The first professional soccer player in North America to come out as gay will be front-and-center at the Utah Pride Parade on Sunday, June 2.
David Testo, who came out in November 2011, shortly after his contract with the Montreal Impact expired, is the grand marshal of Utah's second-largest parade. Testo, a North Carolina native, was a good 18 months ahead of Jason Collins, the NBA player who recently announced he is gay.
"It's like carrying around a secret, you know, and carrying around luggage and just never being allowed to be yourself," Testo told CBC.
Testo played professional soccer for a decade, including two seasons with the Columbus Crew of MLS in 2004-05. He also played for the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Impact when both were second-division teams.
He is the first openly gay man elected to the U.S. Soccer Athletic Council. He's on the advisory board for the "You Can Play" campaign, which is dedicated to ending homophobia in sports.
In addition to riding in the parade, Testo will be honored at a reception Friday, May 31, at 7 p.m. at the Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, Tickets to the event, which includes light hors d'oeuvres, desserts and a cash bar, are $40 and are available at utahpridefestival.org/festivities/grand-marshal-reception.
Here are a few more details about the 2013 Utah Pride Festival:
Join the parade •The route has changed this year. The Utah Pride Parade begins Sunday at 10 a.m. at the corner of 400 East and 300 South. It will head one block north on 400 East to 200 South; then west on 200 South to West Temple.
Faithful •The Pride Interfaith Service, featuring speakers from a variety of religions, will be Thursday, May 30, at 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Kol Ami, 2425 Heritage Way, Salt Lake City.
Open the gates •The festival returns to Washington Square, the block surrounding the Salt Lake City-County Building, 451 S. State St., Salt Lake City.
Gates open Saturday at 3 p.m. and close at 11 p.m. On Sunday, gates open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Get ticketed •Tickets are available online (for less) or at the gate (where there are always lines). Online, go to utahpridefestival.org/attend/buy-tickets. Saturday: $13 presale, $15 at the gate. Sunday: $8 presale, $10 at the gate. Both days: $20 online only.
Kids 12 and younger are free.
All-star lineup •Headline performers on the Main Stage will be:
• Saturday, 4 p.m., Alex Newell, who stars as Unique/Wade Adams on "Glee."
• Saturday, 7 p.m., Ivy Winters & Pandora Boxx, who competed on the reality/competition TV show "RuPaul's Drag Race."
• Sunday, 4 p.m., Grammy-winning pop/disco/R&B singer Thelma Houston.
Zone out • Different areas on Washington Square will be designated as "zones" for a variety of groups and activities: Youth Zone, Sage (older) Zone, Gender Zone, Pet Zone, Health Zone, Bingo & Games Zone, Karaoke Zone, History Zone, Art Zone, Grass Roots Zone, Kids Zone, Family Zone.
Fun run • Saturday, 9 a.m. The Pride Day 5K for runners, joggers and walkers begins east of the Utah Capitol, proceeds through City Creek Canyon and ends in Memory Grove. You can still register at utahpridefestival.org/festivities/pride-day-5k; cost is $35.
Rally 'round •Three rallies and three marches will take place Saturday at 2 p.m.
• The Dyke Rally and March begins at the Utah Capitol; heads down State Street to South Temple; heads east to 200 East; and then south to the intersection of 200 South and 200 East.
• The Transgender Rally and March begins at City Creek Park; heads south on State Street to 200 South; then east on 200 South to the intersection of 200 South and 200 East.
• The Interfaith Rally and March begins at the First United Methodist Church, 203 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City.
• All three groups will march from the Methodist Church south on 200 East to the Pride Festival at Washington Square.