Meet the grand marshal for Houston's New Faces of Pride parade

Rosie Nguyen Image
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Meet the grand marshal for Houston's New Faces of Pride parade
Turning struggles into strength: Ian Haddock said his mom kicked him out for being gay when he was a teenager. He is now leading a nonprofit to uplift Houston's LGBTQ+ community.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Ian Haddock became homeless at only 16 years old after his mother kicked him out of the house for being gay. Now, he is leading an organization focused on supporting and empowering Black members within Houston's LGBTQ+ community.

It wasn't always easy for Haddock to grow up in a religious family in Texas City. He enjoyed fashion, dance, theater, and art, but he remembers he was always made to feel like he was different.

"But I remember the mentality of that little kid, and he just really wanted to be normal. He just really wanted people to not look at him as crazy," Haddock said.

In high school, he began experiencing feelings of same-sex attraction to his best friend. But before he could come out on his own to his family, he says school administrators broke the news to his mother. When she realized it wasn't a phase, Haddock says she kicked him out of her house. He was only 16 years old.

"I've been on my own. I've had to figure this thing out. I've had to sleep under the METRO. I've had to sleep on couches for years at a time," Haddock remembered.

That's when he decided to move to Houston on the night of his high school graduation. He says it was the place that made him feel seen and celebrated for the first time after attending a Black gay pride festival.

"I hear creatives often talk about how their dream is to move to New York to follow their dreams. Well, Houston is my New York. Houston is my place," Haddock said.

It's the place where Haddock found his passion and life's mission. After finding out that one of his close friends was living with HIV, he became an advocate for prevention, awareness, and education.

"You see something deeper, and you just want people to be better. You see the humanity in people. That's why I do this work," Haddock shared.

In 2016, he founded Normal Anomaly, which started as an online blog that documented stories of the Black LGBTQ+ experience. Since then, the nonprofit organization has grown into a team of eight, focused on bridging gaps and eliminating barriers in areas like healthcare and business for Black queer-plus people.

Haddock said it's his way of giving back to the community that saved him. After being selected as this year's male-identifying grand marshal for Houston's New Faces of Pride parade, he told ABC13 he hopes his story reaches those who are struggling and helps them understand that they're not alone.

"Visibility is really important for our communities, and so I take this as a huge honor and privilege. I hope that I can continue to use platforms such as this to unify people and bring them together," Haddock said.

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