Isaac Gomez with his father, Arturo Gomez, and his mother, Monica Nunez-Cham.
SAN DIEGO — They make a difference in our lives. Some are well-known activists in San Diego’s LGBT community and others are working tirelessly outside the spotlight.
Ten key players in the LGBT community will be honored Feb. 26 at a Heroes, Pioneers and Trailblazers gala at The Center that is sponsored by Lambda Archives of San Diego (LASD).
In the days leading up to the gala, SDGLN will profile each of these individuals and provide our readers with an inside peak at what this award means to each honoree.
2010 Honoree & Youth Trailblazing Award recipients: Isaac Gomez & Family
This year’s Youth Trailblazing Award will be presented not only to a young activist in the LGBT community but also to his parents for providing their son with the type of unconditional support not every LGBT person is fortunate to have.
Isaac Nicholas Gomez is a native San Diegan. He is a sophomore in high school and upon graduation hopes to leave for New York and attend Columbia University. When he is not studying, Isaac spends his time playing soccer or with his family.
His mother, Monica Nunez-Cham, and father, Arturo Gomez, arrived in San Diego 17 years ago with Isaac’s two older siblings, Alan and Montse. Originally from Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, Jalisco, the Gomez family has kept the traditions of the Mexican culture along with new American influences. His mother is one of 10 children, and every Sunday she gathers with her four sisters who also reside in San Diego, for delicious Mexican-inspired meals and dinner table gossip.
“We always knew that Isaac was different,” his mother said. “He didn’t speak to me about his transgender decision until he was 12, but I knew when he was as young as 2. He would tell me in his own way (he once asked her to buy him a penis) and he rejected femininity in every way. So we always knew he was different, but not in a bad way and we didn’t believe his choice was wrong.”
With the support of his family, Isaac decided to become an activist as a transgender teen, spreading awareness and sharing his story. In addition to the full support of his parents, Isaac also has the support of his classmates in school and that of the school itself.
“When my Mom first told me that I was being offered an award from Lambda Archives, I first thought to myself … me?” Isaac said. “My mind went on rewind trying to remember everything I have done and didn’t really find anything worth an award. Don’t get me wrong I am ecstatic that I am winning this award, but my Mom and I both feel that we are just being ourselves.
“I am a public transgender because I feel most comfortable when I am completely open and have no secrets, and I talk in panels to help people understand and to open the door for younger transgenders but also for myself. So I’m honored to receive this award and all I want to say is that I love what I do and my biggest award is seeing results in my community.”
In addition to helping Isaac educate and change society’s views, his parents have always emphasized the importance of family to all three of their children and they have achieved a very intimate and personal connection within their immediate family as well as their extended family.
“We have had a very positive experience with Isaac and he was and continues to be a happy and beautiful child. All my husband and I have ever wanted for our children is for them to be happy,” his mother said.
About Lambda Archives of San Diego
LASD’s mission is to collect, preserve and teach the history of LGBT people in the San Diego and Northern Baja California region. Although most of the collections date to post-1970, there are original materials dating back to the 1930s.
LASD believes that history is best served by the records and cultural artifacts of those people who are directly involved in its events, so its staff has dedicated itself to preserving and interpreting this important historical record since its establishment in 1987. LASD is an all-volunteer, nonprofit corporation governed by a volunteer board of directors and has one of the largest collections of LGBT history in the country.
LASD Honoree Selection Process
The fundraising gala — which debuted in 2007 — recognizes individuals, both locally and nationally, who have made a difference in the lives of LGBT persons through their dedication, commitment, financial resources and/or political participation.
The LASD board chooses honorees based on a criterion that focuses on diversity, by including individuals from diverse segments of the community and from a broad spectrum of individual characteristics such as ethnicity, race, LGBT identification, etc. As is customary for the board, nominees who had received other major honors this year or who could not attend the event, were held out for future consideration. Although no public call for nominations currently exists, the board considers any nomination from the community to be equal to those made by its members.
Previous honorees include business professionals, activists and people like state Sen. Christine Kehoe, Cleve Jones, Tom Reise, Fritz Klein and SDGLN contributor Ben Cartwright.
For information about purchasing tickets to the 2010 Gala visit SDGLN’s Events Calendar.