Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Pride board chair quits


Nikki Calma
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The president of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee's board of director announced her resignation Tuesday, March 1, just over three months before the June 25-26 events.

The departure of Nikki Calma is the latest in a string of resignations at the organization since October.

Calma didn't respond to interview requests, but in a statement released by Pride, she said, "I feel that Pride has made some significant strides over the past few months. ... I can comfortably step down, knowing that we've created a structure at Pride that can move the organization forward and build trust, while at the same time supporting the community."

The news comes as Pride faces almost $200,000 in debt, with few confirmed sponsors on board.

Board member Alex Randolph said that he and Lisa Williams were unanimously elected Tuesday night as the board's co-chairs. He said Calma is having "major health issues."

Randolph, who said Pride's current debt is $190,000, expressed confidence about this year's events, despite its troubles. He pointed to Pride's bevy of longtime contractors who have helped ensure the events' success for several years. He also said traditionally, most sponsors don't sign on until late April, May, and even June.

He also had more positive news to share. Beginning later this month the public will be able to vote for a community grand marshal.

Randolph said that community grand marshal nominees are Brian Basinger, director of AIDS Housing Alliance-San Francisco; Aaron Belkin, an "outspoken advocate" for the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly; Susie Bright, a community activist and sexologist; Alex Karson, of Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center; Joanne Keatley, director of the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at the University of California-San Francisco; Karl Knapper, a community activist and HIV/AIDS advocate; Victoria Kolakowski, who recently became the first out transgender trial judge in the country; Graylin Thornton, activist and leather community member; Therese Stewart, the chief deputy city attorney who successfully argued San Francisco's historic same-sex marriage case; the Reverend Roland Stringfellow, coordinator at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion; and Ronald Wong, a past Pride board treasurer.

Pride's membership will also select a community grand marshal.

Pride's board has already chosen the national Trevor Project as an organizational grand marshal, but the public will select a local organizational grand marshal.

Those nominees are the GLBT Historical Society, Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, Hayward's Lighthouse Community Center, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, and the San Francisco HIV Health Services Planning Council.

Finally, the community will select someone to receive the Pink Brick, an award meant to recognize groups and individuals who've run afoul of the community or pushed for antigay measures.

The nominees are Lou Engle, who's been linked as a supporter of Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill; Maggie Gallagher, board chair of the National Organization for Marriage; and George Rekers, an anti-gay activist who got caught with a male escort.

Pride's board has selected Bishop Yvette Flunder, whom Randolph described as a "longtime HIV/AIDS advocate," as lifetime achievement grand marshal, he said.

Also Tuesday night, Randolph said, the board voted children's book author Eric Ross in as its newest member.

For more information, visit

Full disclosure: Judge Victoria Kolakowski is the wife of B.A.R. news editor Cynthia Laird.

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