By Nicole Murray Ramirez | Conversations with Nicole
Out of the closets … into the voting booths!
Coming up on June 5 is the California primary elections. And Nov. 6 is the general elections. The 2018 midterm elections are one of the most important in the history of our country, which leaves us with many unanswered questions. Will America go forward or backward? Will Democrats capture the needed congressional seats and stop President Donald Trump’s agenda? Will impeachment proceedings begin against this president?
I have been a registered Republican, Independent and now once again a registered Democrat, who many times votes for Republican candidates. For me, it is the candidate, not the party, that counts. But I must say that the current Republican Party represents the extreme right as a whole. As for San Diego, I firmly believe that we have some of the best Republican elected officials in the entire country.
I was a Republican when I first arrived in San Diego in the early 1970s. At that time, San Diego was a very conservative, Republican city. Like it or not, Mayor Roger Hedgecock will go down in history as the first mayor to actively go after the gay vote and appoint the first gay and lesbian San Diegans — including Susan Jester and Dr. Brad Truax — to boards and commissions. Yes, I was a strong supporter of Hedgecock and advised him as a candidate and mayor on the LGBT community. Actually, the first Mayoral Pride Proclamation came from Hedgecock, and he is the first mayor to attend LGBT functions. I was honored to be the first openly gay citizen to receive a special commendation from a mayor. Needless to say, Mayor Hedgecock and the radio host Hedgecock were two different people.
Mayor Maureen O’Connor appointed the first mayoral LGBT advisory board following her election after Hedgecock resigned from office, and Barbara Crusberg and I were elected co-chairs. Six mayors later, I am still an elected co-chair of the Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s advisory board, along with Susan Jester. I have served and advised five Republican, two Democrat mayors, and two interim mayors: Toni Atkins and Todd Gloria.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been the most visible and supporter pro-LGBT mayor in the history of our city. Faulconer could probably be the last Republican mayor of our city since Assemblymember Todd Gloria, a Democrat, is on the top of everyone’s list as a front-runner to be our next mayor in 2020. Gloria would historically be San Diego’s first mayor of color, as well as the first who is openly gay. Homosexual acts were not legal in our state until 1976, and as I have said many times, LGBT Californians could have been — or were — sent to state mental hospitals at a stroke of a pen by a judge or one’s parents. I had gay friends who were subjected to lobotomies and electric shock treatments, and they never were the same again.
San Diego has one of the oldest cross-dressing laws in the nation, and I was arrested for wearing the clothes of the opposite sex as were many transsexuals and drag queens. The first gay event openly held in a public hotel was in 1973 at what was then the Royal Inn across from the Star of India downtown. The first openly gay candidates to run for public office were first Al Best, then Neil Good and finally Christine Kehoe.
This coming election will be one of the most important ever. Among the candidates I urge you to vote for are: Bill Gore for Sheriff and Nathan Fletcher for San Diego County Supervisor. Also, for city council: Myrtle Cole for San Diego District 4 and Antonio Martinez for District 8. Check out the “GLBT VOTE 2018” that has endorsed candidates for office and take it to the polls with you on June 5.
10th anniversary Harvey Milk Breakfast
Thank you for your 10 years of supporting and making the annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast such a success with more than 1,000 people in attendance this year. My sincere appreciation goes out to my co-chairs Dr. Delores Jacobs and City Commissioner Robert Gleason, and especially the hard-working staff and volunteers of our LGBT Community Center. Also, a special shout-out to Joyce Rowland and Pamela Morgan, who have been the breakfast’s major sponsor for years. In addition, thanks to Rich’s Nightclub (Nick and Ryan) for the special Harvey buttons as well as the Imperial Court de San Diego. Harvey Milk would have been 88 years old this May 22.
— 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.
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.