Tom Kirkman

Tom Kirkman (FilmOut)ORGANIZATION(S) YOU VOLUNTEER FOR: FilmOut San Diego, San Diego LGBT Pride. Previously, I volunteered at Diversionary Theatre and the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation.

NUMBER OF YEARS VOLUNTEERING FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION(S):  FilmOut San Diego – 7 years. San Diego LGBT Pride – 7 years. Diversionary Theatre – 3 years. San Diego Human Dignity Foundation – 2 years.

HOMETOWN: Lawrence, MA



WHY DO YOU VOLUNTEER FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION(S)? Both FilmOut San Diego and Diversionary Theatre were supportive of the seniors I worked with when I was Executive Director of the SAGE Center – and I wanted to give something back to these organizations that reached out to our seniors. With San Diego LGBT Pride, I have been the MC of the senior/ASL seating area/reviewing stand for the Pride Parade. I do it because it provides a good time for members of our senior and ASL communities.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VOLUNTEERING MEMORY? There are so many – if I had to single out one, it would be meeting the many filmmakers who are committed to telling our stories. As a community, we have a rich history – both before and after Stonewall – and the filmmakers and FilmOut Festival organizers make it possible to show our stories, our history, on the big screen. I am inspired by their creativity.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO DO THE WORK YOU DO? Volunteerism is also a way to stay active. And most of the institutions/organizations in our community are non-profits – and they benefit greatly from the volunteer hours they receive. I also enjoy the arts (theater and independent films) – so choosing FilmOut and Diversionary Theatre were easy choices for me.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT MANY PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU? I enjoy entertaining and cooking. Preparing a meal for friends is exciting.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE LOCAL LGBT COMMUNITY? We have much to celebrate. We have sent several members of our community to the Statehouse where they work toward equality, we have elected several to serve our City on the council and on the school board, and
recently we had a member of our community serve as Interim Mayor and one who is currently running for Congress. We have younger members of our community organizing events like San Diego Remembers helping us to focus on issues of bullying and hate crimes, and we have others who come together to work with our youth, veterans, seniors and transgender communities. This is exciting.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE CHANGE IN THE LGBT COMMUNITY? Unfortunately, we still have our ‘dramas’ – and I doubt that will change in the near future. It can have a negative impact on our growth as a community. We are all in this journey for full equality together. We have many good potential community leaders among us – we seniors need to support them in their efforts and the younger members need to remember our community’s history and respect those who have paved the way. This is not always easy to do.

WHAT SORTS OF THINGS DO YOU DO TO ENRICH YOUR SOCIAL LIFE OTHER THAN VOLUNTEERING? Meeting friends for breakfast, going to the museums at Balboa Park, visiting the San Diego Zoo, joining other seniors on Friday nights and seeing friends in Palm Springs. I also enjoy reading, swimming, walking and bike riding.

IF YOU COULD HOST A DINNER PARTY AN INVITE THREE PEOPLE (DEAD OR ALIVE), WHO WOULD THEY BE AND WHY? My Mom (a Kennedy Democrat) and My Dad (a Nixon Republican). The dinner conversations were amazing! Also Stephen Sondheim, Judy Garland and Audra McDonald. As a musical theatre lover, the way in which he writes music – especially the lyrics – continues to amaze me; and both Judy Garland and Audra McDonald know how to interpret a song – and make it their own. Opps, that’s 5 – I guess I need a bigger table !


About Fernando

Fernando Lopez was the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.