By Nicole Murray Ramirez | Conversations with Nicole
More than 3,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have reached the Tijuana/San Diego border and more are expected this week. Nearly 100 are lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people leaving their countries because of poverty, discrimination, gangs and violence. Some have HIV/AIDS, and some are underage. The San Diego LGBT Community Center and Nicole M. Ramirez’s Latino Services Project sent bilingual staff to assist the LGBT immigrants with food, clothing, blankets and medical services.
The Imperial Court de San Diego and the International Court Council provided a $10,000 grant to help The Center and its Latino Services assistance to help the immigrants who mostly arrived with only the clothing on their backs. The Center’s new Executive Director Caroline Dessert and Latino Services Coordinator Carolina Ramos made a call out for help and assistance and we of the Imperial Court System responded. This is a reminder that we indeed are a global LGBT family and our love and compassion have no borders when it comes to our brothers and sisters. I must commend The Center for responding so quickly, especially Dessert and dedicated staff members including Ricarto Gallego, Rick Cervantes, Nijah Crenshaw and Richard Beas, who spent endless hours at the border helping the LGBT immigrants. These members of the media- and Trump-hyped “caravan” are living proof that there are people fleeing poverty and violence. I personally want to thank the International Imperial Courts, especially Sacramento and San Diego, for their help and the leadership of Emperor Terry Sidie (owner of Faces Nightclub in Reno and Sacramento), Empress La La, Empress Suzanne of Portland, Emperor Mikie and so many others. If you would like to help, please feel free to contact me at 619-241-5672 or write a check out to: Imperial Court C/O P.O Box 33915 San Diego, CA 92163 (Memo: LGBT Migrants). Thank you so very much!
Utah and Major Brent Taylor
This past year, I have had the honor and pleasure of ving LGBT communities in Iowa, Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. I marvel at these LGBT communities for their pride and unity, with many in very conservative states with discriminatory laws, especially compared to California. I find the LGBT activists in these states to be true heroes and warriors on the front lines of our fight for LGBT equality. Some have pride parades and festivals that attract only a few thousand, but they let their cities and towns know that they are there, and they give back to the needs of their home cities or states. I find them kinder and more welcoming and truly more of a LGBT feeling of family.
This past weekend, I was in Ogden, Utah … yes, this city has an African-American population of 2 percent and is the center of the Mormon church. Ogden is a beautiful mountain city with not one gay bar but with a strong and visible LGBT community. In my five-day stay, I gave speeches and honored many LGBT organizations and activists. While in Ogden, there was the viewing and funeral for Major Brent Taylor, 39, a Utah National Guardsman and current North Ogden mayor who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this month. He was a father of seven children, a true American hero, and his death received national attention. I had the honor of laying flowers at his gravesite on Sunday morning.
—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 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.