PRIDE is Alive and Well in Sacramento
By Laura Braden
LGBT pride is in the air from here to the Bay Area – it’s that fantastic time of year where thousands turn out to support equality and celebrate diversity. Yes, there are parades and festivals (Sacramento, San Francisco) but this year, the LGBT Community Center launched the first annual PRIDE Awards to recognize local “leaders for their community service, leadership and good old fashioned ‘get it done’ attitudes.”
They received over 100 nominations, narrowed it down to 40 nominees and announced 20 winners during a reception last week at the Hyatt. Several of my friends and colleagues were nominated so I was delighted to join the festivities to honor their commitment to the LGBT – and Sacramento – community.
What I was absolutely stunned by was the breadth and depth of that commitment to the community. I attend a lot of awards ceremonies…some are well-deserved and some are just political. This particular reception definitely fell in the former category. As PBS’ Rob Stewart read the bios of each winner, my mouth kept dropping because each was more impressive than the last:
(Bios/crib notes courtesy of Rob Stewart)
- A quote from his questionnaire says “Being both a gay and black man puts me in the minority in most environments but my ability to be confident and authentic surmounts any lack of “common ground” and I think is what allows me to navigate the world as successfully as I have.” He was the first gay Senior Class Secretary at Yale, and he was the founder of Exhibit S. Tre is heavily involved in the arts community, and continuously finds new ways to bring people together toward a common cause that enhances the artistic and cultural diversity of our community.
- Is a regular host of Drag Queen Bingo as Do-Me Moore, which raises money for local nonprofits each month. He has been involved with The Court of the Great Northwest Imperial Empire for more than 20 years. By day he is mild-mannered, and shy Paul Crouch. By night, he is the wild, painted lady of Lavender Heights, DoMe Moore
- Created the “You Belong @ Your Library” campaign for Sacramento Public Library and partnered with the Center to create a week-long series of LGBT related library activities. She is the head coach of the Sac City Rollers as her alter ego “Lipstick Librarian.” She is a voracious reader, She loves wearing lipstick, and ice cream is her kryptonite.
- Is a public affairs consultant by day, and the media relations and public affairs director for the Harvey Milk Foundation by night. As the grandson of immigrants from Mexico, he is the first person in his family to receive a college degree. He thrives when faced with complex issues and need to put the “puzzle pieces” together to help ignite change, shape perception and/or reach seemingly unattainable goals.
- Is a part of the coalition that would come to be called the Support All Students Coalition which worked to pass the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266, Ammiano). As a transgender/genderqueer person himself, he is proud to be living in the world as his authentic self. He loves words, is fascinated by how language shapes our world, and how the world can change through our use of language.
Alex Alejandro Contreras
- Alex was nominated by several people and other nominees declined to accept their nomination because they preferred to support him. He is the Program Coordinator at the Gender Health Center and has played a pivotal part in creating a sustainable Hormone Prescription Clinic for the Trans* community. He is on the Board of Directors for the NorCal Aids Cycle, and the youngest HIV positive member and person of color. He is also an alumni brother of the International Gay, Bisexual & Progressive Male Fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi, Xi Chapter of UCDavis. And in his refrigerator right now you might find Mint Chip gelato, leftover Quinoa, a CSA Box (Community Supported Agriculture) veggies, and tortillas.
- Has been a long time advocate for LGBT rights having served as political director at the Human Rights Campaign, and negotiated California’s original landmark domestic partner law. He headed the Department of Managed Care in the Davis Administration, and spearhead’s the California Endowment’s Healthy California campaign to advance health justice and equality in underserved communities. He and his partner Chuck have raised two amazing boys, but he says he’d trade places with Ricky Martin’s boyfriend for a week if he got the chance.
- Jodi and her husband Paul put off getting married until marriage equality was achieved for all of us. She has long been an advocate for women’s rights, serves on the Board for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and on the legislative committee for WEAVE. Her lobbying firm believes in taking on clients they believe in and can take pride in including Equality California and the Transgender Law Center. If she were an animal she’d be a Honey Badger for sure!
- Is relatively new to Sacramento but is already making his mark as an integral part of our community as a contributor and friend. At Hoppy Brewing Company he has been responsible for giving over $40,000 in suds to nonprofits like the Center last year alone. The hardest thing he’s had to take on though was coming out later in life and as he envisions what animal he might be—it would be a puppy or kitten because he just wants to be loved and who doesn’t love a puppy?!?
- Was for many years the community relations and client empowerment coordinator and did HIV/AIDS outreach for Cares Community Health. She joined others in the Sacramento community raising over $500,000 for HIV/AIDS education, testing, prevention, dental services, etc. and was co-chair of the Sacramento Valley AIDS walk two years running. When she was young one teacher told her to sit at the back of the class because she ‘wasn’t going to college anyhow’. He would have to eat crow now since she has a 4.0 in her master’s program! A book about her life would be titled “Drinking from the Bottle” the story of someone who sort of wishes she was dainty enough to drink from a glass, but for some reason, prefers the bottle!
- Founded Golden Rule Services, an award-winning local minority-based nonprofit whose mission is to resolve health, education, employment and criminal justice disparities in communities of color with a special focus on HIV/AIDS prevention amongst high risk populations and has been involved with HIV/AIDS prevention for over 25 years. He was the first male in his family to obtain a masters degree from college with high honors and the third African American Emperor (of 40 emperors) of the Court of the Great Northwest Imperial Empire. He cherishes the fact that Sacramento is one of the most diverse and integrated cities in the U.S. and describes our LGBT community as generous, exciting, and resilient.
- Is one survivor who has selflessly given back to build up the community despite personal challenges for over 25 years. He survived periocarditis that put him in a coma in 2005 and after nearly 7 months in rehabilitation and being out of work for a year he created the jewel that is the Kennedy Gallery Art Center right next to the LGBT Center. The gallery is a community showcase of diverse talents and his future goal is to develop a LGBTQ public arts project for the new Lavender Heights District. Before moving to Sacramento he was involved in the fight for Portland’s first domestic partner registry and founded two LGBT organizations. During his year as Empress of Sacramento with CGNIE, he helped create the first Military Ball sponsored by the LGBTQ community anywhere in the U.S. with the blessing of the Veterans Administration and recently rode into the CGNIE Coronation Ceremony on a Locomotive!
- Is the only “Out-n-Proud” gay male professor at Sierra College. He is responsible for the formation of an Academic Senate Standing Committee focused on the success and retention of LGBTIQ Students and Staff. He created an LGBT Studies Department and just this week got approval for an LGBT studies Associates degree at Sierra College. He is endeared by his students and created a three Day LGBT Pride Days Event at Sierra College. He is an animal lover and shares his home with four rescued dogs, two rescued parrots, two parakeets that flew into their yard and a canary he’s had since he was a baby.
- I just can’t say enough about how kind and sweet she is. She’s a hugger of every one of her “kids” as she calls them that come through as customers at Badlands. She’s been a fighter against discrimination and injustice on television, in politics, at the grassroots level, and simply can’t say no when she sees something that isn’t right or is asked to help. She founded the Reno Gay Pride & Parade, and she is the driving force behind creating a Rainbow Village LGBT affordable senior housing project in Sacramento.
- Has been an activist in Placer County for the LGBT cause since he and his partner moved to Roseville in 2001, running as an openly gay man for the Roseville City Council and is currently serving on the planning commission and four other boards. He was a founding member of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. He is proud of his involvement with a variety of community organizations including WEAVE, the Rainbow Chamber, Sacramento AIDS Foundation, Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Breaking Barriers and Stonewall. And he has played a central roll in the conversations with Westfield Galleria following the incident that occurred last year, moving the organization forward to ensure continuous support for the LGBT community.
- In the 1980s when she was working in the theater, many of her colleagues became infected with HIV and she found it impossible to stand by and watch friends die. She started as a volunteer for the San Francisco AIDS Foundations hotline, found her calling in nursing school as a 30-year-old single mom, and has spent 10 years running the medical clinic at Cares Community Health, serving the under-served, the fringe where her heart is. She is heavily involved with the NorCal AIDS Cycle, where she has been the president for three years. This year alone they raised over $300,000 to help fund HIV services in the Sacramento Area. If someone were to write a book about her life, it would be titled “You Just Can’t Sit Still” because there never seems to be enough time to do all the things you want to do. She has no desire to be locked down and wants the freedom to follow her heart wherever it needs to be; currently developing a medical clinic in Uganda.
- If Jennifer were an animal, she would be an African lioness because they’re loyal, loving, and provide for their Pride. She has certainly done her best to give back and provide for our community. She has been the lead organizer behind Queerfest, is on the Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and sits on the Center’s Community Leadership Council. She has used her love of film-making to educate queer women of color, served in the military, and overcome adversity to successfully shift careers midstream. She says if she could trade places with someone famous for a week it would be Humphrey Bogart so she could hang out with Tracy & Hepburn and sleep with Lauren Bacall.
- Michael was McMartin Realty’s top producing agent for 2010 and had his best producing year ever in 2013. He was honored to be elected President of the Sacramento Valley Veterans, the areas only LGBT Veterans organization that provides vital support to LGBT veterans and their families. He’s an active member of the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus and is the first to volunteer to help with events at the Center and throughout the community. This fall he and a group of other veterans have teamed up with the Center and CalVET in putting together the first of it’s kind State sponsored LGBT Veterans Leadership Forum. One of his goals for the future is to attend Law School and focus his practice on Veterans’ issues with a specialty in LGBT support.
- Amy is well known in the community for her legal work with underserved and at risk populations. She runs the legal clinic at the Center, has been involved with SacLegal, and has provided the Center with pro-bono legal advice and services for many years. She loves the law, is devoted to the Sacramento community. People would never guess that she played professional football for 7 years, won two national championships, and would trade places with Tupac Shakur for a week if she could.
- What can we say about there that she hasn’t tweeted about? She’s of course the mastermind behind creation of Uptown Studios, which continues to be so successful she just bought a building! They are able to able to work everyday to create social change through their work. She’s one of the most creative, energetic, supportive 65 year olds I’ve ever met—generously giving of her time to nonprofits across the region. She was an early leader in the fight against Prop 8, worked tirelessly to get folks to rally around the cause by volunteering, raising money, and help to put on media events and rallies at the Capitol. She absolutely LOVES living in Midtown and we absolutely believe that Midtown LOVES her.
We should all be incredibly proud of our neighbors, friends and colleagues – they’re making this city a better place to live, and for that, I say THANK YOU!