Remembering the past and looking toward the futureConversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Commentary: Conversations with Nicole
A big welcome to all our out-of-town visitors. San Diego is the proud home of the largest military complex in the Western Hemisphere, which means thousands of sailors and Marines. Trust me: I’ve been “Miss USO” for decades!
Remembering 1974/75 Prides
Our country’s first Pride events were really more likes marches than parades. Gay relationships were illegal in 1974. When Jess Jessop, Atty. Tom Homann and I went down to the San Diego Police Department to try to get our first Pride march permit, about a hundred showed up and many with paper bags over their faces (the unknown gays). Next year, our parade went up Broadway and ended up in Balboa Park, where I had the honor to be one of the speakers. About 500 showed up in 1975. Now we are the biggest civic parade in San Diego with over 150,000 people! Yes, we have come a long way, baby.
Catfish Club to host GLBT forum
The Catfish Club is one of the oldest African American institutions in San Diego, founded by the first elected Black official in the city. Yes, civil rights icon Rev. George W. Smith. This coming Friday afternoon, the Catfish Club will make history in hosting its first GLBT forum in recognition of San Diego Pride. Invited guest speakers will be School Boardmember Kevin Beiser, Stampp Corbin (HRC and GSDBA Foundation), Carolina Ramos (of the LGBT Center) and me. You’re all invited to this event, the monthly Catfish Club’s luncheon this Friday, July 15 (11:45 a.m.) at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. Hope to see many of you there.
Will our next mayor be gay?
Four recent polls have all shown that the two frontrunners for the mayor’s election next year are two openly gay officials: District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and City Councilman Carl DeMaio. Will San Diego make history and elect our first openly gay mayor? With pro-gay but straight candidates like Congressman Bob Filner and State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher also in the race, the big question is where will the gay vote and money go to?
Last week, gay leaders Ben Dillingham, Bob Morris and Andrew Poat hosted a successful event for ex-Marine Fletcher at Dillingham’s home. Filner has been endorsed by many GLBT Democratic Party activists. While DeMaio has received some gay support and money it is Bonnie Dumanis who at this time has been the recipient of the most GLBT endorsements and money, especially after Chris Kehoe dropped out of the race.
In 2008 the biggest gay political club in the city, the San Diego Democratic Club rated Carl DeMaio as “unacceptable” the first such negative rating for an openly gay candidate in its 35 year history, and word is the club will take the same stand against DeMaio next year.
So, is it fair to say that the LGBT community will be divided in next year’s mayoral race? Yes, divided in four ways!
Five days in Nebraska and Iowa
I love visiting the “heartland of America!” People are always warm and nice, and those corn fed farm boys are also a delight! Rev. R.D. Bush is the new head of Omaha Pride, which drew about 10,000 people. I had the pleasure of presenting Proud Horizons an award. This GLBT youth group is sponsored by PFLAG.
Nebraska, which is just a bridge away to Iowa (where gay marriage is legal), has also been affected by massive floods, and it was really sad to see many houses and farms flooded to their roofs. I spent some time in Iowa and always love visiting this wonderful state. I stopped by the beautiful Saint Cecilia cathedral on Sunday and visited Omaha’s historic old town.
I’ll be visiting Montana next month. Howdy, cowboys!
Miss Teen California in Pride parade
For the first time in the history of the San Diego Pride parade, a major beauty title holder will ride in our parade. She is 14-year-old Miss Teen Southern California 2011, the very beautiful Tierra Gonzalez. She will be riding with Emperor Allan and Empress Erika. Let’s give them a big welcome!
Nicky awards to honor Mike Ruiz
World renowned photographer, TV personality (The A-List: New York, America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race), very handsome and super popular Mike Ruiz will be honored at the 2011 Nicky awards, “the gay academy awards of San Diego” on Aug. 28. Ruiz will be honored for his years of community service, activism and fundraising. For tickets, info on the Nicky awards: 619-300-1232, nickyawards.com
New medical marijuana store
There are many medical marijuana stores, but a new one that has just opened at 2004 University Ave. (next to the F St. Bookstore) is the only association that will give back to cancer and HIV/AIDS causes. The Organic Growth Patients Association will be run by some respected and well known San Diego businesspeople that have a long record of giving back to our community. I’ve met with them and the foundation that will be one of the major beneficiaries of this store. Stop by and check it out.
Gay Latino California contest coming
The annual Mr., Ms. and Miss Gay California contest will be held in San Diego, announced the producers. The state-wide contest for GLBT Latinos will be Sunday, Nov. 20 at Rich’s nightclub. Contestants are being sought. For info: 619-300-1232.
Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for well over 40 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last five mayors of San Diego. He is also a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council of the USA, Canada and Mexico. Nicolemrsd@aol.com.
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