Michael Nava is a successful author with 7 award-winning novels to his credit. He‚Äôs also a highly regarded attorney working in the California State Supreme Court. His community service and commitment to equality and human rights make him a local hero.
Michael is a third generation Mexican American. He was raised in Sacramento where his family has lived since about 1920, after escaping the Mexican revolution. Mexican and gay in the 1970s was hard, but he worked diligently and became the first person in his family to go to college. He graduated from Colorado College cum laude.
A Thomas Watson Fellowship allowed him to study Latino poetry. He then attended Stanford, where he earned his law degree. Having a strong passion for writing, Michael wrote his first novel, The Little Death, while at Stanford. He has since had six more novels published. He also co-authored Created Equal: Why Gay Rights...
Profiles of Passion and Courage: Ken Henderson
By Stu Smith Published: May 30, 2013
Ken Henderson and his long-time partner Joe Seiler have brought life to The Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation, which for 19 years has raised funds and awareness for San Francisco Bay Area AIDS service organizations like Shanti Project, the Positive Resource Center, Maitri and Project Open Hand- just to name a...
Profiles of Passion and Courage: Larry Saxxon
By Stu Smith Published: May 16, 2013
Larry Saxxon, SF AIDS Foundation‚Äôs first African American social worker, is HIV-negative, and yet he continues to offer vital support to those dealing with the disease. Saxxon is also a leader in our senior community, currently serving on the LGBT Aging Task Force. Born in a Princess Anne, Maryland, migrant...
Profiles of Passion and Courage: Roger Doughty
By Stu Smith Published: May 2, 2013
Roger Doughty is a gentleman of humility and conviction who serves our LGBT community as executive director of Horizons Foundation. His ability to organize, to bring people together, to empathize and to be a visionary match our needs here in San Francisco, given the city‚Äôs deep, complex and compelling charitable...
Profiles in Passion and Courage: Jewelle Gomez
By Stu Smith Published: April 18, 2013
Nationally recognized writer and activist Jewelle Gomez is one of our true Bay Area treasures. We are lucky to have her here, as she is originally from Boston. There she was raised by both her mother and grandmother, who was a dancer very accepting of LGBT individuals. They instilled in...
Profiles in Passion and Courage: Brian Basinger
By Stu Smith Published: April 4, 2013
One of our community‚Äôs many unsung heroes and activists is Brian Basinger, who runs the tiny, but hugely effective, AIDS Housing Alliance/San Francisco. It is largely kept afloat by his good intentions, passion, dedication and sheer hard work.
Born in the 1960‚Äôs in Fort Myers, Florida, and raised by...
Profiles in Passion and Courage: Mario P. Diaz
By Stu Smith Published: March 21, 2013
The world of nonprofits and charitable practices is big in San Francisco. Very big. Some have claimed that as many as 30% of all paychecks written, and hopefully cashed, in our gem of a City are drawn on the accounts of nonprofits. All kinds of people from every walk of...
Profiles in Passion and Courage: Scrumbly Koldewyn
By Stu Smith Published: March 7, 2013
San Francisco is the birthplace, or adopted birthplace, of all kinds of genius, including that of brilliant Scrumbly Koldewyn. He would probably opine that everyone has an artistic genius within, and what the rest of us can‚Äôt see represents our limitations, not theirs.
From San Bernardino in Southern...
Profiles of Compassion and Courage: Heklina
By Stu Smith Published: February 21, 2013
Legend has it that Trannyshack was born when Heklina was a bartender at The Stud and staff there wanted something new to feature on Tuesday nights. A star was born.
Conceived and delivered in Minneapolis in 1967 and a graduate of the ‚ÄėSchool of Hard Knocks,‚Äô there was...
Profiles of Courage and Compassion: Bob Michitarian
By Stu Smith Published: February 7, 2013
I first met Bob during Bevan Dufty‚Äôs campaign for mayor at the beginning of 2012. I immediately thought that he was going to be a shooting star in San Francisco political, cultural and social life, especially in our LGBT community.
Bob radiates energy and honesty that is contagious....
Profiles in Courage and Compassion: Bevan Dufty
By Stu Smith Published: January 24, 2013
Bevan Dufty is a San Francisco icon. He‚Äôs a man of many accomplishments who remains humble, hopeful and helpful to almost everyone who seeks his assistance on personal, political and community problems. Bevan is blessed with a perception that sees problems as opportunities needing answers and solutions, so he quickly...
By Stu Smith Published: January 10, 2013
I first met Rebecca in my early days serving on the Paratransit Coordinating Council as she was leading the effort to create a viable and responsive Taxi Commission. I was impressed with her broad vision for San Francisco and her grasp of the issues and solutions she believes are doable....
Profiles in Courage and Compassion: Sister Roma
By Stu Smith Published: December 20, 2012
¬†It‚Äôs mind boggling to look at the non-stop schedule of Sister Roma, one of the most generous and dynamic members of our community. She is forever helping others. A successful fundraiser for HIV/AIDS and many, many other LGBT causes must include Roma because she brings much more than her ‚Äúhabit.‚ÄĚ...
Profiles in Passion and Commitment: Donna Sachet
By Stu Smith Published: December 6, 2012
If you have a pulse in San Francisco for more than a nanosecond, you know the name Donna Sachet. All of you who have been fortunate enough to meet and know her have learned something about unconditional love and commitment to serving others.
Donna is somewhat self-created and...
Profiles of Passion: Tom Nolan
By Stu Smith Published: November 29, 2012
With the winter holidays upon us, I‚Äôm reminded of so many men and women who work hard to help folks in need. One person, Tom Nolan, always comes to mind when I think of the traditional food feasts and all those who need help getting that special meal or even...
Stairway to the Stars
By Stu Smith Published: November 1, 2012
Memories can be strange and humorous, and sometimes horrifying too. Over my sordid and people-filled existence I‚Äôve met, or maybe encountered, many infamous and famous folks. I thought I‚Äôd relate a few incidents I remember vividly and with a tinge of guilt.
Once upon a time in San...
Saved by Shanti
By Stu Smith Published: October 18, 2012
In 1988, I willingly agreed to an HIV test in order to get insurance for the newest restaurant my straight partner and I were opening in the SOMA financial district: Harpoon Louie‚Äôs. We were each buying a quarter million dollar policy on the other should either of us die so...
Voting in Spite of It All
By Stu Smith Published: October 4, 2012
It‚Äôs that time of year again. An important election is almost upon us, but the mountain of mail that clogs my mailbox every day in support of this or that proposition or candidate frustrates me. Then I remember that even in my darkest, debauched hours I‚Äôve always voted.
Castro Tour Angers Some Town School Student Parents
By Stu Smith Published: September 20, 2012
‚ÄúParents outraged! Is the Castro an appropriate destination for a second-grade field trip?‚ÄĚ
I caught this teaser headline while checking out a recent SF Gate story and got a good laugh. But then I started considering how my community, we LGBT‚Äôs, are perceived in the human incubator I‚Äôm so...
When a Man Loves a Man
By Stu Smith Published: September 6, 2012
I was listening to some radio station recently as they played Percy Sledge‚Äôs old popular hit, ‚ÄúWhen a Man Loves a Woman.‚ÄĚ A wave of sadness came over me, concerning how we face day after day of heated and hateful attacks on our right to fully love our same sex...
Habits, Collars and Drag Queens
By Stu Smith Published: August 23, 2012
My own homophobia kept me scornful of the drag community for most of my life, even with the knowledge of the important and life-changing actions of drag queens from Stonewall to Compton‚Äôs, from Jose Sarria to Charles Pierce. It had to do with my accepting that to be gay was...
A Cover Up?
By Stu Smith Published: August 9, 2012
Whither or whether to cover up was the question, and thanks to our hard-working Supervisor Scott¬†Wiener, we‚Äôre gonna try and cover up without denying our neighborhood shock druids their right to display their personal plumbing as they strut merrily up and down our busy boulevards and by-ways here in the...
To Thine Own Self Be True
By Stu Smith Published: July 26, 2012
I never thought I had much of a chance with love and relationships, largely because I would never have asked ‚Äúme‚ÄĚ out on a date or to dance in a club. I‚Äôve always been heavy, read fat, and that may have become a barrier I used to stay in the...
San Francisco and Rent Control
By Stu Smith Published: July 12, 2012
Just about everyone‚ÄĒstraight, gay, lesbian, transgender‚ÄĒadmits that San Franciscans face a tough situation finding and keeping housing in San Francisco. Being a disabled senior who was Ellis Acted out of my 20-year home on lower Nob Hill, I‚Äôve got the bruises to prove just how frightening and hard it really...
The Summer of Love
By Stu Smith Published: June 14, 2012
The 1960‚Äôs brought us the hippie movement that was another wild and crazy moment in the ever-shuffling deck of San Francisco. At that point I was legal and drank like a fish, but hey, it was fun. The country was becoming angrily consumed by the escalating war in Vietnam and...
Queer and Loathing on the Campaign Trail
By Stu Smith Published: May 31, 2012
God knows what prompted a demur, innocent hipster like me to decide to run for an elected office, albeit a seemingly unimportant one like The Democratic County Central Committee, but I did. So what is involved in this decision, once made? For starters, you go to the Department of Elections...
Harvey‚Äôs Courage and Charisma Live On
By Stu Smith Published: May 17, 2012
I remember Harvey Milk mostly from bathhouses and bars where he didn‚Äôt drink more than a coke or another non-alcoholic drink. I remember him coming into bars like the In Touch with his huge, warm smile, and instantly creating an entourage of mostly men with a smattering of women all...
Tales of Armistead
By Stu Smith Published: May 3, 2012
In May of 1976, Susan Stokeld, a regular customer of Zott‚Äôs in the financial district in the City, started regaling me and anyone near her stool at the bar about a ‚Äúserial‚ÄĚ that the Chronicle had started running by a handsome young Southern blonde boy. Within weeks it became the...
By Stu Smith Published: April 5, 2012
I cut school often and for almost any reason that caught my fancy on any given day. I used to go to Van Ness Avenue and sneak around all the car dealers just before the new models were introduced. I loved cars. I also loved going by myself to Upper...