City Hall exhibit celebrates local LGBT history
By JOE BRITTONCity News Service
An exhibition documenting the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in San Diego was unveiled Tuesday at San Diego City Hall to coincide with the start of Pride festivities.
Dozens of officials gathered in the City Hall lobby for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the 1,100-square-foot exhibit, themed “A Celebration of San Diego LGBT History.”
Among them were Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Diego City Council members Todd Gloria, Carl DeMaio, Donna Frye, Kevin Faulconer, Ben Hueso, Sherri Lightner and Donna Frye.
Kehoe, the first openly gay elected official in San Diego, said the history of the local LGBT community is an important one.
“This year our community’s progress will be seen by all who pass through City Hall,” Kehoe said. “It is a chance to educate, enlighten and inspire. This exhibit weaves together our story illustrating our struggles right here in our community, right here in San Diego, and the progress we have made right here in San Diego.”
It is the first time the exhibit has appeared at City Hall, but officials said they plan to make it an annual display.
The exhibition was the brainchild of Nicole Murray Ramirez, a member of the San Diego Human Relations Commission, and created with the support of Gloria’s office.
Ramirez said the display shows how far San Diego has come in the past four decades.
“Those of us who were activists in the 1960s and 1970s truly realize how important this City Hall exhibit is,” Ramirez said, “because in the 1970s, the mayor of San Diego made it very clear that he would not meet with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender constituents. In fact, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender citizens of San Diego were truly not welcome at City Hall.’'
Gloria, who is gay, echoed those comments and said the “remarkable progress” San Diego’s gay community has made over the years is due in large part to the pioneers of the equal rights movement.
‘I know, I think all of us know, we stand on the shoulder of those who came before us,” Gloria said.
Newsom, who is running for lieutenant governor, said California is a model for the rest of the nation.
“I am so proud to represent a small part of this state — a state with remarkable diversity, where at our best, we are not just tolerating our diversity,” he said. “We truly celebrate each and every day.”
Earlier TUesday, the City Council declared it “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month’’ in San Diego.
The proclamation coincides with the annual LGBT San Diego Pride Festivalin Balboa Park. The two-day festival will kick off with a parade, themed “One World, One Heart, One Pride,” through Hillcrest to Balboa Park on Saturday.