Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
Since the 1970s, the Imperial Court de San Diego has selected San Diego’s Pride ambassadors, started by Nicole Murray Ramirez, Queen Mother of the Americas of the Imperial Court. In its early beginnings, Mr and Miss Gay Pride consisted of a male and a drag queen. It later added Ms. Gay Pride to include the lesbian community. This year, the court is announcing MX Gay Pride to include gender-nonconforming persons. Applications for all titles opened on May 1 and will continue to accept candidates through the end of May.
The 46th Imperial Court’s Princess Royale Jessica D’Nalga and Prince Royale Steven Blocker are at the helm of bringing the new titleholder to this long-standing tradition of selecting people to represent San Diego Pride.
D’Nalga said that the newest title, MX, is being added to allow a more inclusive representation with San Diego Pride titleholders.
“We have our gay people, our lesbians, trans people, but then we also have [a] nonconforming, non-binary aspect that makes the LGBTQ community,” D’Nalga said. “A lot of other cities have begun doing this as well. We took it to the board, presented it with the reasons why. We want to be able to include everybody and bring them together and have them be supportive. We are all one.”
D’Nalga said that just because the representatives for San Diego Gay Pride are selected through the court, it does not necessarily mean that they have to become part of the court, but that they do encourage their participation.
“It is definitely an invitation for them to see how we function, what we do and where those funds are generally going,” said D’Nalga. “Last year, [fundraising by candidates] went to the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Dinner. Our Ms. and Mr. were there last year and were able to see that the fundraisers they did helped provide more than 400 meals to homeless people or people that did not have a Thanksgiving. We have a lot of events that happen every year and we are proud of the fact that we can keep those traditions alive and give back to the community. And not just our LGBT community, but friends and people in the community that need something for their children.’
D’Nalga said in reality, this is a chance for Pride ambassadors to be visible and to be part of something and represent the San Diego community.
Blocker said the addition of MX is a gender-nonconforming title, so anyone that does not fall into the spectrum of Mr., Miss, or Ms. can run for the MX title.
He said through the years, the way candidates are chosen has changed, some of this modeled by other courts in the system.
“It used to be that [candidates] stood up in front of a panel and spoke and boom, they were the winner,” Blocker said. “We’ve now modeled it after a few other courts with campaigning as a fundraiser.”
Blocker said candidates have an entire month to raise money and each dollar counts as a vote. Then, at the crowning ceremony, the winner is based on the amount of money that they have raised.
“Part of the title is representing the court, but it goes further than that in the aspect that they have to produce two fundraisers between July of this year and July of next year,” Blocker said. “It is an opportunity for people [who] want to be involved with the court, but don’t want to jump in head first as a royale or a monarch. It is a way for them to kind of get their feet wet.”
For Pride, titleholders will be featured in the parade and the court is working with Pride to get them some recognition at the festival.
“It is a civic title that gives the people exposure to everyone else and to the court and what we do,” Blocker said. “We ask them to show up at certain events such as South Bay Pride, different fundraisers and we give them the opportunity to walk as a civic title at the coronation.”
Blocker recommended getting applications in as soon as possible, as they will be reviewing them beginning June 1, and candidate campaigning and fundraising will start on June 5.
“We provide them with an online fundraising platform from June 5 to July 5,” Blocker said. “They can do whatever they want to fundraise. And at the event, they will have a [final] opportunity to fundraise more that will be added to their total. There will be a lot of out-of-town guests at the event from different courts in Orange County, Long Beach, Hollywood and Los Angeles [who will] come down and support. We raised a little more than $5,000 last year. It was the most raised since LaLa was crowned in 1992.”
The crowning of San Diego Pride titleholders will be on July 6 at the Gossip Grill from 5-8 p.m.
For more information and to get an application, contact Steven Blocker at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessica D’Nalga at Jessicadfab@gmail.com.
Deadline for applications is May 31.
—Albert Fulcher can be reached at email@example.com.