By Nicole Murray Ramirez
One of the most popular first ladies in San Diego’s history, Katherine Stuart Faulconer has been named the Honorary Chair of San Diego’s oldest LGBT events, “The 47th Annual Imperial Coronation Gala: A Military Ball,” of the Imperial Court de San Diego established in 1972. The 47th coronation is on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Crowne Plaza San Diego, 2270 Hotel Circle N. starting at 5:30 p.m. and the entire community is invited. Visiting royal court chapters and LGBT nobles and friends will be attending from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The International Imperial Court System was founded in 1965 by World War II veteran Jose Julio Sarria, who in 1961 became the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in North America. Twelve years ago, Empress I Jose crowned me as her “Heir and Successor” and I am the titular leader of the Imperial Court System, which now has 70 city chapters. The International Imperial Court Council will meet in San Diego for two days and I will preside over the council meeting as the reigning Queen Mother of the Americas. A good way to describe the Imperial Courts is that they are like the LGBT of Shriners or Elks and have raised millions of dollars for countless charities and causes since the 1960s.
Katherine Stuart Faulconer and her husband, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, are strong supporters and friends of the LGBT community. Katherine attended LGBT civil rights rallies, served as a “waitress” at Dine Out for AIDS, and much more. She is the co-chair of the San Diego AIDS Memorial Project. Our first lady of San Diego will be presented the Empress I Tawny Tann Humanitarian Award. The Feb. 9 gala event will include outstanding entertainment, eye-popping gowns, crowns, military uniforms and royal pageantry. For more information on tickets and tables, contact Empress Lala Too at 619-254-6372 or Empress Regina Styles at 619-288-1183 or imperialcourtsandiego.com.
BigMike’s birthday fundraiser raises more than $14,000
Beloved local personality BigMike Phillips’ 20th Annual Birthday Bash Benefit raised more than $14,000 that will go to both Emperor Omar’s Closet at Florence Elementary School and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The fun event on Jan. 19 at Rich’s drew hundreds of people including such VIPs as state Senate President Toni Atkins and her wife Jennifer LaSar, Mayor Kevin and Katherine Faulconer, the state Assembly Majority Whip (and our next mayor) Assembly member Todd Gloria, state Assembly member Lorenz Gonzalez and her husband County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, City Attorney Mara Elliott, City Councilmember Dr. Jen Campbell, State Board of Equalization District 4 member Mike Shaefer, Will Rodriguez Kennedy, and state president of the California Young Democrats and City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn. I had the honor of chairing his Host Committee and a big humble thank you to all who supported this most successful benefit, including the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus!
County Supervisor Fletcher marries gay couple
Together for 28 years, Jerry Capozzelli and Tony Cucuzzella made local history on Jan. 28 as the first gay couple to be married in the Office Chambers of the County Board of Supervisors.
Newly elected County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher officiated his first gay marriage and told me he was very honored and humbled. Capozzelli, Mr. A’s infamous maitre d’, told me last week at Mr. A’s that he was getting married and I asked Fletcher if he would do the honors and he quickly and happily said yes. Thank you, Nathan, and congratulations, Jerry and Tony. Here is to another 28 years together.
—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 Hillcrestqueen5@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @Nmrsd2.
Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily 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.