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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Pete Pride co-chairman calls County Commissioner Kevin Beckner a hero



When the St. Pete Pride parade heads toward Central Avenue on Saturday, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner will be leading the way.

Parade organizers selected Beckner, the region's first openly gay elected official, as grand marshal for the parade, which culminates with a street festival celebrating gay pride. Organizers expect attendance to hit 70,000.

"It's a really exciting opportunity," Beckner said. "Pride is very important. It allows people to be who they are. I think it's important that we recognize everyone for the value they bring to our community."

Update: St. Pete Pride co-chairman Brian Stipsit said the organizing committee selected Beckner unanimously for the honor. "Kevin has really been a hero to us in the community," Stipsit said. "He's a champion for a lot of our rights. We are proud of him."

Previous grand marshals have been national radio personality Derek Hartley and Susan Stanton, a former Largo city manager who had a sex-change operation.

Janet Zink, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:57am]


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