GM Nominee Bios
Female-Identifying Grand Marshal Nominees
(She / Her) Toni Is a native Houston raised in Southwest Houston. She is the proud mother of three beautiful children. Toni has served Houston as a law enforcement officer for eleven years. She identifies as a lesbian female and has merged her role of protecting and serving the citizens of Harris county with advocating and protecting the LGBTQ+ community.
Toni is assigned to the Community Outreach/ Training Division of Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office, where her role is to educate the Citizens of Precinct One on public Safety and advocate for inclusion of all communities. While under the leadership of Constable Alan Rosen, she was appointed as the LGBTQ+ Liason for the department. She has coordinated the security for the GLBT Caucus meetings as well as been the active shooter instructor for the Montrose center for two consecutive years. After the Orlando Shooting, Toni knew there was a vulnerability for the night club scene in Houston’s LGBTQ + Community. She brought this challenge to Constable Alan Rosen, who agreed and provided his officers to the LGBTQ+ clubs in Houston. Toni has served as the head of security for Rebar night club for 4 years.
Toni has engaged in the education of LGBTQ+ persons by spending two hours each week to teach literacy classes to a transgender woman who was unable to read or write. Toni has been instrumental in the writing and implementation of non discrimination policies within Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office and has updated the current policy to reflect people of non-binary. Toni continues to grow as an individual, actively learning all perspectives of cultures, and aspires to grow through the ranks of the office.
(She / Her) Tommie Ross is a legendary icon and one of the most accomplished and awarded entertainers in not only Houston, but also America. She has traveled the world entertaining the masses of diverse populations in every imaginable way. And yet she also takes time to do public speaking events, serve on public panels as an advocate, mentor young gay men and women, and has been awarded by the Mayor, the US Congress, the Montrose Center, and OutSmart Magazine as an Icon.
She has sat and spoken with reknowned national entertainers, politicians, and business leaders alike. She will celebrate her 60th Birthday in March 2020 and what better gift for a Living Icon and Legend than to award and reward her with this wonderful opportunity to represent our gay community as Grand Marshall, just as she has represented us with style, grace, dignity, integrity, humility, and excellence in her 45 year entertainment career.
She has never been a Grand Marshall so what better time or place than now in our city– her city.
(She / Her) Ann Waltman has been a police officer for the Houston Police Department for 30 years in April 2020. As an open member of the LGBT community, Officer Waltman has dedicated her three decade career to improving and securing the Montrose area. No other LGBT officer has spent as much time serving and protecting our community than Officer Waltman.
After the murder of Paul Broussard on July 4, 1991, Officer Waltman stepped up to assist the police department in managing the fear and safety of our community. Not only did she maintain her patrol duties around the area, she also worked with members of the community to create action plans to keep us safe. As recently highlighted in OutSmart Magazine, Officer Waltman created the Montrose Bike patrol that has served the Montrose bars for 20 years. After Annise Parker was elected Mayor in 2008, Ann served a short time in her protection detail before the call of the street saw her back on patrol in Montrose. Patrolling the “gayborhood” is Ann’s greatest passion.
She has always felt a unique responsibility in being a bridge between the Houston Police Department and the LGBT community. Prior to Ray Hill’s passing in 2019, he personally selected Ann to be one of his pall bearers as well as give a eulogy at his funeral. Ray knew Ann was one of the good ones, they had worked together often behind the scenes ensuring our community saw justice and safety.
Finally, Ann has served diligently for the Pride Parade for some 21 years organizing the 100+ officers that make our greatest day of the year safe to celebrate our Pride.
Male-Identifying Grand Marshal Nominees
(He / Him) Ian L. Haddock is the Executive Director of The Normal Anomaly Initiative, a digital storytelling organization that focuses on reducing the stigma of HIV and mental health illness. He also serves as President of Impulse Group Houston, a global organization that supports, empowers and cultivates gay men.
Haddock is also an esteemed writer serving as LGBTQ Editor of Reel Urban Magazine and has an essay published to Logo/ NewNowNext amongst many other publications. Haddock has been awarded Trailblazer of the Year from the African American State of Emergency Task Force and the Dr. Mark A. Colomb Emerging Young Leader from the National African American Leadership Conference. Haddock has been featured in Urban Socialites, Voyage Houston, Outsmart Magazine, FOX News, iHeart Radio and many other media outlets.
C. Patrick McIvain
(He / Him) Some might think his activism is in his DNA. After all, his mother, Annella Harrison, was the founder of what became PFLAG in Houston. But McIlvain who is known to thousands in Houston as Patrick, is to be celebrated for his own contributions. He has been involved Houston and GLBT politics for decades, including Annise Parker’s first winning city council race and that of Mayor Bill White, the HGLBT Political Caucus and Stonewall Democrats.
Patrick was for many years active with the Houston International Festival, still volunteers for The City of Houston’s Department of Special Events with such events as the annual Christmas Tree lighting in front of City, portraying an elf, the Fourth of July Fireworks display, the Art Car Parade and more. Many know him from his work as an election clerk during early election periods and as an election day judge.
The project closes to his heart is The Walk for Mental Health Awareness, which he founded and serves as Director, and that will be celebrating it’s tenth year in 2020. Taking his personal experience as a person challenged with neuropsychiatric illness, he became a fierce advocate to help others with the goal to end the stigma which prevents people from seeking help and treatment, and to encourage a positive public dialogue.
The Walk helps non-profits that provide mental health services to raise funds. This cause is important within the LGBTQA community where so many of us are affected by discrimination and oppression that can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as addiction issues that are prevalent in the community. These are but the tip of the iceberg of Patrick’s accomplishments and contributions. He was recognized by the Coalition of Behavioral Health Services with their 2019 Courage Award.
Austin Dexter Williams
Austin “Dex” is amazing, and loves his community. There has not been a time when I was in company and he wasn’t thinking of how he could help and love on EVRYONE in the community- LBGTQI, Hetero, Elderly, EVERYONE!
Now to introduce the man who has done so much for the Houston LGBT+ community and whose motto is “I just want people in my community to feel loved”. Dexter moved from Georgia to Houston in 2001 to focus on family, career, and a more subdued, quiet life. However, it wasn’t long before he involved himself in various LGBT+ organizations. His first community organized event was a forum titled, “Under the Rainbow” a platform aimed at understanding the pressing concerns on who we are as gays, lesbians, trans, asexual, non-binary people. Next Dexter attempted to bring awareness to race relations in the LGBT+ community.
It wasn’t until the summer 2012 when Dexter met the love of his life whose passion for community matched his own. In 2013, Dexter created the Community BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) where LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters played games, shared food and reunited with old friends. At each picnic, Dexter selected a non-profit organization to help raise funds and awareness. In 2014 a nonprofit, Bee Busy Learning Academy Inc. was the beneficiary of the community picnic. This kind deed would come full circle. In 2017, Dexter accepted the position as Social Media Marketing Manager at Bee Busy Learning Academy Inc. It’s not uncommon to see Dexter featured in various PSA’s related to HIV, U=U and PReP. Annually Dexter host various forums such as Trans 101, The MSM Power of Sex and Know Your LGBTQ+ Rights.
Because of his love of community Keith & Dexter presents was created. Once a month, they provide a safe space for everyone of all ages to eat, drink and twerk. In 2017, not only did he land a job he adores and started a day party business, Dexter married the love of his life, Dr. Keith Clarke. It’s that love of community that makes Austin Dexter Williams who he is today!
Non Gender-Binary Grand Marshal Nominees
Eric Edward Schell
(They/ Them/ Theirs) Eric Edward Schell is the Founder and Sole Photographer of the National LGBTQIA+ visibility campaign, Pride Portraits. The campaign has cultivated relationships with 4,000 participants across the country providing visibility, representation and humanization for the LGBTQIA+ community and our allies, most importantly always representing Houston where the campaign is headquartered.
In addition to being the President of the Board with Pride Portraits, Eric sits on the Board of Directors for the Transgender Education Network of Texas. They previously sat on the board of Montrose Grace Place. Their work as an activist and with Pride Portraits has included partnerships with the following entities and organizations. Facebook, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Equality Texas, NASA, FBI, SXSW, Chevron, Legacy Clinic, The Montrose Center, University of Houston, Gender Infinity, The Mahogany Project, Tout Suite, Houston Chronicle, GLSEN, ObjectRocket, Rackspace, TechBloc, Pride Houston Inc, Pride Center – San Antonio, RuPaul’s Drag Race, TransMilitary, Story Hole, PFLAG, Fringe Salon, Houston City Hall, Point 5cc, Austin Pride, AIDS Foundation Houston, Pride Superstar, #DearPride, Spectrum South, Victory Fund, Houston Police Department, ACLU of Texas, Rice University, HEB, Transgender Law Center, Planned Parenthood and many others.
(They/ Them/ Theirs) Kelsey resides in Houston, TX with their fiancee and three fur babies. Kelsey is a Licensed master social worker who works as a case management supervisor for the Salvation Army’s Young Adult Resource Center.
Kelsey also serves on the Board of Directors for Gender Infinity. Kelsey’s focus lies in LGBTQ+ equality, the epidimic of homelessness, and racial equality. Kelsey is a proud non-binary, queer individual who believes in living and achieving social justice through empathy, connectedness, and activism.
Ally Grand Marshal Nominees
Sara is a proud ally of the queer community. As a Houston business owner and mother of a member of the Jewish and queer community, she does everything in her power to support and empower! Each year at her bakery, Dessert Gallery, she celebrates by baking pride-themed treats during the entire month of June. Sara gives back profits from the bakery regularly to local non-profits that fight for the LGBTQIA+ community and sits on the advisory board of the Houston Holocaust Museum as part of her mission to spread love to all and stop hate and discrimination in Houston.
Lillie is the full-time, non-stop, volunteer chair of the Harris County Democratic Party. She has also been an active ally-member of The GLBT Caucus for many years. She has dedicated her life to fighting for progressive values, including for the LGBTQIA+ community. I have enjoyed watching Lillie share her passion for progressive causes, especially LGBTQIA+ causes, with our three kids, whom she’s taken to many rallies, marches, and meetings. Among other things, Lillie turned the Harris County Democratic Party into a year-round operation with a full team of year-round staff, all of whom are provided with health care and living wages, and all of whom are dedicated to fighting for progressive causes
She launched the “Black Girl Magic” campaign that saw the election of eighteen black women to Harris County judicial positions. Lillie helped turn Harris County true blue, and ensured that HCDP had much bigger presence in the Pride Parade every year she’s been Chair.