Our Latin Pride!

Just last year we lost a pillar in our community, Larry T. Baza. Larry first joined our board in 1990 and in 1992 became our organization’s first Latino co-chair. Alongside his counterpart, co-chair, Vertez Burks, it was the first time people of color led San Diego Pride. 

One of the big changes Larry helped to bring was greater attention to diversity and inclusion, particularly around the arts. Soon a new multicultural stage was added to the Festival’s footprint, which by 2006 would become two distinct stages now called The Movement, which highlights Black music and culture, and Mundo Latino, which showcases the vibrancy of our region’s diverse Latinx community. This year, we’ve added the Pan-Asian Night Market centered on our Queen Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Easter, and Desi American community.

In the aftermath of the Pulse Massacre, our Latinx community wanted to create more intentional space and programming for one another. Having seen the success of the newly formed San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition which started in 2015, many of us started talking about creating something similar. Through an effort led by Nicole Murray-Ramirez, Carolina Ramos, Nick Serrano, and myself we began the San Diego County LGBTQ Latine Coalition in mid-2017 as we held a public forum to talk about what the future might look like for us.

Since that time the coalition has fostered binational relationships, worked to get out the vote, held educational forums, educated around safer sex practices, expanded outreach efforts to the LGBTQ Latine community around the region, and raised funds and held clothing drives to support Casa Arcoiris Albergue, a shelter in Tijuana for LGBTI+ migrants seeking asylum.

At our Festival, the Latine Coalition ensures the Mundo Latino area’s Latin Pride zone is built out with additional LGBTQ-Latine owned, led, or competent direct service and care, social groups, businesses, and delicious food! In 2021, when we weren’t yet able to have a Festival, the Latine Coalition hosted our first-ever Latin Pride event in Barrio Logan during Pride week at Mujeres Brew. Pride in Barrio Logan was such a hit, we did it again this year in addition to building out the main Festival! For those of us whose lives exist at the intersection of being Latin and LGBTQ, having this intentional space is so empowering, I think it’s here to stay.

I share all of this as we are just about to enter Latin Heritage month. You can support the Latinx Coalition by donating to their program, signing up for their e-mailing list, joining their Facebook Group, or following them on Instagram. We are also always looking for more volunteers and folks interested in leadership within the coalition as we continue to build out this program whose mission is to strengthen the educational, health, cultural, civic, political, and economic power of our LGBTQ Latine community. If you’re interested in doing more you can connect with our Bilingual Community Outreach Coordinator, Cris Sotomayor. As Pride’s first Latinx executive director, this program has a special place in my heart. Thank you for taking a moment to learn a little about our Latin history and programming. Your continued support will help pursue Justice with Joy.

Con Orgullo (With Pride),
Fernando Z. López
Pronouns: they/them/theirs
Executive Director
San Diego Pride

Two Drag Queens speaking to a crowd at Mujeres Brew House

About San Diego Pride

San Diego Pride raises funds primarily through festival ticket and beverage sales, and through sponsorships, and exhibitor fees. These funds support San Diego Pride’s community philanthropy which has distributed more than $2.5 million in advancement of its mission to foster pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.