Toledo Pride is pleased to announce the Grand Marshalls for the 2012 Toledo Pride Parade, City of Toledo Mayor Michael Bell and former cub scout den mother Jennifer Tyrrell of Bridgeport, Ohio.
Mayor Michael Bell was elected mayor of Toledo in 2010 after spending nearly 30 years in the Toledo Fire Department, first as a firefighter and later a certified paramedic/EMT. In 1990 he was appointed as Chief of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department, the first African-American as well as the youngest person ever to lead the department.
Toledo Pride wishes to recognize Mayor Bell for his continued support of the local LGBT community. In June 2012, Mayor Bell signed legislation extending health benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. This applies to same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples who are registered on the city’s Domestic Partner Registry. According to data from Equality Ohio, this ties Toledo with Cincinnati as the 3rd most LGBT-friendly municipalities in Ohio.
Jennifer Tyrell, a Bridgeport, Ohio mother of four, gained national attention this spring after she was removed as her son’s Cub Scout den mother because her sexual orientation “did not meet the high standards” of conduct set by the Boy Scouts of America. She started a change.org petition in response, which has since been signed by over 300,000 people, including ”Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson and Jesse Tyler Ferguson from television’s “Modern Family” and Max Adler from “Glee.” Since then she has appeared on CNN, rode with George Takei in the New York City Pride Parade and spoke at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. You can watch her speech to GLAAD below.