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Sharon Gless ('Cagney & Lacey', & 'Queer as Folk'), Lt. Dan Choi to lead Miami Beach Gay Pride parade

News release from Miami Beach Gay Pride:

Star Power will add to an EXTRAordinary Day OUT as award-winning actress Sharon Gless and activist/Iraq veteran Lt. Dan Choi serve as Grand Marshals for the 2nd Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, April 17.

BURN NOTICE -- Pictured: Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen -- USA Network Photo: Justin StephensCurrently receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of Madeline Westen on the highest-rated cable series in the country, “Burn Notice,” Sharon Gless has been an ardent supporter of LGBT rights, especially in the Miami community.

Gless has received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards throughout her career and recently completed production on two independent features, “Once Fallen” with Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, and “Hannah Free,” in which Gless stars as the title role. As Hannah, a lesbian whose hidden relationship spans 60 years, she plays a free-spirited woman attempting to reunite with the love of her life one last time. The film will be screened at the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival on April 24.

For five seasons (2000-2005), Gless starred as the outrageous and beloved Debbie Novotny in the groundbreaking Showtime series “Queer as Folk.” In 1982, she landed the career-changing role of New York Police Detective Christine Cagney on the smash hit drama “Cagney & Lacey.” The role garnered her two Emmys, a Golden Globe and six Emmy nominations.

After the show ended in 1988, she re-teamed with “Cagney & Lacey” Executive Producer, Barney Rosenzweig, for the drama series “The Trials of Rosie O’Neill.” That role led to her second Golden Globe win and two additional Emmy nominations. She married Rosenzweig in 1991.

In addition to her vocal advocacy for LGBT rights, Gless is an active participant in the ongoing struggle to prevent the overturn of Roe vs. Wade. In 2005 she was honored by People for the American Way for her unwavering support of human rights.

Lt Dan Choi “Arabic Linguist. Iraq Vet. West Point Grad. Infantry Officer. Gay. Fired. Fighting Back!” This is the headline on Lt. Dan Choi’s website, and it summarizes the path on which he continues to travel. At West Point, Lt. Choi recited the Cadet Prayer every Sunday, and it taught him to “choose the harder right over the easier wrong” and to “never be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.”

Having served for a decade under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a policy that forces American soldiers to keep silent about their sexual orientation, Choi finally decided that he could no longer betray the Code to which he is ardently committed.

Because of three words he uttered on The Rachel Maddow Show on March 19, 2009 - “I am gay” -- Lt. Choi’s life changed forever. Despite his value as an Arabic speaker able to communicate quickly and clearly with the Iraqi people, the Army notified him one month after his announcement that they had begun discharge proceedings against him.

At West Point, he helped form Knights Out, an organization of West Point alumni advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. He is an inspiration to soldiers and veterans who feel isolated, alone and even suicidal because of the torment of rejection and discrimination.

Lt. Choi serves on the National Advisory Board of Marriage Equality USA and the Advisory Council of The American Foundation for Equal Rights. In 2009 he was National Co-Chair of the LGBT Equality March on Washington, DC, which attracted 200,000 people. Shortly thereafter, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force presented Lt. Choi with the National Leadership Award at the organization’s annual Miami dinner.

The 2nd Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade begins at noon on Saturday, April 17th.at 5th Street and Ocean Drive. The parade continues along Ocean Drive, featuring festive floats and the inspiring LEGACY couples – couples who have been in committed relationships for 20 years or more.

Following the parade, the Festival continues at Lummus Park, between 10th Street and 14th Street, with exciting musical performances, an Expo with LGBT-friendly vendors and businesses, refreshments and a family-friendly playzone.

For further information, go to www.MiamiBeachGayPride.com

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