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Welcome to America’s finest Pride

When I came to San Diego from West Hollywood one year ago, I thought I was leaving the epicenter of all LGBT life and retreating to the quiet provinces for a more placid existence. How fooled I was by the bucolic air in this city of surfers. San Diego is, without a doubt, the hub of advancement in all the U.S. after the nation’s capital.

And, if Washington, D.C. were not the seat of federal government, I dare say; America’s Finest City would be second to none in terms of importance in the modern civil rights movement, at the apex of which is the LGBT community. Marching forward at the very front of the front lines of the fight for LGBT equality have been a corps of San Diegans piercing the parapets of discrimination in government and society, moreover.

Consider the past year alone. Through the combined efforts of local activists, not least among them living-legend, Nicole “Step-away-from-the-mic-so-someone-else-can-blow-your-horn” Murray Ramirez, San Diego is home to numerous symbolic and substantial LGBT firsts, including:

• The first city to name a street after slain LGBT-civil rights icon, Harvey Milk

• The city where the first active-duty military contingent marched in an LGBT Pride parade – pre-DADT repeal

• Home of the first same-sex military couple to get engaged to be married on a military base

• Home of the movement to christen a U.S. Navy vessel USS Harvey Milk.

Think that’s a longshot? Perhaps. But if you know Nicole Murray Ramirez, you wouldn’t doubt that there will be some kind of naval cruiser sailing the seven seas with the Milk name emblazoned in bright-white navy lettering in the not-too-distant future.

All kidding aside, behind many, if not most, LGBT equality advances emanating from San Diego and in a lot of cases, from other cities (he’s a traveler, to be sure) including D.C. is our own, Nicole Murray Ramirez. It’s been an honor getting to know his honor (he was appointed mayor of La Villita, a village within the City of San Antonio by the latter town’s elected mayor) and Her Royal Highness, Queen Mother of the America’s within the Imperial Court system.

Another LGBT leader in San Diego, whose name anyone interested in our community’s civil rights movement should know is my publisher, Stampp “Take-no-hostages” Corbin. Getting to know Stampp has been life-changing. In addition to holding innumerable accolades and titles, he is not only the trailblazing publisher of the weekly publication you hold in your hands now, he is past co-chair of the 2008 Obama for America LGBT Leadership Council. Stampp is singularly the person most responsible for the now almost universally accepted name of preference for our community as “LGBT,” rather than “gay,” “gay and lesbian” or even “GLBT.”

Then there’s the fun stuff: Did you know San Diego is now home to the world’s first LGBT-themed brewery? Have you tried Hillcrest Brewing Company’s Pearl Necklace pale American ale? We’ve also probably got more LGBT sports teams and leagues, in sports ranging from basketball, softball and even football; to water polo and volleyball.

Of course, San Diego has all of the usual LGBT cultural establishments and organizations, including one of the most acclaimed LGBT community centers, thanks to the nonstop efforts of The Center’s CEO, Delores Jacobs, and a world class gay men’s chorus, which recently performed its big gala concert, themed Ole, Ole, Ole and got a new, youthful and energetic community leader, Ben Cartwright, as its executive director.

I couldn’t have been more mistaken when I left L.A. and thought I was going to sleepy San Diego. Now that we’ve cleared up any misconceptions about how “happening” San Diego is, get out there and paint the town red, white and blue. Welcome to America’s finest Pride.



San Diego LGBT Weekly


Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=26656

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012. Filed under Editorial, 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

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