Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar and the newly-elected Mayor of Del Rio, Texas, Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano have been named as Grand Marshals of the 2018 Pride Bigger Than Texas Parade slated to step off on June 30 in San Antonio.
“We are proud to honor these two gentlemen, Sheriff Salazar, who is a staunch ally to the LGBT community and Mayor Lozano of Del Rio who is out and proud,” Pride SA officials said in an announcement. “We are excited to have these two advocates celebrating Pride with our community this year.”
Salazar was elected sheriff in 2016 in a close race against incumbent Susan Pamerleau. Prior to running for sheriff , he was the public information officer for the San Antonio Police Department.
In an interview with Out In SA during his campaign, Salazar said he supported having a liaison from the Sheriff’s Department to the LGBT community.
“Absolutely,” Salazar said. “The SAPD has an LGBT liaison. I would like to create a team of officers that are liaisons to different segments of our population like the military, the African-American community, the Hispanic community and the LGBT community would definitely have a liaison.”
He also said he supported LGBT sensitivity training for law enforcement cadets. “Yes. It’s necessary to teach cadets how to interact with the LGBT community because it’s a real population, it’s a sizable population, bigger than we even know.”
This is not the first time Salazar will be in the Pride parade. He and his wife marched in the event during his campaign in 2016 and in last year’s parade as well.
The 35-year-old Lozano, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was elected Mayor of Del Rio on May 5 capturing over 60 percent of the vote. He is the youngest person ever to be elected mayor of that city.
Lozano ran on a platform that emphasized generational change. “It is time for new ideas and new visions of the future. It is time the next generation takes action and get involved in local politics,” he said in an interview with Conexion Del Rio.
Most surprising for a mayoral race in a such a small municipality was the fact that Lozano’s sexual orientation did not seem to have an much of an effect on his campaign, even when he decided to march in the city’s Veteran’s Day parade in high heels last year. “I am not ashamed of who I am,” he told the website IntoMore.
It is fitting that Lozano was chosen as a Grand Marshal for the Pride parade given his commitment not to be bowed by pressure to hide his true identity. “Stonewall happened because drag queens and a minority group stood up to animosity, and I had to go back in the closet [while in the Air Force] because of that same hatred,” he said in an interview. “I know what that was like, and it translates to today’s campaign. I’m not going to bow down. I am who I am. Accept me or not.”
Pride Bigger Than Texas Festival and Parade, June 30. Festival begins at 11 a.m. at Crockett Park. Parade steps off at 9 p.m. along North Main Avenue. Check out the Facebook event page for more information.