By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
FEBRUARY 1994 In response to the formation of the Fountain Valley High Student Alliance, a similar group is started by straight student Erich Phinizy at Huntington Beach High School. The public outcry is more like an out-whisper. A student at Canyon High School in Anaheim will also attempt to start a gay-straight alliance group, but she is discouraged from doing so by fellow students and faculty members.
OCT. 15, 1994 Three members of the Orange County Master Chorale resign after being told they would be performing with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in a concert to pay tribute to people with AIDS.
April 1995 After a right-wing Republican takeover of the Laguna Beach City Council in the November 1994 elections, the city council decides it will protest the annual "Laguna Pride Festival," a weekend-long event sponsored by the city's gay and gay-friendly merchants. Apparently self-loathing gay councilman Wayne Peterson (a member of the conservative gay Log Cabin Republicans) complained that "there are people who get tired of their relatives calling from Nebraska asking, 'How's the gay mecca?'" Fellow Republican Steve Dicterow was equally neanderthal. He claims he supports the gay community but doesn't want the "world" to think Laguna Beach has "only gay events."
MARCH 1996 In a profile in Sports Illustrated, pro golfer Muffin Spencer-Devlin of Laguna Beach becomes the first LPGA player to come out. In June, she'll appear on the cover of The Advocate.
APRIL 21, 1996 The Register runs an announcement of the engagement of Eddie Miller and H. "Mac" McCarthy on its Celebrations page, complete with a photo of the happy couple.
February 1996 The Weeklyprofiles the case of Scott Stockwell, who has been on trial in Newport Beach for the brutal near-decapitation of Orange County gay businessman Boyd Finkel at his Irvine home. Stockwell's attorney argues that it was Stockwell, the killer, who had been the victim of a "domineering and calculating" homosexual "who would have died anyway." The jury returned a verdict of involuntary manslaughter, the lowest possible finding other than "not guilty." A juror tells the Weeklythat a majority of the jury decided it was okay to defend against alleged homosexual advances by "whatever means necessary."
June 1996 Huntington Beach High School track star Jerryme Negrete suffers fractures to both sides of his jaw, head contusions, a damaged ear drum, multiple severe bruises and blood in both eyes after he was beaten by a fellow student screaming anti-gay epithets. Principal Jim Staunton dismisses the incident as a "game" that evolved into "punches." Staunton also praised the athletic skills of the attacker and said, "nothing homophobic happened." Negrete will have a 2-inch stainless-steel plate screwed to his jaw for the rest of his life.
NOVEMBER 1996 Libby Cowan wins election to the Costa Mesa City Council—with lots of gay support—and Loretta Sanchez topples Bob Dornan.
May 1997 Brian O'Leary Bennett, a long-time close advisor and travel companion to Dornan, comes out of the closet on the front page of the Times Orange County. Bennett, now a lobbyist for Edison, says, "I was in the mindset of working for Bob Dornan for so long that I was a horrible, horrible person." Bennett refused, however, to distance himself from the anti-gay congressman whom he affectionately calls "Poppy." An embarrassed Dornan leaves a long, rambling angry telephone message at the Weekly in hopes of strenuously distancing himself from Bennett.
AUG. 8, 1998 Gay Games 5 closes in Amsterdam. OC team members pick up 25 medals, 16 in swimming alone.
JUNE 1999 Though he solicited money and votes from the gay community for his election, Democratic state Assemblyman Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) refuses in a cowardly manner to provide the necessary last vote on a bill to bolster protection of gay and lesbian students from discrimination and physical violence.AUG. 12, 1999 Former OC Democratic Party Chairman Jim Toledano comes out on the cover of OC Weekly.