SF Pride GM noms announced
by Charlie Wagner
An award-winning author, a black songstylist, a trans dance company founder, and a gay nightlife impresario are among the 10 individuals who have been nominated for San Francisco Pride community grand marshal.
The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee announced its slate of nominees Monday and opened public voting this week.
Community grand marshals are "local heroes who have contributed greatly to the San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ community or to society at large," according to the committee.
Public voting closes Tuesday, March 7 at noon for the 10 individuals and five nonprofit organizations on the ballot. Some grand marshals are chosen by the general public, some by the Pride membership (open to all), and some by the SF Pride Board of Directors.
"A Celebration of Diversity" is this year's Pride theme.
"Our theme of inclusion, and the significant anniversary of the Summer of Love, could not come at a more critical time," George Ridgely, SF Pride executive director, said in a news release. "Pride events play a crucial role in increasing LGBT visibility and amplifying our voices during a time of struggle as well as celebrate our lives and progress."
The 10 individual nominees hail from around the Bay Area.
Psychotherapist Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., is a pioneer in the field of lesbian and gay aging. In 1998, Adelman and her late partner, Jeannette Gurevich, founded Openhouse to address housing and service needs of LGBT elders after noticing that many seniors looking for housing encountered service providers who did not know how to welcome LGBT elders and assure their safety, according to SF Pride's news release. Some LGBT seniors had to go back in the closet to obtain housing or services. Adelman continues to work to increase LGBT elder visibility and advocate for quality elder care and policies. The first phase of Openhouse's affordable senior housing opened late last year.
Judy Appel has spent the last 30 years as an activist, attorney, parent, and advocate for LGBTQ families. For 11 years she led the California LGBTQ family movement as the executive director of Our Family Coalition, bringing visibility and voice to LGBTQ families with children. She is currently the executive director of the California School-Based Health Alliance, working to improve the health and academic success of children by advancing school health services. Appel was the first open lesbian to serve on the Berkeley school board and she was re-elected in 2016.
Songstylist and songmaker Blackberri is an artivist. A poet, writer, photographer, health educator, and community activist, Blackberri, who uses one name, has performed music and collaborated in many films directed by Marlon Riggs including the much-lauded "Tongues Untied," "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" ("No Regret"), and also appeared in Nancy and Peter Adair's "Word is Out." He recorded the soundtrack for the Haight Ashbury Radio Collective's history of San Francisco, "Knowing at the Gateway of Gold," which aired on KPFA in Berkeley.
Chris Carnes is an activist and fundraiser whose work extends over four decades, from being on the board of the old Cable Car Awards to being on the board of Equality California, where she secured AT&T as the first major corporate sponsor. Carnes was also an early board member of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center and has built on her expertise, contacts, and donor base to continue her fundraising.
Honored in 2010 by the GLBT Historical Society as one of 25 people, "who made our history ... creating the community we live in today," Billy Curtis is another longtime activist. In 1999, Curtis was hired as UC Berkeley's first full-time director for LGBT resources and he is currently the director of the university's Gender Equity Resource Center. In both positions, Curtis has advanced campus resources for LGBT students, faculty, and staff and has advocated for trans-inclusive health benefits, facilities, and athletic polices.
Sean Dorsey, transgender dancer, activist, and community organizer, is the artistic director of Sean Dorsey Dance and the nation's first out transgender modern dance choreographer. Dorsey's newest show, "The Missing Generation," celebrates the voices of longtime transgender and LGBTQ survivors of the early AIDS epidemic and features voices and life stories recorded in oral history interviews. Dorsey is also the founder and artistic director of the nonprofit Fresh Meat Productions, which supports LGBTQ artists.
"I felt very humbled and surprised and deeply honored," Dorsey told the Bay Area Reporter in an email. "I am thinking of this as an opportunity to be very vocal about the profoundly anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT regime we are fighting against."
Dorsey added that his partner, Shawna Virago, was the first-ever trans grand marshal in 2002.
Author Jewelle Gomez has written eight books including the Lambda Literary Award-winning "The Gilda Stories," which re-imagined vampires from a lesbian feminist perspective. "Waiting for Giovanni," Gomez's play about an imagined moment of indecision in the life of gay author and activist James Baldwin, premiered at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center in 2011. Gomez was on the founding board of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, now known simply as GLAAD, and with her spouse, Diane Sabin, was one of 12 couples who sued for equal marriage rights.
Gomez said she was thrilled with the nomination.
"After the years my generation spent in the shadows I love doing anything where I get to represent the queer people of San Francisco," Gomez wrote in an email to the B.A.R. "Especially if it involves riding in a convertible car!"
An educator, activist and leading scholar in queer Asian American history, Amy Sueyoshi is an associate dean at San Francisco State University where she started the Queer Ethnic Studies Initiative. As a founding curator of the GLBT History Museum, Sueyoshi initiated the Dragon Fruit Project, an oral history project that explores queer Asian Pacific Islanders and their experiences. She authored "Queer Compulsions," the first monograph on queer Japanese-American history, and she implemented the Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender community scholarship.
Tom Temprano is an activist, small business owner and as of January a member of the San Francisco City College Board of Trustees. A gay man, he is a past president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and an outspoken advocate of LGBTQ nightlife, working as a DJ and community leader to ensure queer spaces thrive in SF. His queer dance party "Hard French" has raised over $60,000 for organizations and causes.
Temprano told the B.A.R. that he is "completely honored and surprised to get this nomination at age 30," and suggested that "so much vibrancy and activism comes through LGBT nightlife."
Alex U. Inn (Carmen Alex Morrison) is an advocate for justice and equality and was "sainted" by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Inn has also won 32 gold medals at the Gay Games. Inn has been a critical force in the LGBT center, the MyNameIs Coalition, SF Pride's Nectar/Women's Stage, the Unleash Dance Party for Women, and the Committee for Queer Justice. Inn also founded Momma's Boyz, a troupe of hip-hop activist drag kings.
Organizational grand marshal
Several nonprofits were nominated for organizational grand marshal.
The mission of El/La Para TransLatinas is to "work to build a world where transgender Latinas feel they deserve to protect, love and develop themselves. El/La has been serving transgender Latinas since 2006 and currently offers five programs: a safe space; health, life issues, and cultural education; case management and mental health support; leadership development; and street and bar outreach.
HealthRight 360 is a family of integrated health programs that provides compassionate care and treatment to over 38,000 individuals a year through more than 70 distinct and culturally sensitive programs in 13 California counties. In San Francisco, those programs include Walden House, which serves clients with mental health and substance use disorder issues, and Lyon-Martin Health Services, a primary and preventive care clinic serving women, lesbians and transgender people.
Founded in 1977, the National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of LGBT people and their families though litigation, policy, and public education. In June 2015, NCLR won one of the biggest LGBTQ legal victories in American history as it was involved in the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
Founded in 2002 from a merger of two older organizations, Our Family Coalition advances equality for LGBTQ parents and caregivers, and prospective parents, though direct support, parent and community education, and statewide advocacy. OFC's theory of change states, "We cultivate community-based leadership among LGBTQ families and strong partnerships with our allies in California, to advance social justice and make our nation a more respectful and inclusive place for all."
For nearly 40 years, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has served as an international standard bearer for a powerful mix of musical excellence and activism. Founded in 1978, it was the first choral organization to proclaim its orientation in its name and is credited with helping start the LGBT choral movement that now spans the entire globe. It continues to inspire other arts-based LGBTQ community organizations through its performances and involvements in human rights, community activism, and inclusiveness.
The SF Pride Committee anticipates record participation this year and encourages groups and organizations to register early to participate in the parade and celebration (http://www.register.sfpride.org).
"As our communities face an uncertain future at the hands of the new presidential administration, it is more important than ever to reaffirm our core values of inclusion, diversity and equality," Ridgely stated. "San Francisco has always been a beacon of these values."
The SF Pride Celebration is scheduled for June 24-25 with the parade itself on Sunday, June 25.
To vote for grand marshal, visit http://www.sfpride.org/grand-marshals or make an appointment to stop by the SF Pride office, 30 Pearl Street, 4th floor. To schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Each person is eligible to vote for one individual and one organization.