Q&A: Pride March Grand Marshal Anne Kronenberg

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Kristen V. Brown

One of the Pride March's grand marshals is Anne Kronenberg — an LGBT activist and former adviser to Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in 1978 in San Francisco after becoming the first openly gay elected official in California.

How does it feel to be a grand marshal?

It is such an honor. It’s mind-boggling to me. Stonewall happened when I was 15 years old; and when I went to work for Harvey [Milk] ... that was all everyone talked about. Stonewall was a starting point. I would sit and listen for hours to the stories from Stonewall. To be there four decades later, it’s so amazing how fast time goes and so many things change — and some things still stay the same.

Have you ever marched in the NYC Pride March?

It’s my first time; I’m a San Francisco gal. But it’s going to be quite a way to see it for the first time. San Francisco is wonderful and I love being at the parade there, but New York does everything bigger and better.This is such a big year, with the same-sex marriage debates. What’s it like to be a grand marshal now?

I think it’s a real time of change and growth. Milk talked a lot about progress not being linear. You take two steps forward, then a couple back, that’s the way it is. Gay marriage will be on the ballot again in California. Eventually, we will have equality.

When did you come out, and what was the experience like?

In San Francisco, I was always out because it was so easy. I went to work for Harvey and it was just easy. But I wasn’t out to my family, and when my dad came down to visit from Washington, he had the feeling that something was going on, and he wrote me this long, really lovely letter just trying to find out about me. I was so scared. We did it all through the mail, and I wrote back that I was a lesbian and in this relationship with a woman. It was a really difficult period, but they never rejected me.

What do you say to people who want to come out but are wary of how friends and family will react?

I think everyone does it in there own way, but I think there is an openness that was not there 30 or 40 years ago. Young people do not see what the issue is. My son and daughter are in their early 20s and they’re like, “whatev.” That’s my daughter’s saying, not mine! I think the point is to just be true to yourself. It is really OK to be who you are.

(Photo: Getty)

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