The Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas, senior pastor of Cathedral of Hope UCC, and Wayne Davis, president of Dallas Bears, have been chosen as grand marshals of the 2018 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, Dallas’ annual Pride parade set for Sunday, Sept. 16.
This year’s Pride theme is “Vote No H8 in the Lone Star State,” based on the ongoing No H8 photo series created and continued by Adam Bouska.
Cazares-Thomas and Davis were chosen from among six nominees by a community vote. The nominees — which also included Chris Bengston, David Hearn, Jalenzski Brown and Rebecca Covell — were also chosen by the community.
Cazares-Thomas was called as pastor of Cathedral of Hope, the largest church in the world with a primarily LGBT congregation, in April 2015 and began his tenure there on June 3 that same year. Before coming to Cathedral of Hope, he served 13 years as the senior pastor of the Founders Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, the founding church of Metropolitan Community Churches. In addition to his work as senior pastor, he works with Dallas Hope Charities, an outreach of Cathedral of Hope, to create an LGBT homeless youth shelter in Dallas. .
Cazares-Thomas is married to Isaiah Thomas-Cazares, and they have a daughter.
Davis is the current president of the Dallas Bears, but over the years he has been the organization’s treasurer, its vice president and its secretary.
He has also been a member of the Worship Team for the Metropolitan Community Church denomination and is once again coordinating participants and volunteers for the denomination’s upcoming General Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.
Davis is the current secretary/treasurer for International LeatherSIR and a member of that organization’s board of directors. He is events director for Dallas Eagle, and is proud to have been placed in sainthood by the DFW Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as Saint B. Tim Harder. Known to his friends as ‘Wally’, Wayne is the backbone of the Dallas Bears.
Honorary grand marshals will be Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley of the NoH8 campaign. Bouska operates out of his Los Angeles photography studio but is known worldwide for his signature NOH8 Campaign portraits, which grew out of the effort to defeat the anti-marriage Equality Proposition 8 constitutional amendment approved by California voters in 2008. Prop 8 was later declared unconstitutional by the federal courts.
Bouska and Parshley, his partner, created a calendar to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles in 2008. Bouska paired with Found Animals to create 6 Packs/9 Lives, an calendar project promoting cat adoption and more recently has participated in a national ad campaign featuring Nia Vardalos for HelpUsAdopt.org.
Cazares-Thomas and Davis will lead Dallas’ 35th annual Pride parade, beginning at 2 p.m. on Sept. 16, down Cedar Springs Road along its usual route. Because the Festival in the Park has been moved, as of 2017, to Saturday, the day before the parade, in Reverchon Park, the parade route ends at the intersection of Cedar Springs Road and Turtle Creek Boulevard.
Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said that this year’s parade will include at least 100 entries, plus the sponsor and VIP entries.
The Miller Lite Music Festival in the Park will be held Saturday, Sept. 15, at Reverchon Park. Entertainment will include Thea Austin, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 top four finalist Asia O’Hara, the cast of The Rose Room, Effie Pasero, DJ Deanne, David Hernandez and many more. For tickets and more information, visit DallasPride.org.