Gay News Briefs — April 28, 2017

Posted: April 28th, 2017 | Gay News Briefs, Opinion & News | No Comments


The 2017 National LGBT Equality March on Washington is set for Sunday, June 11. The march will be organized similar to January’s “Women’s March,” with other equality marches being held the same day in various cities across the country and even internationally. 

San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, a national activist for his decades of work for LGBT and Latino rights, has been selected as one of 12 national co-chairs for the event, which includes representatives from all walks of life within the LGBTQ community.

“I am very honored to have been elected and believe that this is the most diverse leadership ever elected to lead one of our marches on Washington,” Ramirez said in a press release announcing his co-chairmanship. “From activists involved with HRC, AMFAR, National LGBT Taskforce, international Pride [organizations], to advocates of immigrant rights, Black Lives Matter, queer youth and the trans community.”

Helping to organize a massive LGBT march on Washington is not new to Ramirez, who has also served as co-chair for three previous marches; helped plan six previous marches, the first held in 1979 and the most recent in 2009; as well as having served as national chair for Stonewall 25, which drew 500,000 marchers to New York City in 1994.

Ramirez currently serves on the national board of the Harvey Milk Foundation; is chairman and CEO of the International Imperial Court System of the U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico; serves as executive director of the National GLBT Network U.S.A.; is a past state president of Equality California; and has served the LGBT community in San Diego in various roles and titles for over 40 years.

The June 11 date is in keeping with the commemoration of June being Pride month across the nation.

For more information about the equality march, including a complete list of co-chairs, follow them on Facebook at To read up on the last National Equality March, visit


The Veterans of Foreign Wars “Legislator of the Year” award is given every year to members of the California state Legislature who have provided leadership on veterans issues. This year at their Legislative Day and Reception, held April 19 in Sacramento, the award was given to Sen. Toni G. Atkins, who represents San Diego, and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks.

“We are proud to recognize these two outstanding legislators,” said Steve Milano, the VFW’s Dept. of California state adjutant and quartermaster. “Senator Atkins and Assemblywoman Irwin have been instrumental in advancing veterans’ programs in California and we are pleased to recognize their hard work and achievements on behalf of the veterans of our state.”

Atkins has long been a supporter and champion of veterans. She has always made their issues among her top priorities and remained actively involved in efforts to secure affordable housing and other well-earned benefits for all veterans and their families, including LGBT veterans.

A bill Atkins co-authored, which led to Proposition 41, has so far awarded $180 million in contracts for affordable housing for 1,600 veterans, with more on the way. Atkins has also pushed for increased funding for support personnel positions at veterans claims offices to help veterans track down overdue and current payments and benefits. In addition, she is an avid supporter of “Stand Down,” the annual weekend event that connects homeless veterans to vital services, and launched the “Socks for Stand Down” program several years ago that brings hundreds of socks every year for attending veterans.

“It’s truly an honor to have my efforts on behalf of veterans recognized by an effective advocacy organization like the VFW,” Atkins said. “Not only are veterans an important and venerable component of San Diego’s population and history; military service is also a major part of my DNA, with numerous members of my family having served in the armed forces. For me, taking care of veterans is both personal and a public-policy imperative.”

For more information about Atkins, visit


The Administration on Aging, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, which is used to determine what services will be provided to older Americans in need.

The Trump administration wants the survey to stop gathering information about LGBT seniors.

SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) — the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit dedicated to focusing on the issue of LGBT aging and improving the lives of LGBT older adults — has launched a 30-day campaign in response to this news.

“It’s a first step in erasing the LGBT community from the American map,” SAGE organizers said in a press release. “We will not be erased. We will not be eliminated. We will not go quietly.”

The group has established a series of social media posts, directed for use by LGBT elders and supporters on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which will help them “get our voices heard.”

A sample Facebook or Instagram post, using more than 140 characters:

  • So many of our LGBTQ seniors survived the AIDS epidemic. They don’t deserve to have the government once again abandon them. Help us fight for the services #LGBTElders deserve at #WeRefuseToBeInvisible

Sample Twitter posts (less than 140 characters):
• We won’t turn our backs on our elders. Tell @POTUS: #WeRefuseToBeInvisible

  • Dumping #LGBTElders from critical surveys is only the beginning. We must #resist every step. #WeRefuseToBeInvisible via @sageusa

These phrases and posts can also be shared directly from the SAGE Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

For more information and a dozen or more other sample social media posts, follow @sageusa and visit


The California Ballet Company is going social with an edgy new event that mixes ballet and brews. Called “Beers and Ballet,” the event will take place Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 29 at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. at Park6, a new event venue with nearly 18,000 square feet of space for the visual, performing and culinary arts.

Park6 is located at 590 Fir St., in Bankers Hill.

Performances will include “new and in-your-face works” by three local choreographers, Jeremy Zapanta, Trystan Merrick, and Jared Nelson, the associate artistic director of California Ballet.

Audience members can grab a local craft beer before the show, during and after, and are encouraged to share a beer with the talent after the performance. One alcoholic beverage will be provided with the ticket price and additional beverages will be available for purchase.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, and $40 for reserved seating. Must be 8 and older to attend, 21 and older to get the alcoholic drink ticket.

For more information, visit For info on the California Ballet’s current season, visit


The body of a North Park man who had crashed his SUV at the west Interstate 8 at Jackson Drive interchange on April 6, was finally found April 18, the San Diego Union Tribune reported. SDPD detectives believe he fell down an embankment along Camino del Rio North, near the transition lanes of Interstate 8 and Interstate 805. His upper body had suffered major trauma due to the fall. His family and friends had initially listed him as a missing person.

Bernal-Medina’s partner Josef Gonzales is devastated over the loss and friends have started a GoFundMe page to help pay for Bernal-Medina’s funeral expenses.

Called the David Bernal-Medina Memorial Fund, the page is seeking $15,000. At press time they have raised $4,500.

“The search for our beloved David came to a tragic end as his body was discovered on Tuesday April 18. After a long, emotional two-week search, we can now lay our friend to sleep and pray that he is at peace. I know that David would want and most importantly deserves a proper funeral for his family in Arizona and Celebration of Life in his honor scheduled for Saturday April 29,” the page states.

“Please help up us reach our goal of 15k. All funds raised will be used to pay for the funeral and celebration of life. Any funds left over will be giving to the Bernal-Medina family. A little goes a long way. Please share this with your friends and family. Thank you so much for all your support during this time.”

To donate, visit

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