Johnson is a nationally-recognized activist on behalf of the LGBT
community, feminist issues and Democratic politics. Gloria first moved
to San Diego in the early 1960s to attend college at then-undergraduate
California Western University. She returned to San Diego after three
years of studying social work and psychology in the Los Angeles area.
Gloria worked for San Diego County for thirty years; during the latter
half of her tenure she served as one of the first social workers in San
Diego to work with people with AIDS in the AIDS Case Management Program.
Gloria is a member of the SEIU labor union and the San Diego Unitarian
Much of her activism has been in Democratic Politics,
starting in 1972 with Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s groundbreaking
campaign as the first African American to run for President. In 1976,
Gloria became the first openly gay/lesbian person elected to the San
Diego Democratic Central Committee, and was elected to that body again
in the 1990s. She served as a delegate to the 1996 and 2000 Democratic
National Conventions, and has been on the campaign staffs of Christine
Kehoe, Donna Frye and Mike Aguirre, among others.
Gloria has also been active in the LGBT community
since the 1970s and was co-chair of a committee created to defeat the
Briggs Initiative (or Proposition 6): the 1978 state ballot proposition
that would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public
schools. She joined the newly formed San Diego Democratic Club in 1977
and became President of the club in 1980. Gloria served on the SDDC
board once more in the 1990s and is still a very active member of the
organization. Most recently she was Co-Chair of the California
Democratic Party LGBT Caucus.
Gloria is a longtime leader on feminist issues as
well: she has been a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW)
for over thirty years. Gloria campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment
(ERA) with NOW and she and other activists spent 2 days in a Washington,
DC jail after protesting the ERA’s defeat. Listed among The Advocate’s
top 400 US gay leaders in 1984, Gloria has worked tirelessly for social
justice over the past four decades in feminist, LGBT and political