Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride Announces Keynote for 4th Annual Pride Festival


Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride (UBCPride) will host its 4th annual Pride Festival on Saturday, October 8, 2022, from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Concord Point Park in Havre de Grace, MD. The free, family-friendly festival will feature live music, drag performances, and other amazing entertainers. Over 85 artists, vendors, and local non-profit organizations will be on-site for this year’s event.

The UCBPride Board is excited to announce our 2022 Pride Festival Keynote Speaker! Paula M. Neira JD, MSN, RN, CEN, FAAN was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1985, and graduated with distinction. A Surface Warfare Officer, she served as a regular and reserve officer including serving in mine warfare combat during Operation Desert Storm. Her military decorations include three Navy Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon, as well as numerous unit, campaign, and service awards.

After leaving the Navy in 1991, she began her career as a registered nurse. She is certified in emergency nursing and focused her career on adult emergency care and trauma resuscitation. From 2008-2016, Paula served as the Nurse Educator in Emergency Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and co-chair of the Johns Hopkins Transgender Medicine Executive Taskforce. In November 2016, she became the founding Clinical Program Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health and served in this role until 2022. In March of 2022, she was named as the Johns Hopkins Medicine Program Director of LGBTQ+ Equity and Education in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity.

An attorney and member of the Maryland bar since 2001, Paula was a leader in the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and in the change of military regulations to allow for transgender military service. She lectures nationally on the need for improved transgender cultural awareness and health equity.  In 2015, she made naval history by becoming the first transgender Navy veteran to have her discharge documentation updated to reflect her correct name by order of the Navy. In 2016, the Secretary of the Navy named her to be the co-sponsor of the USNS HARVEY MILK and in November 2021, she christened the ship. In 2018, she was awarded the GLMA Achievement Award and in 2020, she was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in recognition of her leadership in advancing diversity and inclusion both in the United States Armed Forces and in healthcare. She is the first United States service academy graduate to achieve this honor in American nursing.

About Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride

Founded in 2019, Upper Chesapeake Bay Pride provides unwavering advocacy and support for LGBTQIA+ people, communities, and their families in Cecil and Harford Counties. For more information about the festival or our organization, please visit www.ucbpride.com.

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