Yesterday, at age 11, C.J. officially became the youngest grand marshal in Pride Month’s 48-year history. As part of his duties as Orange County Pride’s 2018 Grand Marshal, he accepted a community award and gave a speech. He wrote the speech entirely by himself and memorized it dutifully.
Pride doesn’t even come close to explaining what I feel when I watch the following video and read his words (also below).
C.J.’s OC Pride Grand Marshal Speech
Thank you so much for this award and for letting me be your Grand Marshal.
I definitely had a lot of ups and downs this year. The things that got me through this year are being myself, being proud of who I am, having a supportive community and having a loving family that is always there for me.
Without my family supporting me and helping me, I would still be getting bullied and I would not be on this stage.
My family has helped me so much this year and it makes me so sad that some LGBTQ people don’t have supportive families and they have to hide who they are — because if they show who they really are, they might end up with no one who loves them.
We have to stand up for those people and make sure they are safe, loved and respected no matter what.
We need to be proud of who we are and use our pride to make a difference. If we don’t use our pride and act out in pride then things don’t change, people are unhappy and people can’t be themselves. We need to always be ourselves and keep going until we are treated equally.
We need to show everyone that we are fun, strong, colorful, brave, smart, loving and, best of all, proud.
We are the rainbow in the dark sky. Let’s try to erase the dark and turn it into a rainbow.
For more picture and videos from C.J.’s big day, click here: https://www.instagram.com/raisingmyrainbow/
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What a great honor, that had to be a great day for the both of you!
CJ is amazing! He did such an awesome job on his acceptance speech. Congratulations on being the youngest grand marshal in Pride Month’s history, CJ!
Beautiful. Congratulations CJ. Love the outfit, but the speech was awe inspiring. We are the rainbow in a dark sky. Incredible.
Massive Congratulations! Sending you all lots of love too!
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I’m not crying…
The future is bright! Way to go, CJ!
CJ Rocks! You are a role model for both young and old. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you. You will do amazing things.
All I can say is WOW! It was really awesome to see all 3 of you live and in person as you guys went down the parade route. I am glad you posted his speech as my Boyfriend and I had other obligations to do in the afternoon. This was my first time at OC pride, and I feel that CJ is the perfect grand marshal. One thing I did notice that is a much smaller and more of a family friendly than the other Pride events I been too. It’s a perfect Pride starter for LGBTQ youth and their families and I think that they should market that. One thing that I was shocked over, Disney was not present in the parade; they do show up for LB pride parade. CJ looked fabulous in his outfit.
Congratulations, CJ, on a great speech and being the wonderful, loving person that you are. You give me hope for positive changes in the world. Congratulations to your awesome family as well.
Lovely speech CJ and congrats on being Grand Marshall this year at Pride. ❤️✌️
BY FOR NOW
CJ, you totally ROCK.
You give me enough courage to say: I’m bisexual and very proud to be my authentic self!!
Thank you and congrats on the honor of being Grand Marshal!
CJ is amazing and being raised by an amazing family! Thank you as always for sharing your life with all of us. The words CJ stated could teach many people a great deal…let’s hope for more of a positive accepting future! Go CJ!
Well, C.J., you nailed it on the head. Every one of us who is privileged to have a loving, supportive family and community needs to remember how lucky we are. And to become a loving supportive family for someone who was unlucky enough to not get that at the start. You are awesome, and make all of us grown ups feel very hopeful.
Beautiful speech C.J.
You are incredible & you will change the world! Kudos to Dad, Mom, big brother & your entire family for their love & support. So very proud of tou. xoxo
YOU not tou🤪🤪
Oh, my beautiful, beautiful friend.
This proud mom is crying, because I am so proud of you. I have followed your story since the early posts, and while i do not know you, CJ, I am so very happy that you are in this world and spreading love and light to the world.
Bravo, my darling child, what a spokeperson you are.
Bravo, Mom and Dad, and big brother and uncle, and whole family.
So much love from our family to yours.
I just want to give you a big hug, beautiful one!!!
Much love and joy,
Emily, Colin, and Riley Jo
congratulations to you, CJ, and to your family for being so strong, courageous and supportive. You all give me hope for the future! Thanks!
Great job C.J. !!! We’re ALL very proud of you !!!