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Be proud of Pride, our heroes and our allies

Commentary: Conversations with Nicole

Former Supervisor Leon Williams and the Rev. George Smith at the Catfish Club

For me, the highlight of my Pride weekend was being asked to speak at the first GLBT Pride panel in the 41 year history of the Catfish Club (an African American local institution). Good job to my fellow panelists, Schoolboard Member Kevin Beiser, Carolina Ramos and Stampp Corbin.

Pride 2011

Wow! What, a weekend! I was talking to Jeri Dilno and we were thinking of our Prides in 1974 and 1975, and we are both so proud and blessed that we are able to see it grow to what it is today … the largest civic parade in our entire city!

A big thank you to San Diego LGBT Pride. Let’s not forget that only about two years ago, San Diego Pride was in the middle of a huge mess and divided – so we owe a lot to the new board, staff and all those fabulous volunteers. A big congratulations and job well done to our new executive director, Dwayne Crenshaw!

Just one thing San Diego Pride: please, please bring back the Latino and ethnic stages.

Big Mike, Tom Brown and Sean Sala are heroes

It has been said that “one person can make a difference” and we all know that this is so true. Last week, three such San Diegans made us all proud.

The fire on University Avenue destroyed the apartments of 12 people who lost everything. Within 24 hours, Big Mike and Tom Brown started organizing a benefit at Jimmy Carter’s, which ended up raising over $7,000 (through the Ben F. Dillingham Grant/Imperial Court). Lots of caring people dropped by, including Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilman Todd Gloria. Even the owners of Obelisk and the Import stores whose own businesses were greatly damaged stopped by and donated (what big hearts they have). Brett Serwalt will re-open Obelisk, and that’s great news. Big Mike even got free festival tickets from San Diego Pride for the 12 victims.

The active duty military contingent in this years Pride parade received national attention … the first such contingent in San Diego history. This group of gay and non-gay active duty personnel and veterans were the highlight of our parade and received the biggest cheers. A big thank you to Ben Dillingham, who gave a big donation for this special contingent. This was the idea of a 26-year-old Navy operations specialist named Sean Sala who deserves 100 percent credit for this great idea. (Keep your eyes on this young activist as he is a future leader for us all.)

Yes, these three men made a difference and touched many lives. Big Mike, Tom Brown and Sean Sala will be honored at the Nicky Awards on Aug. 28.

Councilman Todd Gloria, Lorena Gonzales and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher at the Center’s Pride breakfast

Nathan Fletcher deserves our respect

Nathan Fletcher is one of the youngest and brightest candidates to ever run for mayor of San Diego. He is a former Marine, married with two beautiful baby boys, a hard-working state assemblyman who is the author of “Chelsea’s Law” which protects our children.

Recently, some gay activists have not only been questioning but attacking Nathan. They think he is a phoney on the issues of equality for all citizens. Many of our community’s friends, allies and families have gone through their own personal journeys when it comes to the understanding and accepting of gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transgenders … and so has Nathan Fletcher.

While his assembly district is conservative Republican, he has stood up for equality. On the state Assembly floor, he has spoke out against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Equality California says, “Nathan Fletcher has been strong on LGBT issues since 2009 with increasing support in 2010 and 2011 and he is actually on target for a 100 percent rating for 2011.”

One of the gay community’s most respected leaders, Ben F. Dillingham (former chief of staff to Mayor Maureen O’Connor) has endorsed Fletcher for mayor among other GLBT leaders. He has lost several GOP endorsements because of his equality votes and stands

And what has Nathan Fletcher been subjected to because of his support for equality? A church pastor told him he is “worthless to God.” Another so-called Christian said he was an “unfit parent” and his children should be taken away. Hate letters are now sadly a normal thing for Nathan.

Before you believe things about public servants, take the time to talk to them and get to know them. Ask them questions, even about their own journeys. Nathan Fletcher deserves our respect and has earned it.

Dear Donald Whopperer

In last week’s issue, you wrote a letter to the editor and asked a legitimate question: “Why am I still a Catholic?” You think I should “quit” the church after all it’s done and said about us gay Catholics. I understand why you think us gay Catholics should join other welcoming churches.

Well Mr. Whopperer, I was born and raised a Catholic. I even came close to entering a seminary. I believe the Catholic Church has left us; I will not leave it. Be it the Catholic Church, Mormon church, Southern Baptist etc., they, I believe, have left the true teachings and meaning of Jesus Christ. We are all his children.

Ruben Barrett welcomes you to the medical marijuana store at 2004 University Ave.

Yes, I am Catholic, but what is more important is that I know the real true Christ in my heart. He is loving of all, accepting of all and forgiving of all. Thank you for writing.

Nicky Awards nomination night: July 25

Next Monday, July 25, 7 p.m. at Martini’s Above Fourth, the 2011 nominees for the Nicky Awards will be announced and their categories. This should be an exciting night. For more info: nickyawards.com.

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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Posted by on Jul 21, 2011. Filed under Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Be proud of Pride, our heroes and our allies”

  1. Nathan Fletcher, real hero. Giving life sentences to 19 and 20 year old guys for hooking up with their 16 year old girlfriends consentually, while murderers receive on average only 12 years in prison.

    Don’t people realize that a large percentage of sexual offenders never hurt anyone at all? Many of them were 18 or 19 and had a consensual relationship with a 16 year old or so decades ago, or chatted on the internet with someone “posing” as a minor, or downloaded a pic of a teen on kazaa or limewire, or urinated in public, or streaked in college, or received a “sext” from their teen girlfriend, or prostituted or picked one up, or had oral or anal sex which is a felonly in any southern state or some other crime where there was no victim at all whatsoever.

    Not even the 20,000 plus former murderers released every year and former islamic terrorist attempted bombers have residency restrictions or have to reregister on any form of online internet registry or face this type of scrutiny.

    Violent sexual offenders like Phillip Garrido and John Gardner and John Couey loved that the registy has a million petty nonviolent sexual offenders so they could hide out amongst them to stay under the radar and slip through the cracks to strike again. These laws should only be focused on real molesters and forcible rapists and kidnappers and murderers who have a real victim, but they are not. Only violent sexual offenders should be monitored or on this registry. A large proportion of “sexual offenders” have never hurt anyone. The state needs to stop harassing them and let them raise their family in dignity like everyone else is allowed to. Most of them just made a mistake as a young man and would like to lead a good life but the state won’t let them.

  2. Any gay Catholic who drops a dime in the collection plate at mass is funding anti-gay bigotry. Hell, you might as well just make your check out to the National Organization for Mariage.

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