President Obama will be sworn in on Monday, January 21. But before and after the ceremony? Counts on lots of celebration. One of those groups helping celebrate the 44th President of the United States is the Lesbian and Gay Band Association. The LGBA holds the distinction of being the only openly LGBTQ group in history to be invited to this event. (Their first appearance was at the 2009 inauguration.) The best part? Eight of their members are from Indy.
The official release reads as follows:
The Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA), a musical organization comprised of marching and concert bands from across the United States and around the world, is proud to announce that it has once again been selected from more than 2,800 bands to perform for President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden during the Presidential Inaugural Parade on Monday, January 21, 2013. The LGBA is the only lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender group in history to be invited to march in a Presidential Inaugural Parade. Their first appearance in the Inaugural Parade was in 2009.
The LGBA received more than 30 letters of support from Senators, Congressmen, Congresswomen, and local representatives throughout the United States including Senator Al Franken (MN), Senator Claire McCaskill (MO), U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY), Congressman Ed Pastor (AZ), Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (FL), Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (NJ), and Senator Donna M. Nesselbush (RI). Stated Senator Franken "This band truly represents a broad swath of our country from sea to shining sea and their presence in the Inaugural Parade will provide a powerful image of the GLBT community for all to see." Locally the effort was supported by a letter from Indianapolis City-County Councilman Zach Adamson.
When asked for his support during the Inaugural Parade application process, Arizona Senator Ed Pastor stated, "Marching bands are one of our nation's great traditions, and the LGBA helps continue this legacy while representing the tremendous diversity of our country." The LGBA is no stranger to fame. In fact, this will be the second time that it has marched in an inaugural parade, having made history as the first gay and lesbian group to march in a Presidential Inaugural Parade for President Obama in 2009. In addition, the LGBA previously performed as part of both the 1993 and 1997 Inaugural celebrations for President Bill Clinton, as well as in major events both nationally and abroad."
The 215-piece LGBA band will be comprised of members of its bands, orchestras, and cheer squads from 27 states. They will join groups from across the country as well as from the Armed Forces in the historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, which follows President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol. Local representation will come from 8 members of the Pride of Indy Bands, based in Indianapolis since 2005, who will be joining the combined group. "We are proud to represent all of Indianapolis in the parade and will be marching with the Circle City in our hearts", said Pride of Indy President Bill Leschorn.
LGBA at the President Obama's first inaugural parade