PORTLAND, Maine — Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud will be among the grand marshals of this year’s Pride Parade in downtown Portland.
The annual parade is a banner event for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. On Nov. 4, 2013 — exactly one year before Maine’s gubernatorial election — Michaud announced that he is gay in a column released to several Maine newspapers.
If elected, he will be the first openly gay candidate to become governor in the United States.
Pride Portland, a new group organizing this year’s festivities, said Michaud and the other grand marshals were nominated by community members and chosen by a steering committee.
The congressman was nominated for his “support of full equality for LGBT Americans while serving in Congress and for his courage to come out as a gay man while seeking the office of governor,” the group said in a release.
“I was honored to be selected by the Pride Selection Committee to be one of the leaders of this year’s parade,” Michaud said in a written statement to the BDN. “Pride is a great opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come as a state in making Maine a more inclusive place for all LGBT families to live and come visit.”
Partly because it takes place in Portland — far removed from his 2nd Congressional District — Michaud has never marched in the parade before, said spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt. She added that he has participated in other area Pride events.
The other marshals include Sarah Holmes, the University of Southern Maine’s assistant director of Student Life and coordinator for the Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity. She was nominated and selected for her service with and for the LGBT community, the release stated.
The last marshals are Nicole Maines and her family. Maines, a transgender girl, was thrust into the spotlight when her school in Orono refused to allow her to use the girl’s bathroom. She and her family filed a lawsuit, which made it all the way to the Maine Supreme Judicial court. In January, the court ruled the school had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
The Pride Parade will take place Saturday, June 21, capping off a week of other related events. For information, visit prideportland.org.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.