Today marked the seventh annual Staten Island Gay Pride Parade, and my third year participating in this parade. Many people have questioned why I would attend this specific event as a "beauty queen." As I stated in the Staten Island Advanced, "I am a straight ally for my many friends in the LGBT community. I am here to show that there is support and that there is an alliance."
Thousands gathered under the trademark rainbow balloon arch to share with the borough their support for the LGBT community. This year was extra special because the Grand Marshall was none other than Claire Buffie, Miss New York 2010. Claire has pioneered the gay rights movement during her year of service with such conviction. Her platform, Straight for Equality: Let's Talk, has been promoted throughout the country as the first platform of its kind at the Miss America Pageant. There is no better candidate to have the honor of being named Grand Marshall than Claire.
Jim Smith, Miss Staten Island Executive Director and Grand Marshall 2005