1974 … A veteran, an attorney and a queen

By Nicole Murray Ramirez

Yes, 44 years ago, a long-haired Vietnam vet named Jess Jessop, an Abraham Lincoln-looking American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney named Tom Homann, and a trans street queen named Nicole went down to the San Diego Police Station (then on Market Street) and tried to get a police permit for our city’s first Pride march parade.

Take your photo at Rich’s Nightclub (Photo by Nicole Murray Ramirez)

You have to understand that it wasn’t until 1976 that homosexual relationships were made legal in California. So the police officials looked at us like we were deviants and psychos. They refused to issue us a permit and said, “There will never be a homo pride parade in San Diego,” and told us to leave before they would arrest us. We marched anyway, on the sidewalks mostly, and thus in 1974 was our first Pride march.

The next year, Homann threatened a lawsuit, and the police granted us a permit. I had moved to San Diego from Hollywood and had participated in Los Angeles’ first Pride march. Jessop had also attended one, so we thought San Diego should join other cities holding Pride marches. With the help of LGBT students, anti-war activists, the Metropolitan Community Church, some gay bars, Imperial Court drag show fundraisers, and others, San Diego Pride was born.

Julie and Summer met at Pride and are now celebrating their 33rd anniversary next weekend. (Photo by Nicole Murray Ramirez)

In 1975, I had the honor of being one of the speakers at our first rally in Balboa Park, and yes, many of our first Pride march participants had paper bags over their heads — the “unknown gays.”

To me, the real heroes of our first Pride marches/parades were those LGBT students, military, blue- and white-collar workers, and proud lesbians — all those who had everything to lose yet came out of the closets and marched proudly in public. Now, 44 years later, let’s not forget them as we stand on their shoulders!

LGBT refugees, immigrants and dreamers

In the Bible, according to the Gospel of Matthew, it tells us that the holy family fled from King Herod to Egypt. So if Joseph, Mary and Jesus had come as refugees to the borders of the U.S. these last few years, they would have seen the child Jesus ripped from their arms and taken away!

Thus, yes, I have marched in some demonstrations and so should we all. Especially because there are many LGBT refugees, immigrants and dreamers.

In fact, recently there were nearly 40 transgender women at the San Diego border fleeing their Latin American countries because of discrimination and mistreatment. Well, I have been to the San Diego offices of the Survivors of Torture International and let me tell you that for years they have helped our LGBT brothers and sisters from countries in Africa, the Middle East, and the old Soviet Eastern Bloc, where being LGBT is not only against the law, but a reason to be tortured and killed.

So, I am proud to tell you about the newly established Bruce M. Abrams GLBT Torture Survivors Fund to support our brothers and sisters that are now here in San Diego. A birthday party benefit is being held on July 26 in honor of Bruce and you all are invited. Call 619-241-5672 for more information.

Stoli’s Harvey Milk Vodka Limited Edition available at Flicks on July 11 (Photo by Nicole Murray Ramirez)

Pride Events to Check Out

41st Annual Mr.-Miss-Ms. Pride Contest, Saturday, July 7 at Gossip Grill, 5–8 p.m.

“Art 4 the Heart” LGBT artists exhibit, Wednesday, July 11 at the St. Paul’s Cathedral, 5–9 p.m.

San Diego Launch Party, Wednesday, July 11 at Flicks, 7:30–9:30 p.m. Stoli’s Harvey Milk Vodka Limited Edition and one night only. The Dating Game!

Nicole’s quickie movie review!

“RBG” – A documentary on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Everyone should run and see this movie … five stars!

“Uncle Drew” – Bad acting, bad makeup and bad clothes. It was like watching a Depends commercial, and as about exciting as an afternoon here at my apartment complex, Shady Pines.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” – Pure entertainment, fabulous, loved it. That night, I had a wet dream about actor Chris Pratt … hum, too much information?

“Adrift” – Should change its title to “Asleep.” After seeing this movie, you’ll want to go drown yourself.

“Ocean’s 8” – Wow! Great acting, fabulous clothes and pure excitement. You’ll love it!

“Book Club” – A “Golden Girls” for the 21st century. The entire cast is the cat’s meow … perrrrfect!

—Nicole Murray Ramirez has been writing a column since 1973. He has been a Latino/gay activist for almost half a century and has advised and served the last seven mayors of San Diego. Named the “Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest” by a city proclamation, he has received many media awards including from the prestigious San Diego Press Club. Reach Nicole at

Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this column are the author’s own and by no means reflect or represent the opinions of the staff and/or publisher of Gay San Diego and/or its parent company, San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN). The newspaper and its staff should be held harmless of liability or damages.

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