Charlotte Pride to honor trans military veteran Monica Helms, state Senator Jeff Jackson as parade grand marshals

Organization will also honor two Charlotte City Council members, PFLAG mom and two young 
adults with annual Champions of Pride Awards

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Pride, a local non-profit LGBTQ community organization, has chosen a transgender military veteran and the creator of the Transgender Pride Flag, along with a state senator, to be grand marshals of this year’s Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade.

U.S Navy veteran Monica Helms, creator of the Transgender Pride Flag and founder of the Transgender American Veterans Association, will join N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson as grand marshals of this year’s parade on Sunday, Aug. 27, 1-3 p.m., on N. Tryon St.

Helms, who was born in Sumter, S.C., and currently resides in Marietta, Ga., served in the U.S. Navy on two different submarines from 1970-1978. She created the Transgender Pride Flag in 1999 and formed the Transgender American Veterans Association in 2003. Jackson was first appointed to the North Carolina Senate in 2014 and has since been an outspoken ally of the local LGBTQ community, especially during debates over HB2 and Charlotte’s local LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances. Jackson also serves as a Captain in the JAG Corps with the Army National Guard.

Charlotte Pride will also present its annual Champions of Pride Awards. The awards are given to several individuals each year who represent the Spirit of Pride in their daily lives, work or life accomplishments.

The organization’s Harvey Milk Award for leadership and service will be presented to Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield and former Councilmember Al Austin. Together, Austin and Mayfield served as the city’s two openly LGBTQ council members during debates over local non-discrimination protections and cast the only two dissenting votes against its repeal.

Diane Troy, a longtime leader with the local PFLAG chapter, currently serves as PFLAG National’s South Atlantic Regional Director. She will be honored with the Outstanding Ally Award. Charlotte Pride’s Young Catalyst Award seeks to honor young adults who have shown outstanding commitment and service to their local LGBTQ community. This year, Charlotte Pride will honor Time Out Youth staffer Rebby Kern and transgender high school student Vinnie Holt.

Grand marshals and award winners will be honored after the parade during a ceremony on the Wells Fargo Stage in the PNC Bank Festival Zone. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27.

Extended biographies for this year’s grand marshals are available online at Biographies for award winners are available at

For more details on this year’s events, including logistical information for media coverage, upcoming press events and other general event information, please see the Charlotte Pride Media Center at

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Media Contact: Matt Comer,, 704-625-6449