Happy Pride, everyoneConversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Commentary: Conversations with Nicole
Sad to say, I’ll be out of town, because of a speaking engagement in Texas, but it’s looking like our biggest Pride ever.
San Diego’s first Pride march: 1974
Our nation’s first Prides were really marches, not parades. The late Jess Jessop and I had participated in Los Angeles’ first marches in the early 1970s and became friends with some of its founders, the late Morris Knight, Rev. Troy Perry and Pat Rocco. So in 1974, Jess Jessop, Atty. Tom Hommon (both who died of AIDS) and I went to the San Diego Police Department (I was in drag as I was then a pre-operative transsexual.) The Police Department refused to give us a permit and said, “There will never be a homosexual perverts march in downtown San Diego.”
It wasn’t ‘til 1976 that homosexual acts were legal in California. So we didn’t care and marched anyway, and it was our first Pride march with about 200 participants. Our first marches found people marching with paper bags over their faces: “the unknown gays.”
The major organizations first participating in our early 1970s marches were the MCC, Imperial Court, The Center, Dignity. The bars and Imperial Court shows raised the money to put on our first Pride events along with both houseowners and adult businesses.
We marched from downtown to Balboa Park and I was a speaker at our first rally in 1975 along with Rev. David Ferral, George Raya, Barbara Gittings and Alan Spear among others.
In the 1970s the police were very hostile to us during our parades, barely anyone lined the streets (most sidewalks were empty of people) and a lot of people and military did shout and curse at us along the march route. These were the days of Anita Bryant and John Brigg’s anti-homosexual hate campaigns. As a proud co-founder of San Diego Pride, I have lived to see us grow from 200 marchers in 1974 to almost 200,000 participants in 2012. We have come a long way and stand on the shoulders of many who are no longer with us. I’m blessed to still be alive to witness the growth, strength, political power of not only my GLBT community, but my Latino community. Viva Pride!
About booing Carl DeMaio
Many GLBT people have told me that they will boo mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio at the parade, rally, etc. The fact that Carl DeMaio is a gay right wing Conservative Republican, who has accepted the support and endorsements of almost every homophobic leader and Tea Party activist, and has stated he will not follow our current Mayor Sanders’ leadership role on “social issues” including gay marriages, has understandably made many GLBT community members angry. Some have told me that they are not only going to boo DeMaio, but throw a pie in his face or water balloons, etc. I want to make it very clear that I do not support any of these actions and feel the best thing to do is be silent when he passes by, or is introduced, if you’re that upset.
As you all know Carl DeMaio did not carry one GLBT voting precinct or Latino, or African American … not one!
Every GLBT elected official and almost every major GLBT leader has endorsed Congressman Bob Filner for mayor, who is leading in the polls.
Yes, Carl DeMaio is indeed the “Mitt Romney of San Diego.” Millionaire DeMaio has poured millions of dollars into campaigns, but hardly a dime to charities and non-profits.
But, we will have a lot of out-of-towners at our Pride events, so let’s show them San Diego’s best sides. Thank you.
Harvey Milk St., Milk postage stamp and naval ship
Yes, San Diego is the very proud home of the very first Harvey Milk Street in the entire USA But we are also the home of the national campaigns to get the U.S Postal Service to issue a stamp in honor of Harvey Milk. The great news is that Harvey Milk is now being considered for a future U.S. stamp. San Diego is also the home of the national campaign to get the Navy to name a ship after Harvey.
It was Navy Lt. Harvey Milk who was stationed in San Diego during the 1950s. I met and worked with Harvey Milk in the 1970s and with the anti-Briggs statewide campaign. Now I serve as chair of the Harvey Milk Foundation’s International Advisory Board. For more information on how you can get involved in the two national campaigns for a Harvey Milk postage stamp or the Harvey Milk naval ship letter-writing campaigns: P.O. Box 33915, San Diego, CA 92163 or 619-692-1967 or glbthistorictaskforcesd.com
Lorena Gonzalez for state Assembly
There will be a state Assembly seat opening up in the near future in a heavy Latino San Diego district. Already, there is mounting pressure being put on the popular executive director of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council (AFL-CIO), Lorena Gonzalez to run for this seat. Already major Democratic officeholders and leaders are urging her to run, and I say go, Lorena, go! Last week, she was at my table for dinner at Lei Lounge along with City Councilman Todd Gloria, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, future City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn, Viejas Casino Tribal Councilmember Ruben Barret, F. St. Corp. CEO Mrs. Alma Vasic, Nicky Awards Producer Allan Spyere. We tried to get Lorena to comment on this and she kept her lips tight and said she was focusing on Bob Filner’s campaign and other campaigns at this time. Well, we still say go Lorena, go!
My plastic surgery nightmare
Really do check out all of your plastic surgeon’s background, as 50 years after one of my facial jobs I am having major serious problems, and it turns out that the top Beverly Hills surgeon I had 50 years ago was a fake! He has since died, but I found out that other of his patients also had problems. Of course, the worst part is that I’m still as ugly-looking as ever!
37th Nicky Awards: Aug. 26
Earlybird special price tickets/tables are already going for the upcoming “Gay Academy Awards of San Diego.” Yes, the Nicky Awards are our own golden “Oscars” event and will be held at the Marriott Mission Valley Hotel Sunday, Aug. 26. This 37th annual charity red carpet event promises to be spectacular! More info: 619-300-1232 or 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. Nicolemrsandiego@aol.com
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