DATE SET FOR NICKY AWARDS
After four decades of honoring local businesses and personalities in the San Diego LGBT community, the 41st annual Nicky Awards has been delayed for unspecified reasons. Usually held in August, the popular awards event has been officially rescheduled to Nov. 13.
Nominees for all categories were accepted online earlier this year and final nominations will be announced the week of Sept. 26, but were not available before press time. Nomination Night will take place Monday, Oct. 3, at Martinis Above Fourth Table + Stage, located at 3940 Fourth Ave., in Hillcrest.
The main event will take place at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley, located at 950 Hotel Circle North. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. Hosts for the evening will be former recipient of the “Man of the Year” Nicky, Ben Cartwright, and “Miss Pearl” a contestant of “America’s Got Talent.”
To see the list of outstanding categories and last year’s winners, visit gay-sd.com/nicky-awards-2015.
SAN DIEGO PADRES TO SPONSOR ‘JINGLE’
Every year, the 200 members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) put on a very popular holiday-themed show, always one of their biggest of the year. This December, the San Diego Padres will be sponsoring the holiday event, now in its 31st year, ensuring that many San Diego children and their families can attend.
The partnership, announced in a recent SDGMC press release, includes “significant community outreach targeting San Diego County LGBT youth, local students, military, first responders and their families and organizations supporting and providing services to the LGBT community.”
The sponsorship is especially significant, after a very high profile event took place last June at Petco Park between the two organizations. A woman’s voice was inadvertently played over the speakers while the SDGMC attempted to sing the National Anthem at the annual “Out at the Park” event before the Padres game against the Dodgers. In the days that followed, the Padres met with SDGMC and San Diego Pride representatives and have worked with the LGBT community at numerous events since, building bridges and forging a better relationship.
“’Jingle’ is a festive and entertaining holiday tradition in our community,” said Padres president and CEO Mike Dee in the press release. “The Padres are proud to support the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and to provide the opportunity for many San Diegans to experience this special show for the first time.”
SDGMC Executive Director Bob Lehman, who was one of those who met with the Padres in June, said he is “very proud” of the partnership.
“Not only are they supporting the LGBT performing arts, but with their help, many LGBT youth and families in difficult circumstances will get to come out and join us for a really fun and festive holiday show.”
As in past years, the chorus will perform many traditional holiday-themed songs, such as “Silent Night,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and others, as well as songs from Disney’s popular “Frozen” animated film and some Broadway-related surprises.
“Jingle” will take place at the historic Balboa Theatre, located at 868 Fourth Ave., Downtown, on Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. with a matinee on Dec. 11 at 3 p.m.
Tickets to the show range from $23 – $70 and are available at sdgmc.org or by calling the Balboa Theatre box office at 619-570-1100. Discounts for seniors, students, active duty military and groups of 10 or more are also available. For an additional $35, attendees can join Artistic Director RC Haus and members of the chorus in a pre-show reception, where hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.
TRANSGENDER CONTINGENT FROM INDIA VISITS SAN DIEGO
On Monday, Sept. 26, and Tuesday, Sept. 27, eight transgender activists from India, guests of the U.S. Department of State, visited San Diego. The group met with various members of the San Diego LGBTQIA community, including Morgan Hurley, editor of Gay San Diego; Hillary Whittington, author of “Raising Ryland: Our story of parenting a transgender child with no strings attached”; Ben Cartwright, San Diego LGBT Community Center; Christine Garcia, transgender San Diego Police Officer and SDPD’s LGBT Liaison Officer; and others.
The contingent included: Jaya Annamalai, program manager of Sahodaran; Gazal Dhaliwal, freelance Bollywood screenwriter with Vinod Chopra Films; Rupika Dhillon, project director, Society for People’s Awareness, Care and Empowerment (SPACE); Sadhana Kinner, president and project director of community-based organization SAKHA; Rudra Kishore Mandal, an independent art professional and the only cisgender gay man of the group; Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, an independent activist, Telangana Hijra and transgender Samiti; Rachana Mudraboyina, also an independent activist, Telangana Hijra and transgender Samiti; and Meera Parida, president of Odisha Kinner Mahasangha.
The contingent was accompanied by Ms. Minnie Battle Mayes and Mr. Tomasz Maciejko, international visitor liaisons with the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., the organization that manages the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) for current and emerging foreign leaders.
Many of the activists had never been to the U.S. before and got the opportunity to visit four cities on their three-week itinerary, Sept. 19 – Oct. 7; Washington, D.C.; San Diego, California; Denver, Colorado; and Iowa City, Iowa.
The San Diego Diplomacy Council hosted the first of the local meetings, where the guests got to share their personal experiences and ask questions of both Hurley and Whittington.
They also watched a YouTube video that Whittington and her husband Jeff had made about the transition of their 5-year old son, Ryland. The parents made the video to educate family and the administrators and teachers at the East County school their son would be attending, but after debuting the video at the 2014 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, the media attention made it go viral. Since its debut, the homemade video has been seen nearly 8 million times with viewers from all over the world.
Many of the transgender activists from India were very moved by the film, hugging Whittington with tears in their eyes afterward. They applauded her as a mother for letting her son live his authentic self, stating that children in India “are not allowed” to make any decisions about their lives and are completely controlled by their parents.
Dhillon admitted to the group that she was the survivor of electro-shock and reparative therapy at age 20, which she was subjected to at the hands of her parents. While many of them said that as adults they are able to live more authentically in India than those in other countries (including the U.S.) due to laws protecting “Hijra” — or “third gender” — they all agreed that their transgender children have no support system.
“I’m seeing we are much more advanced in many ways, but not in this area and I’m very ashamed about that,” one of them said.
Each of the visiting activists shared about the work they do to advance equality and awareness regarding HIV issues in their own country, while actively supporting the rights of transgender people and those struggling with gender identity.
For more information about the State Department’s IVLP, visit eca.state.gov/ivlp