June Horner walked in her first Baltimore Pride Parade in the mid-1980s, not long after learning her son was gay. Since then she has been on a quest to let the world know "our kids are fine just the way they are."
This Saturday she gets to lead that cause.
After having a presence in pride parades in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco, Horner for the first time won't be walking at the back of the procession; she will be grand marshal of the Baltimore Pride Parade.
Horner, a Sykesville resident, said she's thrilled to be marshaling the parade, an honor reserved for city leaders and pioneers in the LGBT rights movement, according to a Baltimore OUTloud article.
Horner said that she found out 25 years ago that her youngest son was gay. She told Patch that it was a difficult time for her in trying to understand what that meant for her and her son.
She said she found support and understanding with the help of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). She has been advocating for gay rights and understanding ever since.
Horner was instrumental in starting PFLAG chapters in Baltimore County and Howard County. She also helped form a PFLAG chapter in Carroll County just last year.
The Baltimore Pride Parade will take place Saturday, June 16, starting at 4 p.m. The parade kicks off at the corners of Monument and Charles streets in Mount Vernon, and travels four blocks north up Charles Street to Chase Street.
"I've never seen the front of a Pride parade because I've always been in the back walking with my son," Horner said. "This year I'll get to be at the front of the parade. I think it's just wonderful that I'm a parent, just a parent being recognized as an ally ... it's a great honor for me."