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2011: Heroes, Pioneers & Trailblazers
Larry Baza
Al Best
Bill Beck
Stewart Bornhoft
Sara Beth Brooks
Doug Case
Max Disposti
Gloria Johnson
Jennifer LeSar
George Murphy
Carol Pierce
Judith Schaim
Jeff Wynne
slide show
Lambda gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors
of this event:

2011 Lambda Archives Honorees

View News Article about the Feb 2011 Honoree Gala

Honoree Bios

Doug Case

Born in Chicago, Doug grew up in Atlanta, moved to California when he was 20 and has lived in San Diego since 1977. While completing his post-graduate work in Business Administration at San Diego State University, he began working in the Division of Student Affairs at SDSU advising the Interfraternity Council. He currently serves as the Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life in the office of Student Life & Leadership. He has been actively involved in the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA), holding numerous positions there including national president in 1991. In 1993, he received the AFA Distinguished Service Award.

Doug has also been involved with the College Area Community Council (CACC) since 1980 and has served as president since 2007. He also serves on the SDSU Presidentís advisory committee on LGBT issues, faculty/staff advisor to the SDSU Pride Action Committee, served as a consultant to the Lambda 10 Project, and for nearly twenty years has served as the faculty/staff advisor for the San Diego chapter of Delta Lambda Phi National Social Fraternity for gay and progressive men.

Doug is a past president of the San Diego Democratic Club, and has served on the SDDC board since 1988. He also has been involved with the San Diego chapter of the GLAAD, the San Diego Human Dignity Ordinance (HDO) Task Force, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the California Democratic Party LGBT Caucus, and the Lobby for Individual Freedom and Equality (LIFE). Other awards include the national fraternityís Outstanding Service Award in 2007, the Nicky Presidential Award for Outstanding Achievement in Political Activism in 1994, and the 1998 "Man of the Year" award from San Diego Lesbian and Gay Pride.

George Murphy

Born and raised in Indiana, George Murphy moved to San Diego in 1971. A retired professor, George has spent the last forty years dedicated to San Diego and the LGBT Community. He is a member of the LGBT Senior Housing Steering Committee, a founding board member of the LAMBDA Archives, and a member of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego since 1972. He is also a founding member of and continues to volunteer for the LGBT Center.

In 1983, George helped found the San Diego AIDS project. Through his ministry at MCC, he continues his work for people with AIDS, cancer and other illnesses. He also served on San Diego's first telephone Gay Crisis Hotline and is a charter member on several committees for the San Diego Democratic Club. Honors and awards include the Jess Jessop Founder's Award in 1993 and a Wall of Honor recipient for the Center in 2008.

Amazingly, George still finds time to be active in his community, Ocean Beach. He has been involved with numerous projects and organizations, including Friends of the Ocean Beach Library, the Ocean Beach Planning Board, and the San Diego River Coalition. He loves to travel, read, watch old movies, practice yoga and view the sun setting on the ocean.

Stewart Bornhoft

Colonel Stewart Bornhoft, US Army Retired, is a decorated combat commander who served two tours in Vietnam during his 26 years on active duty. A 1969 graduate of West Point, where he later taught, he commanded at every level from Captain to Colonel and directed operations of units as large as 4,500 soldiers. He has two master degrees and is an accomplished public speaker. After joining the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, he was elected Chair of its Military Advisory Council, and became active in the movement to repeal DADT. He's spoken at rallies in front of the US Capitol and as a Keynoter at the Harvey Milk breakfast. Colonel Bornhoft serves as the Consigliere to the Board of Knights Out, a gay/straight alliance of West Pointers, and appeared (in uniform) in The Advocate responding to an adverse comment by General Peter Pace. He has actively engaged in the repeal effort, lobbying congress repeatedly, participating in televised debates, giving interviews on TV and radio, appearing in videos and on numerous panels, writing op-eds and letters to the editor, and continually educating and persuading the public about the freedom to serve openly and honestly. His presentations to the Human Relations Commission and the San Diego City Council helped secure their unanimous endorsement of a resolution calling for repeal of DADT. Along with many other activists, he was invited by the White House to witness the enrollment of the bill to repeal DADT and attend the ceremony where the President signed it into law.

Larry Baza

Larry Baza is a native San Diegan of Mexican and Chamorro (Guamanian) heritage. Baza became involved beginning in high school with the civil rights, Chicano and anti Vietnam War movements. Those experiences would influence him greatly when he came out of the closet. His experience in the fledgling "Gay Liberation Movement," began with the fight over the Briggs Initiative. He went on to produce Artists for Aids Assistance, the first major AIDS fundraiser in the arts community, involving 20 arts organizations.

A board member of San Diego Pride for seven years, Baza served as a co-chair of Pride with Vertez Burkes as the first people of color to hold those positions. He has been honored by the San Diego Democratic Club, Gay/Lesbian Latinos con Orgullo, and by Mayor Dick Murphyís LGBT Advisory Board.

An arts administrator for 31 years, Baza has served as executive director or administrator of the County of San Diegoís Public Arts Advisory Council, Community Arts of San Diego, California Pacific Theater, Sushi Performance & Visual Art, and the Centro Cultural de La Raza. He has also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture, the San Diego Community Foundation and the San Diego Foundation for Change.

Baza has served on the boards of The National Performance Network, San Diego Performing Arts League, San Diego Coalition for Arts & Culture, San Diego Youth and Community Services, and San Diego LGBT Pride. He was appointed to the City of San Diegoís Civic Events & Promotional Programs Allocation Board by then City Council Member Christine Kehoe and was the first openly gay man to serve on the Chicano Federationís board of directors.

Currently, Baza serves as executive vice president of the San Diego Democratic Club, a board member of Honor Pac (a Statewide Latino LGBT Political Action Committee), an Advisory Committee member of the Womenís History Museum, a member of The Centerís Latino Services Advisory Council, and as a member of the grant making committee of the San Diego Foundation for Change.

Baza and his life partner of 24 years, Tom Noel, own Noel-Baza Fine Art in Little Italy and live in North Park.

Bill Beck

Having served as finance chair/fundraiser and community activist for almost 30 years, Bill Beck has raised over $10,000,000 and contributed thousands of hours for causes ranging from AIDS, the business association and philanthropic foundations to political causes and candidates. His tireless efforts helped significantly in the election of Christine Kehoe to the San Diego City Council in 1993, to the California State Assembly in 2000 and the State Senate in 2004. He has served as former Councilmember Toni Atkinsí Finance Chair and held the same position for Judge Bonnie Dumanisí race for San Diego District Attorney.

Bill served on the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund Board, as well as the USDEC board in addition to the Gay Families of America Project sponsored by GLAAD in 1996. He was a member of the California Legislature Senate Select Committee on Small Business Enterprises as well as a member of the Mayorís Advisory Board. In June 2010, the California Legislature recognized him as one of a select group of LGBT "Super Heroes" during LGBT month.

Bill received the San Diego Democratic Clubís Presidentís Award and the LGBT Centerís Jess Jessop "Founderís Award". Nicky Awards include the Governorís Award in 1998 and "Outstanding Male Citizen of the Year" in 1999. In 2005, he was "Champion of Pride" in the LGBT Pride Parade.

During the last 29 years Bill has served on the board of the AIDS Assistance Fund and served as co-chair of DIFFA. He was a founder and twice chair of the famed AIDS fundraiser Alley Cat Ball as well as founder of the Alley Cat "Fantasy" awards which provided wishes for people with AIDS. He remains a board member of the AIDS Foundation.

He has served on the Greater San Diego Business Associationís (GSDBA) Board and received the "20th Year Salute" award from GSDBA in 1999. Bill is a founder and former board president of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation. Bill owns a Union printing business, Will Copy & Print, with his life partner of 35 years, David Huskey. Before moving to San Diego in 1981, Bill was an assistant professor at the University of Arizona and previously at SMU in Dallas. He received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1975.


Judi Schaim has been providing individual and couples psychotherapy in San Diego since 1987. After receiving her MA in Counseling Psychology from the Professional School of Psychological Studies in San Diego, she immediately became involved in seminars and workshops within her field. Her experience includes workshops for Women's Opportunity Week in 1985 and 1986, Family Reconstruction Group, Making Contact Workshop, Parenting Workshop, and, most recently, Couples Therapy with Gays and Lesbians at National University in San Diego. In addition, she was involved with the Gestalt Training Program, the Leadership Apprentice Trainers Program, and the "Say It Straight" Drug Prevention Program.

Judi・fs commitment to the LGBT community reaches back to 1992 when she served as co-chair for LGBT Pride until 2000 and again in 2010. She has also served as co-chair on the National Board of the Family Pride Coalition and has been on the advisory board of the Gay and Lesbian Times, the Amazon Breast Project, and the San Diego Police Department for the LGBT Community.

Her dedication and hard work has garnered her the "Champion of Pride" in 2001 and the "Eleanor Roosevelt Award" from the San Diego Democratic Club in 2002. Her private practice is based in the heart of Hillcrest on Fifth Avenue.

Al Best

Dr. Al Best is a longtime leader and pioneer in politics, LGBT issues, HIV/AIDS and community service. In 1979 Al became the first openly gay candidate to run for city council in San Diego Ė just months after the assassination of Harvey Milk. He came in fifth in a field of eleven, despite losing his job, facing death threats and competing against candidates who spent five times as much.

Al was born in Pueblo, Colorado and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado. His career in the airline industry started early and later took him to New Mexico where he was named to the New Mexico State Aviation Board. He received a Masters Degree from the University of New Mexico and a PhD from New Mexico State University. Al moved to San Diego in 1975.

He went on to become Executive Vice President of Protocol Development for Community Research Group, one of 46 community-based HIV/AIDS clinical trials networks established by the federal government to get HIV protocols online more quickly. These efforts resulted in what is now the AIDS cocktail. Al also worked to transport HIV/AIDS drugs to people in need in Tijuana.

Al holds many other civic distinctions, as the first openly gay person appointed to the San Diego Equal Opportunity Commission, sworn to the Civil Service Commission and elected president of that body. He has also served on the cityís Medical Marijuana Task Force, the Congressional Crime Task Force, the Sage Neighborhood Program and the Chief of Policeís GLBT advisory board.

Over 66 different organizations have benefited from Alís board involvement. He was a board member of The Center in the 1970ís, and is a co-founder of Stepping Stone (Al created the first public listings of gay AA meetings). Al was an officer of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club in the 1980s. Al was also honored at the Sixth Annual Community Tribute Banquet in 2003, and he and Eduardo jointly received Prideís Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 (after marching in 29 consecutive parades).

Max Disposti

Max was born and raised in Rome (Italy) in 1968. He has worked as an activist and contributed at the beginning of the LGBT Rome movement and he was one of the initiators of the Rome Gay Pride. After graduating from College he traveled around Europe to pursue his volunteer aspirations by working with different non-profit organizations on Civil and Human Rights.

Upon arriving in the US in 1998 he has continued his work with Social Justice and Human Rights Committees in different California cities. An immigrant and American citizen by choice he has always pursued and fought for social justice.

In January 2008 he founded the North County LGBT Coalition, a North San Diego County non-profit organization that caters towards Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender individuals. In just a few years this organization has become the biggest organized and recognized LGBT group in the North San Diego area by initiating educational programs through different schools and the City of Oceanside.

The group established the First Gay, Straight Alliance Award in the State of California, an annual pride Festival called "Pride@the beach!", and is soon moving in the direction to build its own North San Diego County LGBT Community Center.

Max is also a very active individual in the community as a Commissioner for the City of Oceanside and member of the historical Oceanside Neighborhood Association. At the moment he is pursuing his second degree in Political Science while working as a real estate broker in the Riverside area.

Gloria Johnson

Gloria 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 Universalist Church.

Much of her activism has been in Democratic Politics, starting in 1972 with Congresswoman Shirley Chisholmís 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 ERAís defeat. Listed among The Advocateís top 400 US gay leaders in 1984, Gloria has worked tirelessly for social justice over the past four decades in feminist, LGBT and political communities.

Jennifer LeSar

Jennifer LeSar is President and Chief Executive Officer of LeSar Development Consultants, which provides a full range of consulting services primarily to local government agencies involved in redevelopment, community development, affordable housing and homelessness. She has more than 25 years of experience in the real estate and banking industries, and has developed and /or financed approximately $3 billion in residential, mixed-use and urban-infill commercial properties.

Ms. LeSar brings a diverse background to affordable housing, community development and urban revitalization. Prior to founding LDC in 2005, she was a Senior Vice President at Bank of America where she managed a variety of equity investment products, a Tax Credit Investment Acquisition Director at Edison Capital and a Project Manager at the Los Angeles Community Design Center (now Abode Communities). She also served as the Executive Director for Community Housing of North County (now Community HousingWorks), where, among other projects, she developed a 22-unit housing complex for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.

In a volunteer capacity, Ms. LeSar chaired and served on the San Diego LGBT Centerís board of directors for five years, from 2000 to 2004. During this time she helped the organization strengthen its finances and complete a large-scale renovation of its facility, as well as procure the 24-unit Youth Housing Project (Sunburst Apartments) complex in downtown San Diego to assist homeless LGBT youth.

In July 2002, Ms. LeSar was appointed to the board of the Center City Development Corporation, part of the City of San Diegoís Redevelopment Agency, where she served until November 2009, including one term as chair and two terms as treasurer.

Her educational achievements include two advanced degrees from UCLA Ė an MBA in real estate, finance and nonprofit management and an MA in Urban Planning.

Carol Pierce

For Carol Pierce launching Front Runners and Walkers San Diego (FRWSD) in 1981 with Jeffrey Wynne was much more than an athletic administrative event. Carol's goal was to create a safe space for LGBT athletes: especially those that were newly "coming out" and wanted LGBT friends and LGBT families. Carol has been continuously involved in Front Runners and Walkers volunteering in their many community oriented events and as a board member. She takes great pleasure in knowing that the club, in its inaugural year, was recognized by San Diego Pride as "The Club Best Representing Ideals of the Lesbian and Gay Community".

She participated in "Blood Sisters": lesbians establishing an LGBT blood bank account when the HIV epidemic dis-allowed blood donations by gay men. She volunteered with the Gay Academic Union, was a Board member of San Diego's AIDS Project and United San Diego Election Committee (LGBT PAC), in addition to other LGBT and non-LGBT organizations. In 2004 she organized fundraising for Granada generating $200,000 in medical supplies after the island was devastated by hurricane Ivan. Currently she is developing a residential activities program for a neighborhood nursing home.

Carol has done architectural drafting, been a probation officer, handywoman, and real estate agent: the former two while working in the profession she profoundly enjoys, marriage and family therapy. "I am so really really lucky: for 30+ years I've worked full time in a career I love! I get to guide (LGBT) individuals and families to feelings of self-confidence, pride, and to a real sense of belonging wherever they may be."

Jeff Wynne  (Picture removed at the request of Jeff)

Jeff Wynne retired from his career in public health when he was 53. The first day of his retirement was spent by the swimming pool. The second day he began volunteer work for LGBT nonprofits. Quietly working behind the scenes, Jeff began ghost-writing grant applications that have generated over $100,000 in small grants from local foundations and local government.

The grant funds he has raised have been used to underwrite the start-up expenses for a new LGBT organization, to augment the budgets of nonprofits that improve the quality of life in the LGBT community, and to pay for equipment that could not funded from any other source, such as the purchase of 50 specially-cushioned chairs for the Live and Let Live Alano Club. The chairs are needed for people with advanced wasting syndrome. He was particularly successful in raising funds for Diversionary Theatre during a time of fiscal austerity.

Born and raised in San Diego, Jeff served as a Navy Lieutenant, with three tours of duty in Vietnam. After his return to civilian life, he came to terms with being gay, then leaped jubilantly out of the closet at age 35. He went on to meet Carol Pierce, leading to the establishment of Front Runners.

In his spare time Jeff enjoys time with family and friends, hiking, traveling and cooking for a crowd in his home in University Heights; he is also an accomplished artist. He and Carol Pierce are a loving family for each other, as well as being a joyous part of the larger LGBT family in San Diego.


Sara Beth Brooks

Sara Beth Brooks got her start in community organizing as an intern for the California Democratic Party and then for Howard Dean for America. After Proposition 8 passed she answered a call made by viral internet sensation for a national day of protest on November 15, 2008. In under a week, efforts organized by Sara Beth brought 25,000 people together in downtown San Diego to march and rally. More than 100 cities worldwide held simultaneous protests, and San Diego had the largest turnout.

The organizing team formed the ad-hoc group San Diego Equality Campaign (SDEC) where Sara Beth served as Executive Chair. She took leadership roles in the Manchester Grand Hyatt boycott campaign and Camp Courage trainings across the state in addition to volunteer commitments outside of the LGBT community. Though no longer in existence, SDEC played an important role in post-proposition 8 activism in San Diego, helping organize marches, candlelight vigils, a blood drive, trainings, and town halls.

In 2009, Sara Beth was awarded the Harvey Milk Leadership Award and was entered into the prestigious line of saints of the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. SDEC was honored in 2009 by being named one of the Community Grand Marshals of San Diego Pride.

Sara Beth currently lives in Sacramento, California where she advocates for childhood literacy by connecting low-income children with free tutoring services. She holds an Associates Degree in in Business Administration and is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies.

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