Famed San Francisco bar owner Marlena, aka Garry McClain, aka the Absolute Empress XXV, exulted after hearing he' d be one of several grand marshals at this year's LGBT pride parade -- a noteworthy comeback after the sale of his beloved eponymous drag bar.
He'll stand -- or rather, ride and wave and blow kisses -- alongside a motley crew of local celebrities who've either bolstered, abetted, or endeared themselves to the local LGBT community. Their ranks include Latin DJ Chili D, former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Army Private First Class Bradley Manning.
Huh? The Pride Celebration Committee probably couldn't have picked stranger bedfellows.
Manning, who has confessed to leaking classified material to the website WikiLeaks and who is currently in jail facing a court martial, will not be attending the parade. However a group of supporters will be there on his behalf, recasting the alleged traitor as a queer icon, as well as a cause celebre.
We were anxious to hear what Harris, who was chosen by the board to appear as a "straight ally," thought of her pride mate, the accused traitor. But sadly, she refused to comment on the honor, which perhaps is a comment in of itself?
In any event, accolades were also lavished on the Boy Scouts of America, which earned a pink brick award for lifting its ban on gay youth this April.
Dufty, who was ebullient about being selected, only worried that as a grand marshal he'd be consigned to "sit in the back of a vehicle and wave" -- that seemed way too toned-down and contrived for a club-going guy who likes to strut atop parade floats.
Notable snubs included Scott Wiener, the oft-profiled "gay technocrat with a phallic name" who's already had his15 minutes of fame, if not for banning wieners (the organ, not the food or politicians) in public, then for winning the title of "local hero/community advocate of the year" award from the gay hookup site Grindr.
But there's always next year.