Imperial Court 45, a matter of respectConversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest, Bottom Highlights, Latest Issue Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest
This coming Saturday Feb. 4, San Diego’s oldest LGBT organization will be celebrating its 45th anniversary of community service: The Imperial Court de San Diego. In 1972, LGBT San Diegans started to meet and discuss the starting of a local chapter of the International Imperial Court System, which was founded in 1965 in San Francisco by World War II Veteran Jose Julio Sarria. In 1961 Sarria became the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in North America.
In the early 1970s there was no LGBT Center, nor Pride. You see, it was not until 1976 that “homosexual acts” were made legal in California, so almost everyone was in the closet and were rightfully afraid of discrimination, homophobia and police harassment. In those days with a stroke of a pen a judge or your parents, could get you sent to a mental hospital for being a deviant. In 1973, over 800 homosexuals gathered together for the first time to elect and crown Emperor I Omar and Empress I Tawny Tan and the rest is history. (Tan died of AIDS in the 1980s and Omar is the current owner of Number 1 Fifth Avenue.)
The Imperial Court was involved and raised money for almost every LGBT organization, from The Center, Pride, Stepping Stone and Mama’s Kitchen. For 45 years you the LGBT community and organizations have been able to count on the Imperial Court. Now, this coming Saturday night at the Handlery Hotel, we will see how many of our community leaders, organizations and activists come to pay their respect and yes, thank the members of the Imperial Court for their outstanding service to our community and city.
We have only begun to fight
It was great to see the huge turnout for the Women’s March. Over 40,000 San Diegans and our LGBT community was well represented. I am proud to say many of the organizers were our lesbian sisters. I started the morning going to a “Prayer Rally” at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan hosted by Congressman Juan Vargas and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher. Then it was off to the downtown Civic Center for the huge rally and march. It’s time every LGBT citizen become an activist and continue our civil rights fight for equality!
One of San Diego’s most popular personalities and activists, yes Big Mike, celebrated his 60th birthday party last Sunday night at Rich’s and a huge crowd showed up to raise over $8,000 for the San Diego AIDS Memorial and Toni Atkins Lesbian Health Fund. It was a fun night with great food, friends and drinks. Among the VIPS were Mayor Kevin Faulconer, first lady Katherine Faulconer, Sen. Toni Atkins, State Assemblyman Todd Gloria, Councilman Chris Ward, School Board Member Kevin Beiser and newly-married State Assemblyman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and former State Assemblyman and candidate for County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Flying in from Washington, D.C. was Russell Roybal, national deputy director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. Yes, the mayor of Hillcrest was also in attendance, or was that the Monopoly man? Peanut man? Big Mike sends a big thank you to everyone who attended.
Cleve Jones to keynote Harvey Milk Breakfast
Internationally known LGBT, labor and AIDS activist Cleve Jones will be honored at the annual Harvey Milk Breakfast May 19. Cleve’s recently released book When We Rise, has been made into an ABC miniseries about the history of the gay rights movement and will air Feb. 27 (written by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black). Cleve was a friend of Harvey Milk and was a consultant for the movie Milk and is the founder of the iconic Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Jones is one of the best gay orators in the world.
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