When Louise Deser Siskel made her appearance as Rose Queen at the Tournament of Roses parade New Year’s Day, she made history. Siskel is the first Rose Queen in the 101-year history of the Tournament of Roses to openly be part of the LGBTQ community, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
The San Marino high school is bisexual, as she revealed in her piece for the Los Angeles Times.
“I never considered my sexual orientation might be of interest to anyone but my family and my closest friends,” she wrote. “But in this new, very public position, I feel it’s important to present myself authentically, especially to those who look to the Royal Court as a representation of our community.”
Sisker is also Jewish and bespectacled; both firsts for the Rose Queen position as well. She’s a member of her school’s debate team and the YMCA Youth and Government program. Siskel is also a budding young scientist: she has done research on breast cancer and space exploration.
“What was important to me throughout the interview process was that I was completely transparent about who I was, about the things I value, and about the things that I advocate for,” she told the Pasadena Star-News.
What does she advocate for? For everyone “to stay engaged and active within your community, advocate and fight for the things you believe in, regardless of whether other people respond or care about those things in the way you do.”
“I think it can be easy to get discouraged when people don’t share the same passion for your values or for the things that you care about,” she told the Star-News. “But I hope that people continue to fight for the things that are important to them, regardless of the support they see from others.”
The new Rose Queen has received tons of support on social media.
My new hero is Pasadena's 2019 Rose Queen, a budding LGBTQ scientist. You ROCK, Louise Deser Siskel! https://t.co/80escCsQbN
— Barbara Belmont 🌈 (@AnalyticalBB) December 24, 2018
Rose Queen is the first to wear glasses, first Jewish Queen, and first member of the LGBTQ community. 2019, you’re doing wonderfully so far #RoseBowlParade
— Andy ❄️ (@AndyLChapmanLA) January 1, 2019
According to her Tournament of Roses bio, Sisker plans to study cellular and molecular biology at either John Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, or Yale University.
According to the Los Angeles Blade, the Tournament of Roses Parade has the most viewers of any televised parade. The parade has a pro-LGBTQ history; in 2014, a same-sex marriage was performed atop one of the floats.