LGBT community mourns Will WaltersBottom Highlights, Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, January 5th, 2017
Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest
This past Saturday, community activists and friends of Will X. Walters gathered at the Rainbow Flag monument in Hillcrest to remember the young activist who took his own life. Will’s recent case against the San Diego Police Department had gotten national attention, especially after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor.
In 2011, Will Walters was arrested at the San Diego Pride Festival in Balboa Park for public nudity. What made this case outrageous was that Will was wearing a custom made gladiator kilt with front and back panels, and in fact, wore it throughout the entire parade route without ever being approached by any of the countless police officers in attendance.
He was arrested in the Pride Beer Garden, and many of us believe that this was not equal enforcement of the law, as all one has to do is go to the annual heterosexual “Over The Line” event where there is most certainly a lot of nudity and X-rated things going on with the police doing nothing but watching.
What people don’t know was that Will was also subjected to bad treatment after his arrest. In fact, his treatment was so bad and homophobic that the Sheriff’s department itself officially apologized to Will.
Another outrageous fact was that the then executive director had actually asked the police department to “crack down” on our parade, which has always been an event where our community could express itself and celebrate our diversity.
For five years Will Walters fought this case and through it became nationally known.
I also remember another side of Will Walters. I remember the young activist who volunteered at the annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the homeless, seniors, etc. The young man who got involved with the Toys for Kids campaign; the young activist who spoke on public panels about your civil liberties, as he was a most articulate and intelligent individual.
What many of us will always also admire Will for is his involvement and participation in the Black Lives Matter movement and actually going to Ferguson, Miss. early on and marching (one of the few gay activists to do so early on.)
Will Walters’ now silent voice and activism is a great loss to our community and I personally will miss our talks and discussions.
A memorial celebration in honor of Will Walters will be held this Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Metropolitan Community Church at 10 a.m.
Mark your calendar: Jan. 29
The community and friends of San Diego’s legendary Big Mike are all invited to his 60th, yes, 60th Birthday Bash Sunday, Jan. 29 at Rich’s, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. It will be a fun party with lots of food, great entertainment and surprises. In lieu of gifts, please bring a donation for the San Diego AIDS Memorial, or the Toni Atkins Lesbian Health Fund. Big Mike is one of San Diego’s most popular gay personalities, activists, fundraisers. So mark your calendar for Jan. 29.
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