Gay News Briefs — March 3, 2017

Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | Gay News Briefs, News, Opinion & News | No Comments


Producers of seventh annual Out at the Fair (OATF) — our very own “LGBT day” at the annual San Diego County Fair — are seeking applications for “community partners,” which include nonprofit vendor/exhibitors, artists, sponsors and divas for their “diva drop.” Note – the performer application deadline was Feb. 28.

The County Fair will run June 2-July 4 at Del Mar Fairgrounds, located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar. This year’s theme is “Where the West is Fun.”

OATF will be held on Saturday, June 10.

Nonprofit organizations can sign up for free booth space in the exhibitor area. Participating organizations will receive a 10-foot by 10-foot tent with one table and two chairs; plus gate credentials and parking passes for booth workers. Those approved will need to submit proof of insurance and attend a mandatory orientation May 19 at 3 p.m. at the fairgrounds. Application deadline is May 12. Download the application at or

Other special events during the County Fair — which is billed as the largest county fair in the U.S. — include San Diego International Beer Festival, the Toast of the Coast Wine Festival, and the Distilled Spirit and Cocktail Festival. Every day has a special theme so keep an eye on news about the fair. Note: The fair is closed the first four Mondays and the first three Tuesdays of its run.

To visit the fair’s new website and sign up for informational emails, visit


Dining Out for Life (DOFL), the annual fundraiser for HIV/AIDS services takes place this year on April 27. In its 11th year, DOFL is a nationwide fundraising effort that takes place on just one day per year, to raise awareness and money to help with the much-needed services and prevention programs around the country.

Here in San Diego, the funds are earmarked for both the San Diego LGBT Community Center and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.

Community members are asked to dine out that day at one of the dozens of participating restaurants, where management pledges to donate a portion — between 25 percent and 100 percent — of their day’s proceeds to the effort. Other restaurants over the years have graciously extended the fundraiser over several days. Thousands of diners are expected to once again make it a night of giving back.

Organizers are seeking restaurants that would like to participate.

“We are so grateful to all the generous restaurants that already have signed up to participate in Dining Out for Life this year and there is still room for even more venues to join us,” said Ian Johnson, director of development for The Center. “This day-long event is always inspirational and providing as many dining options as possible adds to the excitement and success of this event. By supporting Dining Out for Life, participating restaurants help fight HIV in our community and also have the opportunity to showcase their venue to a new audience.”

Those interested can contact Johnson at or 619-692-2077, x247.

Organizers are also seeking DOFL Ambassadors to help make the event even better. Being an ambassador is fun, easy and does not require more than 15 hours total to participate.

Those in North County wishing to help out should contact Those in the greater San Diego area should email


The North County LGBTQ Resource Center has announced the theme and dates of their 2017 gala — “Rise Up, SHINE ON” will take place June 3 at a private estate.

The Center, which moved to a larger, more permanent location last year, is offering more services — specifically to the communities of San Marcos, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Fallbrook, Vista, Encinitas, Escondido and other outlying areas — than ever before.

In a recent letter signed by Lisa Nava, NCLGBTQ Resource Center Chair, Nava stated:

“In these past years, over 50,000 people have visited the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, which now offers more activities and programming than ever before. Among these, more youth events, leadership summits and more gender therapists are available in the area.

“Our vision of creating a safe space for all has already had practical outcomes. We created the only certified LGBTQI training programs, which were offered to 46 organizations, with a total of 100 hours of training and 1,500 personnel certifications. This alone has made the North County region and our schools a more inclusive and accepting community for us and our allies and offered other youth providers the possibility to better serve the LGBTQ community.”

In addition to raffle prizes, dinner, drinks and networking, attendees will get to hear the comedy of Julie Goldman, who will also participate in a meet and greet. Musical guest is Lee Coulter.

Advance tickets for the gala are $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP but they will go up May 8, to $125 for GA and $175 for VIP.

To purchase tickets, visit


The 26th annual Mama’s Day on May 12 from 6:30–9:30 p.m. will feature 55 chefs from restaurants, hotels and catering companies all over San Diego, each who will graciously give their time, energy and edibles to prepare delicious samples of food for the nearly 600 attendees to this valuable fundraiser.

Always held the Friday evening before Mother’s Day, this popular annual fundraiser has been raising money for Mama’s Kitchen, which delivers hot, nutritious meals free of charge to local men, women and children affected by AIDS or cancer. Last year Mama’s Kitchen delivered 51,000 meals and raised $165,000.

Presented by Nordstrom and Sycuan, Mama’s Day will be hosted by the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, located at 3777 La Jolla Village Drive.

In addition to the dozens of delicious food samples, attendees will enjoy music and other fun throughout the evening, including a silent auction and opportunity drawings.

“I am committed to Mama’s Kitchen because I have seen first-hand the impact that Mama’s makes on the lives of our clients,” said longtime volunteer Jennifer Kearns, this year’s chair of the event. “They are so grateful for our deliveries of nutritious food, accompanied by a warm smile.

“Mama’s Day is our largest fundraising event and every year, our valued food and beverage providers raise the bar higher and higher,” Kearns continued. “It’s truly a culinary extravaganza.”

Pre-sale tickets to this premier tasting event are $150 per person in advance and $175 at the door. Premium VIP tickets are available for $250 each, and include early access at 5:30 p.m. to an exclusive VIP dining area and pre-party featuring a private culinary chef’s presentation before the doors open to general admission attendees at 6:30 p.m. VIPs also enjoy a full hosted bar for two hours.

Sponsorships are still available and there are many more opportunities for chefs and restaurants to participate. For tickets or more information, visit or email Tegan Ellis at


As of Feb. 28, Araceli “Cheli” Mohamed returned to the San Diego LGBT Community Center as director of volunteer services and community leadership development. She broke the news on her personal Facebook page.

“The first time I was hired at The Center in 1995, I had just graduated from UCSD, was driving a brand new car and was the current Ms. SD Leather – I was young, naïve and full of hope (and a little full of myself).

“21 years later, I am coming back home to the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Now, I have salt and pepper hair, a few more pounds, a few more activist scars, a better understanding of politics, an incredible partner in life … and four amazing kids.

“Now I am not so naïve — now I am determined to make this world just a little better for my kids, all our kids, our seniors, our people of color, our immigrants, our women, our LGBT community — now #45 will have listen to me, our collective communities, and the rest of the world as we RISE and RESIST! Because our rights can’t be taken away overnight, but they can be chipped away — every day that we remain silent.”

The popular Mohamed is well known within the local LGBT community, especially through her many hours of volunteer work at San Diego Pride.

Her most recent job was as chief operations officer for the United States Police and Fire Championships, but Mohamed has spent two decades in nonprofit social service related jobs with a focus on volunteer work.

“Her professional background includes program and corporate development, volunteer management, crisis intervention, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, fundraising and special events,” stated a press release from The Center announcing her return.

Sara Merk-Benitez, former volunteer coordinator, was promoted to director of services integration upon Mohamed’s hiring, a new role that The Center said will “ensure that staff, services and programs provide community members with simple, streamlined access to the full set of services” they offer.

Merk-Benitez, who first began as a volunteer at The Center, was eventually hired as a contract worker and when the contract was up in 2015, she was hired full time.


On Feb. 21, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that rescinded President Barack Obama’s federal guidance to schools regarding allowing transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of their preferred gender.

The announcement drew a backlash across the country within the LGBT community, as it was viewed by many as a huge “step back,” especially when the president promised to protect the community while he was on the campaign trail.

“That the president would attempt to roll back basic civil rights for transgender students is unsurprising, but still infuriating,” stated Sen. Toni G. Atkins in a released response. “It shows that he either doesn’t understand — or simply doesn’t care — that what he’s doing is akin to telling girls that they have to use the boys’ bathroom, and vice versa. Let me be clear: California will not go back. We will continue be a source of compassion and remain free of mean-spirited prejudice.”

The New York Times reported that Trump had “overruled his own education secretary” when he rescinded the guidance and placed himself and his administration squarely in the middle of the “culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind.”

Todd Gloria, former San Diego city councilmember and now state assembly member representing District 78, also weighed in.

“Today, the president and his administration opted to turn their backs on the approximately 150,000 young people who are transgender,” Gloria said in his response. “There is absolutely no excuse that could justify rescinding protections for innocent children. Despite the president’s shameful and heartless actions today, I want all members of our transgender community to know that California will remain a safe and welcoming place for you to be exactly who you are.

“Moreover, I will to work closely with my colleagues in the California State Legislature to ensure all of our transgender kids are protected from discrimination and bullying,” Gloria said.

Referring to Obama’s directive, Trump and his staff said it was “improperly and arbitrarily devised,” and put the matter back into states’ hands, which caused the ire of progressives, who believe, along with former president Obama, that the “bathroom issue” is a civil rights issue, and something that should not be determined at the state level.

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