More on OC's Reinvigorated Gay-Rights Movement
Jennie Warren / OC Weekly

More on OC's Reinvigorated Gay-Rights Movement

A few ideas I couldn't quite fit into this week's cover story on gay-rights activism in Orange County:

- LGBT-rights doesn't necessarily mean LGBT: Most of the LGBT activists working in Orange County told me that one of the most remarkable thing about the network that has developed because of Prop. 8 is that it includes a ton of "straight allies." Alex Gorman--the guy in the story wearing the nun costume--is one. So is Felicity Figueroa, the Orange County Equality Coalition's membership chair, as are a number of other board members. Groups that don't have marriage equality as their stated mission, like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, have also played a big role in activism here.

- OCEC is full of newbies. There's an old guard in Orange County gay activism. People like Jeff Letourneau, Harvey Liss, Misha Houser, Zoe Nicholson and even Weekly contributor Dave Barton--as well as groups groups like the Elections Committee of the County of Orange and institutions like The Center OC--paved the way in the 1980s and 1990s with their work on AIDS awareness, gay visibility and the opposition of maniacs like Bill Dannemeyer. They all remain involved in some way, but one of the noteworthy things about gay activism since Prop. 8 has been the emergence of completely new leaders--most of whom show up in this week's cover story.

- You can see it all in action this weekend. Read on...

At 7 p.m. Friday, the Human Rights Campaign, OC Equality Coalition, Equality California, Courage Campaign and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) are teaming up for an event coinciding with the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. To raise awareness about hate crimes against transgender people, the groups will be holding a candlelight vigil and hosting a number of speakers. It's all at The Center OC, a storied OC LGBT institution, in Santa Ana.

And on Saturday? A party!

The occasion for our cover story is that OCEC is turning one year old. The celebration goes down from 5 to 8 p.m. at Tia Juana's in Irvine. Here's how OCEC board member Cas Gregory described it in an e-mail:

The party is focusing on OCEC past, present and future. To illustrate the PAST we will have numerous stations around the room showing the things OCEC has been involved with over the past year, we will also have a memory board where people can write things they remember about OCEC. For the PRESENT the OCEC Storytellers will tell their stories as a sample of the work that OCEC currently does... and for the FUTURE we will have a wall of paper where people can write their ideas about what they want to see.

And yes, there'll be food and drink.


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