life to be like that of an angel here on earth. I felt like my smile was my halo. That Pride I found an unspeakable joy that "they did not give and they cannot take it away."

 Angelica Ross 2

What makes PrideFest so special?

 

It's a time to celebrate in whether you're into parades or pageants, go-go boys, house parties, or charity events; there's something for everyone. And if there isn't I expect somebody to be protesting and demanding that we make space so that no one feels left out. To be honest, for me and many trans women, we didn't consider Pride to be our holiday. After years of going and seeing the focus solely on white buff gay boys it got boring for us. But the movement for trans equality has brought us together, we amplified our voices, we made the world take notice, made changes, and we just have so much to celebrate and be proud of. Now the Pride runs deeper.

 

What was the inspiration behind founding TransTech?

 

It was my own struggle and marginalization in the adult industry that I found a way out that was not just about surviving, but thriving and becoming my own boss. In TransTech's DNA is a blueprint for figuring it out. It's not your typical nonprofit. At TransTech we help people discover how to become their own heroes. In fact, that's the theme to our 2nd Annual TransTech Summit, "Super Power Summit" on October 20th in Chicago at the Groupon Headquarters.

 

Tell us about Her Story. Are you surprised at how well it's been received?

 

Her Story will always have a special place in my heart. I was surprised and also not surprised by how well it was received. We did think it was going to be a small web series that our friends would see. But the project kept growing and growing and getting bigger and bigger as the story itself captivated our crew and cast who worked for almost nothing to tell "Her Story". I just didn't expect a tweet from Kerry Washington or an Emmy nomination.

 

What does PRIDE mean to you?

 

PRIDE is something that starts off on a basic level of being proud of yourself, to a deeper and clearer understanding of exactly what it is you have to be proud of. For many years the LGBTQ community exhibited a foolish pride, for while the parade marched on, trans women of color were being murdered, our cries muffled by house music.   Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson's voices finally broke through the crowd and folks are finally listening as we see many organizations go through name changes and organizational changes to make sure they are not leaving off the "T".   I am proud of the growth I see happening in the LGBTQ community, but specifically the growth I see happening in individual trans people's lives who are experiencing more support, respect, love, and prosperity.

 

The Panera Bread St. Louis Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, June 24 starting at 12 p.m. on Market St. downtown.

 

 

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