By Nicole Murray Ramirez | Conversations with Nicole
There is no excuse for any of you not to go see the critically acclaimed “LGBTQ+ San Diego Stories of Struggles and Triumphs” at the San Diego History Center (1649 El Prado, Suite 1) in Balboa Park. It’s running through Jan. 20, 2020! This historic exhibit has been getting comments like “wow,” “unbelievable,” “awesome,” “moving,” “I am going back,” and “emotional” from everyone who has seen it.
This LGBTQ exhibit will take you on an emotional ride of pride, tears, laughter and knowledge — and is a must see. This huge undertaking was not easy and our community owes a big “thank you” to nationally acclaimed historical author Lillian Faderman; Bill Lawrence, the executive director of the History Center and his outstanding staff; Lambda Archives; Robert Gleason; Christine Kehoe; Joel Steward (Lambda Archives board president); San Diego Pride; and all the donors. Bravo!
People, politics and opinions
Word is that when Gavin Newsom is elected governor, many LGBT leaders will be appointed to his administration, including some from San Diego. Our hard-working City Councilmember Chris Ward who is chair of the City’s Select Committee on Homelessness is focusing almost every day on this growing problem that every city in America sadly has to deal with. By the way, Chris and his husband are hoping to add another baby to their family soon, let’s all keep our fingers crossed.
A recent poll shows Nathan Fletcher the clear front-runner to be our next County Supervisor and he has committed to bring back the County Human Relations Commission as hate crimes continue to be on the rise. San Diego Unified School District Board President Kevin Beiser has joined the growing list of community leaders supporting Stephen Whitburn’s future run for City Council. Democratic Party kingpin Jess Durfee’s 60th birthday party had a who’s who of elected officials in attendance. Councilmember Georgette Gomez is our region’s very own Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of Brooklyn, New York. Smart, bright, independent and a woman with integrity who truly is a champion of the poor and voiceless. A big thank you to Flicks’ Jeff Jackson, Stoli and its global ambassador Patrik Gallineaux, Eddie Reynoso, and the Imperial Court de San Diego for the successful launch of the Harvey Milk limited-edition vodka bottle party — $1,200 was raised for the Harvey Milk Foundation. Congratulations also to Prince Royale Steven Blocker and Princess Royale Jessica D’Nalga, who raised more than $5,000 for the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Community Dinner. Go and enjoy the popular Caliph as it may go away next year. I miss the recently closed Babycakes. Rent in Hillcrest is out of control! A word to Mr. Tom Fetter: if you are going to talk about me in public, be sure to get it right — it’s Nicole Murray-Ramirez, not “Nicholas!” I support the high-rise Hillcrest 111 project 100 percent and urge your support. See you all at the legendary Bruce Abrams Birthday Bash next Thursday, July 26. I am off to Idaho this weekend.
Thank you, Fernando Lopez Jr. and San Diego Pride
Fernando Lopez Jr. has been the executive director of San Diego Pride for just five months but under his leadership and outstanding staff, volunteers and board, this year was our largest with more than 300,000 people. Lopez Jr. has come a long way. At 15 years old, his father threw him out of his house, he was homeless and thinking about suicide when our local hero Benny Cartwright found him in Hillcrest and helped him, literally saving his life. Since then, he has devoted himself to the LGBT and Latino communities and guess what? His father introduced him at this year’s Pride rally! He told me, “To go from a homeless kid to the executive director of Pride was a long painful journey and it is still very surreal in my mind. To stand in the middle of our massive Pride crowds and see pure joy on people’s faces warmed my heart in ways I can’t begin to express. I let my own tears of joy come and just took it all in. Grateful isn’t strong enough of a word how I feel today.”
Yes, indeed, Fernando Lopez Jr. is a role model for us all. By the way, this was the very first year we had a “HIV/AIDS Long Term Survivors” contingent in the parade and they got rousing loving cheers. Thank you to Mikie Lochner and Jerry Turner who organized this wonderful contingent.
Honoring two mayors
Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland made international news and got attacked by President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions when she started alerting citizens of upcoming immigration raids on her city by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Mayor John Bauters of Emeryville, California invited a gay high schooler in Kentucky to give his valedictorian speech in his city after the young gay man was banned from giving his speech by the Catholic Diocese in his hometown. These two mayors have established reputations as outstanding public servants who go out of their way to embrace the diversity of their cities. I had the honor to have been asked to present the two mayors the International Jose Julio Sarria Civil Rights Award in Oakland this past weekend. I predict bright political futures for these two outstanding California leaders.
— 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.